back to school – licence to draft

Well it always has been a conundrum for me, should you learn by doing or sitting in the class room. What is there to know -that I haven’t seen or experienced, in life and after years on film sets, in different capacities. Or what do I need to learn, to get to the roles and productions that full-fill my dreams and utilise my passion and broad skill set?

Well, I sure know there is and always will be a lot to learn, but what is the best way? After some not so good experiences on small independent productions ( I am not going to mention here) I was convinced that there’s gotta be a better way to progress.

After some research, phonecalls, discussions and a good talking to my trusted nearest and dearest: I was on mission to see how I can advance my progress.

I spare you the serendipitous circumstance in detail: but I knew I had done the right thing when I eventually had Terry Ackland-Snow on the phone. Here was a person to learn from and sure the right kind of person too. After some portfolio introductions, chats and a face to face interview, I started my training at FDI, Pinewood studio in February this year.

And learning from such a well seasoned filmmaker in the industry for around 50 years, it is the knowledge and passion of practical effects we shared. With such a knowledgable mentor, I am getting skilled up: visualising on paper what the camera can see.

I am sure you will see more drawings on this blog in time to come. In particular the photographer in me is somewhat in awe of the possibility to be able to draw on paper what the camera can see. Be assured there will be a few entries on that journey, sharing some more sketches I produced on technical camera projections.

As the vision is mission: it is the draughting skill to visualise and pull into existence what is only thought of: From the plain of imagination into the art of Illusion and make believe.

I spare you the details (or write about it later) of the challenges this skill brings and above all the learning about oneself and that grey mass in between our ears; housing the machinery of imagination. A muscle that needs and gets trained with every line drawn, not so much looking at the paper in front of me, but what we see in our inner mind.

More to the point what the Director & production designer sees in their mind, supporting the process to realise and communicate.

You gotta have a plan. 😉


In some very long and intense weeks, with Terry on my side every step of the way – that muscle had a good work out and I accomplished to stand on the first leg of art direction and production design. All so much more aware; of how much more there is to learn.

Being able to communicate ones imagination and the necessary steps; the involvement of the art department in the success of a productions, is what became all too clear. It all starts with a sketch ( may it be on the back of an envelope) to communicate to all other departments, making visible and realise the next steps.

Well my next steps are to practice and apply – I’ll gladly share with you on this blog. Before I return to Pinewood studio ( hopefully) some time next year to complete my training in Art Direction with Terry Ackland-Snow.

For now I have the license to draft and am soon to join the British Film Design Guild as affiliated member. In order to rub shoulders and hear from those that walked the path; I intend to follow those that truly understand and give me pointers for ways to progress.

As Terry said: I gotta find my groove.

JUNE @2020


Published by danielafleckenstein

Using my creativity as Life Coach to encourage people to move forward in their lives. I also work as Editorial and Art Photographer creating the image you only dreamed of, supporting you throughout the whole process from conception to creation. Find the information you seek about me on

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