Designing Jaws with Joe Alves

Designing Jaws with Joe Alves

Join the museum for a conversation and book signing with production designer Joe Alves and author Dennis Prince of Joe Alves: Designing Jaws.

One of the most compelling and iconic films of all time, Jaws (1975) continues to thrill new generations with its score, writing, and inventive design. Join the museum for a behind-the-scenes look with production designer Joe Alves through his book, Joe Alves: Designing Jaws.

This conversation will focus on Alves’s development of this celebrated film, including preproduction illustrations; handwritten location and production notes; on-set photographs; blueprints of the shark's design; and first-time publication of his complete catalog of storyboards. Book signing to follow.


1-1:45pm | Conversation with Joe Alves and Dennis L. Prince
Ted Mann Lobby on Lower Level 1.

2–3pm | Book Signing
Ted Mann Lobby on Lower Level 1.

Joe Alves is an American film production designer, best known for his work on three of the Jaws films.

After seeing An American in Paris (1951) at his local movie theater, Alves set his sights on production design. He majored in architecture and minored in drama in college, then attended LA's Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) with a major in motion picture design.

After a couple of years, Alves decided he really wanted to work in live action production. He started designing sets for the Hollywood Playhouse, and worked at various studios (Ziv, MGM, Fox, Warner Bros.) as a junior set designer. He went on to Universal Studios' art department and moved through the ranks as set designer, art director, and production designer. In his early years at Universal, he had the opportunity to work with such legends as Stanley Kramer, Alfred Hitchcock (Torn Curtain), Rod Serling (Night Gallery), and a young Steven Spielberg.

Alves designed Spielberg's first three feature films: The Sugarland Express (1974), Jaws, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). In 1978, Alves worked on Jaws 2 as production designer, associate producer, and second unit director. In 1983, he directed Jaws 3-D.

By the late 1980s, Alves had established himself as an A-list production designer, designing Escape from New York (1981), Everybody's All-American (1988), Freejack (1992), Geronimo (1993), and Fire Down Below (1997).
He has been nominated for two Academy Awards (Special Effects for Jaws;Production Design for Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and won the British BAFTA award for production design for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Dennis L. Prince is an accomplished author whose work spans business, technical, and entertainment-related subjects. Born in Sunnyvale, California, he began his professional writing career in 1998, and has since published more than twenty-five books and hundreds of print and digital articles. His lifetime love for movies and television led him to focus his writing on film, filmmakers, and popular culture. His favorite movie is Jaws.

Designing Jaws
Designing Jaws

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