Art Director (Film, Television or Stage) Kaitohu Toi (Kiriata, Pouaka Whakaata, Whakaari rānei)

Art directors plan, organise and control artistic aspects of film, television or stage productions.

Art directors may do some or all of the following:

  • go over the script with the director to plan what sets need to be built
  • prepare a budget for the set design and build
  • design the set
  • hire an art department team
  • build or co-ordinate the building of sets to ensure it happens on time and within budget
  • work with wardrobe and make-up departments
  • work with special effects companies or teams to design special effects
  • hire equipment such as specialised props
  • prepare a daily breakdown of the script before shooting to confirm all sets and props are complete and in working order.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for art directors includes:

  • film, television or theatre production
  • any type of construction work
  • creative pursuits such as painting or sculpting.

Personal Qualities

Art directors need to be:

  • imaginative, creative, artistic and passionate
  • good communicators
  • good at research
  • able to lead, manage and motivate people
  • able to work well under pressure
  • well organised, with good planning and time management skills
  • adaptable, and able to multitask
  • good at budgeting and financial planning
  • patient.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for art directors includes:

  • film, television or theatre production
  • any type of construction work
  • creative pursuits such as painting or sculpting.

Subject Recommendations

Useful secondary subjects include te reo Māori, design and visual communications, media studies, history and classical studies, history of arts,  processing technologies, music, dance and drama.

Art directors usually specialise in film, short videos, or stage productions.

Art Director (Film, Television or Stage)