Life as an Entertainment Designer an Interview with Sasha Bailyn of EntertainmentDesigner.com
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Life as an Entertainment Designer: An Interview with Sasha
Bailyn of EntertainmentDesigner.com
Karen Kestelo o t
December 17, 2013
Entertainment Design is a specif ic study that deals with the creation of compelling visual experience
through public spaces and the entertainment industry. Example of these are theme parks, f ilm,
television f irms, commercials, and video games.
In this post, we will talk to one of the people involved in the entertainment design industry.
Sasha Bailyn, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of
EntertainmentDesigner.com, has granted PortPrep this
exclusive interview about entertainment design as a branch
of study in design and as an industry where designers can
earn f or a living.
What is entertainment design to you in a
Entertainment design is the collaborative art of creating
experiences that excite the mind: theme parks and rides, live
shows, exhibits, and themed venues are just a f ew
examples. What we call “entertainment” is orchestrated by a
talented group of people known as entertainment
designers (or sometimes “experience designers”), and
represents a combination of artistry, imagination and
How did you come across the
Entertainment Design f ield? What inspired
you to become one?
Sas ha Bailyn (c lic k he re to vie w whe re imag e was take n)
I have wanted to be an entertainment designer since I was
6, af ter my f irst trip to Disneyland. I was creating worlds and imaginative experiences at an early age, so it
seemed natural that I could grow up and create experiences f or other people to enjoy. It wasn’t until college,
though, that I realized there was an entire industry f or entertainment design. Once I realized that my dream job
actually existed, I came up with a 4-year plan to amass the right skills to be part of the industry.
What course/s did you study bef ore going into Entertainment Design? Were they
pivotal in getting you a job?
I studied f ilmmaking in
college, majoring in
disciplines gave me good
insight and skills f or
Later, I went into
architecture to get more of
a spatial background. I
wouldn’t say that these
programs or disciplines
were pivotal in getting me
into entertainment design,
but it is extremely helpf ul
to be able to think like a
f ilmmaker, brand developer
and an architect.
bef ore studying
Ré alis atio n d ’un film (Pho to c re d it: Wikip e d ia)
Students should f irst consider what kind of career and lif estyle they hope to have. Entertainment design
demands a f lexible lif estyle: you may not have much control over where you need to live/travel, how many
hours you work and how much money you make. If stability and reliability are important, entertainment design
may not be the right f ield. It’s an industry of boom and bust – when there is a lot of work, the hours can be
demanding and there may be constant travel. T here will also be lag times when things are slow (such as during
a recession) – this is when entertainment designers need to be clever about applying their skills to other
industries or dif f erent kinds of projects.
What would you suggest to high school students looking into this career to do to
prepare f or university? What’s the most ef f icient and f astest way to become an
Students should try as much as possible to identif y what aspect of entertainment design they truly enjoy and
have an af f inity f or – whether it’s engineering, interior design, theater, art, programming, etc. T his industry is all
about being able to bring skills and expertise to the table to achieve incredible, “never-been-done-bef ore”
things. A student’s best ticket into the industry is a strong portf olio and a clear sense of how they can
contribute to the process. My advice is to pick a discipline to study in college, build a great portf olio and then
network like crazy.
What do ED companies normally look f or in their applicants?
Portf olio and experience, f irst and f oremost. T hey want to know what applicants can do to contribute to the
process. Companies also look f or passion and drive.
What is Entertainment Design like as an industry? Is it currently a competitive
market with lots of demand or is it still a relatively small industry with select
companies and people to choose f rom?
T he industry is very small and tight-knit, but the opportunities are
global and vary dramatically in terms of project types. It’s def initely
competitive between companies because there are only so many
theme parks being built, and there is a also a sense of competition
amongst individuals vying f or similar jobs, but despite this there is
a great sense of community. Entertainment design is extremely
collaborative, so everyone has worked with everyone, and there is
a preserved sense of camaraderie despite the competition.
Could you give us an idea on how ED teams deal
with their clients?
Navy Pie r The me Park (Pho to c re d it:
And o s _p ic s )
It really depends on the team and the client. Every relationship and
project is dif f erent, and each company has their own style.
Have you encountered clients who hired you to design non-public spaces such
as of f ices? What are your experiences regarding this one?
I have not personally experienced this, but entertainment design companies do work with institutions such as
schools, hospitals, etc. It takes a visionary client to hire an entertainment designer f or a private institution.
What are some of the obstacles that an Entertainment Designer has to
Instability (in terms of job security, pay, hours, travel requirements)
Work-lif e balance / pace of work
Depending on personality, learning to work well with a team and receive constructive criticism
How is the career growth in ED?
It’s all about who you know, where you f it in and how good you are at what you do. T he growth can be great at
some companies, and in other cases, owning your own company or being a f reelancer is the best way to get
What are the keys to success in becoming a great EDer?
Expertise, good teamwork and listening skills, passion, ambition, stamina
For more about Sasha and her services as an Entertainment Designer, visit her site by clicking here.