Florian is a freelance production designer and art director based in London. Since completing a foundation diploma in art and design followed by a BA in Theatre Design and Performance and an MA in Production Design for Film and TV, he has worked on numerous projects including the Harrry Potter films, commercials and theatre productions.
I chose production design as I thought, since I am a fine artist and have a love of architecture it would make sense to do a degree where my passion lay. Production design seemed to combine the two so I ended up doing theatre design and performance and production design for film and television at university.
Because this is a competitive industry it took me a while to get my first job. It was at least a year before I got my first break that led me to do what I am doing now. One of the things that helped was working for production companies for free while doing my degree. This is an excellent way to get experience while studying and also to form industry contacts, which is invaluable as there's a lot of competition but not necessarily enough work.
This industry is constantly evolving, so many skills you learn on the job rather than through studying. However, model making, drafting and storyboarding are some of the university-taught skills I still use today. The role has developed dramatically since my first job. I started as a researcher and moved to production design and art directing. But I still occasionally go back to work in the art department in order to keep my skills up to scratch. Because I am a freelancer, I have to keep learning and this does help your employability.
While I am working in the same environment as the courses I studied, every job is different. That's one of the best things about this work. One day I might be building sets and another I may be creating a drawing board and designing. Regardless of money, the most important thing is I enjoy all the different roles I get involved with. The only thing which can be difficult is being freelance. You can be working for months and then not have any work for the next five. So that's something you need to be comfortable with. Saying that, this is a kind of dream come true for me and I am happy to keep learning from each project I work on and the people I work with and progressing through that. The most important advice I can give if production design is a career you're interested in is not to be disillusioned if you don't secure work straight away, and make as many contacts as possible.
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