Audition/Interview

Charc

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So according to my search results this is a topic that hasn't really been covered before, except for this thread. Which has a a lot of useful information. The issue I'm thinking at is a little more specific though.

For the governor's school interview, in two weeks, I'll be given a small portion of a script, I think it'll be 6-12 pages. We then are supposed to design our lighting based around this portion of script. It isn't terribly clear what they want from me, or what supplies will be supplied. I'm tweaking out a little bit here cause it looks like I'll be doing everything by hand, where I'm used to VectorWorks and LightWright.

Paperwork I think I should generate:

Plot
Instrument Schedule
2-4 cues for the excerpt of script I've been given

My general plan-of-attack, assuming there is ample time, and it is a small excerpt, is to read it once. Read it again perhaps underlining some key parts, changes in the text, interaction. Create some brief notes on the characters, and then go from there.

That doesn't concern me as much as the "technicalities". So I'll have to draft an entire theatre space by hand before I even draft my lighting? I have to generate all my paperwork by hand? How can I design effectively as a singular entity? Where is the collaboration? Where is the scenic/costume/make-up designers' color pallet? Where is they physical aspects as the show? Where are the scenic elements? Where is the blocking? At this point I feel like I'm supposed to create an entire show in my head, then draft just the lighting portion, and present it as coherent work, in two hours.

That doesn't seem fun to me... it just seems like I have to exemplify my knowledge of lights: "Oh I picked the S4-14º for the special there because of the color temperature and output variances from the 360Qs I used elsewhere, I think it will make them "pop" more." And "Oh, I thought that gobo system as downlight, in a more saturated hue would be more effective at creating depth." Or something I totally make-up.

Lastly, I feel like I have to use my school's mainstage as the template for a theatre. But it can be awkward to light with the angles. I'm not sure how that will come-off. They may wonder why I did "X", and the answer is because it's the most effective way to create frontlight in the space, or downlight, because it can be such a weird space.

I guess I should by some stencils ASAP!

But, thoughts, anyone, on this sort of process, replies don't have to be applicable to my situation, but can be random musings.
 

derekleffew

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Sounds as though someone from the Governor's School has taken the USAA practical exam. From the USA829 website: The Lighting Design Examination consists forty-minute (40-minute) comprehensive Interview and a forty-five-minute (45-minute) practical exercise. During the Interview, a panel of working designers will view your portfolio and application materials and discuss your work-related experience.

Don't worry about drawing the entire theatre. As a matter of fact, since this is such an abstraction, don't even worry about specific lighting positions. Pretend it's in a black box theatre with a grid at 20' and you can hang any light anywhere. It will probably be a simple, two character scene, without a lot of movement, so just cover the basic frontlight, sidelight, backlight, choosing colors that would work for that scene. For something like this, you're not only the Lighting Designer, but also the Director, Scenographer, and Costumer. An instrument schedule isn't as important as a Channel Hook-up, and if every piece of information is on the plot, even that is not needed.

A cue synopsis, verbally describing the visuals, and then "CHannel (1) at 50%, (2) @ FL, etc. will be very useful.
 

soundman

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For something this vague I would consider just using lighting keys instead of a full blown plot unless they want to see your drafting work. By just doing keys you will be focusing more on the creative part of lighting design and less on the technical. Most schools feel they can teach someone how to choose a light based on photometrics but they are only able to guide someone creatively.
 

gafftaper

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That's a really interesting exercise. Keep it simple. I agree the important thing is the artistic approach. I would read it once to gauge your personal emotional reaction to the story (to guide your artistic design approach). Then read it again pencil in hand looking for details: What is the basic set layout? Where are the places that shifts in color and intensity might happen? Is there a need to change the audiences focus in some way with lighting? Is there a need to support some emotional element of the script with lighting? Is there a need for specials or effects? Then Draw. You can practice this by the way Every High School drama teacher has books with lots of little short scenes in them. Read a scene and design it.

An interesting question I have is what is your inventory like for the design exercise. Are you limited to a specific style and number of instruments? If not then throw in some Seachangers other exotic lighting equipment (perhaps an Accufog?) in order to demonstrate your knowledge of industry equipment.

Ways to win:
-Think Texture! Put a gobo wash on that set!
-Although I would still draw a good plot I agree with Soundman to focus on the artistic side.
-Show that you know about using bolder colors for back and downlight for dramatic effect.
-Write a nice paragraph or two that explains your artistic concept.
 

Grog12

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Ya know Gaff, I was really torn about putting in something like a seachanger, besides the fact I've never actually used one, I don't want to come across as solely a "geirdo". On the other hand, if I am drafting a hypothetical plot, maybe it's good to have some fun... should I indicate where the GE/ShowPower trailer goes? :mrgreen:
I'd suggest against Seachangers/anything that is a color changer UNLESS you put in your cues/keys what color you have it producing at that given time.

If you throw a bunch of scroller/color changer type things into a theoretical plot it looks like you're not making color choices and just putting in fun toys.
 

Goph704

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This will either be really helpful or really obtuse. it depends.

