Dig Baton Rouge

A Different Kind Of Art Class

By Tara Bennett

In film, the design and style can be just as important as the acting and writing. When executed well, it can build an entirely new world, make a different time and place feel transcendent, or even help create a filmmaker’s signature look. But where does it all start?

The Baton Rouge branch of New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) is currently accepting applications for their upcoming training session, “Art Department Crash Course.”

The final deadline for applications is Wednesday, March 25. The course will be held on March 28 and 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be hosted at NOVAC:BR’s office at The Creative Bloc located in downtown Baton Rouge.

The “Art Department Crash Course” class will be taught by John Richoux, a local production designer who also is a graduate of NOVAC and will be on the lookout for his next hires.

“There is a need to educate our locals in this department, and he needs people to hire,” said NOVAC:BR Programs Manager Elizabeth Hutchison. “So this is a great incentive while he is teaching. He is looking at who is thriving because he needs to hire new bodies because it’s that busy out there.”

During the two day course, participants will learn the responsibilities of the art department through the duration of the film process all the way from prep, production to wrap. The art department is primarily responsible for the design and construction of a movie set, and help construct the “look” and “feel” of the movie. Some of the responsibilities that will be covered include props, set deck, and construction. Equipment terminology will be covered, as well as learning how to build a Hollywood flat, painting, and how to use saw guns and nail guns. Participants will also learn how to build and dress a set all in one weekend.

“It is a super cool class because we have a lot of people interested in working with their hands like painting or construction, but they don’t know how to start or draw upon those skills and use them in the film industry,” said Hutchison. “So this class is for those people.”

Now is a great time to begin a career in the film industry because of the sheer high demand of workers for film and television.

“I moved back here from Los Angeles in 2009, and never since I’ve been back have I seen the city of Baton Rouge so busy with the film and television projects going on in town,” said Hutchison. “It’s really exciting.”

According to Hutchison, everyone is welcome to take the course no matter their skill set, but skills in construction, painting or visual arts are useful.

“I have a lot of theatre majors that have built sets for plays, and a lot of people who want to translate those skills to the film industry,” said Hutchison. “People good with their hands, painters, people who like to build things, this is a great class for them.”

Participants who successfully complete the course and graduate will then be given a complementary year-long membership to NOVAC:BR, which entitles them to resume help and networking opportunities. Hutchison will also work closely with participants in finding job placements. To date NOVAC: BR has trained over 100 people with over 50 percent placements in the industry.

While the courses are free, interested attendees should submit a resume and completed application to elizabeth@novacvideo.org or via mail to NOVAC, 532 Louisa Street, New Orleans, LA 70117 by Wednesday, March 25 at 5 p.m. Upon receiving applications and resumes, NOVAC will then schedule a 10-minute phone interview to the applicant. Applicants will receive email notification of their acceptance to the program on. No prior film experience is required.

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