PRODUCTION DESIGN
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Attracting artists from architecture, interior design, scenic design, theater arts and other related fields, the Production Design curriculum focuses on the creative process of visually and physically developing an environment that becomes an essential component of the storytelling process. Production Designers must possess a keen understanding of the story in order to create a believable and realistic world on screen.

First Year Fellows collaborate on at least three produced narrative projects, learning to transform designs into reality on a soundstage or location, while adhering to restricted budgets. Fellows develop design skills through classes, workshops and practical set construction, focusing the First Year on traditional design methods to express their ideas. Digital design tools and techniques are integral to the curriculum and are the focus of the Second Year.

Second Year Fellows design an entire thesis production, while completing an independent design project for their portfolio. The curriculum also includes special workshops on set illustration, drafting, model building, budgeting, color theory and the latest digital design. These courses help Production Design Fellows learn to communicate their visions to their AFI production teams, as well as to future professional colleagues.


FIRST YEAR CURRICULUM

PRN 510: Introduction to Cycle Production – Boot Camp
First Term | 4 Credit Hours

Intensive introductory workshop on the fundamentals of story, cycle production, critical analysis, and collaborative processes. All discipline Fellows collaborate on production exercises as well as receive specialized instruction from their particular program's point of view. Production Design Fellows will be exposed to basic stagecraft techniques such as set construction and faux finishing and will be required to design, construct and dress a standing set on the sound stage for production use during the academic year.

PRN 511: Cycle Production I
First Term | 4 Credit Hours

A workshop wherein Fellows team to form production groups which produce a short narrative project on digital video. Production Design Fellows provide basic art direction on two projects as well as work as crew in order to strengthen on-set experience as well as contribute to the visual storytelling effort. If for any reason Production Designers design more than the minimum required, they are expected to fulfill all responsibilities and will be evaluated accordingly.

PRN 512: Cycle Production II & III
Second Term | 8 Credit Hours

A continuing production workshop wherein Fellows team to produce two short narrative projects. First Year Production Designers must successfully fulfill all pre-production and production responsibilities on at least two narrative short projects per production cycle. If for any reason Production Designers design more than the minimum required, they are expected to fulfill all responsibilities and will be evaluated accordingly.

PRN 521 & 522: Narrative Workshop and Analysis
First and Second Terms | 6 Credit Hours

A companion workshop to Cycle Production I, II, and III, Narrative Workshop is a core component of the First Year Program. All Fellows participate in a general discussion forum as well as a separate analysis session with their respective individual team members. Particular emphasis is give to the exposition of narrative elements and theme through the use of image, sound, movement, lighting, design, writing and editing strategies. The team also participates in a production review meeting.

DES 511 & 512: Production Design Workshop: Cycle Mentorship
First and Second Terms | 4 Credit Hours Total

This workshop provides Fellows with pre-production guidance on Cycle One visual design and practical execution issues. Finished cycles will be screened and discussed with the emphasis on production design. Significant films will also be screened and their aesthetic and practical design strategies will be deconstructed.

DES 521: The Art and Craft of Production Design: Design II
Second Term | 2 Credit Hours Total

This course will use research, documentation and design charette exercises to introduce graphic and verbal communication techniques for designers. Fellows will produce measured drawings, concept plans, elevations and white models.

DES 522: The Art and Craft of Production Design: Art Department Skills/Dramatic Analysis
First and Second Terms | 2 Credit Hours Total

Fellows are required to design & present 2 key sets from a script assigned in DES 542, including a Breakdown and Budget (DES 542), Research/Mood Reference, Color & Materials, Plans, Elevations, white models and Set Illustrations (DES 532).

DES 531: Design I
First Term | 1 Credit Hour

This class will focus on why film designers make the decisions they make in developing the concepts for narrative driven environments for film and television.

Using intuitive analysis, and visual storytelling theory; Fellows will develop schematic analysis techniques, mood & tone reference materials, color and materials boards; as well as thumbnails & freehand sketches. The class will focus on what film designer's do to move a design concept from script to drawing board, what inspired their aesthetic choices, how the designs evolved, what worked and what didn't.

DES 532: Perspective
Second Term | 2 Credit Hours

3D Environmental drawing techniques including shadows and reflections will be taught in this course. Digital layout tools (Sketchup) and coloring techniques (Photoshop) will be discussed. Fellows will be required to produce weekly sketches, a Set Sketch from their Cycle and Color Set Sketches of both sets they design in DES 522.

DES 541: Professional Practice I
First Term | 1 Credit Hour

The Business of Production Design is explored in this course which will include lectures on the theory & history of Production Design, Art Department structures, what an Art Director does and the Production Designer's role in the industry and at AFI. Fellows are required to deliver written Film Design Critiques, an oral report on Production Design theory and a breakdown, budget & schedule from their Cycle project.

DES 542: Professional Practice II
Second Term | 1 Credit Hour

The Business of Production Design is further explored in this class with the emphasis on portfolio building and interviewing techniques. Fellows will pitch their services and be awarded a feature script that will be the basis for their design project in DES 522. Fellows will be required to submit a breakdown, budget & schedule from their assigned feature.

CON 511 & 512: Master Seminars
First and Second Terms | 2 Credit Hours Total

The Master Seminars present leading figures from all aspects of the motion picture, television and digital media arts. The seminars are designed to provide Fellows with a broad and varied perspective on the contemporary moving image arts and profession. Active participation and attendance is required.

