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Allan Starski
Production Designer
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“In movies you have from like 40 to 150 locations and each location needs to be specifically prepared.” Allan Starski is a Production Designer who designed the set for several popular films, as for example Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. “It is a good moment, when the audience sees the movie for the first time and I sit between the people and I feel the emotion”, he told us at the Let's CEE Festival in Vienna.


Drei Ratschläge an Dein 14jähriges Ich!

First advice is to finish a good school then second advice is to meet good people and third is to make good choices.

Was steht auf Deiner Visitenkarte?

It says my name is Allan Starski and my profession is production designer. It means I design the sets for the movies.

Was ist das coolste an Deinem Job?

I love the most the moment when we finish the shooting and am happy with the everything went good and this moment I would like to feel the satisfaction and sometimes when the proud that I did the movie and the second good moment is when the audience is seeing first time the movie and I'm between the audience and I feel emotion as a someone who see. Not only my work but good story on the screen.

Welche Einschränkungen bringt Dein Job mit sich?

Always is a good movie and a new movie is a challenge, I must tell you. After all these years of movie making I never had a such a comfort that I can say to myself okay I'm doing something similar to my previous experience and this is challenge but it's also excitement that each new project is a new story, is a new director, a new emotion and I have to learn each time the new thing about sets which I will go now build.

Worum geht es in Deinem Job?

I can tell you by step how my job looks like. First I'm meeting director who is proposing me the movie. When I'm reading the script we discuss where we should go and scout the places which we would like to use in the movie. When we are scouting, I am scouting the movie with the director, sometime with the director of photography and with the producer. We are discussing during the scout some specific scenes we would like to shoot in certain locations. Then if we couldn't find a proper location we discuss how many sets we have to build on the stage when we finish all the discussion, I am doing the budget. When the budget is more or less confirmed by producer, I'm starting designing the movie then I'm employing my partners or my assistants. We are doing the drawings. When the drawings are ready or even during the designing the drawings I'm presenting them to director and sometimes to producers. When the drawings are accepted I'm contacting my construction manager. Construction manager is doing more precise budget and then we start making elements for the sets in the same time the big crew or if it's a bigger movie the construction crew is starting building the sets in the studio. When sets are ready, and they should be ready at least the first round before the shoot is starting. Director is, I'm presenting the sets to the director, to the director of photography. Then we're addressing the sets because I'm building the sets and if the set is like apartment, they say I'm building empty apartment. Then I'm aging the apartment, giving the life to this. I'm saying in the movie we were not having new places. You have places where people are living so it means these places have some certain age. Yes, I am sometimes in doing the same job in the theater. In the theatre room we have one two scenery during the cold show. In the movie you have like 40-150 locations and each location needs to be specifically prepared. So this is my job.

Wie sieht Dein Werdegang aus?

In my way it's very easy. I am from filmmakers’ family. My father was a script writer. From the youngest time I was in the circle of movie making people and because I finished Arts school, I mean Academy of Art. In the beginning I was not maybe so interested in movie making. I was doing some graphics designing but I think it was obvious that finally I would land in movie business. So it was just my destiny. Mostly I was doing all the time the same job only on different levels. I start like assistant of a director, when I become a director but I was lucky enough that this to, the period when I was just assistant was pretty short and after two three years I already met [opaque 00:04:57] who was very famous polish film director. I made with him first my movie which was pretty attractive and exotic because it was Shadow of the Adventures by Joseph Conrad which deal with 19th century sailing from ship Singapore to Bangkok. I did this movie fast it was historic movie. After that I was already recognizable production designer as I started working in Europe then I met Alan Pakula I scout with him Sophy's Choice after but I had offer for some smaller American movie then I did the Schindlers list then Pianist.

Ginge es auch ohne Deinem Werdegang?

This job is not only the art job, this is a craftsman, this is so important that in my job... I mean everyone who is coming to the movie as a production designer or director should have a really good skill in designing making drawings. Should know the computer, I don't know, all these programs to design by computer the drawings. Should have some good knowledge about the history. It's combination of arts and profession.