Film design is so incredibly influential, yet at its very best, we don’t even see it. Production designers create worlds for us to believe in and when it all works, we accept the finished product as “real.” Absolutely nothing in feature filmmaking is real. What you see on screen is a blend of reality, film reality, and some good old-fashioned smoke and mirrors, physically pulled together by production designers and their talented teams.

So who are these people whose best work is designed not to be noticed? Of all the crafts involved in bringing a film to the screen, the production designer’s role is probably the haziest in terms of public perception, yet it is the absolute key to the success or failure of a shoot. They’re the mood ...

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