Owain Meadows studies BA (Hons) TV and Film Set Design and tells us about a recent University project to create a set for a soap opera.
"Being an avid fan of Soaps I was really looking forward to this project. The brief for the project was to design a backlot and studio sets for a fictitious soap to be set in Cardiff. We each focused on a business within a fictitious street, which included a brief of what was required in the shop and who lived in the flat above. As research for the trip, we visited the Emmerdale Production Center in Leeds and the Coronation Street studios at Media City, Manchester. On the Emmerdale set one of the production designers, Gillian Slight, gave us an informative guided tour of the exterior village and studio sets and departments of the production center. We did the same at Coronation Street and we all got particularly excited when we walked past Gail Platt!
The course is really great when it comes to trips, as they don’t only help us get to know our class mates better, but it’s also really exciting to actually stand/be in places where we could be working in the near future! After the trips, I began researching and creating my set –a record store, and went crazy on Pinterest building ideas. I started creating a visual sketchbook, and then created a sketch model of the set.
Alongside the model set, we had to produce technical drawings, using AutoCAD, which is used in the industry and that we’d previously been trained to use. Finally, I created the white card models; models of the shop and flat that would be put in the television studio and a model of our shop façade for the backlot. As well as the drawings and the models we had to do three visuals, a prop list and material reference list! Who said Set Design was easy!? I literally spent the three weeks before the deadline living in uni and only going home to eat and sleep.
The final result was really rewarding though! My Record store was proudly named ‘Vinyl Resting Place’ (pun intended) and featured open caskets filled with records. This project has made me want to fulfill my love for soaps and hopefully pursue a career in this genre after graduation."