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Production Designer

"So much of the time in television you have to fill the frame. It's the thing about television that is different from features. We tried to make this show feel like a feature."

The Production Designer

Interview  |  Bio

A good production designer is a builder of worlds, part architect, part model maker, part painter. He or she is responsible for pretty much everything (apart from the actors) that is placed in front of the camera during the production of a feature film, for the color, size, texture and shape of anything the camera sees. He is generally one of the first major collaborators hired by the director, and in early production meetings with the director of photography he begins to get a sense of the props, furniture, and background architecture called for in each scene, and of how each sequence will be photographed. The models and concept drawings created by the production designer can be enormously helpful to the director and the DP when they are drawing up lists of shots. The craftsmen who report directly to the production designer include the set decorator, the head carpenter, and the property master, but his overall visual concept also guides the contributions of nominally independent department heads such as the costume designer, the location manager, and the makeup artist.


"Production designers create dreams and fantastical places. We've created this fantasy of a 1943 Harlem apartment, and it's all just wood and plastic. We have a very convincing illusion going."

Read more of the In-Depth Interview with The Old Settler production designer John Iacovelli here.


John Iacovelli is a Production Designer for film, television and theatre. A graduate of New York University and the University of Nevada, he has credits that span both coasts and the better part of two decades. In addition to designing the sets for the PBS Hollywood Presents television production of The Old Settler, Mr. Iacovelli is also showcasing his work on other stage and screen projects.

Mr. Iacovelli has recently completed the first season of the new sci-fi series Crusade, which will begin airing on June 9, 2001 on the TNT Network. He has designed five seasons of the acclaimed series Babylon 5, which garnered a nomination for Excellence in Production Design from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Art Directors in 1997. He has acted as the art director or production designer for such projects as The Cosby Show, Santa Barbara, A Different World, and Future Quest hosted by Jeff Goldblum.

Mr. Iacovelli has designed a wide range of films for television, including six space epics based on Babylon 5 and four National Lampoon spoofs for Showtime. He also designed the critically acclaimed feature Ruby in Paradise starring Ashley Judd. Mr. Iacovelli has been on the cutting edge of integrated digital Art Direction since his work on the first of the successful Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! films.

Mr. Iacovelli is currently represented on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre with the revival of Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby. This is the latest of the more than two hundred theatre productions that Mr. Iacovelli has designed across the nation. He has won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Backstage West Garland Award, and fourteen Dramalogue Awards. He has also been nominated twice for an Ace Award for Art Direction. Additionally, Time Magazine listed one of his rock videos as the "10 Best on TV" in 1990.

John Iacovelli
John Iacovelli

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