Saturday, February 27, 2016

Patience Can Be Difficult...

Well...

It has been nearly a month since my last post. A variety of things have happened, including my trip to the URTA NUAI's, which I have mentioned planning for and such.

In my prior post - Regarding Trips, Long And Strange - I showed some pics of my portfolio review set up, both for my first semester and my last here at UAF. Below is a shot of how my station looked in Chicago, at the NUAI's:



The NUAI's were a pretty awesome experience. Stressful...but worthwhile.

As I may have said in other posts, the process at the NUAI's - for design and tech - is that you get an hour to set up your station, then you have to walk away. And for the next two hours or so, recruiters from various graduate programs come and look over your stuff. They have the option of signing up for what are called "jump start interviews" - 10 of them - which happen right away, as soon as the review period is complete, or they can have the URTA computer schedule a time for that afternoon.

In my case, out of the ~40 programs that were there, I got 16 interviews.  Well 17. But the last one was a computer mistake, and the person didn't really want to see me. Still....16. And that included 3 of the 4 folks that I had prearranged chats with. 10 of them were "jump start interviews". With my first 10 interviews being right away it definitely felt as though I was "hitting the ground running...".

The interviews are somewhat of a blur in my mind. After all, each only lasted 15 minutes.

I emailed most/all of the schools once I got back here to thank them, etc.

Then came the additional Skype interview sessions and more follow-up emails. And waiting. And waiting.

The official URTA "we can start making offers today" deadline was last Monday, Feb 22nd.

My inbox has been, sadly, bereft of offers so far. However, out of the schools I saw in Chicago only one has told me a definite "no". The way it was phrased was: "...The design faculty met on Wednesday to review the mountain of information from the URTA candidate.  We promoted a selection of candidates onto our 'long list'.  I am sorry to say that you are not on that list. ..."

Sigh.

Near the end of the week, I got antsy and sent out six follow-up emails, to schools that I either had been emailing/Skyped with or that I felt I had a solid interview with in Chicago. Within ~24 hours I got emails back from two of those schools saying - basically - that they are still in process. One said that they would likely be making decisions by the end of next week. Then this morning I got a response from a third program saying that they want to have a Skype interview with me next week, either Tuesday or Wednesday.

So. For those keeping score, the results are: 16 interviews. 1 rejection. 3 schools who have been in touch, are still in process, and have yet to decide. And then the other schools who either have only responded to my first follow-up email (that I sent out when I got back from Chicago) or who have not responded at all.

Add into the above mix a school that is not URTA affiliated whose application deadline is April 20th and who I have been in touch with late this week and so....yeah. I think I would describe things on the graduate program front as confusing, and anxiety producing, and somewhat hopeful.

Add to all the URTA related stuff the run of Closer here at UAF that I did the scenic design for (images of which will be added to my online scenographic portfolio in due course), finalizing my contract for my upcoming summer stock gig, and attempting to deal with some personal issues regarding budgets and housing and I would have to say that February 2016 has been a busy month.

As the title of this post says: patience can be difficult. And yet there is still more waiting to be done.

More later, as events develop.





 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             
                                                 My scenographic portfolio:
                                           https://sagecl.wordpress.com/29-2/


                                           My general, rather eclectic, Tumblr:
                                                     Semi-Random Shavings


              A portfolio of my various work and projects, both theatrical and otherwise. 



                                              My school related fundraising site:
                                   Help Me Continue My Educational Momentum




Sunday, January 31, 2016

Regarding Trips, Long And Strange

 Yesterday, after my portfolio review (the last of the eight required of tech and design students here at UAF), I was reflecting on things and made a comment elsewhere about how this process - the path towards my undergraduate degree - has indeed been a long, strange trip.

 As a part of that, here is a look at how my presentation has changed between my return to school in the Fall of 2010 and now, the Spring of 2016:

Fall 2010 Portfolio Review (Only the 1/2 of the table nearest the camera is my work)
Spring 2016 Portfolio Review
As an aside, the table cover shown in the Spring 2016 image is a close match to the shirt I wore for my headshot - yes, even designers need a headshot now and again - and that shirt is also my preferred shirt for interviews. So I shall be wearing it at the NUAI's.

