EXCLUSIVE: How To Become A Set Designer In Nigeria
EXCLUSIVE: How To Become A Set Designer In Nigeria

EXCLUSIVE: How To Become A Set Designer In Nigeria

2 years ago
2 mins read

No pretense. Let’s state it like it is from this outset.

You’ll need to be an unorthodox thinker to succeed as a production or set designer in Nigeria and the world over. It is your flair for visual and unconventional arts that is going to set you apart from the rest parading all over the place.

Inspiration can come from everything around you. Please note that. To become a set designer, you must never stop thinking about creative ways to tell a story. But most of all, don’t be a copycat. The most important thing to remember is to be innovative and original. So be on the lookout for inspirations all the time. Besides, this is the only way you can be friends with your director and producer while the shoots last.

In an exclusive interview with Prime Business Africa, Iyke Nwabueze, a veteran Nollywood set and production designer said: “Set design is a serious business. As a set designer, you set in motion the overall vibe for the entire production.”

As you swim through your set design career, you’d soon discover you not only have to create a concept that is in line with the director’s vision, but you also have to decide how it will be built, painted, and tattooed.

The director and the producer actually expect you to do all these and more. That’s your job. The entire aesthetics and feel of the ‘stage’ as a whole is largely your responsibility. Therefore, if it is interesting, then it is because of your imagination and ingenuity. On the other hand, if the set is drab, things would fall apart and it will be your fault.

“You must take heed that the job of a set designer is not for the lily-livered. You have to own the game,” Nwabueze said.

Now imagine your favourite movie, stage drama or TV show for some minutes, would you be able to recreate the visuals? Can you be trusted to conjure up the level of creativity in there? Exactly! That’s what it takes to be a set designer. This is because you could be sleeping and a prospect buzzes you up, demanding that you recreate EXACTLY a sample set he has got right there in his palms. Can you also see that a set designer should be able to think on his feet? That’s right.

Truthfully, the environment which a set designer creates is what sets in motion the tone, the era and the overall vibe of the entire scenes through and through.

According to Nwabueze: “In fact, the set designer is expected to be so good that the actors can’t imagine for a second that the beautiful sceneries they are working on were just forests and bushy narrow paths some days before.”

Herculean? Yes! But not impossible.

He said: “To become a set designer is not just about the many BScs or Master’s degrees you have acquired but most importantly about being a creative thinker that you not only think outside the box but must break the box.”

Verily! Without a creatively designed sets whether for movies, theatres, stage and even studios, the story might be impossible to tell. Your director and producer and even the entire production crew would demand that you demonstrate this creativity and more.


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