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college? suggestions encouraged

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by night, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. night

    night Member

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    so not unlike many interested in going to college for tech theatre i'm really at a loss of where to go, how much to spend, with it be worth paying for the big name schools, or in the long run will i be better off at the tiny unknown college with a theater no larger than a large classroom. I would love to hear advise, tips from people of the field, and general opinions. i plan on going to school for lighting or technical direction. thanks!
     
  2. Nikgwolf

    Nikgwolf Member

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    Hi there Night,

    Before you get any answers to any of your questions, the folks here at CB are probably going to ask a few questions, at least I am...

    1. Where are you located? This is important especially when it comes to deciding how much a college costs. For example, I live in California, but I am planning to attend the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. Unfortunately, Out-of-state tuition is significantly more expensive. (often two or three times more expensive)

    2. How old are you? I ask this not because I'm a creeper or anything, but because if you are a senior in high school, then there are very few options left. Most college's deadlines are way overdue. If you are in your Junior year, that's great.


    Some considerations:

    I am currently in the process of paying for college right now, and I can tell you that doing the research before hand makes it quite a bit easier. I was fortunate enough to attend the last two USITT (United States Institute for Technical Theatre) conferences, where many technical theatre colleges are represented. I have only applied to three schools because they are all very specific to my needs and wants in a lighting program. I realize that some might disagree and suggest to apply to a few more backup schools. (Not a bad idea, just not for me)

    I unfortunately cannot share any useful information on colleges that are specialized in technical direction, but, in my opinion, the top lighting schools I researched are: SUNY Purchase, Carnegie Mellon, University of Cincinnati, North Carolina School of the Arts, Boston University, Ithaca, and Emerson. I toured Boston University, Carnegie Mellon, SUNY Purchase, and the University of Cincinnati in March 2008. PM me if you have any questions about the schools.

    Last, but not least, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when looking into a lighting program:


    "What sort of facilities are there?" - This is important as your designs will reflect the flexibility and potential of the performing space.

    "What sort of equipment is there?" - Don't overlook this. If you are leaning towards becoming a lighting designer for concerts/commercial events, you should make sure that you are taught about moving lights.

    "Who is/are the professor/artists in residence?" - These will be your mentors for the next four years. They will own you and be an incredible influence towards your career."

    "Where are the alumni now?" - This too, should not be overlooked. The colleges with a predominant alumni may have an influence when and where you get a job outside of college.

    "Is it 'home'?" - I think this is extremely important. You must find a place that is right for YOU! You are the one who will be living there and will be working there. You must be in a comfortable environment in order to perform your best.

    I wish you the best of lu...luuu...."break a leg" I mean. And if there are other things you may want to know, you can PM me or try the "search" function to view previous posts. (You're definitely not the first to ask this question. Hehe.) Oh yes, I almost forgot. If you have not started on a portfolio or resume, start now. I don't care how old you are. You'll need it eventually.

    Nik Robalino
    [email protected]
    Student Lighting Designer
    Flickr: nikgwolf512's Photostream
     
  3. mrtrudeau23

    mrtrudeau23 Active Member

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    i also second that where you are located can really affect this decision. i am currently in the university of wisconsin public college system at Stevens Point, one of the only universities in the state that offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts specifically designed for technicians and the only theatre program in the state that requires an audition/interview to be accepted to our department. we get experience in all areas of theatre from costumes to acting to sound to lighting while still being able to focus on your emphasis for shows. we do five shows a year, which are mainly student designed with faculty directors. the design tech area here puts great effort into preparing us for the real world, by helping us prepare portfolios and get realized design opportunities at an undergrad level. a decision like this requires a lot of research and places like this are good for talking with people about things like this. i'm not trying to plug our program, but it is a really nice place for theatre. if you want more information like Nikgwolf said, i'd be glad to help out.
    best of luck in your search.
     
  4. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I just graduated from a different Wisconsin state school, University of Wisconsin Green Bay. Our program has around 100 majors and minors some more active than others. The thing I liked about it was that there was no grad program. This put more of the focus on me as an undergraduate. As a sophomore I was ME for a large musical and was able to move up the ranks from there. My senior project was a main stage lighting design.

    In addition to electrics I was able to explore other areas of theatre including rigging and scenic automation. I ended up just over five grand in the hole so that was another advantage to a state school.

    Also mrtrudeau23 I think UW-Parkside requires an interview for their program.
     
  5. mrtrudeau23

    mrtrudeau23 Active Member

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    that is possible. i heard they were looking into doing something like that, but when i interviewed for SP they didn't yet. UWGB was also one of my choices for theatre, btw.
     
  6. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I would suggest doing a search here on CB as there are literally probably about 100 threads with suggestions and info about colleges.
     
  7. Nikgwolf

    Nikgwolf Member

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    Speaking of the search function...I've been a member here for a couple of months now, and I just realized the "similar threads" feature at the VERY BOTTOM of the screen. I feel kinda dumb, but it's certainly a neat feature.

    Nik Robalino
     

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