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Friday, December 3, 2021

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A team works on the construction of an interrogation room to be used for a production. (Credit: SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film) A team works on the construction of an interrogation room to be used for a production. (Credit: SDSU School of Theatre, Television and Film)
 


Hollywood Reporter Names SDSU a Top 10 Production Design School

The Hollywood Reporter has named SDSU a Top 10 Production Design School, alongside other notable and highly competitive institution across the nation and in Europe.
By La Monica Everett-Haynes
 

“SDSU propelled me into my master’s degree. I was confident in myself. I knew how to work, and it was the perfect preparation for getting into the industry.”

San Diego State University is among the top 10 schools in the United States for learning the craft of production design, according to a new guide from The Hollywood Reporter.  
“Philosophically, our program stresses the critical nature of art direction and production design in filmmaking,” said Greg Durbin, area head of SDSU’s Television, Film, and New Media Program in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film. “We convey to our students the reality that production design is as crucial to a film’s visual conception as cinematography, and on a par with other above-the-line production roles. Thus, the role of the student production designer is held in high esteem.”

The list was released by the entertainment industry publication, which also publishes periodic rankings of the nation’s best film, music, drama and theatre schools, as well as guides to individual crafts, such as costume design.

Others on the Top 10 production design schools list include the American Film Institute’s AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles, La Femis in Paris and the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. 

SDSU offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees that allow for the study of production design, and the School of Theatre, Television, and Film is one of the few programs in the California State University system with a dedicated production design curriculum, led by prominent practicing professionals.

While the university does not have a degree offering in production design, SDSU offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with an Emphasis in Design for Television and Film and a Bachelor of Science in Film Production, allowing students in the film area to concentrate on production design. Both undergraduate degrees are housed in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film and are four-year programs.

For graduate study, SDSU offers a Master of Fine Arts in Design and Technology in Theatre, Television, and Film, and a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production, which allows students to concentrate on production design. Both Master of Fine Arts degrees are three-year degree programs. 
When San Diego native Claudia Ethridge was ready to begin applying, she wanted only to attend SDSU. 

“I fell in love with production design. After the first class I knew this was it. It was as if all of my hobbies and passions were found in one job,” said Ethridge, whose first SDSU course was with veteran Hollywood production designer and art director David Morong.
 
“SDSU propelled me into my master’s degree. I was confident in myself. I knew how to work, and it was the perfect preparation for getting into the industry,” said Ethridge, who graduated in from SDSU in 2017 with a degree in Television, Film and New Media Production. “SDSU set me up and build a beautiful foundation for my career.”

At SDSU, the program emphasizes knowledge and skills development through an intensive curriculum focused on history, theory and practice so that graduates are immediately prepared to work in the film and television industry. 

Durbin noted, for example, that students master the industry’s professional software to design and model 3-D sets and build their own sets on SDSU’s sound stage. Students are also afforded many opportunities to work on advanced film productions. 

Also, unlike other non-conservatory programs, the SDSU program features a dedicated production design area led by Morong, also editor of PERSPECTIVE, The Journal of the Art Directors Guild. 

Notable alumni and some of their best-known work include Peter Beck (“Collateral Beauty, “Me and Earl”), Brittany Bradford (“Cake”), Andrew Hull (“Bright,” “Straight Outta Compton”), and Christopher Ward (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Avengers: Infinity War”). 

“Many of our undergraduate production designers have been admitted to the American Film Institute’s Master of Fine Arts program in production design, the most prestigious in the country,” Durbin said. “And it is no surprise that our production design students have had a high rate of success finding employment in Los Angeles and elsewhere.”