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Lighting portfolios

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Shakspeares suck, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    I am sure that there is a thread similar to this on CB but i was not able to find it. I am preparing to audition for colleges this summer and next year and i am looking for some tips on making a portfolio. If someone could send me alink to one that would be great, or just some general tips.

    Also, i am going to the High School International Thespian Convention this summer in Lincoln, if anyone on CB is going PM and we'll meet up. while there how ever i am going to compete in the NIES for lighting design

    http://www.edta.org/pdf_archive/critique_sheet_lighting633573352063125000.pdf
    Thats a link to the critique sheet

    if anyone has done this b4 or has any tips for me, let me know.
    Thanks CB
    shaks
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Actually there are lots of threads about portfolios and applying to colleges. A simple search for "Portfolio" turned up hits like these:

    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/general-advice/10197-portfolios.html
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/education/6905-design-portfolio.html
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/5216-resumes-portfolios.html
    http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/off-topic/4680-resume-advice.html

    Any of the threads that talk about applying for jobs and putting together resumes and portfolios for those should also contain useful information for you.
     
  3. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    This link wont work for me. And are there any sample porfolios floating around? Including resumes? Also,if the portfolio should just include things ive designed for, then where would i put all of my other work experience
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Sorry, that thread is in the off-topic forum. Lemme see if I can get it moved to someplace you can view it.

    As for what to include in your portfolio, you should be showcasing the work that you have done. You don't need to show people photos and such of the show that you pushed boxes or wrangled cable for. If you were an ME or TD or held some position other than peon then showcase the work. If you held minor positions, they really only need reference in your resume.

    I assume that you are applying to schools for theatre programs, in which case you want to put your theatre work in the spotlight. Other work experience has a place in a small section of your resume unless you worked on some significant projects that can be showcased in a portfolio. Since you are applying to school you do want to display work that talks about who you are.
     
  5. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    USITT has worked up some guidelines for portfolios... I don't agree with everything in them, but...

    http://www.usitt.org/bookstore/downloads/L45 LtgPortfolioGuide-20050609.pdf


    In the other portfolio threads, there's some debate about whether it should be organized by quality or chronology... My opinion is that without question it should be organized (and filtered by) quality. Your portfolio isn't a historical record of your design work, it's a piece of promotional material - advertising. The commercials say '4 out of 5 doctors agree....' not 'the last doctor we asked said it might kill you.' ;) You want the first few pages to be a 'Wow!' moment for them. I reorganize the portfolio depending on the job I'm applying for too.... for musical theatre I put the musical work up front, etc...

    I organize my portfolio in an 11X17 artist's portfolio book - it looks finished but is easy to reorganize and add to whenever I want. The first three pages are:

    1. My Name, address, website and email
    2. My degrees
    3. My resume

    All three of these are placed over a full 11X17 collage of my most striking photos and all three are printed on glossy photo paper. The first two pages are simply white text in large fonts over the photos. The resume is an 8X11 box set into the 11X17 page, so the images create a 1.5X3 border around the resume.

    After this introduction, I have a section for each show I want to highlight. Each show's section starts with the title, date, venue, director and other designers in white text on top of a photo collage from the show, followed by a one page statement about concept, context, and challenges. Then in a few pages, I tell the story of the production. I have one page that collages my research for the show, one that includes my preliminary work (sketches and scenic analysis collaged on top of a scan of my hand drawn tissue paper rough plot). The third page of each show section is my magic sheet for the show. After that comes three or four pages full of production photos, each labeled in white text with the scene, character and actions. Behind the photos I put an 11X17 reduction of the CL section and Plot. The last page in each show section is again an 8X11 page framed with a border of photos to fit the 11X17 book, and it includes credits for the photos, as well as expanded show credits like the ME, PM, etc. As well as a clear (slightly larger font) statement that full scale drafting, paperwork, and additional working documents are available upon request.

    The reason for all the names in the portfolio (designers, PM, ME, etc) is to give credit where it's due, but more importantly... it's name dropping. Theatre is a small world and the chances that they know someone that I know are pretty decent... and this gives you extra credibility. Even if they hate the person I've more than once been asked "Oh you worked with _______? How did you survive that?!?" or "You know, they fired me when I was in grad school!" The trick in these situations is to reply diplomatically, without arguing. "Oh, we got along alright. I had to just accept the way they do things there... or it wouldn't have been fun!" (I admit that I can see how a fight with that person could happen, without taking a side...)

