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Movie Art Director

Join the growing film industry while putting creativity to use as a movie art director. Film art directors collaborate with other artists to produce the overall look and feel of a film or TV set. Those with acute artistic and spatial perception who enjoy expanding on creative ideas would benefit from a career as a movie art director.

What Does a Film Art Director Do?

Art directors delegate tasks to production, set, electrical and lighting designers, unifying those roles in their effort to bring a director’s aesthetic vision to life.

Set design is an important aspect of film production that executes on a director's vision. A team of talented individuals, including set designers, prop masters, graphic designers, costume designers and other artists, performs research that is vital to the correct interpretation of a director’s visual ideas.

A film art director acts as the administrator of tasks performed by each member of the set building team. The set must evoke the desired mood, style and theme. Movie art directors discuss these elements with the film director and make note of his specifications.

Once an art director is clear on the expectations for the film or TV show, delegation of tasks to a group of designers becomes the priority. The movie art director oversees set development, budgeting and scheduling of work.


Art directors may work with the aid of a few assistants or amongst a large group of other designers. Ideally, film art directors possess highly developed communication and interpersonal skills in order to work effectively with a team. Movie art directors must balance the role of supervisor with their ability to work collaboratively.

A strong background in the arts gives movie art directors the skills and training necessary for performing tasks. The ability to process information and convey it to others is also important. Top art directors have also attended film school to fine-tune their abilities.

Start Toward Your Future as a Movie Art Director

Academy of Art University's School of Motion Pictures & Television prepares students rewarding professional futures. From day one, students are immersed in the professional world of film and TV.

Through hands-on courses, students build a compelling demo reel that enables them to stand out. Instructors, who are also working in the field, share their insight and experience. At the Annual Epidemic Film Festival, students get valuable exposure for their work at a star-studded awards ceremony for student films, which draws such luminaries as Tippi Hedren, Randal Kleiser and Harry Winer among others.

Academy of Art University offers accredited Associates (AA), Bachelors (BFA) and Masters (MFA) degrees in fields such as Acting, Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting.

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Academy of Art University - School of Motion Pictures & Television
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