August, 2014 Issue   

Late Night Musings from the Chair



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March, 2014 Meeting Minutes
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Networking with Industry Professionals at the National Conference

by Jack Golden

    First and most importantly of all, thank you to SECOA, USITT Northern Boundary Section, and all of the scholarship readers. USITT has become a yearly tradition of networking, education, and fun. As a Jackgraduating senior at North Dakota State University, I more than appreciated the financial help to attend my third national USITT conference.
    Highlighted at USITT this year was the importance of student networking with industry professionals. The unique part of networking at USITT is that everyone wants to help you. The open mentoring session with the fellows was a really great example of this. The fellows took time to answer common questions, while still getting to know each of us better, and to point us to the people who could best help us. Another really personal example of the kind of networking that USITT fosters actually happened before the conference at American College Theatre Festival. I had met Steve Shelley (the Lighting Template creator and lighting designer) at previous USITT conferences and was excited to see that he was hosting a workshop on portfolios, resumes, and interviewing at KCACTF. During his presentation Steve offered to go over our resumes and help us out if we would email them to him. Soon I had talked on the phone three times with Steve and had honed my resume to a much more effective working document. He also offered me advice as to where I should apply.
    The fact that a working designer, especially of Steve’s level, took time to personally help me meant a lot to me, but I know that he is not the only person doing this kind of thing. During the conference I got advice about how to paint scrim, talked to other student designers at the student mixer, and got advice on how to better format and present my drafting packages. All this to say that I was pleasantly overwhelmed with the willingness to help us as students connect with the right people.
    I had the opportunity to attend several workshops during the conference. Over the years I have never missed Stump the Rigger with Bill Sapsis. His humor and brilliance along with the experience of the room always make this an enjoyable and informative session — during which you never know what you may learn! Another standout set of sessions was hosted by the engineering commission. During the summer, I will be taking on the role of Assistant Technical Director at a summer stock theatre on Cape Cod. I was delighted that the session on paperwork along with the session on rep platforming was offered. The wide scope of information that was presented along with the templates that were provided has already helped me out as I start to prepare for the summer. I can’t go without mentioning meeting Eugene Lee and listening to him speak about his work for an entire session. 
    The week also had time for events of pure entertainment, such as the brag and swag and the tech olympics. Along with these events other “incidentals”  like Texas barbecue, street tacos, and a roof top grille and bar made the conference unique to the Fort Worth area. 
    I enjoyed meeting a lot of you at the national conference as well as the regional conference in the fall. Again, a huge thanks to SECOA, the section, and the scholarship readers for their support of future professionals!