Scenic Design

First Year

Scenic Design I

DESG-GT.1054-1055   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Jones

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

 

Finding visual images, creating physical spaces, and communicating meaning discovered in theatrical literature through personal response to and analysis of text, music, and historical forms.

Set Studio I

DESG-GT.2006   Lecture   2 - 4 Credits

Instructor(s): Banakis

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

 

Introduction to the many and varied techniques available to support the scenic design process for theater and film scenery.  Coursework focuses on scale model-building techniques, drafting techniques, photography and rendering techniques, as well as presentation methodologies. Work overlaps with continued Set Design I coursework as well as weekly class projects providing hands-on experience in each area.

 

Drawing Year 1

DESG-GT.1004-1005   Lecture   2 - 4 Credits

Instructor(s): Young (Section 001), Muller (Section 002)

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

This dynamic course will break down and rebuild drawing and rendering skills so that one can more easily and clearly communicate3-d design choices. This is a three-hour drawing class that incorporates assignments that develop a wide and rich range of skills including drawing the figure and basic figure structure and proportion. This class focuses on pacing, as well as fundamentals of dynamic picture making. It is also an excellent opportunity to bring in current design renderings produced in other classes to serve as an example in addressing rendering and picture-making issues.

 

Culture, Costume, and Decor

DESG-GT 1022-1023   Lecture   3 Credits

Instructor(s): Muller

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

A weekly 3 hour class taking curated deep dives into aspects of world culture, especially in the intersections of influence, change, and design. The course will mix lectures, analysis of images, research projects, discussion, field trips, guest speakers, and student presentations. As much attention will be paid to how we know what we know and how knowledge is discovered, hidden, lost, reused, misused, and reinterpreted.

CAD Drawing and Visualization

DESG-GT 1006   Studio   2 - 4 Credits

Instructor(s): Banakis

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

 

Tools and techniques of technical drawing and their importance to the stage and film designer, followed by intensive practice in orthographic drawing, including plans, sections, and elevations. Introduction to the Computer-Aided Drafting software and its foundations.  Weekly class projects build on drafting skills and software principles.

 

Explore

DESG-GT 2000-2001   Lecture   2-3 Credits

Instructor(s): Conklin, Geiger, Helfrich, Hoffman

Explore introduces students to a broad range of concepts related to theatrical and cinematic performance and presentation, as well as practical experiences intended to lead students out of their chosen area of study, challenging them to begin to understand design for stage and film as a wholistic, interconnected set of disciplines. It includes workshops, individual design projects, group lectures with guest artists and instructors,  and field trips which will expose students to some of the vast resources available to artists in New York City.

Stagecraft I

DESG-GT.1012   Studio   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Griffith, Bye

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Stagecraft I will focus on the production process and how designers interact with their technical staff. There will be a heavy focus on the budgeting and technical design processes because that is where designers and production staff have the most meaningful interaction. This course will elaborate on the scenery, paints, and props production processes with a focus on how designers can successfully work alongside their production teams in the creation of theater pieces at NYU and beyond.

 

Playreading

DESG-GT.1035  Lecture  1 - 2 Credits

Instructor(s): Helfrich (Section 001)

Only open to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Play Reading requires students to read and react to a carefully chosen set of scripts over the course of the semester, and to practice formulating and enunciating clear ideas about each script in a class discussion format. Scripts are chosen for individual merits and also, as a collection, to constitute a broad and diverse range of ideas and authors. Students must read each text deeply and be prepared to participate in classroom discussion by formulating a primary response, expressing that response to the group, and responding verbally to a range of other students’ responses as well.

Composers, Choreographers, and Designers

Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Baird, Chalfant

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

The class combines first-year design students of all disciplines, along with dance students, and musical composition students into creative teams- to create original works of dance and music and design. The teams create a dance piece from the ground up, and then as advisors we evaluate their concepts and assist them to move the pieces into production, culminating in executing the scenic, costumes, and lighting designs and technical execution of all the elements as the choreographers and dancers and musicians assemble and refine the performance aspects.

