Set Decoration Crew
The set decoration crew, known colloquially as the set dec crew, are the junior members of the set decorating department and begin work during pre-production of a film or television show. The number of technicians required on the crew will be determined by the scale of the production and number of different sets to be dressed.
Hired by the set decorator or assistant set decorator, the crew may first be tasked with transporting purchased or rented set dressings to the shooting location and then carefully inventorying all items. During principal photography, these individuals will take instruction from the department head in placement and preparation of dressing objects on set and are responsible for tracking items as they are removed from the department storage area. Where necessary, the set dec crew is tasked with maintenance of inventory items, to include cleaning, repairing, or replacement of objects. At all times, the crew is concerned with maintaining the set decorator’s artistic vision as well as with the efficient operation of the department. As delegated, the set dec crew may perform other tasks such as assisting in continuity for shoots. At the conclusion of filming, the crew will be instructed to strike all set dressings from the studio or location and will be supervised through the process of final inventory and return of all rented items.
Skills & Education
Members of the set dec crew are required to have at least a high school diploma, though a college degree in film and television production or theatrical design is preferred. Courses in fine art, photography, art history, and world culture are all important to this career field, as those in the set decoration department should have an appreciation of aesthetic, design, and numerous styles. Today, you may be dressing a college dorm room in New York, but tomorrow, the gig may be accurately recreating the interior of a 15th century monastery in Spain. Members of this crew should be highly organized and meticulous in tracking the hundreds of items in inventory. The position requires an individual that takes direction well and who can work under minimal supervision to complete tasks on a specified deadline.
What to Expect
Those interested in advanced roles within the set decoration department such as on-set dresser or set buyer should begin on the set dec crew. There, you will gain the hands-on knowledge of working on a production set and learn how the department operates. You also have the benefit of seeking the mentorship of established veterans and making the contacts necessary to further your career. Positions on this crew may be available without prior professional experience, though previous employment in film and television production is beneficial. Experience as a production assistant or on the props crew is applicable to this position.
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