Set Designer

Design sets for film productions

Ever wonder how those streets of Chicago or New York City look so real on film? Or maybe why a movie battlefield seems so striking? The set designer is responsible for all the background, foreground and everything in between that puts the actors in the movie and allows you to be transported to another place and another time. Set design is part artistic work and part carpentry, architecture, plumbing and electrical work.

Set designer jobs also include coordinating the efforts of the carpenter, electrician and prop master to ensure that the best possible look and feel of a set is achieved; from period pieces to convincing weaponry, the set designer has a hand in it all. In addition to the full-scale sets, set design jobs include building scale models from scratch and painting them to be as realistic and convincing as possible.

Set designer jobs are among the most coveted in the film production industry because the vision of the production designer is only fleshed out, constructed and realized through the efforts of the set designer.

Set Design Training

Set designer careers begin with a good school of art. The majority of set designers have a Master's degree in fine arts as well as real-world, hands-on experience in dressing a stage, making it seem realistic and generally convincing the audience that the world they are transported to can (and does) exist.

Some specialists have worked their way up through the ranks to build set designer careers, but those days are fast closing. Set design jobs require ever more skilled interpretations of two-dimensional drafts from the production designer's notes and sketches. This requires an artistic eye and years of training. The most skilled set designers create sets and models so realistic, it is difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what is simulated.

Some specialists in other areas of filmmaking, such as prop masters or makeup artists, have been able to transition into different areas of filmmaking, including set designer. Still, these individuals have already established their creative talents and are recognized for their skill by many in the filmmaking industry. The best path to set designer careers seems to be through intensive schooling and networking with work associates, friends, school classmates, alumni and professors who will supply you with leads on set designer jobs that are opening soon.

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