By an eHow Contributor
Stage designers create scenes based on the time, place, setting and mood of a play, film or TV show. They are responsible for the stage construction, costume creation and the use of props that are involved in a production. Follow these steps to begin designing your career as a stage designer.
- Research the career to learn whether it appeals to you. Sites such as College Board or the Princeton Review give information about the typical workload of a stage designer.
- Study theater-related courses at a college or design institute. Focus on courses in art, art history, technical drawing and computer-assisted drafting. Theater production classes can get you started in hands-on training, and shop classes are also helpful for building and painting sets and props. These courses usually lead to a degree in theater or fine arts.
- Train in stage design. Start small by working in school productions or local community theater, then work your way up to Broadway or Hollywood. Gain skills in researching time periods for a scene, studying scripts and designing with freehand sketches and scale models. Learn what it's like to oversee construction of a set from start to finish.
- Create your portfolio. Collect your artwork, sculptures and other designs that you've done for any theater, television or film productions.
- Find a job as a stage designer. Search newspapers or arts-related magazines and websites to find opportunities at performing arts companies, movie studios, museums, fairs, festivals, and even zoos and parks.
- Meet with the directors and other designers. Attend an interview or an audition. Prepare a resume that includes your related work experience and plan to show off your portfolio in hopes of getting the job.
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Tips & Warnings
- Solving problems and working calmly under pressure are the keys to being a good stage designer. Stage designers must draw, paint, sculpt and build to create the perfect production set. They are also in charge of choosing the production's furniture and clothing.
- Stage designers must communicate effectively with directors, production managers, lighting and sound technicians, carpenters and prop builders in order to finalize a set. You must be willing to accept feedback from others, and revise sets when necessary.
- It's common to work long hours under deadline as a stage designer. This job may not be the right fit if you're not a night owl and you prefer the traditional 9 to 5 job.
- Never design a stage or a movie scene without studying the script first. Mismatched color schemes or a misplaced building or object can ruin a production.