A funny thing happened this morning. One that bemused me at least: I had sent an initial reply to one of the grad program recruiters who had recently sent me an email out of the blue. The one who, after reading my resume on the URTA site, wanted me to take a look at their schools lighting design program. In my reply I mentioned my interest in scenography. Just got a reply back. And in it, the recruiter mentions that they themselves received a degree in scenography back when Northwestern used to offer them, so they "...have a very good understanding of your goals." And this is a school that, in candor, I had never even considered.

Many years ago, back when I began this phase of my theatrical journeys, I transferred from my community college to the University of IL: Urbana-Champaign with my intended focus being lighting design and technical direction. Time and events passed, and I became more of a carpentry, properties, and scenic oriented person. Yet I still did lighting designs, now and again. Then I learned/rediscovered the concept of scenography. And realized that it was a significant part of my artistic persona.

Now that I approach interviews for potential graduate degree programs, two out of the four school that I know I will be talking to at the NUAI's will be speaking to me with large emphasis on lighting design: the school I mentioned above and one from my list of "top five." The later school is doing so because they are only currently recruiting for assitantships in lighting and costuming. After I contacted - first by phone, then by email - the school to clarify that I didn't want to miss a chance to speak with them due to having listed scenic design as my discipline on the URTA website, the recruiter there emailed back saying: "... I understand your wish to follow the path of a Scenographer, and we could possibly accommodate that, while having you fill an assistantship in our Lighting or Costume Area, we could tailor your course work to have more of a broader path.  I’ll be sure to connect with you while at URTA, and we can discuss."

So here I am some 37 years on, potentially once again having a major part of my focus be lighting as it was so long ago.

A long, strange trip indeed.







 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             
                                                 My scenographic portfolio:
                                           https://sagecl.wordpress.com/29-2/


                                           My general, rather eclectic, Tumblr:
                                                     Semi-Random Shavings


              A portfolio of my various work and projects, both theatrical and otherwise. 



                                              My school related fundraising site:
                                   Help Me Continue My Educational Momentum




Saturday, January 30, 2016

Miscellaneous News - 01/30/16


 This will be a generally brief little "post-lette", serving as an update regarding some of the things I have mentioned recently.

First, in the bad news part: I did not get the touring gig for April. Sigh. And still no news regarding the summer stock position I interviewed for recently either.

In the realm of the NUAI's no additional folks contacting me regarding their programs. Still, having four interviews lined up before I even get there isn't so bad.

As a part of the NUAI process - as well as just plain needing to do it - I have created a scenographic portfolio. It is a bit classier than my combined portfolio on Tumblr, though I will probably keep that up on an intermittent basis as well. Anyway, here is the link to the aforementioned upgraded portfolio: https://sagecl.wordpress.com/29-2/

Later today is the Spring 2016 Portfolio Review here on campus. So I am finishing my prep for that, and using that process as a part of my prep for the NUAI's.

That is about all the news for now.

More later.





 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             
                                                 My scenographic portfolio:
                                           https://sagecl.wordpress.com/29-2/


                                           My general, rather eclectic, Tumblr:
                                                     Semi-Random Shavings


              A portfolio of my various work and projects, both theatrical and otherwise. 



                                              My school related fundraising site:
                                   Help Me Continue My Educational Momentum


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Strangeness Is Not Only An Aspect Found In Particle Physics

It has been a bit since my last post - though I suppose a period of ~15 days is nowhere near as long as some of my prior lapses in posting. There have been a couple of interesting developments/occurances since last I typed.

First, I had interviews for two (paying) gigs on the same day (last Monday, the 18th). I've never done that before. One was early in the morning, due to the theatre being a Summer stock based down in the lower 48. And the other was mid to late afternoon, for a gig touring here in Alaska in the month of April. It was a bit strange. But I had mostly good feelings with both when I was done. The Alaska tour folks had said that they would be making their decision in a few days. Sadly, I have yet to hear back. The Summer stock plans to have its staffing done by mid February, and they need to see my online portfolio which, due to a variety of issues, has been slow to being revised. Part of what my day today is about: online portfolio revision and building/continuing to build a scenic model (or two) for the NUAI's.

