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Set Designer

Set designers create the world in which plays, musicals and movies take place.  Set designers are very creative people who must often call upon a variety of artistic skills to do their jobs.  Once they understand the world the director envisions, set designers usually sketch out all aspects of various scenes including stage construction, and how each scene makes use of costumes and various props.  After sketches, set designers may go on to build scale models to further finalize plans with producers, writers and the director.  They must then supervise the construction of the set, working with lighting and sound technicians, as well as costume designers, to have all pieces of the production flow smoothly.  As if things were not complicated enough, set designers must often complete their tasks under a tight budget and under severe time constraints.

Set Designer Salary Range:

Entry Level Range: $1,000 - $10,000 per production
Mid Range: $15,000 - $20,000 per production
Experienced Range: up to $80,000 per production

Schools to consider is you are considering Set Designer as a your profession:
Set Designer Career and Job Outlook:

The outlook for this type of position fluctuates from year to year based on the Entertainment Industry and how many plays and movies go into production.  Set designing can be a rewarding and exciting career, but students must be willing to work very hard. Aspiring set designers must start at the bottom - often as unpaid volunteers in college productions.  With the right skills and experience, perseverance and a little luck, they will be able to get higher-paying jobs in the television and film industries.  Set designers with a keen understanding of the technology and applications involved will have a distinct advantage over the rest of the field.

Set Designer Career Qualifications:

Experience – A lot of learning and training takes place on the job so previous experience in school or regional theater is expected.  A portfolio of prior work should also be available.

Personal Characteristics/Skills – creativity; strong artistic ability; good budgeting and planning skills; broad historical and cultural background knowledge; good research skills; technical expertise in set construction and prop building; ability to work and collaborate with others; ability to handle stress due to deadlines.

Set Designer Career Path:
Set Design Assistant, University/Regional Theatre > Set Designer, University/Regional Theatre > Set Designer, Broadway/Off-Broadway Productions > Set Designer, Television and Film

Learn more about the job of a set designer:

Check out our new feature article, "What is it like to be a Set Designer?"
Learn More About Schools:

Start your career today by enrolling in an Interior Design or Set Designing program from one of our highly respected interior design schools!

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