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Applying to college with a Set Design Focus-best schools?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by CaliforniaSetDesigner, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. CaliforniaSetDesigner

    CaliforniaSetDesigner Member

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    Hi, I am going to be a senior in highschool next year and will be applying to colleges. For the past year I have worked as a set designer on 9 shows and counting. I really love everything about the work from building to painting to striking it all down. So far my college list is:

    Depaul
    Carnegie Mellon
    Boston University
    University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
    UCLA
    USC
    UC Irvine
    Ithaca
    Emerson
    Northwestern

    Can you tell me anything about these schools and/or suggest others to look at?

    I have a 3.4 GPA (but straight A's in all honors AP classes junior year), an extensive portfolio with 3 professional credits, and a 32 on the ACT (2130 on the new SAT).

    Please help. I would love to hear anything advice you can give me.
    P.s. I already know about Syracuse and SUNY Purchase- but I wouldn't like to live in grey slabs of stone worse than prison.


    Ally
     
  2. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Carnegie is top notch and cut throat. I've heard good things about UCLA and UC Irvine from the friends I have who went through the grad programs. Northwestern is supposed to be good as well. Look into UC Davis as all their design tech faculty are great.

    One thing to note...a lot of the colleges you're looking at have grad programs, if you think you can thrive in an environment where you do mostly theoretical work you'll be ok. If you want more hands on look at a school that's only has an undergrad program.

    Also look at this thread http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5289&page=2
     
  3. CaliforniaSetDesigner

    CaliforniaSetDesigner Member

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    Grog12-

    Thanks for the reply! I decided to make my own thread specifically about set design in case someone knew anything. I know that some schools focus on their acting programs and just have a faculty member build sets for the shows. Therefore, I was hoping someone could give me the best advice on where to go for set design.

    About the grad program thing, do some schools let undergrads compete with grads for shows?

    Ally
     
  4. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Yes, but from what I've seen typically not until their junior year.
    Keep in mind this will change from school to school.
    That's not to say that there aren't opportunites for undergrads, its just typically mainstage shows go to the graduates.
    At my grad school the undergrads designed in our unsupported space mainly because of the amount of grad students. The three main undergrads where given their first mainstage or supported show in their Junior/Senior year. They worked and learned from hands on experience as well as classroom but design opportunites were limted.

    Unforunetly my undergrad has fallen apart or I would point you there.

    Answer this for me...where do you ultimatly want to end up? I mean this career wise and where in the country/world wise.
     
  5. CaliforniaSetDesigner

    CaliforniaSetDesigner Member

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    Wow that is a difficult question. Certainly not broke working as a set builder/setpainter/set designer/stage manager/child wrangler for children's theatre, like I am right now!! I would love to spend my time eventually working on and off broadway flying back and forth between LA and NY. I have several friends in the film business so I might try working on movies and see how I like it. At this point I would love to try several different mediums when it comes to set design- I would even love to work for Cirque de Soleil! Ideally I can just be a set designer rather than the set builder and fly in during tech week to make sure the crew has been following my instructions. In terms of going to grad school, I would like to hopefully go to Yale for set design or some other top notch school.

    I have one question, what are the best schools for directing and producing theatre and/or film? That might be interesting thing for me to consider in terms of networking etc.
     
  6. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Here's why I ask...if you want to be on the West coast...go to school out west. Same applies for the east. With what you've said about maybe wanting to work in film I'd suggest CalArts and UC Davis again.

    Funny thing you mention Cirque they do a internship in Las Vegas every semester and place one-two people at all their shows there. I think you have to be a Junior/senior in college but check it out.

    Whichever schools you end up looking at ask this question:
    Where are your students ending up?

    And make sure you visit a school (preferably while its in session) before deciding to go there.

    I'm not sure about directing programs, hopefully someone else can fill in there.
     
  7. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Ithaca is a great school. As I have said in many of my other posts about my alma mater, it is a conservatory style program in a liberal arts setting. So you have huge requirements within the department but you do have to get out and do some gen eds and other classes. There is no grad program there, so from day one you are getting your hands dirty. You can focus in set design, though as a designer you are required to take at least two upper level design courses. The program is of a size where you should be able to get a couple designs under your belt before you graduate, plus there are other theatres in the area that often hire students as designers.

    Ithaca has a huge connection in both LA and NYC. The LA connection is geared a little more towards the film and TV industry, but we have theatre people out there too. It is nigh on impossible to walk into any show on Broadway these days and not have some Ithaca hands have something to do with it, weather they are cast, crew, or in the shop that built the show. Lots of amazing designers out of Ithaca like Tony Meola and Paul Gallo.

    It is worth a visit to IC, and if you can get there during the school year and see a show and meet some of the students you will get a much better impression.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2007
  8. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    No undergrad program? (Ithaca, crossed of the list.)
     
  9. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Oops, that was not what meant. No GRAD program!!
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    U of I has a great program, you might want to take a harder look at it. I have many friends who have come out of their program in stagemanagement, lighting, sound, and scenery, both in undergrad and grad. You get the full experience of being in a house that does a huge range of shows with a show nearly every night (also plenty of overhire available). As an undergrad you will not get designs inside krannert, but you can do whatever you want with the univ. board theatre and the armory student theatre. They also have a union scene shop with union carps, so make of that what you will. You get an experience to work with some brilliant minds and to work with just off the drawing board technology. They are highly experienced with projections (they have around 10 or so watchout dongles), automation, and research for new technology and techniques. I spent a ton of time on that campus (my X was a math grad student there), so if you want to know anything about chambana, lemme know.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2007
  11. CaliforniaSetDesigner

    CaliforniaSetDesigner Member

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    Bump! Please I would like more opinions!
     
  12. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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  13. CaliforniaSetDesigner

    CaliforniaSetDesigner Member

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    Thank you for the opinions! Any other opinions on the schools listed? Any other additions?
     
  14. Jamie

    Jamie Member

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    i'm goin to UofCinci CCM for lighting design, but their set design program seems as good if not better! just puttin it in there for ya, i was is your shoes last year, know how it feels!
     
  15. CaliforniaSetDesigner

    CaliforniaSetDesigner Member

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    Jamie- I heard that the grad program does much of the designing at CCM. Do the undergrad students get any chances to creatre realized designs? Can undergrads compete with grads to design shows?
     

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