• M.F.A. in Production Design

    Create alternate realities through set design, illustration, digital design and storyboarding.

  • M.F.A. in Production Design

    Amass a solid portfolio of designs to showcase your talent

  • M.F.A. in Production Design

    Collaborate with all disciplines to realize a unified vision

» M.F.A. in Production Design

Mrs. Lovett’s dreary pie shop in Sweeney Todd. The fine European furniture in Karen Blixen’s house in Out of Africa. The menacing 22-foot boulder rolling after Harrison Ford at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Production design involves creating settings and styles — whether based in reality or fantasy — to establish the specific aesthetic of a feature film, television show or even a commercial. The production designer also guides key personnel in other departments — costume design, hair and make-up, special effects — to establish a unified look and feel and visually tell the story.

If production design is your dream, Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is your place for getting the hands-on education you need to break into this challenging field.  Because a great deal of a production designer’s time is spent building sets and adapting locations, our MFA in Production Design is based on a curriculum that includes courses you would typically take for a degree in architecture. The intense, two-year program offers increasing design challenges each semester in such coursework as:

  • Set design
  • Illustration
  • Storyboarding
  • Digital design
  • Production design

But you don’t work alone. You’ll be forming creative teams with your fellow students — writers, directors, producers, editors, cinematographers, sound and production designers — all coming together to realize a unified vision. In addition to providing production design options for their cycle films and thesis film projects, you’ll be challenged to come up with alternative design concepts for recently released Hollywood films.

By the end of your two years with us, you’ll have amassed a solid portfolio of designs — executed by hand, on computer and in sketch form — to showcase your talent and act as your personal calling card to the film and television industry

+ - Learning Outcomes

In mastering the curriculum of the M.F.A. in Production Design, students will gain competence in the following areas:

  1. Articulate the role of the production designer and the design team in film and television, in relation to other key creative participants on a professional production.
  2. Through closely mentored presentations and projects, develop and demonstrate an understanding of how multiple disciplines are combined to inform the production design process.
  3. Be able to apply the practical and technological tools necessary to conceptualize and present design ideas in a professional setting. 
  4. Demonstrate an in- depth knowledge of the business of production design.

+ - Degree Requirements

Requirements for the degree

  1. Complete 57 credits at the 500 or 600 level.
  2. Successfully complete the thesis project.

first year (33 credits)

fall requirements (15 credits)

FS 502

Evolution of Narrative Film I

3

PD 509

Production Design Workshop I

3

PD 557

Perspective Drawing

3

PD 558

Digital Production Design Studio

3

PD 581

Set Decoration

3

interterm requirement (3 credits)

PD 585

Digital Illustration Technique

3

spring requirements (15 credits)

FS 503

Evolution of Narrative Film II

3

PD 519

Production Design Workshop II

3

PD 556

Drawing and Storyboarding Studio

3

PD 558

Digital Production Design Studio

3

PD 583

Set Decoration II

3

second year (24 credits)

fall requirements (12 credits)

PD 555

Production Design for Animation and Visual Effects

3

PD 558

Digital Production Design Studio

3

PD 609

Production Design Workshop III

3

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production (Production Design)

3

spring requirements (12 credits)

PD 558

Digital Production Design Studio

3

PD 586

Costume Design

3

PD 619

Production Design Workshop IV

3

FP 698

Thesis in Film Production (Production Design)

3

total credits

 

57

+ - Faculty

John Chichester

Ernest Marjoram

Cynthia Mccormac

James Schelenker

Chris Tornow

Tom Wilkens

Vanessa Vogel

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