A studio and set design career offers the opportunity to work in many arenas including film, sitcom and news studios. While most set designers have a background in theatre, a move into television studio set design and news studios may be a lucrative decision.
A creative career is one that has unlimited potential for success but also has a high rate of failure. Not only does a professional need talent in what he does, he also needs to be inventive, resourceful and able to market himself well in order to succeed.
Before you begin your career as a freelance studio and set designer, you should
- Get formal training in studio and set design at a college or university
- Put yourself in a television studio as an intern
- Get experience in construction and building
Become adept at using Vector Works and AutoCADDrafts are so important because they give all the vital information to the crew constructing the set. Clear, concise and professional drafts are especially essential when dealing with highly technical details in a studio or set design.
Do digital renderings for studio and set designThe ability to sketch and paint traditional renderings is a neccesity. Digital renderings are a vital tool in communicating your ideas and including all of the essential technical tools that a television studio set requires such as microphones and cameras.
Create an electronic portfolio of studio set designsA professional portfolio is as important to a set or studio designer as a resume. Every designer should also have a hard copy portfolio, but an electronic portfolio provides the opportunity to distribute samples of your work easily and at a very little cost.
Put your TV studio designs into a flipbookThis is simply another way to creatively market your talents. Put your designs into a small book that is relatively low-cost to produce in case you need to give one to a potential client. This book should be small, easy to flip through and coffee-table style.
Provide other related services in addition to studio and set designInclude light rigging and design or sound rigging. Both of these are highly specialized areas, and it could serve a television studio well to not have to find two or three professionals when one freelancer can do the job. Many universities offer training in both.
Have a strong online presenceIn our fast-paced world, people often don't like to invest a lot of time in researching those they hire. Many base their opinions of success totally on your online presence. If you cannot afford to create and maintain a professional website, then at least put your name out there in as many places for as low cost as possible, and be sure to link each profile with the next.
- Network fiercely. Networking is always important in any career, but is especially so in a highly specialized and competitive career like television studio design.
- Get as much set design experience as possible. Design marketing booths for malls, sets for small and local tv studios and even displays.
- Try getting jobs with small studios in smaller areas. Smaller cities do not have the competition that the major cities have.