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By T. Allan Taylor, James Robert Parish

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Working in conjunction with the director’s concept of the layout, the Set Designer takes into account the activity and physical movement that the sets and the scenery must make possible. During the preproduction stages, a floor plan is created that indicates where each set will be situated, where major equipment (such as lighting and cameras) will be positioned, where permanent lighting fixtures and outlets are located, and where scenery and furniture will be placed. Set Designers are usually employed by networks and independent production companies, rather than individual television stations.

A broad educational background is helpful, but you need to have an inborn artistic sense and enhance it by training in the aesthetic use of color, shapes, and light. 2. Volunteer to work on student films or low-budget movies to gain practical experience, build your résumé, and make contacts for future projects. 3. Consider enrolling in film or television school to add to your educational background. 4. Offer to work for free for a Production Designer so that you can observe the process at hand or, if you are working as a production assistant on a television (or film) project, offer to help the art department while keeping within the strictures of union and guild guidelines.

The middle 50 percent earned between $33,970 and $61,120 per ARTS AND DESIGN year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,830 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $85,160. Employment Prospects Although technological change in the television industry moves most artistic creative activity toward the use of computer graphics, Matte Artists are still needed—even if their paint is now a pixel and their canvas is a computer. Thus, having these new skills as well as more traditional artistic creativity, prospects for employment of Matte Artists remain good.

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