Second, this week I received a couple of "out of the blue" emails from graduate program recruiters. One implied that he had seen my portfolio. As I mentioned above, the online version of that is still in rehab/being updated. So unless he was speaking of my older online portfolio on Tumblr (a link to which has been attached to several of these posts) I don't know where he saw it. And he also implied that we had in contact previously. Which, as far as I am aware, we have not. Curious. Then today I just got an email from a recruiter who said they liked the resume I posted on the URTA site and asked me to look into their program in lighting design. Which given that the URTA computer has me listed as a scenic design emphasis person kind of surprised me. Though admittedly I *do* have a bunch of lighting included on my resume as well. Another interesting thing is that I had not really given much, if any, consideration to either of these schools. No reflection on their programs. I just...hadn't. So with those two schools included, as of this moment I have probable/definite interviews with 4 programs, out of the roughly 40 who will be in Chicago. I believe I mentioned one of the others in my last post. And after sending out a sort of "Hello, one of your alums was my first college tech theatre instructor, and I will be at the NUAI's..." sort of email with my resume attached I got an email back saying (basically) "I am looking forward to speaking to you/seeing your station in Chicago." So...4. With ~13 days remaining till my session (Feb 6th, 2016). At this rate, who knows how many folks I'll end up talking to.

The third thing is less positive, but no less confusing or anxiety provoking.

Due to budget issues, the state of Alaska has instituted a freeze regarding travel for those within the university system. And there is some discussion as to if the university will pay for my trip to Chicago. The whole thing was approved last semester, including the purchase of none refundable airline tickets. But now it apparently needs to get additional/renewed signatures: first from the Dean (who signed off previously) and then the Provost. The required spreadsheet form - which has a deadline of next Monday the 25th - was submitted yesterday. So now I wait. Logically, I cannot see how they can "take back" my airfare, since the tickets are bought and paid for and such.  But still....I wait. Best case is that the Provost signs off on it. Since missing this would negatively impact my educational advancement, and the paperwork states that in that case exceptions to the freeze can be made, I am hopeful. Plus, the whole trip was funded by a grant, not out of the general fund or whatever. I will admit that I have a worry that they may say "Fine, you can fly out. And since you paid for the NUAI's out of your personal funds (though I got reimbursed from the grant monies) we can't stop you from going to that. But we will not authorize the hotel stay."

As I said, anxiety producing. Especially since I have not been able to locate a day job. And with not taking classes this semester, I can't get a student job either. Sigh. I've sold one or two items to help keep ramen on the table, but I don't have much of salable value. Making me a bit more crazed and concerned about my finances than usual.

Well, I need to get back to work on the online renovation project. And perhaps grab a bite to eat.

More later.



 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             My general, rather eclectic, Tumblr:
                                                     Semi-Random Shavings



              A portfolio of my various work and projects, both theatrical and otherwise. 



                                              My school related fundraising site:
                                   Help Me Continue My Educational Momentum



Friday, January 8, 2016

New Year? New Post!

Well, the echoes of Auld Lang Syne have faded and it is nearing the end of the first full week of January, 2016. Time for some news!

First up:

As I posted previously, I had been waiting on the completion of the filing of my Credit for Prior Learning portfolio, submitted in lieu of having to take Acting II this Spring. I am pleased to announce that as of Wednesday morning, January 6th 2016, the university's online tracking system indicates that my portfolio has been processed and credit awarded. Which means that I have no more credits/courses needed at the undergraduate level. Which means that some 37 years after starting on the road to it, I have completed my Bachelors degree.

I still need to file a graduation request with the registrars office and pay the appropriate fees...but besides that?

Whooooot!

In other news:

** The scenic build process for the UAF production of Closer is moving forward. If things continue as they have, we should have all the major elements built by the end of next week.

