I have always enjoyed the feel of new art supplies. As a child I would anxiously await the start of another school year so I could frolic in the school supply aisle and ponder over whether I wanted the 48 count crayons or the 62 with the built in sharpener. I lived for that moment, which may also be a reason I enjoy costume design.
The other day I relived this sensation when finally purchasing my first package of Prismacolor(R) art markers*. While in undergrad our design classes only used colored pencils for renderings, so markers are a little foreign to me. I have used watercolor and watercolor pencils in the past for competition rendering (in high school), but that was as exotic as my abilities would get.
I finally decided to splurge on myself (which you need to do from time to time) and get a respectable package of 24 art markers. Today I had some time, so I opened them up and took my new investment for a test draw (above). Now I must admit, this is nowhere near a great rendering, but I was playing and seeing how the colors and different sides (I got the brush style, which I really enjoyed using) of the markers interacted. My rendering might have looked a tad better if I had just stuck to the yellows and oranges. The red is just too much. Lesson learned: less is more.
From what I have been told about the markers I am using, I know they are an alcohol, dye based ink. Apparently the best way to blend them is to saturate the paper and/or use one of their colorless blending markers. Since I bought a 24 pack, my set did not come with a blender. I did my best to blend colors, but having never worked with the medium before, you can be the judge of how well I did.
It sounds like a new show for the Game Show Network. Get a room full of theatre professionals together after all the auditions, conferences, and interviews these past few weeks and turn a camera on. What would happen?
Waiting to hear back from places is always the hardest part of being a contracted theatre practitioner. One can only read so many books, do so many crossword puzzles, and meditate so many hours before he or she starts to go stir crazy.
Right now is the worst time for theatre people because most of the summer stock applications are in, the regional theatre auditions are done, and graduate schools are almost finished with interviews. We are all on the precipice of something but until we get the email, call, or letter, we have no idea if our tears will be of excitement or frustration. The waiting makes the unknow worse. A line from the song, "I Know It's Today", sung by Princess Fiona from Shrek: the musical comes to mind.
"And the waiting, the waiting, the waiting, the waiting
Luckily unlike Fiona, we have a bit more freedom and can fill our hours waiting with something productive.
If you are waiting for the interview:
1. Read up on the theatre company. Knowing more about the mission, season, and staff at the theatre you wish to work speaks volumes about your commitment.
2. Reread your cover letter. Some interviewers will reference it or your resume. It helps to remember what you said.
3. Update your portfolio. If you have been doing some projects, but have not had time to add them to your portfolio, take some time to do so. Being able to tell a recruiter you have new material helps add to your application.
If you had the interview and are waiting for a decision:
1. Write "Thank Yous". Thank the interviewer for their time, but also thank your references. Keeping a dialogue between you and your prospective employer helps keep your name in the forefront of their minds. Thanking your references is just a nice thing to do. They will probably be more willing to be a reference next season as well.
2. Brush up on your weakest skill. The dreaded "what is your weakest skill" or "what is one of your weaknesses" is a question all interviewees hate. Practice those scale drawings, invisible hems, or watercolor paintings. You will be able to show you are not afraid to practice on your own to hone your craft.
3. Keep looking for jobs. Although you have finished a round of applications and interviews, you always need something lined up for after.
While watching the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony my family decided to nominate me as the fashion critic of the teams' outfits. The only reason being that I "do costumes" (in their words).
There are many sites out there right now of people spurting off their opinions of who was best dressed and worst dressed. I wanted to give a little background and acknowledgement to the designers of these outfits, but upon researching the costumes of the opening ceremony I could only find information of the designer of Team USA's gear, Ralph Lauren.
This puzzled me greatly. I could not find who designed the costumes of the singers, dancers, or other entertainers of the ceremony. Finding the names of the designers from the other countries was also quite the task. This greatly distressed me because not only did I want to see other work by the designer who created the fantastic dress worn by opera soprano Anna Netrebko, but as someone in the industry I wanted to know who imagined all these garments into being.
Somewhere on this vast web there must be a list of all those who created so that the ceremony could happen. Where is this list and why is it so hard to find? As I write this entry I have been searching for about an hour to try to find a lead. Sadly I have come up empty handed. Coming from a theatre background I have always been able to find the designer of the show I am watching right there in my playbill. The lack of information coming from this theatrical event has gotten me thinking about all the other places in our lives design has happened, imagination and creation have happened, but we don't know to whom the credit is due.
This Monday finds me in a snowy hotel just outside of NYC in New Jersey. I had a lovely interview and tour of the Rutgers Theatre Department today despite the layers and layers of snow coming down. The experiences you have as a theatre practitioner are endless. Stay warm and happy this week.