Tips for Aspiring Set Decorator in Film and TV Production

Tips for Aspiring Set Decorator in Film and TV Production

Are you passionate about bringing the vision of a film or TV show to life through intricate set designs and decorations? As an aspiring set decorator, you play a crucial role in creating the atmosphere and setting the scene for memorable on-screen moments. In this article, we will provide valuable tips and insights to help you kickstart your career in the competitive world of film and TV production. Whether you’re looking to enhance your skills, break into the industry, or simply stay ahead of the curve, these tips will guide you towards success in the dynamic field of set decoration.

Education and Training

Recommended degrees and courses

Aspiring set decorators in film and TV production can benefit greatly from pursuing a degree in a related field such as interior design, art history, or film studies. These degrees provide a strong foundation in design principles, art history, and filmmaking, all of which are essential for a successful career in set decoration. Additionally, taking courses in set design, color theory, and visual storytelling can further enhance your skills and knowledge in this field.

Internship opportunities

Internships are a valuable way for aspiring set decorators to gain hands-on experience in the industry and build connections with professionals. Many film and TV production companies offer internship programs specifically for individuals interested in set decoration. These opportunities allow interns to shadow experienced decorators, assist with set design projects, and learn about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job. By participating in internships, aspiring set decorators can improve their skills, expand their network, and increase their chances of securing a full-time position in the industry.

Networking in the industry

Networking is essential for aspiring set decorators to establish connections with industry professionals, learn about job opportunities, and stay updated on industry trends. Attending industry events, such as film festivals, trade shows, and networking mixers, can provide valuable opportunities to meet and connect with other professionals in the field. Additionally, joining professional organizations, such as the Set Decorators Society of America, can provide access to resources, job listings, and networking opportunities. By actively networking in the industry, aspiring set decorators can increase their visibility, build relationships, and advance their career in film and TV production.

Skills and Qualities

As an aspiring set decorator in film and TV production, there are several key skills and qualities that are essential for success in this role.

Attention to detail

One of the most important skills for a set decorator is attention to detail. Set decorators are responsible for creating the look and feel of a scene, and even the smallest details can make a big difference in the overall aesthetic. Whether it’s choosing the perfect prop or arranging furniture in just the right way, a keen eye for detail is crucial in this role.

Creativity and vision

Set decorators are often called upon to bring a director’s vision to life, and this requires a great deal of creativity and vision. They must be able to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to design challenges. Whether it’s creating a period-authentic set or designing a futuristic sci-fi world, a set decorator must be able to think creatively and bring their ideas to life on screen.

Communication skills

In addition to technical skills, a set decorator must also possess strong communication skills. They must be able to collaborate effectively with directors, producers, and other members of the production team to ensure that their vision is realized on screen. This may involve presenting ideas, negotiating budgets, and working with vendors to source props and furniture. Clear and effective communication is key to a successful career as a set decorator in film and TV production.

Building Your Portfolio

When aspiring to become a set decorator in film and TV production, one of the most important aspects is building a strong portfolio. This is a collection of your work that showcases your skills, creativity, and unique style to potential employers.

Gaining experience on student films

One way to start building your portfolio is by gaining experience on student films. These projects provide a valuable opportunity to work on real sets, collaborate with other industry professionals, and add to your resume. Look for local film schools or community projects where you can volunteer your services and start building your portfolio.

Creating a professional portfolio

To create a professional portfolio, you’ll need to compile high-quality images of your work. Take photos of the sets you’ve decorated, including close-ups of key details and overall shots of the space. Make sure the images are clear, well-lit, and showcase your talents as a set decorator. Consider investing in a professional photographer to capture your work in the best possible light.

Showcasing your unique style

One of the key elements of a successful set decorator is having a unique style that sets you apart from the competition. When building your portfolio, make sure to showcase your personal aesthetic and creative vision. Whether you have a knack for vintage decor, modern minimalism, or eclectic mixes of styles, highlight what makes your work stand out and appeal to potential employers in the industry.

Finding Job Opportunities

As an aspiring set decorator in film and TV production, it’s crucial to actively seek out job opportunities in the industry. Here are some effective ways to find job opportunities:

Utilizing online job boards

Online job boards are a great resource for finding job opportunities in the film and TV production industry. Websites like Indeed, ProductionHub, and often post job listings for set decorators. Make sure to regularly check these platforms and apply to any relevant job postings.

Networking events and conferences

Networking events and conferences are excellent opportunities to connect with industry professionals and learn about job openings. Attend film festivals, industry conferences, and networking events specifically for set decorators to expand your network and stay updated on job opportunities.

Approaching production companies directly

Another way to find job opportunities as a set decorator is to approach production companies directly. Research production companies that work on projects you’re interested in and reach out to them with your resume and portfolio. By directly contacting production companies, you may be able to secure freelance or full-time work as a set decorator.


In conclusion, becoming a successful set decorator in film and TV production requires a combination of creativity, attention to detail, and dedication. By following the tips outlined in this article, aspiring set decorators can enhance their skills, build a strong portfolio, and network within the industry. With hard work and perseverance, anyone with a passion for set decoration can achieve their goals and make a name for themselves in the competitive world of film and television production.