** The preparations for the NUAI's continues. The URTA website has posted a list of what schools will be at the NUAI's and what specific areas they will be recruiting for. After some scanning of that I have been in touch with a couple of schools and have even gotten a reply back from one of them, with the indication of them intending to meet with me there in Chicago. The prospect has me both hopeful and anxious. Of course, that can prove to be a useful combination of emotions.

** The search continues for a part time gig/some way to pay various expenses over the next few months. I do have a lead on a gig that would run during the month of April. Nothing confirmed yet. So I shan't speak much about it. But I really kind of want it. Not just for the money, but also as a resume builder. That said, even if I get that gig, I still need to get some income to make it till April. Sigh.

** While working on portfolio items and my web-presence, I have discovered that I have a blog that I had apparently set up some while back and then forgotten. No posts there...yet. It is on Wordpress. And just a few weeks ago I began stetting up a page - again, no published posts yet - on Wix. The intent is that they - or at least one of them - will be exclusively my theatrically related portfolio. Yes, as you see from one of the links at the bottom of this post I do have a Tumblr dedicated to my artistic endeavors. However it is not explicitly theatrical. And I need one that is. So that means that, within the next week or so, I should have yet another link to add to those found below.

While I suspect that there is more to share, that is all for the moment.

Till later.


 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             My general, rather eclectic, Tumblr:
                                                     Semi-Random Shavings



              A portfolio of my various work and projects, both theatrical and otherwise. 



                                              My school related fundraising site:
                                   Help Me Continue My Educational Momentum




Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Graduate Program Candidate Challenge(s) De'jour...

Well, before I get to the challenges listed in the title, some positive news (in part as a follow-up to a portion of my most recent post  Second Birthdays...And Some Contemplations ): the grade for my physics class has been posted and it is, as I had roughly calculated, a B+. Which keeps my cumulative GPA at 3.24. This also means that I have completed all but three credit hours of my undergraduate degree program. The final three hours needed are an in major class in acting or directing, which I have submitted a "credit for prior learning portfolio" for, in lieu of taking the class. The portfolio has, as of my last check on Monday (12/21/15), been signed off on by the departmental faculty and the dean of the college and now is just awaiting final processing by the advising department and the registrar. The advising office rep had said that she hoped to get it reviewed and such prior to leaving for the holidays. As of my check this afternoon it had yet to show up in the universities computer system. However, I am pretty confident that it will go through. 

So I have that going for me. Which is nice.

Now...As for the graduate program candidate challenge(s) de'jour?

1) Reconsidering, after some frustrating financial issues, just how many applications my budget can handle after all.

2) Deciding if - since most of the "preferred program list" are URTA programs - I should/could hold off until I have the possibility to interact with recruiters on February 5th there at the NUAI's.

3) Finding a Spring semester gig here in Fairbanks - that will not have issues with my being out of town the weekend of February 4-7, or with my needing certain evenings free for the tech rehearsals of 'Closer' - so that I can have some income and meet expenses.

As for #2, the website for one program - the University of Iowa​ - does state that the application deadline is later for anyone involved in the URTA/NUAI process. So there is that, at least. And one of the programs in my top 5 - University of Nebraska-Lincoln - doesn't have a deadline till March. And the scenography program at The University of Kansas​ has a deadline in April. Of course, UK is, sadly, not an URTA school. Thus there are/will be other challenges there.

If you go back to my post Graduate Schools - The Tactical And The Practical (Part 1 of ??) from a few months back, you can see the sorts of schools I am aiming towards.

Here is an updated list of the "top five", with a little "why there" note (or two) on each:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln --- because the MFA program is listed as Stage Design (Lighting Design, Scene Design, and Technical Direction). Which sounds like a scenographic/theatrical generalist philosophy is in play.

University of Minnesota --- because as their website states "The final creative project is to design a supported production demonstrating ability in these two areas...". Again,  sounds like a scenographic/theatrical generalist philosophy is in play.

University of Kansas --- because the MFA is awarded in Scenography, not a specific discipline. And, to quote their website: "... While in the program, students will design at least four realized productions in the University Theatre. They will do at least one lighting, one costume and one scenic design, and preferably a combination of two or all design areas for one production...."

