“If you try to look into the life of a production designer, it’s complicated. But if you live it, it’s actually fun!” says Production Designer Abhishek Pandey who has worked on the sets of Satyagraha, Bhootnath Returns and Gabbar amongst many other films in recent times. The role of a production designer today goes beyond looking after the art and costume. He/she must not only take care of the image, design, frame and vision of the director but ensure justice to it.
“Being a production designer implies you to firmly hold on to the root of the idea and yet show a very creative aspect to the producer. It should be so simple that even a simple person out there can easily understand the concept.”
The script of a film can only take the director’s vision of creating a compelling story so far. A Production Designer hires an Art Director to run the set, make the conception and execute the Production Designer’s idea. In other words, an Art Director executes a Production Designer’s design. Adding a visual element to the frames is what really captivates the audience.
We must maintain that one vision and not get carried away by the thoughts” adds Abhishek Pandey.
When asked on how he deals with different problems and opinions to create a concept ahead, he said – “I simply hear it out.”
“If you want to know about a particular thing, you must be ready to hear it. You cannot change a person’s perspective in the industry, but you can always advise him. Working in a team, I have had to face a lot of different perspectives thrown at me, and dealing with it was just a part of my daily work schedule. I hold on to 3 basic facts when I work –
- I have to satisfy the director.
- I have to satisfy myself.
- I also need to get the most out of the financials as I need to deal with the production of the film.”
Production designers are always on the move. They bring forward a new perspective to the vision of the story as they work towards a final output.
But what are the important things to keep in mind for a production designer? How does he plan his work schedule on a day to day basis?
“Firstly, I keep in priority – myself. I prioritize my life first and ask myself if I as a production designer am ready to handle the responsibilities. Why? Because I know that the moment I get out of my house and on the set, I have to be strong, patient and decisive to maintain the relationship between the creative’s as well as the execution process. It’s about brainstorming and synchronizing with the director, creative’s and the production. The work that you do out here depends on the understanding that you have with the people who you are working with.”
Working as a production designer entails countless responsibilities on one’s self. Abhishek Pandey also says that accomplishing a goal in this industry does not just depend on the inputs he gives, but the ability and contribution of his team.
“In the industry that I work in, it is 90% of the team’s ability and 10% of the bosses'. If I have a good team with whom I can coordinate with, I can do anything. It all comes down to how strong and trustworthy your team is and how consistent you are towards reaching the next stage. The best thing that I have with myself today is my confidence, without ego.”
As an established production designer in the industry, Abhishek Pandey has worked on countless films and projects. He has been a part of this creative industry since an early age of sixteen, and today has worked with renowned professionals such as Shabina Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
As a production designer he says that it is important to break free from reality when you are working, yet understand things from a ground level. He believes that if you can change things on ground level, things on a higher level will automatically start changing.
When asked on the message that he would like to leave for all production designers who are trying to reach where he has today, he says –
“Be honest and stick to your work commitments. Don’t get excited if you get a project - It’s your work, not a surprise. You are going to do this job your entire life. If you get excited right now, you will have to pay more in the future. Be enthusiastic and professional with your work and it will surely make a difference today.”
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