Pinewood Studios, Pinewood Road, Iver Heath
Buckinghamshire, SL0 0NH
The 8 weeks, ScreenSkills approved Art Direction Course, provides industry relevant training for the film industry. It is an intensely practical studio based programme centred on the drawing board. The focus is on the development and acquisition of the art department draughting techniques. The studies have been specifically designed to give students a set of experiences to build a valuable understanding of the techniques and considerations involved with film making from script to production.
It offers you the opportunity to gain the insight and qualities that seeks to allow you to build a creative expression of your skills in a portfolio.
The course is interactive with all students encouraged to ask questions covering all aspects of filmmaking and to explore the mediums context and content historically and contemporarily. It is largely taught on a ‘one-to-one’ basis supported throughout with notes. Terry’s recent publication ‘The Art of Illusion’ serves both as a course handbook and a vital aid on your journey. Other books and journals are within the studio for referencing and inspiration.
You will cover how films are scheduled and the preparation of budget plans together with consideration of the roles within the Art Department and their specific impacts on a production. It seeks to give you the essential understanding to enable you to select suitable locations, how to undertake measure and record surveys. You will also be taught drawing details to scale or full size including:
• Layout – plan and elevations at varying scales.
• Using correct line weight, shading and hatching techniques.
• Industry standard dimensioning, lettering, notation, and labelling.
On the course by viewing exemplar drawings from present day films you will study the difference between set drawings, stage layouts. Along with being introduced to the relevant terms used in film and television you will receive instruction in:
• How to make the drawing work for lighting and camera.
• How to draw a projection of a set to create a sketch camera view.
• How to set up and use camera angles for each ratio and lens.
• How to construct set models in card for film.
• How to break a script down to identify critical design information – set breakdown, prop breakdown, special effects, vehicles, stunts, animals
Other topics that extend from and alongside the core exercises focus in greater depth for consideration when interpreting sets such as lighting and colour critical to the requirements of the director, producer and designer are discussed.
This in turn gives you the opportunity to design a set from a script or to interpret from a concept visualisation.
To prepare you for the connected roles associated with art direction and for you to gain or enhance any existing skill set, the course reflects the following learning experiences and outcomes:
• Demonstrate and extend free-hand drawing, perspective or technical drawing skills to be able to record information (surveying locations, visualising script or set design analysis) conceptualise ideas and project designs.
• Demonstrate a practical understanding the work of other film or TV departments, such as camera, lighting, sound, and props to know how set designs affect their work.
• Demonstrate a practical understanding of building and construction for set designs.
• Show critical investigation and judgement as to how a good all-round knowledge of interiors and architecture for how they both influence set designs.
• Demonstrate possession of a good eye for decoration and detail with an ability to think visually.
• Show a methodological approach to work and in developing personal leadership skills in order to motivate others within or in directing a team.
• Develop the need to be able to see the broader picture to coordinate situations effectively showing diplomacy and sensitivity towards different working practices and cultures when working in other countries.
• Critically understand the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures, particularly relating to potentially hazardous working conditions and materials.
• Display a clear understanding of the nature of film industry work procedure, practices and contracts - long and irregular hours.
In addition, all students will have the opportunity to go on a guided walk with tutors around some of the stages at Pinewood Studios- including the Underwater Stage and Paddock Tank - where related points of interest for the Art Department will be explained.
Throughout the course aspects of Leadership/Communication and Teamwork will be actively discussed and key elements taught in a range of delivery modes. These will be structured into formal sessions and undertaken by all participants and whilst each individual will have differing experience it will include a number of group activities on Teamwork and Feedback. It is likely that these will involve external agents as well as the core team and current practitioners who operate across the spectrum of the screen based industry.
As part of the course, participants will meet and learn from industry professionals during ‘in conversation with’ sessions. The speakers will bring ‘real world’ knowledge with a particular focus on current industry practices and on the leadership skills appropriate to operate in an Art Director position. This is intended as giving addition to current understanding and experience and adding valuable currency for future career applications. Other key guests are likely to cover expertise as - Production Designer, Director, Line Producer, Construction Manager, Set Decorator, Special/VFX/ Floor Effects & Accountants.
Studio materials and an initial set of drawing equipment for the course tasks are provided at the start of the course, however students are expected to provide any specialist equipment for themselves.
Contact us about this course
I thank Terry for believing in me, all those years ago and for giving me the confidence and skill set that are required in the Film Industry today.
Learning the traditions and discipline of hand draughting was a revelation, and placed me firmly on my current career path.
No other course had offered the level of expertise on offer in terms of teaching and knowledge of the industry.
In every persons career there are always key mentors and supporters along the way. For me, Terry is one of these people and FDI was the start of a career I love.