FIDM Faces

Ali Matilla

Graduate
Entertainment Set Design & Decoration
Set Decorator, Disney T.V.'s Zeke and Luther

I had always been a visual thinker when reading books and very imaginative, so once I actually tapped into the film world, I really found out what I loved to do.”

Ali Matilla graduated with an Entertainment Set Design & Decoration degree from FIDM in 2008 and is already hugely successful, working as a set decorator on Disney TV show Zeke and Luther. Her days are long - she's on set with her team at 5:30 A.M. (an hour and a half before the 7:00 A.M. call time) and works a 12-hour day. When she's not picking out cool props from prop houses and antique, thrift, and fabric stores to make the set, she's busy meeting with her assistant, TV show directors and producers, production designers, and the rest of the crew to finalize details. She's also responsible for a budget and must submit everything to the producers for approval.

Where do you shop for the set?
I head to prop houses, fabric stores, antique shops, and thrift stores to pull and photograph ideas for the sets. My assistant will print out a sort of show and tell selection of props I have found, as well as fabric swatches and art so I can get approval from the designer. There will also be a production meeting with all the department heads and Disney representatives to go over the two episodes and responsibilities of each department, making sure prop specifics are covered, sets are designed and decorated properly, and stunts and wardrobe meet the expectations of the writers and creators.

What do you love about your job?
Finding pieces of a character in their environments - an extension of them, from their quirks and nuances, to impeccable style or taste. It really is a blast, and as a decorator you get to get out in the world and away from drawing and actually find those pieces for them!

How has FIDM helped prepare you for your career?
FIDM was like a light bulb moment for me. Wonderful mentors took me under their wings to help push my mind and skills and truly find out what I wanted to do for a career. To name a few: Perlman, Lopresti, Diers, Tittle, and Patrinos.

Please Note: The information contained herein was confirmed at the time of original publication.

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