Common Set Design Mistakes

Every designer, whether it is for home decor, graphic design or set design runs into common problems and overages. There are so many components to bring together in a seamless performance that just about anything that can go wrong, will. Resident Set Designer at Hedgerow Theatre Company, Zoran Kovcic says, “You know what an expert is? It’s someone who’s made more mistakes than you.” There are many common errors when designing and setting up a stage environment. Here are just a few that you may want to avoid if you are directing or producing a performance on stage.

  • Rushing it – Many set designers need to be multitaskers and able to handle multiple performances at varied venues. In these cases, rushing and missing details can be a problem. Even the smallest detail can make or break a show. Take your time and go step-by-step through the script and take copious notes that will help you design a set that matches the action on the stage.
  • Over Designing – Some designers go the other direction and add too many moving parts to the set. This can get a bit overwhelming for the crew if there are too many pieces of furniture or too many prop changes to make.
  • Overspending – The cost of set design can range from working on a small budget to exorbitant amounts. Keep your costs in check by spending “smart.” Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart can help you set the tone and scene without costing you an arm and a leg for furniture or background props.
  • Not Listening to the Actors – Often in stage performance, the actors are the first line when it comes to understanding the blocking and flow of the show. Always talk to the people closest to the show to find out how the design should work for them.

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