Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Starting Construction Drawings

So far on my next show, Se Llama Christina, I've talked with the director about the general design; talked with the TD (Technical Director) about how to build the slightly tricky "floating" effect we want; designed the thing;  and sketched a "pretty" (ish anyway) plan and elevation which I presented at the first production meeting.  There we made some revisions to the idea in order to accommodate some coolo lighting effects.

Now it's time to do the construction drawings.

I have a meeting tomorrow with my intern where we'll discuss just what these CDs need to be.  Here's my thinking so far:

1)  A plan - always gotta have a plan.  It's the one drawing that tells the builder where things layout in the theater space.  This will probably be at 1/4" per 1'-0" scale because it's a simple unit-set design and that scale fits on easy-to-copy sized paper, 11"x17."

2)  But do I need an undercarriage plan?  (AKA a foundation drawing.)  This set has a "floating" overhang or cantilever.  My builder's very clever so could certainly figure out the leg placements herself - but would it be nice of me to help with that?

3)  Overall elevation.  Many designers don't bother with this, jumping straight to drawings of flats, but I like my builders to understand what the finished project ought to look like.  It helps them catch mistakes (theirs and mine).  Besides... I've already drawn it.

4)  Individual wall elevations.  Must-haves since these will show all the details and dimensions needed to build 'em.  I'll draw these larger too, at least 1/2"=1'-0," probably 3/4"=1'-0" for greater clarity.  Having drawn these, I rarely bother to draw individual flats - any division into flats and the flats' construction is usually so obvious to experienced set builders that drawing 'em is a waste of time.  If this, however, were a more complex set or one with set changes (instead of a unit set) or if it were going to break down to tour, then I'd need to do those flat drawings.

5)  Details...  But what's needed?  I know I'll need to figure out the cradle-hanging-in-space detail.  That may end up clearest as a 3D drawing, an axonometric, at a largish scale.  Anything else?

A medieval tomb drawn as an axonometric projection, for Incorruptible

In case you haven't run across the term axonometric - it looks a bit like a perspective drawing (and is as useful as a perspective in explaining to directors) but it's much faster to draw because it's simply the ordinary plan twisted to 30/60 degrees then with the vertical lines drawn vertical.  Total cheat.  But so fast!  And very good at explaining 3D relationships.  Plus you can still dimension it as you would any other plan - as in this example.

6)  Renderings.  If this were going to be bid out to scenic houses or were going to be painted by official not-me scenic painters, then I'd need to create painted go-by renderings of the floor and walls.  Maybe even a painted model.  But since I know I'm going to be painting this sucker myself...  that colored design sketch I already made is plenty.

7)  Model?  The design is so simple that I don't need a model to visualize it.  I don't think the builder does either.  But if I find an extra half a day (after taxes!), I'll make a fast model for the director and actors.  Not, again, because they can't imagine the scenery but as a fun enrichment to the process.  I hope I'll get time.

How long will these construction drawings take?

That largely depends on how many interruptions there are, but I ought to be able to finish them in a couple days.  I'm aiming to have them finished by the end of the week and - if possible - that model for Monday's first read through.

(In case you're curious, here's the rest of the set for the show that had that medieval tomb in it.)

Incorruptible at Circle Theatre - more at http://www.devriesdesign.net/past.html under "incorruptible"

ADDENDUM:  A section!  Of course!  I need a section cut through this set, drawn to explain the levels and set back legs etc. of this raised platform.  Thank goodness interns think of these things.

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