Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chelsea Piers CBS Sports Photo Shoot/Closing Thoughts

Monday, August 15th, which coincidentally was my birthday, I took the train into the city and then proceeded to walk to Chelsea Piers where the photo shoot was being held. Piers 60 was where the CBS Sports Center was located. Once walking into the building, John the photographer and Paula, CBS’ Picture Producer were there setting up the photo shoot. The interns were in charge of helping John set up the lights and backdrop. A useful tip I learned to get wrinkles out of your backdrop: spray it with water!

The men John was photographing were sports anchors/analysts for College Sports: Randy Cross, Brian Jones, Aaron Taylor, Rich Rodriguez and Adam Zucker. All the men were so charismatic and easy to photograph. John instructed each of the talent (how they refer to who is being photographed) All the sports analysts were decked out in their best suits and were instructed to pose straight on, angled to the right, left, holding a football and sitting in a chair. I was in charge of holding the reflectors, and ‘blotting’ there faces. The other interns held up other reflectors and moved the props around.

Other people who worked at the CBS Sports Center at Pier 60 were busily at work. After all the talent was photographed, they had to get ready for their show which was airing live. There set was on the other side of the room tucked away. You could hear them airing the show live as they all discussed college football. So, my last photo shoot and last official day interning at CBS came to a close. I said goodbye to Paula, John and the other interns, Casey, Ashlee and Elana. It was a nice way to end my internship and made my birthday very memorable.

Summer is coming to a close and I’m excited to be going back to UArts. Being a CBS photo intern has taught me so much and has left me with such great memories and great life lessons that I will carry on into my college career and future intern experiences. Even if it was only for a summer this was my first internship and I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed myself and have gained so much. Now things can only get better from here.

Last day at CBS

So Thursday was my last day at the CBS office. Nancy had so kindly ordered bagels as we all sat around chatting. It was a nice little goodbye get together. It’s hard to think that I won’t be going back to the Black Rock building and commuting into this city three days a week. I can say that this experience was one that I will never forget. Not only have I learned so much about what it’s like to work in the corporate world of photography but I also made great connections and friendships along the way.

Over the course of the last six weeks I have learned to not only commute into the city, but have gotten to see what it’s like to catalog items in the archiving department and also visit Laumont (a printing company that works for CBS). I have been able to edit photos for CBS television shows and have had the opportunity to attend two photoshoots, The Good Wife and for CBS Sports (which I’ll discuss in my last blog post)

It’s hard to also think that the summer has come and gone so quickly. But now I have the education, skills and prior experience to go into my sophomore feeling more confident about future internships and other jobs I will apply for. With the help of the Emerging Leaders Program I have learned that networking is such an important tool and that by asking questions, being proactive, friendly and acting professional gets you far.

I would like to thank Paula Breck, Dave Lombard, Nancy Eichenbaum as well as the rest of the CBS photo staff for being so warm and welcoming during my stay at CBS. This internship makes me even more confident about the profession I want to go into and has me more excited about all the other opportunities that are in store for me in the future.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The last day and what I learned

My first day at CBS was June 6, 2011 and my last day was August 16, 2011. The couple months that I spent at the network in the Photography/Media Department was something that I will look upon as a guide for my future internships, jobs and life itself.

Emerging Leaders has given me the opportunity to work in an environment that will prepare me not only in the future but prepare me for the upcoming semesters. The things I will remember most are:

+ Being on time is l a t e, but being early is on t i m e.

+ S.m.i.l.e. =D

+ Listen. Listen. LISTEN.

+ Be proactive, step up to the plate .. take charge!!

+ Network!

+ Most importantly: Be YOURSELF & Genuine.

CBS was amazing. Throughout the minutes, hours, days, weeks I spent in that office.. whether it was unbearably cold or stocked with sweet tooth treats I see it as a place where a group of professionals look at one another with a high level of respect, sincerity and trust. Just as they did to each other they looked at me the same way, they trusted me to edit photos, accompany photographers on shoots, and have a good eye for picture selects. For the couple months I felt as if I were a part of the team. I thanked them each individually for the impact they have all had educationally and personally. They taught me the in's and out's of the business and I am completely grateful for everything. I hope in the near future to go back and visit, maybe even try out again for an internship. But nonetheless I am quite please with my first encounter of the real world, even if it was just for a little bit.

Another time ...

Another time when I was at CBS I was asked to go along for the Summer Concert Series that usually happens at the corner of 5th and Broadway right outside of Central Park. Heather, photographer and editor, invited me and the other intern (Casey) that was present at the time. At the shoot we were instructed to help her move her equipment around and hand her empty San Disk cards for her camera and to watch out for the other photographers. When
we walked over to the stage set up, there were camera crews from CBS up and running, sound techies plugged in and a crowd lined up ready to walk into the standing area. This summer concert was all for Darius Rucker, a previous member of Hootie and the Blowfish (country music), which by the way was pretty good.

Heather started to set up. She put her backpack down and pulled out her Nikon D3S... then she opened up her rolling suitcase and pulled out another ... and ANOTHER !

