Matt Jefferies gives his advice to budding art directors.
I get mail and theyíll send pictures of something that theyíve built. One man sent a whole packet of pictures. He had duplicated all of our interior sets on a model from watching the TV screen. I think he said he was forty-two, he was an engineer, became a Star Trek nut when still in High School, and what did I think of his work. And I had to write back and tell him, "A good try. Now sit down and do something on your own."
Sounds like good advice to me.
Youíve got to keep the creativity going. Iíve had students taking film courses call and want to come in for an interview and Iíll look through their art work. If they show a definite creative bent Iím the wettest blanket they could run into, because art directors come from scenic artists, sketch artists, or from the ranks of the set designers, and there is no basic plan to become an art director. Finally some producer decides to take a chance on you.
In the meantime youíre going to be executing somebody elseís work, and to me itís a death knell for creativity. If they showed up a sharp drawing capability but no creativity then Iíd put them in line to somebody they could talk to, to become a set designer or sketch artist. But if they were really creative, boy, donít come around here, itíll kill you.