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An art director researches, plans, constructs and oversees sets used in ad films, TV shows and plays.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:21 IST

The lowdown
An art director researches, plans, constructs and oversees sets used in ad films, TV shows and plays. S/he has to see that the idea of a director is reflected through the set and that the set works when it comes to camera movement, lighting and cost. The responsibilities vary depending on the scale and budget of the production. Generally they are responsible for both the abstract conception and the nuts-and-bolts carpentry of the set

Clock Work
8am: Get to the set to check if all the workers have arrived
9am to 12pm: Work on building the set, refining details etc
12pm: Tea break
12.15pm: Get back to overseeing construction
1.30pm: Have a quick, on-site meeting with the director
1.45pm: Work continues
3pm: Lunch
7pm: Start preparing to pack-up after final checks for next day’s shoot

The payoff
An assistant art director who is starting out makes very little money, and has to settle for anything from Rs6,000 to Rs7,000 a month. As one works one’s way up, which can take many years, the pay increases. If your networking skills are good you can get projects that can pay you upwards of Rs50,000 to a couple of lakhs per project. Once you have established yourself in the industry, you can expect to rake in anything from Rs1 lakh to Rs15 lakh, depending on the budget of the project. Pay in TV channels varies

. Strong aesthetic sense
. Good research skills
. Patience to work with carpenters, electricians etc
. Ability to cope with the demands of a director, which may change during the course of a shoot
. Good budgeting and planning skills
. Good networking skills
. An interest in software and technology
. An eye for detail
. Strong grounding in design principles
. Ability to innovate and come up with out-of-the box ideas
. Clarity of thought
. Strong convincing ability
. Must be a good team manager

Getting There
After completing Class 12, you can go for a bachelor of fine arts degree. While completing your graduation, you can simultaneously learn software such as VectorWorks, RenderWorks, PhotoShop, Illustrator, Max etc. People with expertise in other areas like interior design and architecture can also opt for this profession

Some design sense and inclination towards art can make you an art director. No one can teach you the skills, they just grow on you

Manprit Kalsi, a freelance art director

. Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
. Asian Academy of Film & TV
. LS Raheja School of Art, Mumbai
. Banaras Hindu University
. The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat

Pros and Cons
. Initially the money is very low, but if you have the talent and the right exposure you can make it really big
. A great platform to showcase your imagination
. Long working hours, can extend even to weekends
. Physical exhaustion is an integral part of the profession
. One needs to multi-task, from planning to execution, you are responsible for everything