Three cameras total... with various lenses attached along with monopods. At this point I was completely impressed, and learned that its best to have different cameras with different settings so it would be easier to shoot especially when its a 20 minutes concert. Besides being quick with handing over the San Disk cards I was able to shoot with my camera. This gave me a chance to place myself
as one of the photographers that surrounded me. Even though I wasn't going to hand these photos into a network, magazine, newspaper... it sure felt good to be behind
the scenes.
It was about the second week into the CBS internship and I was asked if I would like to accompany Nancy Eichenbaum (head Photo Editor) and another Photo Ed
itor to the photo shoot for "A Gifted Man". It was the first shoot for this new series. The purpose of this shoot was for future promos that will advertise the show. The moment I got there I felt like a kid ina candy store, eyes wide open with my mouth just as wide. I was just completely impressed. The set up for the shoot was very extensive. There were about three different set ups in which the photographer would use to shoot the talent. It was a loft covered with white walls that seemed completely pristine it was like the doctors office a little bit but a doctors office I really enjoyed being in. I walked around, carefully, making sure i didn't trip over wires or bump into people. Nonetheless, I was definitely taking everything in, how the lighting was set up, how many people it takes to set up a shoot, and what camera equipment the photographer was using. If I remember correctlythe photographer used a couple strobes, soft boxes, and reflectors, simple stuff... but not really. For the camera itself ... well no big deal... and when I say that I that I mean it was a pretty big deal. This camera is a Phase One, with a digital back it can go for $40,000 + it may seem small .. but it packs a lotta punch.

An hour goes by and I'm still looking at everything like its my
first time staring at it seconds later.. in walks the talent. By talent I mean Patrick Wilson, a dashing gentleman, and Jennifer Ehle, a total sweetheart.
At the time I kind of got starstruck, but then I got myself together and realized where I was and how I should be,
c o m p l e t e l y
p r o f e s s i o n a l.
Patrick Wilson was first up to be shot. First he went into make up and wardrobe. Once he was done he got in front of the camera with instructions being thrown at him from the photographer, Andrew Eccles.

There were specialist that came up with the concepts.. like how they should pose and what type of facial expressions they should enforce that makes their characters emerge through the pictures. I believe with the right directions/suggestions given by the specialist to the photographer the pictures came out just right, they truly embodied their characters. This first photo shoot experience I learned how to interact with people at a professional level, be attentive to everyone and enjoy whats going on around you.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Final Notes

So let's wrap this all up with what I came out with. This is a picture I took of the studio, not a very good one mind you. Proof that something doesn't have to be big and grand to have everything you need, or to create the right stuff.

And here are two of the twenty layouts I created for this project/program. I spent a long time picking out the perfect layout size, which is actually an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. The idea of the project was to create something that could be viewed on a digital format, however, it had to printable on the off chance someone wanted it printed. It had to be for the 'everyman'. It took me a while, after the size was determined, to come up with what needed to be on the pages, such as copy and image size (so that we could make approximate and versatile layouts.) Everything had to start with an idea or a basis to be followed, always something friendly to both user and creator.

It also had to be understood that everything had to be interchangeable, and no copy was real copy. Simply putting in Lorem Ipsum would not work for everything, which is when we began to attempt to figure out how real copy would fit, and how to distinguish the different titles. Should we change the font? Make it bold? What would be the best and most visually appealing solution?
For these two seemingly simple pages, a lot of work and thought went into it. Details are important, and sometimes, simplicity is key. I am glad to know what I know now thanks to the Summer Fellows program. And with that, I believe this is my last entry. Thanks for the opportunity!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On Set of The Good Wife Photo Shoot

Last week as an intern I had the exciting opportunity to go to a photo shoot for the hit CBS show, The Good Wife. Sadly we were weren’t allowed to take photos (for security and privacy reasons of course) but just being on a real live photo shoot was amazing. I had never watched The Good Wife but I was pretty familiar with most of the actors. For someone who has never really ever encountered a celebrity sighting I was very excited to get to see five or six actors all at one time.

Industria, where the photo shoot was being taken, was on the Lower West Side; tucked away on a deserted street. I arrived at 9:30am where CBS crewmembers were already busy at work. A lot was going on: Wardrobe was on one side, hair and makeup was in another corner and the rest of the studio space was filled with lights, equipment, props and furniture for the shoot. The photographer was taking pictures of each actor individually, then onto group shots and lastly photos of just Julianna Margulies. Besides Julianna Marguiles (who plays “the good wife”) other actors who were at the shoot were: Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi and Alan Cumming. A photo shoot is a big production and a lot of work goes into making it happen…not only is there the photographer, but there are photographer assistants, people who move around the props, make up assistants, stylists, the photo editor for The Good Wife and many more.

It was so exciting to see the images appear so clear and crisp on the screen. The photos taken at this photo shoot I learned were going to be used for promotional ads, ads you’d find on buses, in subways, on billboards etc. as well as for magazines. Hundreds upon hundreds of photos were taken that day and I can’t wait to see what photos they end up choosing.

