Job title: Production Designer
Mark Leese is a production designer who has worked on projects like This is England, The Magdalene Sisters and Things to Do Before You're 30. His most recent credits include The Wife. He is also an established theatre director.
Describe your job in your own words
As production designer, I am responsible for the look and mood of a film. This involves designing sets, props, and being in charge of a large team.
How did you get into the industry?
After five years at art college studying fine art, I started work in theatre as a set painter before doing a postgraduate diploma in electronic Imaging. I then returned to theatre as a set designer and continued to be involved in short films and eventually features.
My luckiest break was designing The Magdalene Sisters, which was my first feature and went on to win many prizes at festivals around the world.
The best career decision I made was to participate in many varied projects rather than concentrate on one particular genre.
What training or education did you find most useful?
Working in theatre for 10 years taught me many different skills and gave me the opportunity to experiment with ideas.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Not to rush. Take time to become familiar with all types of jobs within your chosen area.
Be passionate about films. Take your time to move up the career ladder. Network with people as much as you can - you never know where your next job will come from.
Attend cinema screenings, industry network events, cultural events such as theatre and art exhibitions and also being a BAFTA member. There are certainly more people in the industry now, and consequently, more competition.
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