 

Second Year

Scenic Design II

DESG-GT 1100-1101   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Lien

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

This course will focus on thinking about design as an integral part of the theatrical event. Whether the event is driven by text, music, physical movement/actions, or visual cues, the space you create for it has an alchemical relationship to these other elements. None of the elements alone is complete without the others; it is the intersection of them all that makes for a great work of theater. Often a successful design for a performance is not necessarily one that is harmonious with the material, but something that the play can push against... Starting with establishing a conceptual point of view, we will examine different strategies for creating a spatial and visual container that supports, elevates, vibrates with, or challenges the other aspects of the performance. In order to arrive at this container, the designer must embark on a PROCESS which includes: engaging with the text/music/material, responding to it in a way that is true to your experience and identity, researching the context, exploring visual and spatial expressions of your response, and making it into a physical, 3-dimensional world. In this class, we will work together to develop a process that is personal to you. At the end of this document, I have included a ROADMAP, which is a list of questions and topics I have generated in my own process, and which we will continually return to and interrogate as we work on different projects. This is really a starting point – I expect that you will change or add to this, as you develop your own processes. We will, however, always be working with the foundational tools of design – the model, groundplan + section – as primary ways of visualizing, shaping, and thinking about space, and we will practice how to use these tools not only as presentational materials, but as the essential core of the messy design process. The format of the class is critique-based; each week, you will present your work to the group, and your colleagues and I will respond, ask questions, and provide feedback based on what we see and hear. Modeled on a design meeting with a director and other designers, we will learn how to provide helpful feedback and engage in conversation not only about the play itself, but the context – be it cultural, political, emotional, or metaphorical. Sometimes, you will be paired with classmates to act as each other’s sounding boards. There will also be intermittent invited guests (directors, dramaturges, playwrights, etc.) who will contribute other points of view to the discussion. These critiques and discussions aim to interrogate, inform, and guide your thinking and process each week. In a discussion or critique, we are all vulnerable to the words of the other participants in the conversation. It is our responsibility as people, and as creators who contribute to a cultural ecosystem, to make every effort to be aware of as many cultures and perspectives as possible. However, since it is literally impossible to learn and be aware of everything, the most important thing is to be aware of what you DON’T know, and to be open and transparent about it. We will all, including myself, make mistakes, and this room should be a safe space where we can express ideas and ask questions about things we don’t know, with the assurance that others will be patient, accepting, and generous.

Model Studio

DESG-GT 2006   Lecture   2 - 4 Credits

Instructor(s): Lord-Surratt

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

This class will closely align itself with your Set Design II syllabus in an effort to support your design process on both paper projects this semester. While we will be working throughout on developing your drafting and model building craft, the ultimate goal is to deepen your connection to space, architecture, and material. This class is meant to support you in your individual process and skills development. It is a forum to ask specific questions about the materials you are asked to deliver in your design class, and general questions about skills, software, and professional life. A primary aim of this class is to delve deeper into understanding a given theatrical space. To this end, we will focus on studying and building and refining the model of one space for all projects this semester, New York Theatre Workshop. We will be scheduling a site visit to the theater to explore its architectural qualities with an emphasis on observing and responding to space.

Each project in your career will require you to inquire, learn, and develop a curiosity about the world around you. Sensory memory causes a strong connection in the brain, and studies have shown that relying on devices like computers and cell phones can actually reduce our ability to remember details and process information for ourselves. The Found Surface Paint Elevation project will ask you to find real world textures to reference and interpret for an artistic team. We will also discuss extrapolating visual research to understand construction and material.

Drawing Year 2

DESG-GT.1052-1053   Lecture   2 - 4 Credits

Instructor(s): Muller, Zung

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

 

Set and Film Drawing II is geared towards integrating the student’s design classes with a consistent drawing practice in this class. Class assignments and homework will support the work in other courses so there is a continuity of the student’s time, resources, energy, and attention. The goal is for the student to come to the place in their own work where it is understood that DRAWING IS DESIGNING. As such it is incumbent upon the student to help the instructor understand the student’s Production and Design schedules throughout the semester so that the course helps build towards and supports those deadlines.

 

 

Opera - Contexts and Cultures

DESG-GT 1038   Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Conklin

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

A study of opera - it's historical context, formal qualities, dramaturgical content and sociological place in our contemporary world.

Production Year 2

DESG-GT 1120-1121   Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Hughes, Hoffman

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

The class is a forum for Year 2 students in production from all three disciplines. The class slot allows for weekly production meeting times, budgeting process meetings and to observe and discuss each other's work during the process of designing, building and technical rehearsals.

Film Collaboration

DESG-GT 1213   Lecture   3 - 4 Credits

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film and in the Graduate Film Department.

Four teams (director, production designer, costume designer, director of photography) collaborate to produce a 10-minute portfolio quality film shot on location with high levels of production values, including locations, props, and costumes. This course underlines the essential aspects of the collaboration process and focuses on the team effort of producing a film.

