Author Topic: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College  (Read 3168 times)

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Bengt

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Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« on: Aug 16, 2015, 03:03 pm »
I will be a high school senior next year, and a lot of the colleges that I am looking into allow students "dedicated to the arts" to submit an artistic supplement to their application. This is something I am interested in doing for my work as a stage manager.

I've read some other threads on creating portfolios and resumes, but I'm hoping I can get a more specific response by creating my own thread.

The instructions are to create a portfolio of 5-15 images displaying examples of prompt book, shift plots, prop lists, and other materials. My problem is that, as of right now, I have only stage managed once. I will be managing two more of my school's productions next year, but they won't be completed until after college applications are due. I may have some pieces to include from the fall production, but the show doesn't run until late October and applications are due as early as October 15th.

Considering that I only have one completed prompt book (from Romeo and Juliet, my junior year), what kind of materials should I polish and highlight to create a compelling portfolio?

Here's what I have so far:
    A polished prop list, typed in excel listing the props needed for every scene of the show and where they need to be placed/which actor has them
    A polished attendance list, also typed in excel with every actor and crew member and their role in the production
    I am working on making a typed scene shift plot list
    I also want to type out my contact/info sheet detailing all cast/crew members
From what I have so far, I think a one page excerpt from each will be enough. I don't think a review board wants to see a three page prop list.

As far as blocking goes, how many pages should I include? I was thinking anywhere between 5 and 10, but I don't want my whole portfolio to be blocking. Some pages show blocking and notes for nearly the entire cast, such as the opening street brawl scene and the Capulet ball.

I'm also stuck on what to include in my resume. I have stage manged once (so far) and have been on run crew three times. Would I detail what I did for each show to fill a resume? I also did lots of set construction and prop work for all the shows I have been involved with. What do you think I should include to create a professional and detailed resume (without being too wordy)?

I appreciate any advice/critique you can give me!

Maribeth

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #1 on: Aug 16, 2015, 08:26 pm »
On the whole, I would think of whatever you submit as "representative" of your style and experience so far. Your plan to do a one-page excerpt is right on the money, and the materials you listed sound good to me. I don't know that you need that many blocking pages- I would stick to a handful of pages. Do you have a few pages of a calling script you could include? Have you ASMed before? If so, do you have any paperwork you could include from that production?

For a resume, I would definitely include your crew positions/other work with props and scenery. It will show that you are well-rounded and have a strong interest in theatre. I would also include any of your other high school activities (clubs, awards, etc) in a separate section- it will tell them more about you as a person. Once you have all of your theatrical experience down, if it's still looking sparse, I don't think it would be out of line to include a short summary of your responsibilities. No need to cram the page full- a clean, well-organized resume that highlights your experience will speak for yourself.

Once you have more experience, in college and beyond, you can remove the summaries, but in high school I think it's appropriate, especially since "stage manager" at one school can have a variety of different responsibilities. (Where I went to high school, the board ops took their own cues- the SM didn't "call" the show. I was often the "student director", which was like a combination of SM and assistant director.)

Check out the Resume Browser on the front page of this forum- it has a lot of examples of different formats that you could use. Best of luck!

Robert Cott

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #2 on: Aug 16, 2015, 10:17 pm »
I would include run crew, board ops, etc. One note however is that I would put set construction on as being a carpenter. On your resume you can also include stuff that isn't theatre. I would suggest having a separate section for anything outside of theatre as well as a section for any additional skills you feel you want to include. You could also include any awards you might have won.


Just a disclaimer I am going into senior year myself, but this is pretty much how my resume is set up. Feel free to PM me and I can send you a copy if you are curious to see what mine looks like.

Bengt

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #3 on: Aug 26, 2015, 10:18 pm »
Thank you so much! Your replies have been very helpful.

My current portfolio is now: 1 page of prop list, 1 page of attendance list, 1 page of scene shift plots, 1 page of contact info, and 3 pages of blocking.

I want to add my call script in, but I don't know the best way to clean it up. Right now all my cues are on colored flags stuck into my prompt book right along with all my blocking and other scene notes. For the purpose of making my call script look polished should I erase the blocking from the page I choose so it looks cleaner, or should I type my cues into a new page of the script (not very hard to find a Romeo and Juliet script for free online) and print it out. I know this isn't what I did in reality, but during a show nothing looks polished anyways.

I was thinking that I could also add diagrams of scenes that I drew to help the stage management team with scene changes during rehearsals and run crew when they came in. They are drawn on a page to scale with my schools stage, which we marked with numbers and lanes to make blocking easier.

