Production Design

Book Review: What an Art Director Does

610453HWMVLPublisher: Silman-James Press

Release Date: July 1, 1994

This text by Ward Preston is an instructive and digestible introduction to a misunderstood filmmaking discipline. While the text is merely an introductory overview of the responsibilities that an art director takes on during a films production, it is an overview that should provide a solid foundation for students to build additional knowledge upon. Preston’s writing stile is never scholarly. Instead, he simply imparts wisdom in the simplest of terms so that the reader can digest the information quickly and effectively. He also occasionally gives the reader short anecdotes that make the reading experience a pleasant one. “What an Art Director Does: An Introduction to Motion Picture Production Design” is recommended reading for anyone who wants to broaden their understanding of the filmmaking process.

Review by: Devon Powell

Production Design

Book Review: Film Craft: Production Design


Publisher: Focal Press

Release Date: October 1, 2012

The FilmCraft book series focuses on specific disciplines within the filmmaking profession using interviews from noteworthy professionals in the field. This volume by Fionnuala Halligan features interviews with sixteen production designers, and profiles of five other production designers.

The production designers interviewed in this volume are:

Ken Adam

Jim Bissell

Rick Carter

William Chang Suk-ping

Stuart Craig

Nathan Crowley

Dante Ferretti

Jack Fisk

Antxón Gómez

Sarah Greenwood

Grant Major

Alex McDowell

John Myhre

Eve Stewart

Yohei Taneda

Dean Tavoularis

The production designers profiled are:

John Box

Cedric Gibbons

William Cameron Menzies

Ferdinando Scarfiotti

Richard Sylbert

There may be a number of people that question the choice of production designers interviewed in this volume, but it would be nearly impossible to include every relevant artist currently working in this field. The individuals chosen for this volume come from very diverse backgrounds. This makes each of the interviews unique and valuable. Any reservations that one initially has are likely to fade once they start reading the book.

There is a wealth of conflicting information related to the readers. The idea that holds the volume together is that each of the artists has a unique approach to their job that set them apart from others working in the field. The book is especially valuable due to the fact that many people do not understand what a production designer actually does.

The text is illustrated with wonderful photos and concept sketches from recognizable films. This makes the book a visual treat. FilmCraft: Production Design will be a treasured addition to the libraries of anyone who loves the cinema, and a wonderful resource of inspiration to future filmmakers.

Review by: Devon Powell