Playreading

DESG-GT.1035  Lecture  1 - 2 Credits

Instructor(s): Helfrich (Section 001)

Only open to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Play Reading requires students to read and react to a carefully chosen set of scripts over the course of the semester, and to practice formulating and enunciating clear ideas about each script in a class discussion format. Scripts are chosen for individual merits and also, as a collection, to constitute a broad and diverse range of ideas and authors. Students must read each text deeply and be prepared to participate in classroom discussion by formulating a primary response, expressing that response to the group, and responding verbally to a range of other students’ responses as well.

Film Studio I (Optional)

DESG-GT 1051  Lecture  2 credits

Instructor: Landwehr

Optional with permission / Open to second and third-year students.


This course supports and closely tracks the student’s work in Design for Film I, focusing on drafting, as both a survey practice and design tool, research and collage assembly, model making, storyboards, sketching and other tools and techniques to discover and enable the design process. 

Design for Film I (Optional)

DESG-GT 1214   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Luigs and others

Optional with permission / Open to second and third-year students.

The goal of Film Design I is to gain an understanding of what the elements of film-making are. Students explore all aspects of creating three-dimensional designs for film, including the sculptural, textural, and color components, while paying close attention to camera movement, lighting, and directorial intent. Students also wrestle with Story in order to develop a personal process for taking a text-based design from beginning to end. The overarching goal is to discover tools for turning textual images and metaphors into visual images and metaphors, which will assist students in telling a story visually

Third Year

Scenic Design III

DESG-GT 1210-1211   Lecture   3 - 6 Credits

Instructor(s): Steinberg

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 

This is the first semester of a two semester course. The semester is divided into two projects.The primary goal of this class is to further the students’ development of a process that will rigorously define and shape their philosophy of stage design in a way that is coherent, logical and practical as well as creative. It will highlight and reinforce the symbiotic relationship between set, lighting and costume design. Students will do primary research which is meant to be the foundation of their designs. Emphasis will be placed on the cultural and historical meaning of everything in the material world and how Theatre Design is meant to mine this information to communicate ideas about a text.

The course builds on the skills of and techniques learned in Set Design I and II. Participation in class depends upon drawing, drafting and model making skills primarily learned in auxiliary classes. While these skills are always part of the discussion in design class and specific problems are addressed in individual critiques by the teacher and the group, it is assumed that students begin the class with the ability to communicate their ideas clearly.

Participation in group discussion is considered an essential part of every class. Expressing ideas in a clear, non-judgmental way is an essential tool in the collaborative process. Each student’s work is critiqued at every class. Students are expected to be present for all presentations, not just their own.

Transitioning into the Profession

DESG-GT 2002-2003   Lecture   3 Credits

Instructor(s): Cokorinos, Baird

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 

The topics covered in this course assist third year students in easing the transition from graduate school into the professional working community.  Through a curated series of guest lectures, students are introduced to a range of working professionals who discuss topics both artistic and practical.  Contracts, health and safety issues, union membership, the role of the agent and business manager and the structure of not for profit theatre are all included in the course curriculum.  Students receive guidance in creating their resumes and individual websites. Portfolio reviews are held with guest directors and designers to give students the opportunity to discuss their work and receive feedback.  

Production Year 3

DESG-GT 1500-1501   Lecture   2 Credits

Instructor(s): Baird, Geiger, Hoffman, Steinberg

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Third-year design students work under faculty supervision as designers on realized productions.

Playreading

DESG-GT.1035  Lecture  1 - 2 Credits

Instructor(s): Helfrich (Section 001)

Only open to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film.

Play Reading requires students to read and react to a carefully chosen set of scripts over the course of the semester, and to practice formulating and enunciating clear ideas about each script in a class discussion format. Scripts are chosen for individual merits and also, as a collection, to constitute a broad and diverse range of ideas and authors. Students must read each text deeply and be prepared to participate in classroom discussion by formulating a primary response, expressing that response to the group, and responding verbally to a range of other students’ responses as well.

Public Collaboration

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 

Various Faculty

In conjunction with collaborators from the Public Theatre, set, costume and lighting students (primarily in the second year) work in teams. Emphasis is placed on conceptual work conceived through discussion that gives equal weight to all members of the collaboration.

Collaboration

DESG-GT 1141   Lecture   3-4 Credits

Instructor(s): Hoffman, Steinberg

Open only to students in the Department of Design for Stage and Film. 

In conjunction with the Graduate Directing program at Columbia University, led by Anne Bogart, set, costume and lighting students (primarily in the second year) work in teams led by a Columbia directing student. Emphasis is placed on conceptual work conceived through discussion that gives equal weight to all members of the collaboration.