Intro to Production Design

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In film production, the production designer is a key creative role which involves collaborating with other department heads to create the overall visual style of the film.

Set design is a key part of this process but the production designer must also work in with many other departments which affect the look and feel of the film.

Led by AFI nominated Production Designer and AFTRS senior lecturer in Screen Design Igor Nay this two day course (with take home assignments) has been designed to familiarise students with everything they need to know to pursue a career in the Art Department with the goal of becoming a Production Designer.


Session 1

Concepts of Production Design

What is production design? An introduction to the creative responsibilities of the production designer as a visual storyteller. Learn techniques of analysing a script and developing a design brief. A visual approach using the elements and principals of design will be investigated.
This topic also examines historical, architectural and design styles and their application to a screen project.

Session 2
Design Skills and Previsualisation

This topic explores the knowledge and skills essential when creating a visual story world. The role of the ‘built environment’ as an element of cinematic storytelling is investigated through set design
Previsualisation including Concept illustration and storyboarding is examined.


Session 3

Art Direction

From the art director’s perspective, we investigate key relationships and the range of collaboration and management skills necessary to bring a story to the screen. Students gain an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of personnel within the art department.

Session 4

This topic examines the production designer’s collaboration with other specialist practitioners to formulate a creative approach and reinforce storytelling through visual concept. We identify and analyse the roles of set decorators, cinematographers, VFX supervisor, scenic artists, prop makers and costume designers, to ensure successful collaboration.

N.B - This course has no prerequisites, but students should have a keen interest in some art and design related subjects including drawing, technical drawing, colour theory, architecture, building and construction, history of design, interior design, cameras and lenses, lighting, etc.

Feedback from April 2014:

'It was a great, realistic, valuable course -- well organised & thought out.'

'Excellent content, teacher and venue all exceptional.'

'Liked the extra readings and assessments.'

'The tutor was very informative and presented the course well...helped me understand in more depth what this discipline entails.'

***DISCLAIMER*** AFTRS reserves the right to cancel any course for any reason at any time. In the event of a course being cancelled a full refund of course fees will be provided. If a participant wishes to withdraw from a course, they may do so up to 15 days before the course commences and get a full refund. Cancellations 14 days or less before course commencement will incur a fee. For more information on AFTRS Open's policies, including refund policies, please see our policies page.​


The Australian Film Television Radio and School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.