    If I were interviewing for schools again, I would include lightwright and full scale drafting examples in the main portfolio instead of saying they were available, because instructors want to know if students can draft and use lightwright.

    Also if you don't have a lot of design work, show what kind of work you HAVE done... if you were the ME, show the circuiting diagrams and patch sheets... etc. There is, in my opinion, NOTHING wrong with doing additional documentation after the show closes... as long as it's true to what was on stage. So redraft things... don't put old plots in your portfolio and say "I've learned and can do better now.." Do it better and get it in there. If the show didn't have proper paperwork, do it now.

    I also have a section that goes at the back, unless I'm applying for a job where I think those skills are more important, that shows other things I can do - graphic design, 3d modelling, database programming, scenic designs from college, architectural lighting work, documentation of video work... proof that I'm a well rounded and educated theatrical artist.

    I hope that helps a little!

    Art Whaley
    www.artwhaley.com
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  6. Erwin

    Erwin Member

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    Maybe I'm not a very good photographer, but I always have trouble taking photos of shows I've designed lights for. So much of the lighting design and effect is lost in a still photo. the trasitions and effects matching to music, the subtle colours that a camera will change or eliminate with white balancing...

    I have only a small number of photos where I look at them and say, "That is what that really looked like"

    So I always emphasize the venues, and people I worked with. Have plenty of references available that can speak to the quality and style of your work. A good few references will unlock a lot of doors.
     
  7. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    So, just so i can have everyone's opinions. I am a High School Junior and have designed 2 shows on my own, however since i was a freshmen i have been helping with lights and stage crew and construction. Is it acceptable to begin buliding my portfolio with just this stuff under my belt, and present it to colleges?
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    The previously mentioned thread on resumes has been moved out of Off Topic and into to the Education Forum. It's now available for everyone to read here.
     
  9. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    You should absolutely build a portfolio with what you have there. Colleges aren't expecting you to enter with a dozen shows... Show them how much you thought about those shows, how you took an artistic point of view about the material, and how you had a process or method to your madness. Don't put in anything that doesn't look good, unless it's very clear what you learned from it. They don't expect your high school work to look like broadway... so don't tell the story of 'if I'd only had this... I could have done that...' Make your portfolio about how you think and about what you've learned so far.

    To get more specific advice, you might post here an outline of what you think you should put in the portfolio.... So we can say "Well, do you have this document?" And don't worry at all if you don't know what that document is or why you'd need it. Someone here will tell you, and you won't get made fun of at all. You're already WAY beyond many Juniors who don't even know that they need to be making a portfolio, let alone what goes into it. Do you have good pictures of the shows?

    Art Whaley
    Art Whaley Design
     
  10. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    I have really good pics of my most recent show (cats, i can post sometime) the first show i did, i have decent pics, however the show was done in Black and White so i was thinking that it would be cool to put it in bc it was very challenging/interesting to light a black and white show.

    before i out up an outline, should there be actual written up papers in the porfolio ie: a paper discussing my ideas, or directoral concepts
     
  11. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    In my opinion, yes, you should include a concept statement, that includes a quick overview of what the director's concept was, what your take on it was, and what challenges you ran into (along with how you overcame them.)

    Not everyone will read it. But you can encourage most people to at least skim it if it's easy to read. Simple, strong sentences with good grammar and spelling should be arranged into short and to the point paragraphs. Use a large enough font and leave enough white space on the page... in margins and between paragraphs. And nobody will read past page one... so it's a good exercise in getting your thoughts clear and concise. All of this is good practice for pitching a show concept to a director anyway... if you can't fit your ideas into one page with plenty of white space left over, you probably can't get it all said before people lose interest in the meeting too. ;)

    Art Whaley
    Art Whaley Design
     
  12. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Have you participated in an Individual Event at your local state or regional conference? My troupe director requires that we receive a superior at this level prior to presenting in Nebraska. I will be presenting my design of Anatomy of Gray by Jim Leonard, so I'll see you there.

