Ever wondered how a production for screen is put together?
All is not as it seems as Avni Goyal reveals. She spills all about putting miniature sets together, life before uni and not being the typical art student.
Tell us about yourself.
I am from Indore, India. I would describe myself as a visual storyteller, and my work as basically interior design and architecture for fictional environments.
When did you decide that you wanted to do something related to design?
In Year 10, I went on an exchange to Gordonstoun Scotland and really enjoyed my art classes there. I had always been interested in art and this renewed my confidence in myself. I decided to come to London to do a Foundation Course because I still felt quite lost and did not know where I fit in the big world of art and design.
What helped you to decide what to study at uni?
Foundation year at Camberwell College of Arts. Even when I was specialising, I was stuck between theatre design and designing for screen (film/tv). I found out about a lot of courses through my tutors, went to all the open days, which helped me figure out which was the right place and course for me. Specifically talking about theatre and screen, I realised I designed more through different camera shots and angles. I was thinking about the whole world and every little detail related to the story at the same time, and that’s kind of how I decided I was more interested in designing for screen.
Tell us about what you’re working on right now.
Nearing the end of my second year, I am currently working on a production design project. The brief is to set a Shakespeare play in another time and place, and design an interior and an exterior set. I have set mine in 1997 in London when Shakespeare’s Globe was rebuilt. The idea is that the Theatre Designer is Macbeth, the Director is King Duncan, and the Theatre Designer kills the Director to get the credit for the first ever play at the rebuilt Globe.
Since I am kind of looking at multiple time periods – 1997 for the film, Tudor for the dressing room’s interior and 11TH Century Scotland for my stage design – the most challenging thing is to keep be well informed about all three so I can make my designs look authentic.
I enjoy that I can do absolutely anything and make up a whole world in my head. I mean the lighting technicians are witches in my story!
“I get to decide what the characters are like, what they own, how they think, what their world is like.”
I think when you research all these periods, you expect yourself to make something based on that research. But surprisingly, now that I know how, for example, plays were designed in the Tudor times and how they were designed in the 1997 opening season, I get to break the rules and do my own thing.
What work are you most proud of?
I think the best project we’ve done so for is art direction, which completely changed the way I look at designs and the possibilities of how sets are made.
We had to pick an existing TV show or film and, just by watching the show, we had to figure out all the measurements and figure out the construction. We also had to list down all the props, how to source them and budget them, and make a digital model of the set on SketchUp. I decided to do the front three rooms of ‘The Dragonfly Inn’ from the ‘Gilmore Girls’. As I was binge watching the show, I thought to myself, there are so many props and how am I supposed to figure out how big the rooms are by watching the show. But with help from my tutors, I found out techniques to do it and now I know how a real set is built!
I see myself working in various areas of art department, doing different films and stories.
Find out more about the course Avni is studying: