Crafting the Spaceship: My Journey in Design for “Phoenix Beyond”

As I embarked on my master’s program at the Savannah College of Art and Design, I never anticipated the incredible journey that awaited me. It was during this time that I had the opportunity to contribute to a remarkable project – the creation of a spaceship for the short film “Phoenix Beyond.”

The film’s storyline, directed by Neil Short, revolves around a young man trapped in a monotonous daily routine within the confines of a spaceship. His mundane existence is disrupted when a fellow shipmate lures him outside, revealing the shocking truth: their spaceship is, in reality, an observation pod housed within a warehouse. The project was a testament to the transformative power of film and the art of set design.

Creating the spaceship itself was a monumental task that took an entire month and a dedicated team of students. We were faced with the challenge of bringing a futuristic and enigmatic environment to life. The design was influenced by the intricate structure of a hexagonal hive, creating a visually captivating yet eerie aesthetic. To add an extra layer of suspense, we incorporated a sickly green tint, subtly hinting to the audience that something was amiss.

What I quickly learned through this experience was the critical difference between designing for film and theater. In the realm of film, every detail is meticulously examined, as the camera captures even the smallest nuances. Scenic techniques that might work seamlessly on a theater stage can be far less forgiving when a camera lens is involved, making precision and attention to detail paramount.

The process was not without its challenges, from scaling the 30-foot ladders to address every minute detail, to navigating the complexities of film production, which often meant working long hours with little sleep. It was a journey that tested my limits but also solidified my passion for design.

“Phoenix Beyond” was not just a film; it was a testament to the power of storytelling through visual elements. It was a journey of creative discovery and collaboration, a testament to the dedicated individuals who poured their talent and hard work into bringing this science fiction tale to life.

Reflecting on my experience with “Phoenix Beyond,” I am reminded that creativity knows no bounds and that the pursuit of design can lead to revelations about the subtle nuances that can bring a story to life on screen. It was a transformation journey, both for the characters within the film and for me as a designer.

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