Alumna speaks to video art classes about job as art director

Jessica Spitz

Art director Macie Vener ’89 told Video Art II and III students in a presentation Oct. 15 that it is possible to convert entire spaces on campus “with the set dressing, lighting and paint.”

Vener is an assistant art director on the television series “True Blood.” She has also worked on feature films such as “The Good Girl,” “Freedom Writers” and “Year of the Dog.”

Visual arts teacher Marianne Hall taught Vener at Westlake. The two kept in contact after Vener graduated, and Hall asked Vener to return and work with Drawing and Painting students while Vener is on a break between seasons of “True Blood.”

After learning that Vener has been working on campus, Upper School Visual Arts Department Head Cheri Gaulke asked Vener to speak to video art students about her job.

Vener presented a slideshow of pictures of sets from “True Blood” and answered questions from students.

Vener said that she does not have a preference of TV over movies.

“What’s great about coming into this business now, as you guys will, is that there’s so much wonderful overlap,” she said. “There’s TV, like ‘True Blood,’ that has featured sets, where you really have the time to put in, and there are films that are really fast. I’ve worked on both.”

Vener discussed  different aspects of storytelling, other than just writing and directing.

“I’m not a natural-born cinematographer, but I can still tell stories,” she said.

Students learned about the many detailed layers that go into designing temporary and long-term sets.

“It made me realize the importance of detail and set design in making a film, because it’s all about the story and nothing supports the story more than the environment of the characters,” Alexander Haney ’14 said.