Theatre/ TV designers, also known as Production designers are responsible for creating the best possible visual presentation of recorded or live performances, by working closely with directors and production teams.
This highly creative role involves understanding the script and directors' vision and budget, to then find suitable filming or performance locations, which may involve national and international travel, working with set designers and co-ordinating costume and make up teams and identifying if visual effects, CGI or animation may be required. A strong knowledge of design from different eras is helpful.
Duties may include:
- meeting with theatre and TV directors to discuss scripts and requirements
- sketching or creating computer aided design ideas
- sourcing and visiting potential filming or performance locations
- co-ordinating set design, costume and make up teams
- managing budgets.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for theatre/television designers
- creative and imaginative, with the ability to turn ideas into reality
- excellent sketching and computer aided design (CAD) skills
- strong leadership
- ability to work in a team
- outstanding communication skills.
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of theatre/television designers
- tv/ film production companies and broadcasters
- advertising and marketing agencies and companies
- theme parks, visitor attractions and cruise ships
- schools, colleges, stage schools and universities.
Qualifications and training
There is no set route into the industry, work experience is important and many students gain initial experience as a 'runner' at a film or tv company or though their involvement as a member of a performing arts group. Building a good industry network and contacts are important.
Level 2 or 3 qualifications, degrees and postgraduate courses are available in performing arts, film and TV, and art and design may be helpful.
In Scotland college courses in the aforementioned areas are available at Higher National Certificate/Diploma Level. These usually require 1 to 2 Highers. Subjects such as English and Drama are often preferred for performing arts related courses. Degrees are also available requiring 3 – 4 Highers (Grades A-C).