Being a Production Designer on films, TV shows and music videos must be a lot of fun. We have heard that it is also a lot of work. Janhavi Naik, the highly regarded and in-demand Production Designer living in Los Angeles told us just that. She is also a very capable scenic artist, set designer, art director and graphic artist and has performed all of those jobs. She can’t see herself doing anything other than this type of creative work as a career but sometimes she works well over twelve long and hard hours a day for several weeks straight. And that’s just when she’s on the set or location or sound stage for a movie or TV show. No one talks about all the work she must do when she’s at home to prepare everything for the next day’s shoot or to plan out and design sets and back drops that will be used the following week. And how about all the time she spends building miniature models of sets.
Her job, like any fast-paced creative position, depends on her doing her homework and coming to the set prepared with drawings, color schemes in place and lighting suggestions among many other things. She is responsible for the look of the film and she must work with the director, cinematographer and producer to come to a meeting of the minds as far as how the film’s overall appearance will finally be seen by the audience on the big screen and then she is the one who manifests it physically. Do the sets and the colors fit the story and the mood of the scenes that are going to be shot in them? She, along with her team, get things done to match her designs with the director’s vision of the movie. She is in charge of the art department and has set decorators, scenic artists, graphic designers, lighting designers, costume designers and others who follow her lead. She works on a budget and a schedule and she takes ultimate responsibility for making sure that the sets and backgrounds will look like the drawings she showed the director and producer.
Janhavi is a former architect from Mumbai, India, and she moved to Los Angeles, California with the express purpose of earning a Masters degree in Applied Arts at the famous California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) and to become a professional Production designer in the motion picture industry. She achieved both of her goals and began working as a Production Designer before she even graduated and has worked steadily ever since.