DTA | The Do-it-All Director's Introduction to Set Design
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The Do-it-All Director's Introduction to Set Design

Created by Holly Beardsley

Holly Beardsley is a do-it-all director. She started directing middle and high school students in her early college years and since then has written over ten shows and directed twice as many.

Do-it-all directors are responsible for everything it seems – the direction, the costuming, the choreography and of course, the set too. And though directors are ready to direct, to costume and even dance, there is something intimidating about designing and building a set.

The Do-it-All Director’s Introduction to Set Design will give you the director, who must do-it-all, the confidence and skills to not only direct but build your own set as well - no matter your experience or budget. This course will teach you set design basics, construction tips, budget tricks, and how to tackle your precious performance space armed with a hammer, and most importantly, without fear.

10 Modules
1 hours, 40 minutes
3 Credit Hours

Course Outline

Lesson 0: Introduction 3:08 FREE PREVIEW
Lesson 1: Vision & Ambiance 14:39 FREE PREVIEW
In this lesson you’ll focus on vision and ambiance: How to find your vision through characterization and how to translate it into your set design. You’ll also explore what you can do with light and sound to help create the ambiance.
Lesson 2: Flats, Platforms, & Wagons 14:53
You’ll dive right in and learn about the three basic components of set design, how to read a script to determine your scenic needs and ways to share your ideas with others.
Lesson 3: In and Out of the Black Box 10:22
Your performance space has a huge effect on your production. In Lesson 3, you’ll learn the pros and cons of each type of performance space and how to make the most of the space you have or don’t have.
Lesson 4: The Most Common Mistakes of Rookie Set Design 8:01
Sometimes it’s good to learn through “non-examples.” Holly shares the most common “Set Wrecks” that can happen and gives you tips and tricks for avoiding these mistakes.
Lesson 5: Introduction to Construction 13:50
In this introduction to construction, you’ll learn about tools and safety and how to construct the three most basic components of set design. You’ll also be introduced to easy materials for simple and safe sets.
Lesson 6: Paint: The Key to a Colorful Set 16:14
There are few things that have as much impact on your scenic design than paint. In this lesson you’ll learn how to make the right color choices for your set. You’ll be introduced to various tools, materials and painting techniques as well as learn tips and tricks for a big impact.
Lesson 7: Dressing the Set 7:16
Don’t let your set go naked! In lesson 7, you’ll see how props can be used to complete the look of your design by “dressing the set.”
Lesson 8: Scene Changes 5:34
Scene changes are an important element of your scenic design. In this lesson you’ll learn how to fit more than one scene into a set and how to address your scene changes earlier so that they become an integral part of your design.
Lesson 9: Something from Nothing 6:43
Sometimes it all comes down to money. Or does it? In this lesson, you’ll learn how to become a “set design scavenger” and how to deal with your current budget and raise money for your next set.

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Standards Addressed

National Core Arts Standards

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 6

TH:Pr5.1.6.b - Articulate how technical elements are integrated into a drama/ theatre work.

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 7

TH:Pr5.1.7.b - Choose a variety of technical elements that can be applied to a design in a drama/theatre work.

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 8

TH:Pr5.1.8.b - Use a variety of technical elements to create a design for a rehearsal or drama/theatre production.

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Pr5.1.HSI.b - Use researched technical elements to increase the impact of design for a drama/theatre production.

Organize and develop artistic ideas and work - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Cr2.1.HSII.b - Cooperate as a creative team to make interpretive choices for a drama/theatre work.

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Pr5.1.HSII.b - Apply technical elements and research to create a design that communicates the concept of a drama/theatre production.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 6

TH:Cr3.1.6.c - Explore a planned technical design during the rehearsal process for a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 6

TH:Cn11.2.6.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 7

TH:Cr3.1.7.c - Consider multiple planned technical design elements during the rehearsal process for a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 7

TH:Cn11.2.7.b - Examine artifacts from a time period and geographic location to better understand performance and design choices in a drama/theatre work.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 8

TH:Cr3.1.8.c - Implement and refine a planned technical design using simple technology during the rehearsal process for devised or scripted drama/ theatre work.

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 8

TH:Cn11.2.8.b - Identify and use artifacts from a time period and place to develop performance and design choices in a drama/theatre work.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Proficient

TH:Cr3.1.HSI.c - Refine technical design choices to support the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/ theatre work.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Cr3.1.HSII.c - Re-imagine and revise technical design choices during the course of a rehearsal process to enhance the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Pr6.1.HSII.a - Present a drama/theatre work using creative processes that shape the production for a specific audience.

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade HS Accomplished

TH:Cn11.2.HSII.a - Formulate creative choices for a devised or scripted drama/theatre work based on theatre research about the selected topic.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Cr3.1.HSIII.c - Apply a high level of technical proficiencies to the rehearsal process to support the story and emotional impact of a devised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade HS Advanced

TH:Cn11.2.HSIII.a - Justify the creative choices made in a devised or scripted drama/theatre work, based on a critical interpretation of specific data from theatre research.

Common Core

California VAPA Standards (2019)

6.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

6.TH:Pr5.b - Articulate how technical theatre elements are integrated into a drama/ theatre work.

6.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

6.TH:Cn11.2.b - Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

7.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

7.TH:Cn11.2.b - Examine artifacts from a time period and geographic location to better understand performance and design choices in a drama/theatre work.

8.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

8.TH:Cn11.2.b - Identify and use artifacts from a time period and place to develop performance and design choices in a drama/theatre work.

Acc.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

Acc.TH:Cn11.2.a - Formulate creative choices for a devised or scripted drama/theatre work based on research about the selected topic.

Adv.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

Adv.TH:Cn11.2.a - Justify the creative choices made in a devised or scripted drama/theatre work, based on a critical interpretation of specific data from research.

Florida Sunshine State Standards

Georgia Performance Standards - Theatre Arts

Tennessee Theatre Curriculum Standards

Tennessee Theatre standards (2018) standards were built using the framework of the NCAS which is built on four key domains: Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Connecting, and Responding. Within each of these domains are foundations and standards to support the development of curriculum, programs, and learning.
(source: Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Academic Standards for Fine Arts, Summer 2018)

Please refer to National Core Arts Standards to determine the standard that best suits your needs.

British Columbia (2018)

GRADE 7 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting

Take creative risks to express feelings, ideas, and experiences

GRADE 8 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting

Take creative risks to express feelings, ideas, and experiences

Ontario, Canada

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