The question The're looking for is can you support the script that you've gotten with interesting ideas and are you willing to go out of the box to do so?
For example.
When Oscar and the gang are playing cards before felix walks in the room, what's important in the scene? Does it call for Two gobo rotators?
Could a diachroic express the deep inner desires of the players. No, don't bother, What's important in Act I scene I of The Odd couple is that we See the players, and we see what a mess Oscar's place is. In something like that it's all color choice and Visibility. even Isolating the players in that is a bad move, because they're not Isolated, Felix is.
However When Medea comes down from her Chariot,a mad woman. after having killed Jason's children, Isolating her lighting and putting flames ( gobo rotators) around her as she, now Dammed and liberated faces her worthless, cheating moratal husband. This is a point where you as the reader can infer the power of a simple action. That part is where you make something happen. The end of Act III of Medea is about her tranzition from Human to harpie. Or from Harpie to goddes or however you want to take it. the important thing is that she now is diffrent from Jason, and Lighting can accentuate and reveal that. But you have to be able to pick up that stuff from the script, and then make it happen.

Not every script Is the odd couple nor is Every script medea, but they all fall somewhere in between, so search those out.

My advice to you is to bone up on your script stuff a little bit and find the tension. Odds are the peice you've been given will have two maybe three diffrent looks in it, so if you have three Approprioate looks, even if they feel kind of lights up and down, If you define your areas, and tell the story then you've got the auditioners. Fair warning this stuff is all, simpler than you think. Cue sheets are important and all the tech stuff is nice, but reading a script and telling a story is really the way to go. It is after all, what we do.

That's some of the stuff I picked up as an alumni and that will be my focus the next time i teach there. Good luck to you, it's a wild ride.
NC.GSW- 97
 

gafftaper

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To clarify I wouldn't use any sort of color changer in the plot if there wasn't a reason to use it. However if you find a need to change color in the script I would go for a Seachanger/Scroller instead of installing multiple conventionals. It shows that you know about the latest gear and when to use it properly. And yes you should provide color data with the plot.
 

Pie4Weebl

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if you do use color changers I would using something like a color ram, that way you can still pick the specific colors you want to use, if you use something like a fader, it looks like you just don't know what colors to use.
 

Nirvano

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This may or may not be of any help, but in the interview I went to, there were only two designers there, and we were both given the first 5-6 pages of a one act entitled, Black Comedy. I'm unsure if they give out the same script to all of the designers that apply, but just incase they do, being familiar with it may not be a bad idea. By the way, the most dramatic part of the play is that the the main characters blow a fuse and the lights go out... so your job may not be nearly as difficult as you think. Don't stress over it, it's not difficult really. Good luck!! (here's a link to get you familiar with the play if you'd like) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Comedy
 
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Grog12

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WOOT Black Comedy!!! I'd forgotten about that show and have been trying to remeber the name of it!

Hehehe good times.
 

Nirvano

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WOOT Black Comedy!!! I'd forgotten about that show and have been trying to remeber the name of it!
Hehehe good times.

It was actually really good, and I was disappointed when i realized I didn't get to read the whole thing =[
 

Nirvano

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we were given graph paper, a scale, a protractor, and lots of drawing pencils. So mostly, I suggest bringing stencils, other than that you should be alright I think.
 

derekleffew

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I keep telling you people: All one needs to design lighting is a cocktail napkin and a Sharpie™. No, really!:lol:

Ain't it kewl that Sharpie has a website?


...So mostly, I suggest bringing stencils, other than that you should be alright I think.
And memorize the entire ApolloGel swatchbook, as the adjudicators probably won't be familiar with those numbers, and then you can explain that you use ApolloGel exclusively as it's the only brand whose numbers make sense chromatically. If it were me, I'd hang 30 VL3500Q Spots and call it a day. Maybe ColorBlaze72s if there's a cyc.;)
 
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Nirvano

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I keep telling you people: All one needs to design lighting is a cocktail napkin and a Sharpie™. No, really!:lol:
Ain't it kewl that Sharpie has a website?
well, I suppose that is all one needs.. but when one also needs to appear professional.. napkins and sharpies may not be the best approach. ;)
 

LD4Life

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Word of advice on stencils. I find that the Field Template RULES! (yes, that is its name) by Field Template works really well. It has three different scales: 1/4, 1/2, and 3/8. That way, no matter what size materials you are given, you can find the scale that works best with what you are given.
 

gafftaper

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I keep telling you people: All one needs to design lighting is a cocktail napkin and a Sharpie™. No, really!:lol:
I prefer school restroom brown paper towel on a roll and a ball point pen. You can make the plot as wide as you want by just rolling more towel. One strip of towel per electric!

Charc talk to the drama teacher or check out your school/public library. There are ton's of books out there with titles like "50 scenes for young actors". They are just collections of scenes that drama teachers use to assign work from. One of those and you are set for your practice work.
 

Grog12

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mixmaster

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I'm a soundguy, not an LD, and not familair your particular test, but I've done several interviews where I was asked similar questions. At one interview, after giving an answer that involved the longest string of brand name gear and fancy terms I could put together, my prospective employer said "now that we have established you can read a catalog, let's deal with the real world". I found out later he was looking for someone who would have asked what gear was available and what the particulars of the surrounding were, and then based his answers on that info. He was trying to gauge my practical, functional knowledge, and see how I would react to real-world situations rather than abstract hypotheticals. Asking how many speakers and amps were available, or weather the show was in a small venue or outdoors would have gone a long way in the example above. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. Where am I going with this....?
It might be a good idea to have a couple questions in your own mind to ask, if allowed. Things like "is there a limit to how many lights I can use?" or "are there followspots available?" Something to demonstrate that you understand the real life practical limitations of the theatre. Just a thought.
Matt
 

Spikesgirl

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'Tis done.
Overall, I wish I had more time... :(
If it's any consolation - there hasn't been a single 'test' that I've taken in which I haven't thought that - I think it's when you feel you have performed perfectly and to specs that the trouble starts...

Charlie