University of Iowa --- because...Well, in part because of how Ron Zieglowsky impacted my life. And since he got his degree(s) there....Plus, it is the home (so to speak) of the Gillette's. And so I have a sort of soft spot for the school.

University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign --- because...admittedly, I miss the Krannert Center. And while it has been years since I was a student there, I *do* still know the school, the town, etc.

Yeah. The examples of "why(s)" for the last two schools on my list are, admittedly, a bit weak. Sigh. And of course I'd also entertain other schools, especially those who might be close enough to NYC to allow for a visit to the city now and then - such as Temple. But the top five list are schools that, based on my research, where I think I might just fit in. And, in candor, I don't think I can afford to pay the application fees to more than three of them. Part of the reason for the title of this somewhat rambling blog entry.

Herrmn.

Well, things to do. So that is all for now. More later.



 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             My general, rather eclectic, Tumblr:
                                                     Semi-Random Shavings



              A portfolio of my various work and projects, both theatrical and otherwise. 



                                              My school related fundraising site:
                                   Help Me Continue My Educational Momentum




Friday, December 18, 2015

Second Birthdays...And Some Contemplations

It's funny. I am uncertain as to how to start this entry.

There are so many emotions occurring within me at the moment. Why is that, I hear you ask? Well...let us start with something that always comes to mind for me this time of year, and on this day especially.

47 years ago - December 18th, 1968 - I was struck by a car. I was a slender little eight year old. According to those who saw it, I flew diagonally over the car, from the right front bumper to the left rear. In the family car on the way to the hospital - this was out on a farm and well before 911 and paramedics - I stopped breathing several times. When I reached the ER I had no blood pressure. No pulse.

I was in hospitals - both in Lake County, IL and down in Chicago - from that morning till early in  February, 1969. As for my injuries, the simple list includes: a pelvis broken in multiple places, fractured ribs whose jagged ends tore at my left lung, misc internal hemorrhages, and my left kidney being torn off from the main artery. When I left the hospital, I was minus the lower portion of my left lung, as well as my left kidney. My physical therapy at home consisted - mainly - of "crab walking"  from where my bed was to various other rooms in the house to get items, or to do things. And I learned how to be pretty quick on my crutches.

I have some other stories about that adventure. But I shan't fill this entry up with them. That really isn't the point of today.

The point is: I was given, through whatever means you might choose to attribute it to, 47 years more than I might have had. So on December 18th, I tend to get reflective. And grateful.

Every day is a gift.



And, on top of all of those sorts of reflections....Yesterday I took what was - if all things work as I have planned - my last final examination at the undergraduate level. Yep. Physics 175 - Introduction to Astronomy. The second of two science courses (with labs) that are part of the core degree requirements here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Which leaves just 3 credits in performance to complete my concentration within my major. And for that, I submitted - and have received departmental approval of - a credit for prior learning portfolio in substitution for Theatre 221 - Acting II. That paperwork is at the deans office. And once it gets signed there, it moves on to the academic advising office, then the business office/registrar. And then....well, as long as the dean and the academic advising office sign off, I will have all my credit hours. Actually, with the 3 hours from the CPL portfolio included, I will have 168 hours. 120 hours are required for the BA. Shrug.

So. While there are still some i's to cross and some t's to dot, it looks as if I am done with my undergraduate scholastic career. I won't get my degree till graduation in the spring. And I still have projects here on campus - eg: the scenic design for the mainstage production of Closer, my poster presentation for Antigone at Research Day in April, etc. But no classes. Sigh. I admit, I will - in some ways - miss such things. Especially the various studio classes. Lord, I do love those.

I started undergraduate classes at a community college in January, 1979. And now, ~36 years later, I have come to an end of that portion of my education.

Even so...I intend that this blog will remain active, as I head towards new adventures. And I think that, even though those adventures will (hopefully) be grad school ones, I shall stick with the name: Not Quite The Worlds Oldest Undergrad. 

Well...that is all for the moment. More soon.

 

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                                             My general, rather eclectic, Tumblr:
                                                     Semi-Random Shavings