More than What Meets the Eye: An Analysis of the Changing Aesthetic Standards of Production Design in Philippine Film and Television Drama Productions

More than What Meets the Eye: An Analysis of the Changing Aesthetic Standards of Production Design in Philippine Film and Television Drama Productions

Espineda, A. C. (2019). More than What Meets the Eye: An Analysis on the Changing Aesthetic Standards of Philippine Film and Television Production Design. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis. University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

The production designer’s main role is to conceptualize the visual aesthetic of the production based on the notes made by the producer, director, and scriptwriter. Basically, this job entails understanding not only basic design principles, but also the various contexts, whether it is within the film’s narrative or the culture it was rooted in, to make it an immersive visual experience. With these nuances at hand, the designing process is unique in different countries. By conducting interviews with three (3) award-winning Filipino production designers—specifically Mitoy Sta. Ana, Leo Abaya, and Steff Dereja, the researcher tried to uncover what the job of production designing in the Philippines entails and how the manipulation of various design elements enhance the aesthetic quality of a production. From the results of the interview, three (3) selected works of each production designer were watched and the visual components were taken note of to find out the patterns on the local aesthetic standards and the uniqueness of each design concept compared to that of other countries. Applying the genre, auteur, and Adorno’s aesthetic theory in the analysis helped uncover the concept of synergistic authorship which argues that the production designer or any member from the crew can still claim ownership to it as their ideas contributed to telling such compelling stories.

Keywords: Production design, aesthetics, design elements, visual components, synergistic authorship

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