Interview with Art Director Nigel Evans
What is the job of an Art Director, what does it involve?
Everything you see on television has been deliberately placed there and if its not an Actor it is the Art Director or “Production Designers” Job to decide what should be there based on how it will help tell the story or make the story more real. The most important is the rooms we film in called” sets” which quite often are pretend and only made of wood and painted to look like stone or brick. These are built in studios and then need to be dressed with furniture and lights to seem real. Quite often they only have three walls allowing lots of room for the camera and all the film technicians.
I also choose vehicles, animals, furniture, lights, and all objects handled by the actors, which are called “Props” – short for “property”.
Everything that I pick is suggested in the script and must be approved by either the director or the producer.
How did you become an Art Director?
I studied fine art and sculpture and quite by accident stumbled across the job “Art Director” – I had never heard of such a job and loved every part of it. Up till that point I assumed they shot “Eastenders” and “Coronation Street” in real places!
What other TV shows or films have you worked on?
A lot of television Drama’s shot in England, the Agatha Christie “Poirot” series, a fantastic story called “!0th Kingdom “ and a lot of gritty cop shows! – More recently here in New Zealand , the story of Lucille Ball and a version of Hercules….. I think maybe about 30 different shows to date.
What was your favourite part about working on The New Tomorrow?
It’s a real thrill to be handed a script that the writer and producer have allowed their imagination to fly and create another world. The fun is to colour it in and make it live!
What advice would you give young fans wanting to get into the TV industry?
Check out all the jobs that happen around shooting a film or television drama. Most people know about Directors and producers, but the ones that come closest to living like the stories that are being told are the ones working on location to get the film into the camera – Grips, Lighting teams, Sound recordists, Assistant Directors, wardrobe, make-up, and of course, the camera team.
Small gem – its not widely known but the Term “WRAP” as in “ it’s a wrap “ (when a film is finished) stands for “Wind Reel And Print” which harks back to the old days when they had to wind the film back into the cans or magazines before they could take them off the camera!