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Working in the Art Department

Starts April 20

In-person. 2 sessions: Saturday-Sunday, April 20-21, 10:00 am-2:00 pm

This workshop provides an in-depth look into the roles and responsibilities of the Art Department in the production of film, television, and commercials and is designed for prospective production designers, set decorators, art directors, and other Art Department crew. However, producers, directors, and directors of photography will all benefit by gaining a valuable understanding of the many details involved in creating the visual backdrop of a production.

Participants will have the opportunity to do a script breakdown (specific to the Art Department), learn about budgeting and tracking expenses, scheduling, and the division of labor. Using behind-the-scenes examples, students will see how a set can come together in a fantastic and successful way or fail completely.

The workshop objective is to showcase Art Department work as an exciting and fulfilling career path. Participants will learn about the creativity, skill, and hard work involved in taking an environment that exists only in someone’s imagination and creating a physical set that supports the vision of the production.


Session 1

  • Introduction
  • Art Department structure
  • Pathways to employment
  • Pre-production
  • Set creation from beginning to camera ready
  • Timeline
  • Design process
  • Script breakdown
  • Budgeting

Session 2

  • In production
  • Post-production
  • Why work in the Art Department
  • Q and A

It was really neat to learn about the underlying philosophy of the work, and the breakdown of the different aspects of the art department. The examples provided in images and handouts were really cool. —Spring 2023 student

The stories Dena shared really drove home the bigger pieces of information she was teaching. It felt like she had a wealth of real world examples for every hypothetical exercise. —Spring 2023 student

NOTE: this in-person course is held at FilmNorth, 550 Vandalia Street, Suite 120, Saint Paul, MN 55114. FilmNorth is following CDC’s current COVID-19 variant guidance for Ramsey County:

  • People may choose to mask at any time. Masks are recommended for those who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or at high-risk for complications associated with COVID-19 variants.
  • People with any COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should stay home.

Tuition: $210 regular | $170 member | $135 low-income

Dena Allen has worked in the film and television industry for 28 years. Some of her credits as a Los Angeles-based set decorator include: The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, Raising Hope, Jane the Virgin, and Queen of the South. Dena was nominated for an Art Director’s Guild Award in 2006 for her work on the groundbreaking first season of Heroes. She has worked on productions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Shreveport. Dena studied theater at the University of Minnesota, going on to be a stage manager for Equity waiver summer stock in Vermont and winter stock on Sanibel Island, Florida. She moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to explore working in the film industry. Now semi-retired in the Twin Cities, Dena hopes to educate everyone who’s interested in learning about the joys of working in the Art Department.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those needing to cancel a registration at least 7 days prior to the first class session, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to the first class session, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.
  • By registering for this FilmNorth class you are agreeing to our Community Values Statement.




April 20 @ 10:00 am
April 21 @ 2:00 pm
Event Categories:


Dena Allen
Registration Deadline
April 15
Maximum Enrollment
Class count or Info
2 sessions: Saturday-Sunday, April 20-21, 10:00 am-2:00 pm