Production Designer

Now you've got your team defined. You know who's going to be doing what on set once the production gets rolling. There's only one thing missing: somebody has to pull the entire crew together. That person is the production designer.

When the script comes in, the production designer breaks it down into individual locations. Once this list is complete, or even before, the production designer meets with the director of the film to determine the look, or visual style, that will dominate the film. Odds are, the director will have some definite ideas, and it is the production designer's job to bring them to three-dimensional reality. If the film is about a successful New Jersey mafioso family and the film opens in the home of the head of this family, it is up to the production designer to decide what this home should look like. The director may have already decreed something in a "suburban tacky" style, so the production designer will envision a set to fit the director's vision. To this end, a production designer may also work with a location scout to find existing structures that fit the design without too much adaptation.

If the film is a futuristic fantasy, where nothing that already exists can be used, then everything must be designed from scratch. Entire cities have been built on soundstages in Hollywood, along with alien planets and spaceships. All these things were created using the production designer's designs and blueprints.

A production designer must be able to render ideas into usable forms, like blueprints, and should also have an understanding of construction principles and theory, especially set construction, which differs considerably from actual, practical building.

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