In Summary - Theatre / Television Designer
Theatre / Television Designers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Theatre / Television Designer
Theatre/television designers design and supervise the creation of exterior and interior settings for theatre, television and film productions. Designers read and analyse scripts then make decisions about the shape and size of sets, colour schemes and scenic features.
Designers begin by carrying out detailed research. If they are working on a period drama they need to find details about how people lived in the past.
After the research stage, designers produce scale models and detailed working drawings called 'ground plans' and 'elevations'. Increasingly these will be done using computer aided design (CAD). These show how sets will look from above and from eye-level. Directors and performers can use these to determine entrances, exits and positions. Television and film directors can also use them to plan camera angles and to decide where to put sound equipment.
While sets are being built, designers find, buy, or hire props, which they use to dress the sets. At this stage, scenic artists can add all the finishing touches. They paint backcloths, gauzes and floors, and create finer details such as paintings, tapestries and wall hangings.
Designers work closely with directors, producers, stage/floor managers, costume designers, lighting designers, craftworkers and technicians.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Examine objects to be included in exhibits in order to plan where and how to display them.
- Acquire, or arrange for acquisition of, specimens or graphics required to complete exhibits.
- Prepare rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans, scenery, and properties to be constructed.
- Confer with clients and staff in order to gather information about exhibit space, proposed themes and content, timelines, budgets, materials, and/or promotion requirements.
- Estimate set- or exhibit-related costs including materials, construction, and rental of props or locations.
- Develop set designs based on evaluation of scripts, budgets, research information, and available locations.
- Direct and coordinate construction, erection, or decoration activities in order to ensure that sets or exhibits meet design, budget, and schedule requirements.
- Inspect installed exhibits for conformance to specifications, and satisfactory operation of special effects components.
- Plan for location-specific issues such as space limitations, traffic flow patterns, and safety concerns.
- Submit plans for approval, and adapt plans to serve intended purposes, or to conform to budget or fabrication restrictions.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Interests - Theatre / Television Designer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
You will need to pay great attention to detail as audiences soon spot any inaccuracies. You need to be able to express your ideas clearly through the drawings and models you produce. You will also need a thorough knowledge of technical and production processes.
Entry Requirements - Theatre / Television Designer
Pay & Salary - Theatre / Television Designer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 18k - 40k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Theatre / Television Designer
Useful Contacts - Theatre / Television Designer
The Arts Council of Ireland
National Theatre of Ireland
Institute of Designers in Ireland