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Greetings from Montana

Discussion in 'New Member Board' started by bdkdesigns, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    Hello everyone,

    I've been reading for awhile and finally decided to take the time to join. I'm currently a grad student at The University of Montana. My emphasis is in lighting design with a secondary focus in sound design.

    I received my BFA in Technical Theatre at the University of Central Florida. So as you can tell, I sure made a big move for grad school but it was worth it. I sure do miss doing industrials though.

    Oh yeah, and my website is www.bdkdesigns.com if you are interested. Which reminds me, I probably should get around to updating that with the latest dance showcase and Gypsy.
     
  2. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Welcome on board...even if you are another light and sound guy...

    Seriously, it must have been quite a shock to change from Flroida to Montana. Do you love it? Did you love GYPSY? Inquiring minds and all that.

    There's a ton of info here, but don't be afraid to dive in with your own comments and questions.

    Char5lie
     
  3. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Welcome to the Booth....funny story one of my students almost went to your school but ended up in the grad program here....which happens to be in FLORIDA!!!

    Small weird world.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Wow ! Florida to Montana! I thought Oklahoma to Oregon was a shocker!
    Welcome Aboard! Please ask want you want answer what you can. You can take Spikesgirl and I with a grain of salt, we're feeling outnumbered as the ratio of hum heads/ electricians to wood butchers is approxiamtely 100 / 4 around here.:rolleyes:
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Welcome to the booth. Jump in and post. You'll find it's a great community if you'll invest a little of yourself in it.

    Get to know the search function there's a ton of information buried in the archives.
     
  6. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    Hey Grog, what school are you at? I had my choices narrowed down to UM, FSU, and Cal State Long Beach before I chose to come here.

    As far as Gypsy goes, I loved it. Especially Electra's costume :). She ended up getting 75 LED's total. Five sets of 15 LEDs each with their own momentary on switches. Those things are bright....they even overpower the spotlight. Best of all, it only takes two nine volts to power the thing.
     
  7. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Good choice in not going to Cal State Long Beach. A former aquaintance of mine went there and it is apparently not as up to snuff as others.

    I'm a staff member at a school in Florida...beyond that I take a nod from Derek and others about where I actually am as in I keep it quiet for my own self preservation!

    Welcome aboard!
     
  8. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Our Electra was pretty bright too, well, the costume was bright. she also had two twirling butterflies upon her breasts. Try as we might, we could never get them snychronized. That was about the only thing I enjoy from our production of it - it ended up costing us our summer program (and nearly closed our department) for five years after the director told our visiting designer that cost was not the limit. He spent $90k on the set (no, I'm not exaggerating a penny). Since I was just subbing at the time, my power was limited, but it was a pretty scary time for all of us as we didn't know if we'd still be around the next semester.

    Char5lie
     
  9. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    I enjoy Electra's costume as well, but we could never get her butterflies to synchronize (she had them on her breasts). the production did nearly close our department and cost us our summer program after the director told our visiting designer that there was no limit on what he could spend. The show was horribly over built - we were still building and painting the third act during the first act. It was the only set I ever had go out wet. End figure was, no crap, $90k. Set was great, show wasn't and our audiences sucked the big one - one night we had 27 people in the house...the director said he didn't have to advertise the show. If he put on something, they would come. Well, they didn't and he ended up as a part time instructor and not able to direct
    ...occasionally there is justice in the world.

    Char5lie
     
  10. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    I really enjoyed Long Beach up until I did a site visit. They are really having a lot of struggles right now. The idea behind CalRep was interesting but their struggles to find a space are rather chaotic. I don't know how much of what they told me was true but it was rather unfortunate how they lost their space.

    After I came back, I was pretty set on going to Montana until I got another call from FSU. I originally wanted to totally leave Florida but I decided to make a visit to make sure. What I originally really enjoyed about Montana was the people. Not only was the expectation level high, but they were easy to talk to and open to new ideas.

    I cannot even begin to comprehend to level of rudeness that I encountered searching for grad schools. Now I am open to new ideas, new styles, etc etc etc however so many people were "this is how we do things and you will learn to conform to it." I felt that to be rather restrictive and would hold me down from growing. Thats what I enjoyed about my undergrad. They let you take your own paths and would guide you along the way. Everyone has a different process, they just offered suggestions on how to improve and presented several different angles of approaching tasks.

    So when I finally arrived at FSU (my first visit was postponed after I got about halfway there and the wildfires shut down the road), I got that same feeling that I got from Montana. I really felt comfortable and it really made it a tough decision for me. In the end I obviously chose Montana however I really did enjoy my visit there. I probably went back and forth for a week. And while I did meet a lot of bad people along the way, I also met a lot of great people as well. Several of which I still talk to even though I've only met them once. I also highly recommend going to URTA but don't just stop there.
     
