I'm a young lighting designer from Maine looking into graduate schools for lighting design. I have been down this path before. I ended up in a graduate program that turned out to be awful. My professor was verbally abusive (in class, during tech, and on out of school projects) and I learned absolutely nothing from him my entire time there. It got to the point I was visibly shaking going into his class every week. One week I was talented, the next I was the worst student he had ever seen. I love theatre and I love light design. This program made me start to hate both.
Why did I stay as long as I did? The school had painted a really pretty picture and I was drawn in by that...when I got there it was a whole different story. But I was learning from my Master Electrician (she was fantastic, one of the best I have ever worked with),my other professors, and my fellow students. I had some great experiences while I was there but the bad outweighed the good 90% of the time. I understand that grad school is intense but this was ridiculous so I left.
Now I back to try again. This time I want to get it right. The biggest thing I'm looking for is a mentor that I feel comfortable talking to, that I can bounce ideas off of. My biggest challenge right now is that I'll have a great idea for a show but I wont know how to pull it off. I would love a mentor that can guide me in the right direction while letting me come to the decision on my own. I also would love a program that let's me explore other areas of lighting as well...concerts, opera, especially dance.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.