Production Design and Industry: where could our new degree course take you?

26 January, 2022

We’re building up for the exciting launch of two new degree courses at Screen and Film School Brighton in September this year.

We announced that we would be teaching both Production Design for Screen & Film and Hair and Make-up for Screen & Film at our flagship school late in 2021, and now here we are gearing up to welcome our very first students through the door and into the artistic world of filmmaking. We’d like to take a closer look at Production Design, and how the film industry is crying out for talented artists and designers. We have faith that our inaugural students on this brand-new course will be ready to enter the professional film world before they even graduate. A high-end skillset is required, and the results can be of the very highest standard…

Did you know that some recent Oscar winners for Production Design include some of the following masterpieces? Alice in Wonderland, The Shape of Water, La La Land, The Great Gatsby, Mad Max: Fury Road, Black Panther.

Students with a flair for visual arts and creativity will fit perfectly into the groove of Production Design. Having an artistic eye for the style of how a film or television show should look will set you up for a successful career in the industry, and there are a myriad number of routes into the world of film for those students. Production Designers have an input on the style of everything involved in any given production, from sets, locations, props and lighting to costumes and even hair and make-up. This helpful infographic below illustrates the large web of roles that a Production Design student could move into once they are ready to make their mark on the industry:

Towards the end of three years of study, students will have an in-depth understanding of the four main arms of the production design industry tree, and the many branches that come off it. We have identified Costume Designer, Art Director, Head of Props and Hair and Make-up Designer as the four key departments which all students could specialise in. But before then, there is a lot of experimenting and testing to do, which is always encouraged in our workshop teaching environment.

As well as the hands-on, creative aspect of this degree, there will be a focus on establishing relationships and an understanding with professional directors. This will stand students in good stead when they enter the industry, as directors often form a strong bond with their chosen and trusted Production Designers, sometimes teaming up on many productions over a number of years. Just ask our brilliant Lecturer, Richard Drew; Richard is an active and in-demand Production Designer working primarily in TV. He says about the current climate:

“There is a lot of demand for crew and there’s not enough good people to go around. I think If you were coming into the industry now or are thinking about a future in the art department, I think now is as good a time as any because we need good people. We need trained people. “

Richard is extremely experienced, having worked on One Foot in the Grave, Grange Hill, The Crystal Maze, Game On, Top of the Pops, Going Live, Ghostwatch, The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and Big Train. Recently, he has turned his attention to After Life, the Ricky Gervais Netflix sensation. Ricky has hired Richard for all 18 episodes, proving that the relationships that our students form with directors could prove an invaluable way to further their success in the industry.

Richard is a real inspiration for our young filmmakers at Screen and Film School Brighton, but what are his top tips for Production Design students and graduates?

“My advice would be to come to this school. These courses didn’t exist when I started out. If you’re really keen on the art department, or production design as a whole, or prop making, this sort of course is ideal for you. If there’s a programme you love, get on IMDB and find out who designed it, who did the costume, whatever your thing is. And when you click on that crew member, you’ll see all the other work they’ve done. Write to them, find out a bit more, do you like their work? Do you not like their work? Whose work do you like? Use the resources at your fingertips.”

Fantastic advice from Richard. As we begin preparing to welcome our very first classrooms full of Production Design undergraduates this September, what does Richard believe is the stand-out feature of the Film School from an art and design point of view?

“I’m completely blown away by how professional Brighton Film Studios looks. I would totally come and shoot a promo or a commercial or anything here. There is nothing here that separates it as being ‘students only.’ And you have some amazing people working at the building and turning it into what it is. As far as I can tell, every detail has been thought about. And it just feels like a completely functional studio. I can’t fault it.”

Our new, cutting-edge studio space is a place where artistic imagination can run wild and that will be felt by our very first Production Design students when they walk through the doors. We’ll let Richard have the final word on why now is as good a time as ever to be a part of the world of art and design in filmmaking:

“It’s an incredible time for me to be operating in this industry and for anyone else who’s about to start their own journey into it. Of all the different film departments, I think it’s the most inventive. What we shoot is completely down to our own imaginations. You think of something, you draw it, there it is, you shoot it. It’s amazing!”

 


 

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