Link Your Life Together For
A Stronger Creative Mindset
Discover useful connections in your creative and working life
and see your day as a valuable story
Shuffle downstairs to brush my teeth so I don’t wake anyone in the house.
Brush the ice off the car windscreen.
Drive for 2 and a half hours to the shooting location.
Wonder what on earth I am doing at 4 in the morning listening to a sat nav who is not in the least bit sympathetic.
2 failed attempts to find a coffee along the way. Honestly, did no-one tell them I was en route?
Sign in at 6am.
Have hair and makeup done.
Chop up breakfast like a toddler’s meal.
Get called on set by 9am.
Rehearse first of maybe three scenes over and over.
Lot’s of takes involving surprised face, walking and pointing (my signature move).
A lot of standing around in odd outfits and ill fitting shoes.
Have a laugh at the other sa's who are returning the good natured gesture.
And that’s lunch.
I won’t thanks I’m gluten free.
Back to set.
A lot of waiting around in the holding area.
Rehearse some background action.
Lot’s of takes.
I won’t thanks, I’m gluten free.
And that’s a wrap!
Get out of hair and makeup.
Exchange numbers with other sa's.
Get through front door at 9pm.
Bemoan throbbing feet and make sure rest of household knows about it too.
Remind myself to change my shoe shoe size on my agency profile. Again.
10pm. Head hits the pillow.
Have the same dream over and over from multiple angles until I get it right.
3am…Every day is a new story, don't let it get awayAnd so it goes. That's the narrative of my day job. It's the ups and downs, the setbacks and the successes, all the ingredients for good creative storytelling. It was not until I started doing this job that I realised that just simply by going through the daily motions of my day I was writing a new story everyday and I didn't even know it. I have since started to diarize some of my days in list form and it helps strengthen my ability to see the storytelling opportunity in the most ordinary or mundane of things. It's training my creative storytelling muscles. So don't let those stories get away, I encourage you to list your day. So why did I become a supporting artist?When I decided to follow prop making as a creative career path I didn’t know any graphic designers working in film. I’d never even seen graphic props up close and for real, so I thought; what’s the one thing I can do to try and change that? I know, I’ll try and get on a film set. So I registered as a supporting artist and the adventure began.Every set I have been on since has featured graphic props which I have been able to get up close and study. I have even interacted with them many times. This has simply been the best research I could have ever undertaken. When I am on set, I can study typefaces, the feel of paper, printing methods, period design assets, colours, scale, language… If I am lucky, I get to have a chat with the Standby Art director, who is in charge of all props on set. The list is endless. So far I have seen or interacted with:
Hand Painted Shop Signage
3. StorytellingWhether they are crossing the street, conducting a forensic study of alien bones or running for their life from an invisible mechanical tripod, background artists are telling an intrinsic part of a much greater story.Every scene of a film contains within it a hierarchical storytelling structure; beginning at the top are the actors delivering their lines, with their hair, makeup and costume intact. Then comes the physical space; the interior or exterior. This is followed by background artists who populate it and bring it to life with the required atmosphere.Add to this the lighting, weather, props, dialogue, sound effects, background noise and music. Each of these elements tell their own story, but when they are brought together, the overall story becomes more powerful than the sum of it’s parts.
4. SupportMuch like every other member of a cast and crew, when a background artist has offered their support to a production, they are handing off on their efforts for the next department to take and craft into a new outcome. Filmmaking is a collaborative process where the efforts of many are shaped into something new.The building blocks of great graphic prop designAuthenticity. Iteration. Storytelling. Support.Graphic props, like many other forms of design should be authentic, iterate toward a greater outcome, tell unique stories in their own right and also contribute to a bigger one, supporting a greater need.The qualities listed above are not just useful to pay attention to, I believe they are fundamental in finding your voice as a designer of creative outcomes. They have helped me to forge a pathway toward what I hope are more interesting, communicative and functional prop designs. You will only begin to discover your voice once you start paying attention to everything you do and explore those valuable connections between them. Look for the synchronicity.Everyday is a new story, don't let it get awayThere is so much to learn from the seemingly disconnected areas of our working lives. Once you see the narrative patterns and the qualities that can contribute to your success, you can transfer those skills and put them to use to make something else happen. And it can all start with storytelling.So like the symbiosis of two worlds coming together in my creative and working life, there are almost certainly connections to be discovered in yours. Everyday is a new story, don't let it get away.What links can you make in your life?
Graphic Design For Film
And Create Graphic Props With
Storytelling At Their Heart
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