I was at a gas station this morning filling up my tank when I noticed an interesting arrangement. A small blonde haired high school girl was drying a large muddy Jeep. The girl was dressed in flip flops, high school shirt, and a pooky shell necklace. The Jeep was a very rugged rock crawler with huge wheels. Both very full of character alone and when paired together created a completely different character.
Had this pairing been in a movie it would have been the work of the Production Designer illustrating the mind of the Director. The Production Designer is in charge of all set design, costumes, and props. Their job is very important. A professor at my college said in one of my recent classes "If you were to take away all the work of the Production Designer you would be left with your actor standing in front of a black sheet”. The Production Designer takes the script and creates the world that it calls for. The Production Designer works closely with both the Director and the Director of Photography to make sure he accomplishes this task accurately to the Director's vision and the films overall feel.
Upon our location scout a few weeks back, for an upcoming short I will be working on, we found a big house to shoot a few of our scenes in. We needed a bigger house because we had hoped to use it for two different houses called for in the script.
For the first few scenes the house is that of a single middle aged business man who enjoys having friends over but, is rather depressed. For the second it was the house of a Soccer Mom who owns many big Newfoundland dogs. The house in its current state would not of worked for either scene because it had white walls, white furniture, white decorations, and white pictures.
The Production Designer decided that he was going to bring in burnt autumn colors, oranges, reds, and browns for the scenes with the man and make the rooms messy. For the soccer Mom we are using the Kitchen which the Production Designer decided he wanted to be blue in color with various cookbooks and other Motherly props which would all look very tidy.
These changes to the house help give it a character that will fit with the characters that supposedly live there. As for the high school girl with the muddy Jeep, I would of put her in a
Volkswagon Beetle to fit with her character more. But, perhaps she had a adventurous side. Either way a little bit of Production Design goes a long way.