-I am currently in the same position as yourself in terms of getting a portfolio ready for college reviews. I am interested in pursuing a career in lighting design and have recently enlisted the help of my employer (she has an MFA in Theater and is a guest "portfolio reviewer" for one of the top theater design schools in the country) to help me craft my portfolio. Below are some of her suggestions. I hope you find them helpful.
"Portfolios are all very individual. The traditional one is black with a multi-ring spine inside. 11x14 is too small, 24x36 is too big. Find something in a size between those. The rings inside should come with at least 10 acetate sleeves. You will need more depending on the size of your portfolio....
Start off with a strong resume on the first page
. Keep it to one page
. Don't list references, just say "references upon request" as it save you room. Shows should be arranged in order of what you consider to be best to less-best. Chronological order doesn't matter. Hit them with the best you've got right up front.
Now here's where it gets sticky. Your portfolio can change depending on what your goal is. If this is the college interview portfolio, then you include all your show information - photos, magic sheet
. If you have supporting research or a concept - that is always a plus!!! If you're meeting with a director for a design job, then you pull out all the "gearhead" stuff stuff like plots and hookups. If you're meeting with a designer for an assistant job, then you want to point
up your "gearhead" stuff...
After your shows...you can also include other creative works such as drawings, sketches, paintings, photos, etc
No here's the tough part...after you have everything collected for your portfolio, in order, all nice and neat... you probably have 25% - 30% too much in there. So go back and look through it and see what you can eliminate. The idea of a portfolio is that it is the highlights - the reader's digest condensed version - of your work. Don't include everything you've done since you were 4!!
Lastly...and perhaps most importantly... your portfolio needs to have an overall style that reflects who you are. This is achieved through choices in fonts for labeling shows, layout
of photos, you're resume's design, etc
... Be aware that the interview begins the moment you cross the threshold
and doesn't end until you've left the building. You may not think they are paying attention to you...but they are."