Our Studio’s Blueprint for Set Creation

INSIDE AGENTI  /   JAN 02, 2020

STEFAN MANCHEV  •   5 MIN READ

STEFAN MANCHEV

STUDIO MANAGER

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This series of articles pulls back the curtain on the fascinating world of set design. We’ll take you on a step-by-step journey alongside the set designer, exploring the key stages that bring a script to life.

 

 

Part 1: Setting the Stage for Success – Analysis and Research

In the captivating world of film and television production design, meticulously crafted sets breathe life into the narratives we see on screen. But before hammers pound and saws sing, a crucial foundation is laid. This first installment of our series delves into the foundational stage of set design: Analysis and Research. Here, the set designer transforms from blank page to blueprint, meticulously dissecting the script and delving into the narrative world. Through this research and analysis, they build a comprehensive understanding that informs the visual direction of the set.


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SCRIPT ANALYSIS

A LINE-BY-LINE EXPLORATION

The cornerstone of successful set design is a thorough Script Analysis. The set designer meticulously reads and rereads the script, focusing on key elements such as:

 

  • Setting Descriptions: Identifying and interpreting detailed descriptions of locations and environments within the script. This establishes the visual foundation for each scene.

 

  • Character Descriptions: Analyzing descriptions of characters, their social status, and their lifestyles allows the set designer to understand the visual language needed to represent their world.

 

  • Mood and Tone: Discerning the overall mood and tone of the narrative ensures the set design evokes the desired emotional response from the audience. A suspenseful thriller will have vastly different visual needs compared to a heartwarming comedy.

 

  • Plot and Action: Understanding the flow of the story and the actions taking place within each set location ensures the design facilitates movement and storytelling effectively. Sets need to be functional as well as visually impressive.

CONCEPTS ANALYSIS

BEYOND THE SURFACE

Following the script analysis, the set designer delves deeper into specific concepts or recurring themes presented within the narrative. This Concept Analysis might involve:

 

  • Historical or Cultural Context: For stories set in specific historical periods or referencing particular cultures, the set designer researches relevant architectural styles, furniture design, and cultural touchstones to ensure an accurate and evocative representation. A period drama set in Victorian England will require a vastly different aesthetic than a science fiction film set on Mars.

 

  • Symbolic Meanings: Certain elements within the script may have symbolic significance. The set designer analyzes these elements to determine how they can be visually translated through the set design to enhance the narrative’s subtext. For instance, a character’s cluttered workspace might symbolize their chaotic mental state.

 

  • Genre Conventions: Different genres often have established visual conventions associated with set design. Understanding these conventions allows the set designer to either embrace or subvert them to create a unique and impactful visual experience. A horror film might utilize dark, gothic elements, while a romantic comedy might favor light and airy spaces.

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