    The NIES is an interesting experience---however at Northeast Regional Theatre Festival there was only one Lighting Design presentation other than myself---so I had it easier.
     
  13. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    So any suggestions would be appreciated...

    I mostly design for dance and instrumental music performances. I have a few decent still pics of the band and orchestra concerts I've done. The pictures of dance performances that I have (they were by a professional photographer none the less) are not very good and the lighting is totally washed out by the flash. I have videos of 3 dance shows (they are decent) which I pulled clips from to make a 'preview video' that I use for outside groups and directors I haven't worked with before. Oh and on dance the paperwork (if any) is generally scrawled on the back of a show order or program. Somehow even if a have nice patchlists and plots at the start of the show they are thrown out by 15 minutes into the first rehearsal. From this what could I use to put together some kind of portfolio?
     
  14. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    No, i have not done an individual events before which is why I am really nervous, how do you go about presenting them. I am the first person at my school to even attempt a NIES so if you could help me out that would be awesome
     
  15. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    Last year I participated in both the NIES and college auditions at the festival in Nebraska. As for the college auditions you will be given a small table where you can set up your portfolio. The college reps come around to each table individually and you have I think 10 minutes to talk to them about your portfolio and resume. You then repeat this process for a few hours, it gets very old. Last year most people just had a basic presentation case style portfolio or a binder with sleeves. However there were a few people who made tryptics and a few who set up easels with matted presentation on them. Personally I think these were over the top; I was called back to just as many schools as the ones who did them. Your two designs will be plenty for the time limit, but also put in a few pages of other stuff, even if you didn't design it and even if its not lighting related (carpentry, set design, costuming, makeup, props, directing, etc.).

    As for the NIES: I was the first and so far only national participant in the Lighting Design category. I received a superior rating last year and will be presenting another design this year (The Diviners.) It is not a requirement that you get a superior at state, an excellent will suffice. However most instructors will not pay the money to send a student that only received a excellent at state. Be prepared for many questions. The judges were all college professors last year, they know their stuff. Know every aspect of your show, even if it is not realized, as they will ask about it. Don't forget to dress nice too, however you don't need a suit and tie or anything.

    I have seen that alot of CB members are going to be at the festival this summer. We should all meet up some times during the week. Maybe if Strand brings back the demo room with the vari-lites, design palettes, and wysiwyg we can all hang out in there, last year they gave a good bit of swag away:lol:.
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    What, when, and where is this festival of which you speak? Traditionally (since all the way back to 2008), the Apollo Booth has been the de facto meeting place for CB get-togethers at Conferences. If Apollo is going to be exhibiting, I'd suggest arranging it with [user]Kelite[/user]. He has good swag also.:lol:
     
  17. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    June 22–27 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Last year Apollo was not there maybe they will be this year.
     
  18. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    Ya anyone who is going to lincoln from CB we should all meet up at some point. Tupelo, thanks for the advice it is really helpful. I have a couple of questions:

    For college auditions and for NIES, did you have a poster?
    Its scary but i have not presented at the state level because I did not know i could, however i know my Director will send me, I have already talked to her about it. THis is why I am extremly nervous.
     
  19. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Your directors are funding your trip to Nebraska for a "superior" rating? We have to pay the $525 registration fee, plus a $700-800 travel fee (plane ticket).
     
  20. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    For the audition I used my presentation case. I suggest this route or a binder as your going to have to lug it around for the rest of the day and probably the next few days as you attend your call back. You might also want to keep it rain resistant too, it rained most of the week last year.

    As for the NIES follow the rules closely, they do disqualify a good bit of people. When presenting keep up with your time, you have 15 minutes but that includes questions and your setup time. I just brought in my plot and section printed on "Arch C" paper, then attached it to the chalk board in the room with tape. The "angle color visualization" thing I made on a piece of foam board, cut to size. I put all the other documents in a binder.

    As incentive to do out best in the state IEs our director rewards payment of the registration fee to students with superior ratings. We still have to pay for travel fees, however its not as much as we drive (like 17 hours :( .)

    Are any of you presenting a main-stage production??
     

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