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the role of the scenic designer

If you chose to serve on the  SET DESIGN TEAM for this semester's Advanced Acting show, you are responsible for participating in design team meetings as well as growing as a designer during the rehearsal and performance process.


If serving on the Set Design Team, you are ALSO responsible for independently learning about the role of a scenic designer as outlined below. 


Please be sure you collect/document your learning and your design journey in your  Process Journal.





Task #1 (Reading Task): NEEDS OF THE SCRIPT (Formative Grade):  Create your own "Needs of the Script" Scenic Design spreadsheet in Google Classroom.  (An example of Ms. Price's "Scenic Needs of the Script" for Little Mermaid can be seen HERE.)  Carefully (re-)read the entire script looking for both stated and implied SCENIC/SET needs FROM THE SCRIPT.  Once your Scenic Needs List is complete, turn it in to KP for a grade (in Google Classroom).  Note:  This assignment requires mining for information from the script and should NOT include your own scenic wants - yet.  Let the SCRIPT tell you what the show needs at this point.

Task #2 (Research Task): RESEARCH  (Formative Grade):  Research Research information needed to make informed scenic decisions for our show.  (Historical time period, architecture, furniture, style, etc.)  Collect links (and descriptions) to your own research in your Process Journal.

  • Note: What you research is dependent on what's in the script.

Task #3 (Planning Task): DEADLINE CALENDAR (Formative Grade): As a team, create a Deadline Calendar for the set and set pieces, including all items you will need to find, create, or build.  Assign set gathering/ordering/making/building tasks among your team.  Consider each other's strengths when assigning tasks, and be sure to update your Set List spreadsheet as you complete each task.

Task #4 (Doing Task): SPIKE THE SET (Formative Grade): Once the set is designed, as a team, you will spike out the set in the rehearsal space, and learn how to "work in scale"  to create a scaled drawing of our set, known as a groundplan.  (Because this course is on a very condensed timeline, the preliminary set configuration - such as where walls and large items "play" on stage - has already been decided by Ms. Price so that blocking rehearsals can begin right away.)


Video:  How to Make a Scale Drawing & How to Use a Scale Ruler

(watch both videos as a GROUP & practice with scale rulers before beginning your groundplan project - listed above)


Inspiration (On-going assignment during the next phase:  REHEARSAL PROCESS) 


While learning about aspects of design each week (see videos above), you will be creating a Design Board to visually display your research/inspiration.  This will become the springboard for the completion of your own designs/set.  

Task: DESIGN PLANNING (Summative Grade - IB: Thinking Creatively):AFTER your team has discussed and created your FINAL set needs list, begin looking for INSPIRATION for the look and feel you'd like to achieve with your Set Design by creating a (GROUP) SET DESIGN BOARD (Note:  You MUST meet with the Director and Props team prior to this step.) 

  • The goal of this task is to research and find information and inspiring images that will assist you in acquiring, designing, or creating a realistic and visually interesting set (and set pieces) for our production. 

  • Each member of the props team is responsible for researching and/or looking for inspiration for at least 3 set items/elements (there can be overlap between team members, or you can divide and conquer)

  • Be sure your research is from credible sources, and also allow yourself to be inspired by the world around you. 

  • Creativity thrives in community, so be sure to collaborate with others and your team along the way.

  • As you research, be sure to "collect" your research/inspiration in a location that you can easily access when it's time to create your team's Design Board.

  • After research, discussions, and narrowing of ideas is complete, CREATE A (GROUP) SET DESIGN BOARD

  • Note:  You will be graded on your individual contributions to your group's Design Board


execution: (On-going assignment during the next phase:  REHEARSAL PROCESS) 

In order to design anything, a new designer must become comfortable with failure, and leave plenty of time for it during the process.  All creative work involves multiple attempts before arriving at the best outcome.  In the creative ideas/planning phase, if you consider your first idea the best idea, you're probably not involved in creative work, and should re-consider what you've created.  Failure is natural, accepted, and expected in this course...and it should be part of your set design process.  However, since theatre is ALWAYS on a timeline, it's important to spend a LOT of time "failing" very early on (in the ideas & prototype phase), because it will help prevent bigger failures later on, when time is not on your side.

Task: FINAL DESIGN (Summative Grade - IB: Developing Skills ):  This Summative grade is based on your (and your group's) final product (set) as well as your effective use of time/resources to complete the set on time and the skills you learned about and developed along the way in order to build a smart/creative set for this semester's show.

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