Set Design

I worked for four years in the film industry doing Set Design and Modelmaking. Below are a select few of the shows I worked on.

There are some very clear carry overs from Film to UX that I want to quickly highlight.

Doom Patrol

Superhero tv show for Warner Brothers. Based off of the 1960s comic Doom Patrol and its recent 2016 imprint version. Really fun and wacky show, interesting time using comic books for design reference as well as historical references.

Managing expectations and schedules

The shooting schedule dictates the order I would design sets. It can change a lot depending on different factors, such as a lead actor getting sick. On Doom Patrol I was working on a warehouse set and it got moved behind an apartment set and a few days later it got swapped back. At this point the designs for the warehouse needed to be done in only a couple of days. Knowing I wouldn't be able to complete all of the design in time I just had to be direct and honest with my boss and figure out a plan to get the important parts of the design drawn up first. We set a meeting with the construction team leader and discussed what they needed most. Ultimately the set got done, but there were a few elements that had to be communicated more verbally and with rough sketches rather than the standard level of drawings. Communication was the key to getting this set built on time.

Richard Jewell

Movie based off of the historical 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing directed by Clint Eastwood. Interesting challenge of having to design sets based off of real life events, used a lot of news photos and footage. Got to talk with the actual lawyer on the Richard Jewell case.

Working on a historical film

One really cool thing about working on Richard Jewell is that it was a story about real people some of whom are still alive and a lot of historical documentation to look through. I used footage from the Olympic broadcast, news footage from after the event, as well as pamphlets to piece together how the park was laid out. It also helped me accurately recreate objects such as the benches and sign kiosks. This film showed me that sometimes the best places to find research aren't always the most obvious.

Just Mercy

Another film based off of historical events. I started as a model maker and became a set designer by the end of the film after talking to my boss about having an interest in that position. A moment that really stuck with me was standing inside the recreation of the Walter McMillian's cell from Holman Prison and just how small that space was.

Understanding a user

As I move into UX now so much more of my design focus has been about trying to understand and empathize with potential users. I was hired as a model maker and made a planning model of the Holman prison cell block. I eventually moved into set design while on the show, so I got to stay on until the cell block was built. Standing in our recreation of Walter McMillian's cell, feeling how small it was and just being able to imagine for a few minutes what it must have been like for Walter was a really special moment from the film that I really treasure.

First Man

One of the first "big" films I worked on. First Man is a biopic about Neil Armstrong and the Apollo Missions. I worked as a Modelmaker on the film. My team and I created 7 very detailed miniatures for use on camera. The Saturn V rocket in the photos below was 16 feet tall!

Rising to new challenges

The biggest challenge I faced was taking on a new role during the show. I started this show as a PA and by the end I was a union model maker. I was put in an odd situation as an assistant where I ended up being assigned equal and sometimes more work than other model makers. Which lead me to ask my boss to promote me to a model maker role during the filming, which isn't very common in film. I believe my desire to learn new skills and constantly striving to do my best is what enabled me to step up into the new role.