FILM SET DESIGN: CAREERS IN FILM ART
When people dream of a career in film and video production, they rarely consider set design as a possible career path. However, set design is a vital part of any film and is usually the largest department involved in creating the film, with the largest number of workers and supplies. Set designers work to make sets come alive in front of the camera. They may construct miniature models for realistic shots. They may add everyday odds and ends to more common sets designed to picture life in the office or at home. They can spend hours making an outdoor set look just right, or bringing an outdoor scene inside using a variety of materials to re-create it perfectly. Different set design workers specialize in many different areas of set creation.
If you are interested in a film career, do not pass by set design. It provides an excellent opportunity to show creativity and innovation while meeting constant and often demanding deadlines. The higher you move up the ladder of set design employment, the more freedom you will have to exercise your imagination and create detailed, thoughtful sets that will impress directors, absorb audiences, and help actors enter their roles more fully.
How do I get Involved?
If you are wondering where to begin to find a career in set design, the answer is simple: begin in the same places you would look for other film jobs, such as directing, editing, or filming. Most film schools include specific programs or classes for those interested in set design. If your film program does not include these classes, do not worry too much. You can learn valuable lessons on film design through other classes specializing in film history and production. most college students, especially those studying directing, do their own set design, but many would be grateful for help. This is an excellent way to make contacts among your fellow students and develop experience in set design techniques of your own.
When you are taking classes, keep your eyes open for internships. Since set design and film art departments need to hire so many people, you can often find internships or part time job openings for work in stage design or set-up. You may only be a grip and spend most of your time moving things around, but the experience will still be invaluable and you will be able to set how sets are constructed up close. While these type of internships do not allow much expression of artistic talent or ingenuity, they do allow you to develop valuable contacts and learn important techniques by watching your supervisors.