Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Your Design Portfolio / Getting Hired

Personally, I don’t know much about putting together a designer’s portfolio. I know I like pretty pictures, so I understand that a bad portfolio can undermine a good designer’s work. So rather than pretend that I have expertise in this area, I’m going to link you to someone who apparently has: Pro designers Chuck Meacham and William Kenyon write about how to put together your first design portfolio, or improve your current one.

I may not be an expert on putting together a portfolio, but I as a director and producer I judge them as a part of the hiring process. Variety is a key element, and I like to see the most unusual designs they've created. I also like to see the work in progress: sketches, sketches in development, and fabric swatches if you’re a costumer; lighting plots if you’re a light designer, etc. I’ll explain why:

Your portfolio is both your foot in the door and the final piece of icing. The finished examples of your work are what will get you an interview. The work-in-progress is what will get you hired.

Here’s what’s true for me as a director/producer. If I call you in for an interview, I already believe you’re talented enough to do the job. I’m interviewing you because 1) I want to know why you versus another candidate; and 2) I want to get a glimpse of how we will work together. Focus on what makes your work distinctive and unique, and tell me something about how we’ll collaborate. Whenever I interview anyone—whether a designer or a crew person—I always ask two questions: What do you need to do your best work? And how can I as the director/producer support you? When we finish the interview I want to know how to proceed with you in that position.

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