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Check Out Daniel Hirsch’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Hirsch.

Hi Daniel, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always loved the idea of miniatures and tiny worlds we couldn’t see. I read The Borrowers alot growing up and I’ve loved dolls and puppets as long as I can remember. I started creating miniatures when I was in grade school. I used to sculpt and create with whatever I could find. I remember in 4th grade, we were assigned a model project where we had to recreate a California mission. A lot of the kids bought kits but I made mine from scratch with plaster and cardboard. I wasn’t the best writer so dioramas became my way of storytelling. From there, I ended up going to college for theatre at San Diego State and got to create scale model set designs for different plays and musicals. After I graduated, I got a gig working at a miniature studio named New Deal Studios here in L.A. They create miniature sets for a ton of major films. I got to work on Battleship and Hugo. It was going great until I found out my dad had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

I moved home to help care for him in his last few months. He was my biggest cheerleader and as a tribute to him, I created a 1:12 scale haunted dollhouse. He would sit with me while I built it and it was our way of talking and saying goodbye. It gave me something to release my frustration and pain while I watched him deteriorate. When he died I held on to it for a bit then let it go. But I still carry that passion in my current job. I still design sets professionally for theme parks and events but create custom miniatures for customers on the side. I love it even more now than when I first started. I even started adding taxidermied mice to some of the scenes to add a little humor. People gave me mice that have died naturally and I taught myself to taxidermy and pose them. Those have gotten really popular.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I wouldn’t say smooth necessarily. There are always bumps. I had my dream job here in LA but when I found out my dad had cancer, the decision to move home to Northern California was a big bump. I wouldn’t change that decision for the world, but it was a big setback in my career. In L.A., if you aren’t here someone else jumps in. Looking back on that though, I think it propelled me to work with even more passion and appreciate how lucky I am to get to do this for a living.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m primarily a production designer and art director for haunted houses and theme parks here in LA and around the world. Even with Covid taking over gatherings and events, I am thankfully still working. I think my passion for set dressing sets me apart. Storytelling through environments is big for me. It really is a niche skill and it takes a lot of training as well as a natural eye for placement. I tell new set dressers to start working in miniature scale. It helps you to stay active in your craft when you may not have a big movie set to dress every day.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I follow a lot of miniature accounts on Instagram. One of my favorites is wildwood_miniatures. They have a really beautiful, shabby-chic look and create minis you would want to have at full scale.

Pricing:

  • An average miniature is similar to a tattoo. They range from $850 and up.

Contact Info:

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