Art Department Trainee

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What does an art department trainee do?

The work of art department trainees varies greatly from production to production. On big budget features with a large art department, trainees will do more administrative type jobs. They will often work closely with the art department coordinator, providing backup and doing basic running duties between the art department office, the drawing and construction team and the production office.

On small budget productions, there’s likely to be more scope for creative input. They might work with assistant art directors to record detailed measurements of locations and then move into the drawing studio to make sure the draughtspersons have what they need. They may be responsible for ordering and collecting art department drawing and model-making materials and might even help with the construction of scale models for sets.

During filming, they might help the standby art director and art department coordinator with any last-minute requests or changes to the sets.

What’s an art department trainee good at?

  • Art: draw by hand, use art software packages
  • Watching film and TV drama: have a passion for the medium and a love of the industry
  • Learning by listening and watching: observe what’s happening in the art department, understand how it works
  • Learning by asking: ask questions at the right time to learn the tricks of the art department trade
  • Reliability: get there on time and do what’s asked
  • Communication: be able to ask, explain, share and make cups of tea at energy-flagging moments

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