If I include everything I mentioned in this post, I still don't have 10 images (the max is 15, which I would like to me close to). I will be stage managing the fall production and my director knows about my portfolio work, so she may be able to give me extra tasks and paperwork to make in order to fill my portfolio better. What kind of documents would you recommend making? I can be more detailed now that I am going into a show with my portfolio in mind.

For Maribeth - I have not ASMed before. I have only been on run crew and stage manged, which sounds weird but the director knew I would work hard do a good job, so I was able to stage manage without being an ASM prior.

Thanks for your help!
« Last Edit: Aug 26, 2015, 10:29 pm by Bengt »

LexieTaylor

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #4 on: Aug 27, 2015, 02:35 pm »
I think for something like this, there is no reason that you couldn't send "hypothetical" paperwork.
Choose a show (one that is coming up soon would be smart because then you can use them) and create templates for yourself. Fill in any information that you have in the script and leave spaces for the rest to come later. Just be sure to present them as what they are - title things "Rehearsal Report Template" for example.
If you are looking for ideas of what paperwork you may want to create, look through the uploaded forms forum and see what you think would make your life easier given the specific production. Not all shows call for the same paperwork.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #5 on: Aug 27, 2015, 04:34 pm »
I fear making up paperwork for hypothetical shows could be tricky - mark it as such.

if you do paperwork for a production of, let us say, Hamlet.
I look over your portfolio, and I see paperwork for Hamlet.
I ask when you did Hamlet - you say, oh never, I just made it up.
The next question I would ask is . . . "Did you do any of these shows?"
Awkward moment.

Examples of how to clean up a calling script can be found here . . . check out past posts, but I have included some pages of 39 Steps NYC I did cleaned up . .


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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

KMC

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #6 on: Aug 27, 2015, 04:54 pm »
It's also important to note that any college/university with a SM program worth attending will not going to be expecting kids out of high school to be polished stage managers ready to get behind the desk and call a full show.  They will be looking for someone with a specific skillset, personality, demeanor, etc. that they can mold into a stage manager over the course of four years.

A few pages of each type of paperwork that you have done should be sufficient.  What is more important will be to talk about why you did it that way, what you learned, how it worked.  The answers to those questions are more telling than blocking pages with "Maria x DSR".  Stage management is not about paperwork, it's about managing people and a process, and creating an environment where folks can succeed and do their best work.  Paperwork is a product of your process, but anyone can rip off a rehearsal report or a calling script format and not understand the "why" behind it.

I'd also err on the side of not inventing or fabricating paperwork you haven't actually done.  It is fully reasonable (and I'd argue, fully expected) that you will not have refined and developed paperwork as a high school SM. 

Remember also that the interview process is also your chance to interview the school.  Make sure it's somewhere that will be a good fit for you.  If they are focusing only on paperwork, then it is probably not somewhere I'd personally want to attend as it's focusing on the wrong aspects of management; however, that is my very humble opinion.  Use your judgement and do not take anything anyone says here as gospel, though do weight opinions based on levels of professional experience.
« Last Edit: Aug 27, 2015, 04:56 pm by KMC »
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

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Bengt

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #7 on: Aug 27, 2015, 08:33 pm »
Thanks everyone!

I agree that making up paperwork is not the best way to go for my portfolio. I have made some templates for documents that I know will be completed early on in the show process (contact form, rehearsal schedule, and rehearsal report sheets) that I will have filled out for the fall production before my portfolio deadline.

I will not have any interviews unless the school I am applying to has room for one. I am using my portfolio as an artistic supplement, which I will be submitting to some selective colleges in the fall. I am not applying directly into a theater program, but using my theater work as a way to add more about myself to my applications and help me stand out. My director will also be writing a letter of recommendation to submit along with the portfolio. I think that it would also be helpful to add small captions to each image of paperwork explaining why I made it that way and how I used it, so that I could show more understanding beyond what just paperwork can demonstrate.

To clean up my blocking and calling script, I want pick out the two most complex pages of each and go over my notes from the show to darken them and make them more legible. They won't expect me to have it all done digitally like the example MatthewShiner posted, will they?

Thanks again everyone!

 
« Last Edit: Aug 27, 2015, 08:42 pm by Bengt »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Creating a Brief Portfolio and Resume for College
« Reply #8 on: Aug 27, 2015, 09:52 pm »
Nope, no one has the expectation ever . . 

That is usually reserved for a long running show.

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

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