The Art Department usually employs the largest number of people on any film crew. On big budget fantasy, period drama or sci-fi films, the Art Department Offices, Drawing and Construction Studios can occupy a vast area and employ hundreds of talented people.
The following is an extract from an article by Terry Ackland-Snow in Network Nine News:
I really believe that, in order to maintain the art of draughtsmanship, existing practitioners should bridge the generational gaps between ‘ways of doing things’. The best way to achieve this is to have young people taught by the practitioners themselves – with their knowledge and experience. People starting out in the industry must fully understand the role of an Art Director and the Art Department through basic knowledge in design, camera operation, direction, editing techniques – plus scheduling and budget requirements. The Art Department is unique in running its own budget during a production so, to be a successful Art Director, not only do you have to be able to create and visualise, as well as control and inspire a team of people – but also have a full understanding of the financial aspects involved.
It has always been my aim to make sure that the new generation of film makers are fully apprised of the art of creating illusion on film. I have, for several years now, successfully run a course which allows people to learn the traditional art of draughting, CAD drawings, sets and models – along with trick photography and CGI.
Having been in this industry long enough to witness all the changes myself, I think it is so important to continue the outstanding work of the Art Department that has been developing over the last century. I also truly believe that, in order to make best use of the incredible technology available in today’s market, the basic skills which created so many classics have to be absorbed and understood.
To check out Terry’s Film Design course go to www.filmdi.com
Terry Ackland-Snow’s credits include: ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, ‘Papillon’, ‘Death on the Nile’, ‘Aliens’, ‘Superman II & III’, ‘Supergirl’, ‘Labyrinth’, ‘Batman’ and ‘The Deep’