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Should You Pursue A Career Building Hollywood Sets?

Should You Pursue A Career Building Hollywood Sets?

Thomas Miller

We all watch movies and TV in awe and wonder, not really taking into account what goes into making that magic happen. We just turn on the smart TV and poof: an alternate universe of our choosing is on the screen. But how do those digital worlds look so real?

People just like you make a career out of crafting beautiful world for us to enjoy. While you may never make sets for Hollywood, you can always live out that dream by helping your local theater community and climb the ladder from there.

If set design is something you have always been interested in, here are some clues that this maybe your calling.

Do You Have a Knack for Building?

Have you always been good at working with your hands, and doing fix-it projects around the house? Do your finish products look akin to something you might find at a store? If crafting is a serious hobby of yours, consider monetizing it and building sets for your local theater. Unless you’re simply wanting to volunteer, paid contracting work will require some sort of licensure.

Don’t be dismayed! This is a quick and easy way to turn your hobby into a lucrative career. If you’re interested in takin a Contractor License exam, you can register for the exam and online course online. 

Are You Always Making Dramatic Movie References?

The key to turning a hobby into a side hustle is making sure that you find joy and fun in it. If you don’t have any passion in it, it just becomes a weighty part-time job. If you find yourself constantly awestruck by movie magic and are often quoting lines from movies to your friends, the entertainment industry may be exactly the place for you.

Set design will cause you to spend time around all sorts of different forms of art. You’ll get your movie fill while being able to do something you love. However, if you also find yourself dramatically throwing yourself on the couch and exclaiming, “I just can’t do it anymore dah-ling, I couldn’t possibly!” you may just want to skip straight to acting.

Do You Have the Experience?

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If this is something you’ve known you wanted to do for a long time, chances are you’re already on your way and knocking out requirements. While you don’t necessarily have to go to school for set design, it will definitely give you a leg up among your peers. It’s possible to find an “in” in the industry early and move up from there if you network properly.

If you plan on going to school for set design, seek out a degree in set design, scenic design, or theater. After achieving a degree, you’ll need experience and training in the field, in the form of an internship or volunteer work, so you can begin to build a portfolio. Once you’ve built up enough experience, you can start looking for an entry-level position to get your feet wet in the field. Finally, joining industry organizations will provide you with networking and job opportunities to further your career. 

Final Thoughts

Set design isn’t for everyone. Depending on how seriously you want to take this vocation, it can be increasingly stressful, consisting of late nights, strange hours, and even stranger people. It’s not for the faint of heart. But, it can also be an incredibly enriching and rewarding artistic experience.

If this is something you think you want to pursue but aren’t quite sure, start by contacting your local theater group and volunteer some time building their sets. That way, you can see if this is something you want to dedicate more time to!

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