Setting the Scene

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In addition to producing and recording soundscapes, creative jobs are available in Hollywood for those who can literally set the scene for the many worlds portrayed in TV, film and theatre. Haley Keim ’10 and Tanya Apuya ’08 help bring those worlds to life visually.

Haley Keim ’10Keim has found her niche as a graphic designer for film and TV productions. This involves working as part of a team on sets, costumes and props, as well as putting together Photoshop composites and “previz” artwork to visualize complex scenes before filming.

“I love that I have something to show physically for my work,” she says, “and to be part of the world where stories are being told.”

At Redlands, Keim’s studies as a theatre major and art minor exposed her to the joys of stage design—not only through classes and school productions, but also a May Term project (also attended by Apuya) that brought together the disciplines of theatre and art history with guest artist June Hudson, a U.K. costume designer known for her work on the science fiction TV phenomenon Doctor Who. Keim also spent junior year in Prague—which struck her as a “magical fairytale setting”—where she studied film and art history and started experimenting in creating her own productions.

“Redlands was a huge part of my journey,” she says.

Now a member of the Art Directors Guild, Keim notes she uses her background in theatre all the time: “I understand how form and space can say different things. I can figure out what is important from a theatrical perspective.”

Superstore. (Trae Patton/NBC)

The work of Haley Keim ’10 has helped create the worlds depicted on TV shows such as Superstore. (Trae Patton/NBC)

Even though only a few years out of school, Keim has already contributed to TV shows including Constantine, Superstore and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.

Graduating a couple years ahead of Keim, Apuya found a related calling in the L.A. entertainment scene—costume design, which she enjoys because “you can say so many things without speaking a word.”

A theatre major with an emphasis in design at the University of Redlands—where she “loved her experience”—Apuya now works for a consulting and rental company called The Costume House, which serves the film, TV and theatre industries. On the side, she also juggles her own independent projects. One of these—a Harry Potter book-inspired dress dubbed “The Story that Lived”—appeared in the 2016 Comic-Con Her Universe fashion show.

Tanya Apuya ’08

Tanya Apuya ’08 designed a Harry Potter-inspired dress that appeared in the Comic-Con Her Universe fashion show. (Photo by William Vasta)

“The dress was a culmination of all that I have learned about design and sewing techniques,” Apuya says. “First and foremost, the dress was inspired by my passion for reading and stories and secondly, Harry Potter.”

Fast friends who first bonded during late nights finishing design projects at the University, Keim and Apuya have continued to support each other as they have navigated their way through the industry. The very nature of their business means that artists often go from one gig to the next, drawing on a network of contacts and using social media to promote their work and scout for opportunities.

“It is a very up and down world with lots of highs and lows,” notes Keim. “It is so essential to have emotional support and a creative network. I hear a lot about what a tough town L.A. is, but I find it is fine, as long as I am surrounded with people who lift me up, not tear me down.”

—Mika Elizabeth Ono

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