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"Designing a film is like painting a landscape in a hurricane," said the late, great production designer Richard Sylbert (Shampoo, Chinatown) — and whether one is seeking to weather that creative storm as a production designer, art director or set decorator, a B.A. or MFA with an emphasis on production design can give a leg up.
Says Longmire production designer and Art Directors Guild production design co-chair Thomas A. Walsh, "While only two schools provide true, pure production design programs" — AFI and Chapman Dodge — many aspirants find their way via theater arts. "There is no difference in the training for motion pictures and for television as the tools, knowledge, talent and curiosity required are all the same, and the only thing that distinguishes the two from one another is time and money.”
Adds production designer Stuart Wurtzel (HBO's Divorce), a Carnegie Mellon alum: "Production designers come from many different avenues — architecture, decorating, costume designing, etc. Period or contemporary, a designer must be observant of culture and behaviors and visually interpret a story into a physical world."
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