Today we’d like to introduce you to Carter Shults.
Carter, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up in the South near Houston, TX, and I knew from a young age that I wanted to make it in Hollywood one day. I studied Film & Television Production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts with an emphasis on Production Design, and from there I began to work for The Late Late Show with James Corden. After five years with the show and a lot of memories, I left to start my own design business, Design by Carter, which focuses on multiple types of set design — music videos, live experiences, installations, and more. My goal is to grow my business over the next few years and start an agency that reps young, up-and-coming designers and introduces them to the art department world in Hollywood.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Starting a business is always a struggle, but with struggle comes massive reward. It was really hard leaving a comfortable job with an Emmy award-winning show that became my LA family over the years, but I had to take the leap in order to pursue my dreams. The biggest struggle has been saying goodbye to steady paychecks and good health insurance… I’ve had to rework my finances and change my relationship with money in order to make a profit, but I’ve had a lot of success so far and my business continues to grow. The hardest part is taking the initial leap.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a production designer that designs more than just sets for film and television — my main passion is designing live experiences and installations. Five years ago, I started an event I named The Met Gayla — a queer fashion gala for artists and creatives in the LGBTQIA+ community to meet, dance, and socialize. I thought it was unfair that only the world’s elite celebrities were invited to the iconic Met Gala, so I decided to host my own showcasing my work and allowing other artists to showcase theirs. Every Summer, over the course of a few months, I build massive sets with a curated theme, and on the special night, my guests arrive in costumes made for the specific theme. The private party has essentially become the signature of my brand, and I’m aiming to take the event public very soon. Everyone deserves the chance to attend the Met Gala, and I’m more than happy to be Anna Wintour for a night.
So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
The most important thing to me has always been staying true to myself. Life is too short to doubt yourself — there’s only one of you, so give the world a big show. I’ve never been the type of person to bend to the will of others, and in every project I do, I want the designs to really feel like me. I want people to see my work without knowing it was me and say, “Oh, that’s definitely Design by Carter.” That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.designbycarter.com
- Instagram: @designbycarter
- Other: Personal Instagram @carter_shults
Main photo was taken by Rick Bhatia.