We interviewed a professional theatre designer who worked in theatre, film and television since 1990.
What attracted you to production design?
I fell in love with theatre design when I saw my first production and when I knew I had a natural ability with art.
What problems did u encounter?
It’s a highly competitive industry, you have to be really skilled and have ambition to succeed. You work on a free lanced self employed basis and have to be highly disciplined with your cash flow.
What qualifications have you achieved?
Art and design, also interested in history and 3D design, I did a bachelors degree in theatre design and then a masters in Film and TV. Overall it took me six years to achieve all my qualifications.
How is the pay as a production designer?
The pay is very good in Film and Television especially commercial work. In commercial work the designer can get in excess of £500 a day. It is a freelance job so you only get paid when you work.
How do you deal with finding work?
You can hire a agent and they will look for work and organise things for you but they will take a certain percentage of your fee. You should also network with other people in the industry this will help you incase any of them have a job opening.
What do you like and dislike about being a production designer?
It is varied and extremely creative and the pay is good, also a lot of travelling. The challenging things are a very high level of responsibility and stress, dealing with tight budgets and deadlines.
What is it like showing your work to the audience?
You have to make sure your work is scene by the whole audience in the theatre. It is very exciting especially when you get a positive audience reaction. You realise you have a significant impact on how much the audience enjoys and understands the performance. It’s demanding a full time commitment.
What is the most important skill?
Visual and communication skills are vital as you need to communicate with a wide audience.
Have you ever had a bad review?
Yes but only once, a member of the audience complained about not being able to view my production properly because of the stage setting.