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“Graduate School…How? When? Where? WHY?!” from Cassandra del Nero

In Assistantship, Carpentry, Props, Richard L. Hay Fellowship, Scenic Design, Scenic Paint, Scenic Painting, Scenic Props, Technical Direction, Uncategorized on April 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM

del nero

As I sit in the OSF Shuttle three nights a week, sometimes driving company members home and sometimes whiling away the hours with memorizing songs and honing my drawing skills- I decided I should at least attempt to be productive in that time frame.

What it has amounted to is this: research for future assistantships, job offers for young designers, and graduate school possibilities.

What I found first was the need to set my priorities: What did I want from a program?

My number 1 priority was a school that looked at design with a scenographic or at least dual emphasis process. This would allow students to pursue more than one avenue of design and to learn more about the cohesive nature of collaboration.

My second priority was that the school also teach classes in builds (scenic and costume) to better inform the design process. If one does not understand how something is built- it can be easy to stray into the impossible (or extremely expensive). This has been doubly enforced to me as I discuss Off the Rails with Richard, and Unison with Rick. As we design (and assist in designing) these shows, we must compare them with the demands of the build. For instance, if a unit is built at 8 ‘-6” wide, but the plank lines for the wall are at 1’-0” increments, there will be a very visible divide at the location of the door. This is not aesthetically pleasing. This is just one of many such examples where we must discuss the function of a scenic unit before it is even passed underneath the eyes of the Technical Direction team.  With those ideals as my jumping off point- I’ve found a few options. And they’re no slouch! NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Yale’s Department of Drama, Northwestern’s Stage Design Degree, London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, Trinity College’s School of the Arts- and a few others. The uniting factors here? All excellent schools, and with wonderful reputations, and all with staging costs in attendance and moving fees.

The options I did find for attendance on the West Coast face the same failings, but often did not have teaching assistantships available. As such, I’m beginning to plan for attending graduate school in 2018 or 2019, giving me more time to decide what and how I want to learn… It begins!

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