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On a screen production for film, TV, or a web series, 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 and set decoration are important components of this process but the production designer must also collaborate with many other departments which affect the overall look and feel of the film. This two day course has been designed to familiarise students with introductory knowledge of Production Design and an awareness of how to know to pursue a career in the art department


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.


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, model making, cameras and lenses, lighting, etc.

This course is only open to students aged 18 +. If you are under 18, you will not be eligible to attend this course.


After graduating from the University of Cape Town with a Bachelor of Architecture, Michael served as Chief Regional Architect in the Zimbabwean Ministry of Housing before joining the film industry as a set designer. Thirty years on, he has Production Designed dozens of feature films, television dramas and hundreds of commercials, gaining numerous design nominations and winning awards for Best Production Design in Australia and South Africa. His Production Design credits include Praise (directed by John Curran), Bopha (directed by Morgan Freeman), Garage Days (directed by Alex Proyas) and The Well (directed by Samantha Lang). Michael currently serves as Head of Production Design at Sydney Film School (SFS) as well as Lecturer & Tutor at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). More credits on IMDB.​

Have any questions? Please get in touch: or 1300 065 281

***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 Bidjigal people and 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.