- California State University, Northridge, Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design
Industry Affiliations: Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Set Decorators Society of America, IATSE Local 44 (Set Decorators), IATSE Local 800 (Art Directors)
Mel Cooper was first inspired to work in the entertainment industry after hearing her grandfather’s stories about “the old days” of Hollywood and his experiences at Paramount Studios. She began her career in the Art Department at Universal Studios, working as a Property Master and dressing the sets. Cooper quickly rose to the Lead Prop Master and worked as the assistant to 10-time Emmy Award winner, Bill Harp. Her career progressed to feature films where she worked with “some of the industry’s finest and most interesting filmmakers’”, including Bob Fosse, Oliver Stone, Jim Henson, Carol Burnett, and many more. She then began to design and decorate her own sets, working on such projects as Seinfeld and the upcoming film, Last Ride.
“You will face a new obstacle almost every day [in this industry],” she says. “If I can give a student a leg up and teach them how to think and be inspired in such a creative environment, it will be as rewarding as any of my shows.”