SXSW 2024

21st Century Production Design: Digital/Analog Mixology


Conversation with award-winning Production Designers Rick Carter, Nathan Crowley, and Alex McDowell, reflecting on their careers, aesthetic influences, and integration of richly built, in-camera environments for motion pictures. Examine how, when, and why painted backdrops and physical effects supported their visual storytelling. Discover simple classic problem-solving cinematic techniques coupled with the power of game engines to create worlds. Potential Case Studies - The Greatest Showman, Tenet, Interstellar, Dunkirk, The Terminal, Watchmen, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Other Resources / Information


  1. Standing on the shoulders of giants. Lessons from cinematic history to strengthen future artists. Leveraging a mixture of digital and analog tools.
  2. Top production designers reveal clever examples of physical effects in their classic works and why they are still used in the 21st century.
  3. Learn how UT Austin's Texas Performing Arts empowers future artists, designers, and filmmakers through their Hollywood Backdrop Collection.



Karen Maness, Artist, Author, Educator, Curator, Karen Maness Art, LLC

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Creating Film & TV
  • Track 2
  • Level: Advanced

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