Set Decorator Secrets

October 24th, 2020

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On October 24th, we hosted our third Set Decorator Secrets ZOOM session on how to break down a script and character development.

The panel included Emmy nominated Set Decorators Rae Deslich, Ron V. Franco and Don Diers. The webinar was moderated by SDSA Executive Director Gene Cane.

Each Set Decorator walked us through their process from breaking down a script, researching and developing the characters, creating inspiration boards and renderings, presentations, and set stills demonstrating the process and end results.

They discussed how they work and communicate with their teams and production departments, and ways to work with practical locations and stage sets.

They shared sourcing tips, resource secrets, and valuable personal experiences. The 3-hour webinar wrapped up with Rae, 'reading' the character and story that Ron's 'Zoom room' was telling. Like a good profiler, and talented Set Decorator, she was spot on!

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A little bit about our guests.

Rae Deslich’s journey to becoming an award winning Set Decorator comes from various jobs in Film, Television, Commercials, Print, Promos, and even Gaming! Working in all aspects from carpentry, to on-set dresser, she was a prop master, and assistant props on the huge hit GLEE. Rae also worked as a Buyer on such films as ANNABELLE! The hilarious DRUNK HISTORY has brought Rae 2 Emmy nominations and an Art Directors Guild award. Additional credits include the pseudo-science fun of ADAM RUINS EVERYTHING, the reboot of PARTY OF FIVE, the music and love limited reality series THE BACHELOR PRESENTS: LISTEN TO YOUR HEART, the lauded upcoming feature PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN and the current ABC-TV hit SUPERMARKET SWEEP.

Ron V. Franco is a longtime member of the SDSA, he has worked his way up to his position as a noteworthy Set Decorator from crew to Leadman to Assistant Set Decorator on DAY AFTER TOMORROW, MR & MISS SMITH, and the original X FILES series developing a keen eye and depth of characterization. His Set Decoration credits include PACIFIC BLUE, fan favorites HEROES and HBO’s TRUE BLOOD, which garnered Ron 6 Emmy Award nominations between the two series. Recently Ron did the sumptuous interiors of GRAND HOTEL, the modernized American version of the beloved series from Spain and the heavily layered GOLIATH. In the final episode of Showtime’s HOUSE OF LIES, Ron took on a remarkable adventure shooting in Cuba. Ron’s amazing skills have represented the SDSA at Legends of La Cienega, a high end design showcase in West Hollywood and he has served as President of the SDSA among other officer rolls in the organization.

Don Dier's body of work is astounding: from action thrillers like GONE IN 60 SECONDS to the horrors of DRAG ME TO HELL, and the quirky fan favorite TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DENSITY. Don also worked on the TV series COMMUNITY, the high style film DOWN WITH LOVE, the astounding KIDDING, the not so beautiful SPEECHLESS, and anybody’s dream job, THE MUPPETS which brought him an Emmy Award nomination and an ADG award. Don is also an accomplished Art Director as well as a noted artist and photographer and can be heard on numerous podcasts.

The day consisted of many photo sharing and story telling but the best part were all the slide shows and examples. This team of Set Decorators really brought their A game. But how does one fold in the many wonderful years of their artistic vision and large body of work in just a short three hours you ask? Because these professionals were equally prepared to show their participants the highlights and lowlights of the art of story telling through visuals as if they were presenting to a Production Designer. As a guest, one could not have asked for more. Well, except maybe another hour. 

Thank you so much Don Diers, Ron V. Franco, and Rae Deslich for sharing your time and your stories with us!

Please stay tuned for our next event coming in February. But in the mean time, if you are left with wanting more, we have all our past events via ZOOM available for a nominal fee. Please email us at for more information. 

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KIDDING Set Decorator Don Diers SDSA

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TRUE BLOOD Set Decorator Ron V. Franco "Werewolf Bar"

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Don Diers SDSA

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TRUE BLOOD Set Decorator Ron V. Franco