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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Friday, December 16, 2011

The First Read Through

Our first week is done. And I have to say, I'm honored by the actors who are contributing their talent to this production. After a week of table-work, I'm deeply impressed by the level of empathy they hold, their ability to step inside the characters and see the world from their perspective.

Table-work is always a bit challenging for me; I'm never as helpful-- or insightful-- in a chair as I am up on my feet. We've spent an entire week doing it (our only week of rehearsals in December). The cast has been, let's say... patient with me.

I usually do a video montage of our first read (that'll appear on our Elite Pass pages soon). This time, a few images:

The majority (and best) of these were shot by Olya Gary.
And remember, it's never to early to buy Tickets!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Ficke Me

Anyone paying attention will surely note that I'm not a regular blogger (or tweeter for that matter). Once in a blue moon I'll explain that 2nd Wind's Blog and Twitter only come alive when we're in production. We had a short hiatus this year, so that period of silence was longer than usual. But as you can see... with each word that skims past your optic nerve... I'm writing again. Which means we're producing again.

The problem with only writing when in production is that it leaves the impression that our blog is little more than a marketing tool designed to part you, the reader, from your hard-earned cash. But the truth is that while my "noise" is sometimes about ticket sales, my "silence" is never about that at all. Only the luckiest of artists doesn't pine for more time to create. The hours are elusive, and it takes days, weeks, and sometimes years to fashion a single piece. When I blog or tweet (especially if I'm trying to tweet about something other than my lunch), a fair a mount of time vanishes into planning and implementation. It uses a different part of my brain, and the writing juices stagnate and dry.

This blog is devoted to opening up the process of creating theatre. It's about holding a shared space for artists and audiences. I believe that to be hugely important. I believe that the mystery and magic of creation is so deep, that sharing it-- unveiling its secrets-- only leads to deeper magic. But writing... writing is something different.

Playwrights are constantly encouraged (and badgered) to be collaborative artists. We're asked to workshop, develop, co-create, and explain. Sometimes these requests come at the perfect time to aide our work. There are writers who thrive on this interaction; and yet I don't think it should ever be considered integral or expected. The idea that artists should be collaborative frankly irritates the bejesus out of me.

Actors need privacy to explore and take risks in order to give the most truthful, powerful performance they can. Designer's need quiet and solitude to create and refine their ideas. Playwrights, tasked with creating a rickly detailed and complete world, need privacy and solitutde to imagine, explore, and document that world. So while at times I wish I could continue the online conversation, there are periods when I need to withdraw into my creative cave, my only offering being the promise of something wondrous upon my return.

Over the next three months we're going to being pushing the boundaries of the sharing process. This blog will come alive again. This time round, I'm hoping to open the discussion even further, talking with theatre pros from other companies and organizations. In addition to producing a new piece of theatre, we're exploring some new ways of doing business-- of involving audiences and promoting discussion. So come back and join us on the journey. It's sure to be a ride.


Feb 2-25

Phoenix Theatre, SF

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