Production Design for Philip K. Dick’s ‘Ubik’

Ubik screenplayFor this 12 week individual project  I designed sets for a film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1969 novel Ubik, working from the screenplay written by Dick himself in 1974. The story revolves around modern society’s fear of death and our desperation to postpone dying for as long as possible. In Ubik technology exists a person can be frozen immediately after death so they are suspended in a state in between life and death known as half-life. These people are kept in a facility called Beloved Brentham Moratorium where their loved ones can talk to them via microphone and speakers, like visiting a sick relative in hospital. I designed a series of interconnecting sets to make up the front of house part of the facility, as well as a control room where the half-life caskets are processed by staff. I intended the front of house sets to be sleek but sterile and soulless, with the only colour coming from garish advertising. Black and white was used to signify that this is a place where life and death meet but cannot touch. The control room was intended to provide a stark contrast to the front of house sets by being industrial, colourful and messy to show that this place in fact has more life.

Would you like to read more about this project? Here is a detailed Summary Book


Designing an attraction for Madame Tussauds

This was a 12 week individual project where we were given a brief by a creative director of Madame Tussauds to design a new attraction for Madame Tussauds in 10 years time.  I designed an interactive Star Trek themed attraction as the long-running franchise provided scope to explore new technologies  and would likely still be popular in 10 years time. We pitched our designs to the creative directors of Madame Tussauds and my attraction was shortlisted as one they liked.

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The Pillowman: Stage and Costume design

This was a six-week individual project designing set and costume for a speculative production of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman at the Midlands Art Centre.

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Skills acquired or improved in this project:

  • Set and Costume design for Stage
  • Understanding the limitations of the venue
  • Modelmaking in scale 1:25
  • lighting a scale model to convey mood changes
  • Using photoshop to create costume designs
  • Working to a script

Production Design for a Short Film based on ‘Einstein’s Dreams’

For this 8 week individual project we were given the novel Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman as a starting point but were allowed the freedom to take the project in any direction best suited to us. I am interested in production design for film and this was the first opportunity I had to pursue that interest, so I designed 3 sets for a short film based on one particular chapter. Following the industry standard I made 1:50 scale white card models with technical drawings and an accompanying code book.

Puppetry Project

This was a group project where we produced a puppetry performance based on the poem Alphabet by Edward Gorey. We each chose a line from the poem to work from and I chose: X is for Xerxes devoured by mice. From this extract I designed and made a puppet for the character Xerxes with accompanying shadow puppets.

Skills learnt from this project:

  • Designing a character from an unusual name.
  • Designing, making and performing a manipulatable puppet.
  • sourcing costume for a puppet.
  • making shadow puppets that move in synchronisation.
  • The experience of putting on a performance, coordinating with others and working to cues.