CON 521 & 522: American Approaches to Film
First and Second Terms | 2 Credit Hours Total

This seminar and screening series provides a broad survey of American and international cinema in order to explore the aesthetic, cultural, historical and social phenomenon of the moving image arts. Active participation and attendance is required.

Year One Portfolio Review

Upon review of the First Year work, faculty invites Fellows to continue to the Second Year and candidacy for the Master of Fine Arts Degree or Certificate. The portfolio review is conducted by Production Design faculty through a formal interview of each Production Design Fellow, which results in a recommendation regarding future work in the program.

SECOND YEAR CURRICULUM

PRN 610: Thesis Production – Production Design
First and Second Terms | 12 Credit Hours Total

Building on the First Year production experience, the Production Design Fellows must successfully fulfill all pre-production and production responsibilities on a thesis production~~a professionally executed short film or digital video project~~which is evaluated by the senior faculty. Production Designers collaborate with project team members under the guidance of thesis production mentor faculty. Thesis production teams participate in special development, pre-production and post-production workshops. In addition, teams visit discipline workshops on a scheduled basis over the course of pre-production, production and post-production in order to gain a thorough understanding of the collaborative interdisciplinary creative process. If a Production Design Fellow is approved by faculty to design more than one thesis production, the additional project(s) will be considered an additional thesis requirement for completion of the degree or certificate.

DES 611: Advanced Production Design Workshop: Set Design I
First Term | 2 Credit Hours Total

This class concentrates on designing and drafting for set construction and covers standards for the film industry as well as construction techniques and materials. Both location filming and stagework considerations are covered including camera angeles, set spotting, wild walls, backing designs, spfx, lighting and rigging and more. Emphasis is put on how to anticipate and troubleshoot problems that may come up during the construction and shooting of sets - while designing them.

DES 612: Advanced Production Design Workshop: Applied Set Design
Second Term | 2 Credit Hours Total

Fellows are required to select one of their two set concepts from DES 631, apply the techniques learned in DES 611 and develop a comprehensive set of hand drawn construction drawings. Lectures on other aspects of set design, construction and filming continue, with smaller set projects to emphasize those topics.

DES 621: Advanced Pre-Visualization for Production Design
First Term | 2 Credit Hours Total

An intensive hands-on computer laboratory class on the use of VectorWorks and Sketch-up as Art Department tools for 3D modeling, rendering and drafting. Digital drafting and rendering will be studied concurrently throughout the two terms. Emphasis will be placed on using software to quickly visualize concepts and present finished drawings in practical, Art Department situations.

DES 622: Advanced Pre-Visualization for Production Design
Second Term | 2 Credit Hours Total

The Second Term concentrates on more advanced 3D modeling techniques and lighting a 3D modeling for the purpose of presentation. A final project will be required, which can be coordinated with the Fellow's thesis project.

DES 631: Advanced Production Design Topics: Design III
First Term | 2 Credit Hours

Fellows are required to select a screeplay of their choice, create a breakdown, budget and schedule, design and present two key set concepts by the end of the class. Design concepts for a design specialty element such as character, costume, props or visual effects are to be included as well.

DES 632: Advanced Production Design Topics: Presentation Graphics
Second Term | 2 Credit Hours

Rendering techniques in various media will be demonstrated along with advanced visual presentation examples. Fellows will be required to create 2 renderings of their set designs from DES 631, one of which may be digital. In addition, each Fellow is to make a visual and verbal presentation to a panel of professional Production Designers at the conclusion of the class.

DES 651: Digital Media Production: Digital Tools
First Term | 2 Credit Hours

This workshop addresses how Photoshop and Illustrator are being used in the contemporary Art Department. Fellows will be introduced to digital image capture and manipulation using photography and scanning and will be required to photo document their Thesis locations and create photo composites of their own design concepts.

DES 652: Digital Media Production: Visual Effects Overview
Second Term | 2 Credit Hours

This course will explore traditional "in-camera" and digital visual effects techniques and the tools used to create them. Examples from significant films will be discussed to help Fellows develop a sense of when to use each effect to solve an individual production problem. Fellows will be required to research and present how an effect was achieved.

DES 670: Internship Practicum
First and Second Terms | 1 Credit Hour | Elective

This is an internship course that may become a required course for credit as recommended by the discipline faculty mentor. All aspects of this internship must be an integral part of the Fellow's discipline curriculum. The objective of this course is to provide working experience in the approved film/TV profession as it pertains specifically to the Fellow's discipline and degree/certificate requirements. Specific duties and requirements will be outlined and supervised by the faculty mentor. This internship qualifies an international Fellow for Curriculum Practical Training; approval must be obtained by the International Advisor, as well as the faculty mentor and Dean, prior to enrolling in the course.

DES 690: Thesis Portfolio – Production Design
First and Second Terms | 8 Credit Hours

Fellows are required to document the development of their thesis project in both a PowerPoint presentation and Portfolio/Design Book, which would including analysis and visual interpretation of the script, color flows, storyboards, key frame illustrations, set design sketches, floor plans, perspective drawings, models, computer renderings, as well as set construction and finished set photographic documentation. In addition, Design Fellows select and prepare additional illustrative work for this professional portfolio. The completed portfolio will be presented to senior faculty for review, evaluation and approval for graduation.

CON 621 & 622: World Approaches to Film
First and Second Terms | 2 Credit Hours Total

The Master Seminars present leading figures from all aspects of the motion picture, television and digital media arts. The seminars are designed to provide Fellows with a broad and varied perspective on the contemporary moving image arts and profession. Second Year Fellows may attend the seminars on a space available basis only.

AFI Membership
AFI honoring the year best in television and film