  11. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Out of curiosity where else did you look or was it just the three?
     
  12. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    I ended up getting about 13 interviews at URTA (Chicago) as well as a few outside schools.

    After that, as far as who I talked seriously to: UNLV initially...I couldn't do a site visit though so they broke it off after that...and then they called back again the day after the "URTA deadline".

    CCM was a big one that I talked to and Mr. Gage was a great help and mentor leading up to URTA. He gave me all kinds of pointers of what people like to see on your table and it paid off big time. I am originally from Ohio so I did have a part of me that wanted to go there.

    I also had numerous discussions with Cal State Fullerton but we were never really able to work anything out. They were willing to pay for most of the trip, if not all of it, to come visit but we were never able to find a time that worked for both of us.


    I also began talking to The University of Texas until I heard about their situation within the department. They essentially cleaned house or something so the had a temporary chair until they hired a new dean and then they could start the search for a new chair. Since you are from Florida, I'm sure you are aware of the situation that I went through in undergrad. Our old chair "retired" but remained in the department. I was there for the last summer that he was in charge, then in the fall we had an Interim Chair from within the department until we found someone. The following year we hired someone and not too much after that, that certain person left and the process started over again and remains that way today. I didn't care to go through that again so I pretty much ended it there. I wanted to find a place where the likelyhood of stability was there. My friend did chose to go there though and sure enough one of the professors is leaving and "may" come back in a year. So I'm glad I didn't make that pick.

    Also a certain university may have contacted me and I may have ended it right there due to certain person above...I don't care to go into details beyond that which is probably understandable. I did have some enjoyable conversations about the transition with them though.

    Beyond that, I'd say those are the only real universities I talked to extensively. I did talk to a few other universities in Ohio as well as several people who went to KC/ACTF last year. I was there since the show I designed traveled. But nothing really ever grew from that. I was supposed to stop at UF on my way back from the FSU trip but I never even made it that far before the roads were closed and I had to turn around. At that point, we both mutually decided to move on.
     
  13. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Jim Gage is one of the nicest people I know...I've had several friends who went through that program and worked their asses off.

    So I went back to your website after you said you'd talked to UNLV and looked at your picture again because I remembered why it looked familiar. The GA you were interviewing there for was mine! Brackley (like most Grad proffessors) wants you to come and see the program first hand so you can get a taste of what the program and area is like and so the current students and faculty can get a feel for you.

    I haven't been in Florida terribly long so I'm not sure what has happened down at UCF but UF and FSU both have strong programs for very different reasons. As I'm sure you've found out there's no perfect program and anyone who tells you differently is just selling something.
     
  14. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    At UCF, we lost a lot of money really quick. Looking back, it was all to get the person publicity to move on. For instance we had a production of Wizard of Oz that cost us approximately 50k, if not more during summer stock. This was on top of two other musicals. Last year, they had an acting chair from outside of the department. This was because this person had a knack for budgeting and was able to get some things back into order. Now the acting chair is from within the department while they do the search.

    The original vote to hire the chair was originally split between two candidates. The university then stepped in and hired someone else. Noone was ever able to figure out how they got away with it however this persons other half is extremely well known across the world in their profession and brought them to the university. As you can see, there was already some tension that was created from that.

    Then they came in and raised a TON of cash and unfortunately spent a heck of a lot more. While doing this, they ripped the department apart from the ground up, and even had a teacher have a restraining order against them which resulted in 30 cops being at the tech center on their last day due to the person violating the order on purpose...and thats the condensed version of everything.


    So anyways, by what you said, I'm assuming you were the former student with Brackley during the interview? I really wanted to come visit but I just couldn't fit it into my schedule since I had already made my west coast trip and money became extremely tight. When Brackley did contact me again later, he did say we could set up a Skype conference with students.


    As far as your last comment, that is part of what I loved about Montana. They were very open from the beginning about their strengths and weaknesses. Anyways, shop is about to start so I better start getting everything prepped for today.
     
  15. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Funny story...no I wasn't. I just remember looking at your online portfolio at an earlier junction in life.

    As for UCF...oof...just oof...they were looking for a new Lighting Prof earlier in the year I'd known that much...but **** that's a badda *****.

    You're lucky to be out of Florida as I'm sure you know with the way the economy is here right now budgets flucuate on a daily basis.
     
  16. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    Yeah, I can understand why it didn't look familiar than at first. I completely redesigned it over the summer and am always looking at improving things. I really need to update my resume that I've got up there and need to look into possibly uploading my CV now too, not that there is a rush on that though.
     

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