1150 Foothill Boulevard - Suite G -La Canada - CA - 91011 - Phone  323 825-3092 - Fax 323-337-8209  

Representative - Norm Metcalf  - 818-957-1302 - EMAIL                     






Note: As a beta-test project, (except for class materials) the first trial period of the project  will be offered at no cost . See application requirements below.


This program is designed to introduce student and apprentice designers to the fundamentals of film and television design. professionals in other film and television crafts may find it illuminating in discussing just what these interrelated crafts should expect of their art department and its designer-art director-production designer. Other non-media but related fields such as interior design, architecture, fashion design, graphics, and advertising may also find in particular our discussions of "narrative driven design" and creating narrative environments of interest.


For several years I was honored to serve as a board member and, for a shorter time, chaired the education committee for the Art Directors Guild, IATSE local 800, in Hollywood. What became apparent was the serious need to develop an undergraduate educational program designed to bring aspiring film designers into the industry.

It was clear then, as it is today, that film educational programs preparing  a student for film work (with few exceptions) ignore the positions of production design and or art direction in their offered curriculum (other than a summary overview of the subject).

To get a better insight in the "state of the art" in education with reference to  film design, I  conducted a series of workshop seminars and lectures at film schools including:

    1. The University of Southern California School of Cinema

    2. UCLA Extension program in film design.

    3. The American Film Institute - Masters Program in Production Design.

    4. Columbia College Chicago.

In addition, I lectured at perhaps less known but  very admirable  film programs conducted at schools such as The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising , Asbury University Media Center  and the Kentucky Bluegrass Community College Film Program. 

While at the American Film Institute I sat on the admissions committee for their masters design curriculum. I was saddened that many of the talented young men and women who wished to pursue a career in film design simply did not have the basic design skills (after 4 years of undergraduate work in related fields) to qualify for  admission to the AFI program. 

As a result I felt obligated to make some effort to "pass forward" what I have learned in my work as a Production Designer of some 20 films and numerous theme park attractions, plus over 40 years working with and for many of the best film and television designers ever. 

My proposal is to invite a select group of young designers (student and or apprentice film makers) to participate in a series of "webinars" (live workshops over the internet) covering film design subjects  seldom dealt with in  existing books or academic film programs.

 These workshops should be of special interest to:

a. ACROSS THE BOARD FILM DISCIPLINES -  Students, design apprentices (and perhaps some professionals with interest outside the world of design), be they directors, writers, cinematographers, producers and or any of the film crafts who feel they could benefit by a more in depth knowledge of what to expect from their art departments.

b. DESIGN DISCIPLINES - Those students who have a strong focus on film design and wish to hone their craft by exploring in depth many of the aspects of film design not covered in prevailing film schools and or in available text on the subject.

SUBJECT MATERIAL Sessions will be conducted live over the internet with participants linked via a meeting format software (such as Webex)  so that presentation material  and various software can be shared in an interactive group format. These presentations will consist of a one hour power point supported lecture, comments by working professionals (past & present),  followed by a question and answer period. They will focus on what we have defined as the 8 Pillars of Film Design as diagramed below.



I - PILLARS - The following list develops the main topics of the course.

1.     THE WORD IMAGE COLLISION - 2-D - 3D  FUNDAMENTALS - The cornerstone of media related design.

2.     THE NARRATIVE ENVIRONMENT -  Conceiving, building & dressing sets - The narrative environment.

3.      THE ART DEPARTMENT  - How the Art Department works and interfaces with the other film departments.

4.     CONNECTIVITY - Linkage and narrative juxtaposition.

5.     HARMONY IN COLOR & COMPOSITION Understanding the use of the color palette &  harmonic composition.

6.    SPECIAL EFFECTS - How the science of perspective has laid the foundation for today's special effects.

7.    CREATIVE INTUITION IN DESIGN - Where ideas come from and the role of direct and indirect research.

8.    THE DESIGNERS TOOL KIT - Budgets & Estimates - Scheduling - The Horizon Line - Finding 90 degrees in space - and more.

            I I - UMBRELLA THEMES - To better explain each weekly subject matter, that subject matter will be discussed with the following 'perspectives" in mind.

1.    HISTORICAL OVERVIEW - Exploring the weekly topic through the lens of history, from the cave wall paintings of SPAIN  to STAR TREK'S  Holodeck.

2.    THEORY - Explaining conceptual theories that reinforce the study topic. 

3.    VOICES FROM THE PRESENT & THE PAST -  interviews with leading film design professionals.


                  1.    WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS - Journals will be submitted weekly for review and comment.



As stated above, as a beta- test project, and based on the submitted materials by the applicants;  the first trial period of the project, (segments of the lecture series and limited personal coaching) will be offered at no cost to interested parties. Applicants will be required to submit To :

            1. A resume of academic and job related work to date. 

            2. A student picture (head shot)

3. A a (one page) letter of intent to attend the classes explaining the reasons for wishing to do so.

For those of you who feel this series of internet discussions may be of interest to you please  submit the information request outlined above  and we will answer any further questions you may have.  

Given the above submission we will:

           1.   Notify you by mail regarding your application and enrolment parameters.

           2.   Process class registration & fees. (Free in the beta Program)

           3.  Process your reading material orders and fees.

                                    REQUIRED CLASS TEXT & READING MATERIAL

                                            TRAVELS WITH DAD


                                            ARCHITECTS OF ILLUSION

                                            A BRUSH WITH FILM  -  A design catalogue of museum quality prints to add to your library.


4.  Send you the necessary registration material, syllabus & scheduling.    

A more detailed description of the workshop series and workshop format and process may be found at the hyperlink : WORKSHOP - ASSIGNMENT description.

To my professional piers (who have made it this far down the page) I would sincerely appreciate any comments you may have and your recommendations as to any student  applicants, whom you may feel has need of further training. We will be glad to send them a personal invitation to participate.



John DeCuir Jr.