I think it would be an unbelievably amazing opportunity to be a studio photographer who gets to shoot celebrities for a living. I really enjoyed being on set of the photo shoot for CBS’s Emmy nominated show, The Good Wife and now it’s one more thing I can check off of my bucket list.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I've had some time to think it over now and I guess there were little tidbits of information that were more important the more I thought on it. You don't really realize the value of something until it is no longer around. With the lesson passed I was hard pressed to continue thinking about the project and the assignment and all the things I had worked on. Even now it is hard for me to think of specifics. In my next and final post I will provide a few examples of the project that I worked on, though it isn't really anything to behold to the regular eye. We left it unfleshed and incomplete, many pieces of it still in the works. The finer details of the assignment gone with the wind, I suppose.

And yet, there are typographical things to be learned. For instance, have any of you heard of the Golden Rectangle? Apparently it's pretty important in the design world. It's said to be something of a 'perfect' shape, though nothing is perfect. To be honest, the truth is that it's the most visually appealing shape in history. The rectangle has side lengths that are part of the golden ratio: 1:1.618. It was used to build the Parthenon and paint the Mona Lisa.

You have to find the sort of... perfect shape to pull the layouts together and that's the difficult bit. That could take days depending on where the assignment needs to go, who is going to look at it... so on and so forth. I never realized all the thought that needs to go into one singular design process. We must think for the common man. Does the common man want to fool around with computer settings to see what he is looking at? Is he going to print it out, should we consider standard printing sizes? Is it to be printed ourselves made special in some kind of 4x9 brochure format?

And once you think you've sorted out one detail, you stumble upon another: the content. Are their images, copy? Does it need to be retrieved, do you need to write it yourself, if so what needs to go in it, so on and so forth. When at last, you think you have found a layout with which you are satisfied, you must begin to think of the finer details. You have created a barebone layout with only dummy copy, but will the real copy hold up so well in your format? So you try something, you try something extreme, and it looks awful.

Everything has to be changed and adjusted. The littlest things are what matters, and what help a project stand out. Thinking about these things over time made me realize the importance of what I truly learned. It was in the subtle hints and details that I took for granted. And I learned: nothing in design or the art world in general can be taken for granted.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So far so good

CBS as we all know is one the most well known broadcasting companies in the world. But what I really wanted to find out is what it was like in the corporate world as a photographer and what was it's really like to work for a major television network.

Thanks to the UArts Summer Fellowship Program, two weeks ago I started my internship at CBS in New York City, and so far the experience has been something I'll never forget. On Tuesday, July 5th I waited at New Jersey Transit for the 8:17am train and arrived at Penn Station. From there I then took the Subway all the way to 50th street and 7th Ave. From there I had a short walk to the CBS building which is alongside 6th Avenue. 6th Avenue is a very business oriented district so all around me I saw people in their very professional business attired heading into work, it felt so surreal that I was part of that group. Once arriving to my destination I saw the CBS building also known as the "Black Rock". All day I tried to keep my nerves intact because I had no idea what it was going to be like. Since this is my first internship, I hoped that I wouldn’t do or say anything too embarrassing. But once I met I met the lovely Nancy Eichenbaum, the Senior Photo Editor for CBS who also happens to be a Uarts alum, my nerves subsided. Nancy showed me around the Media Arts/Photo Department and introduced me to the other photo editors on the floor who all were very friendly and welcoming, as well as the three other interns, Casey, Ashlee and Alana.

My jobs include anything from looking through old negatives, headshots and contact sheets from shows such as The Young and the Restless, Star Trek and movies starring the late Elizabeth Taylor but also running errands where I get to see where CBS gets their images printed from. As interns we get to look through photographs from past and present television shows, edit photos and interact with such talented people who are not only good at what they do but love what they do. The work environment and the people at CBS are all very professional, laid back, and hard working, a place where I would someday love to work.

I am truly thankful to the Uarts staff, Nancy Eichenbaum and the Emerging Leaders Program for giving me this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see where what will happen in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Show

Today is the last day :( These past two weeks flew by! I can't believe it's over...

This video link is the "Indestructible" dance choreographed by Danielle Bower. Danielle is a Uarts alum! Danielle dances at Broadway Dance Center and teaches at the Rock West.

This video link is the "Balloon" dance choreographed by Tracie Stanfield. She is an amazing choreographer, artist, and advocate for dance. Her class is intense; Tracie demands a lot but in return the dancers get a lot of constructive feedback.

This video link is the "Shelter" dance also choreographed by Tracie Stanfield. Tracie choreographs and teaches in NYC at Broadway Dance Center.

The girls did well in the show and I'm proud of them! They have come a long way in such a short amount of time. I was surprised how close we became and I'm really going to put in the effort to keep in touch with all of them!

I had so much fun dancing and helping out here at the Rock West! I met so many Uarts alumni as well as other dancers and choreographers. This was a great opportunity to network with different people. I'm planning to go to NYC with friends from the program to take open classes. Nicole (the director at the Rock West) also encouraged me to come take class anytime!! I'll definitely be heading out to West Chester on the weekends! I'll miss my Rock West dance family! I know I'll be seeing them again soon though.


Monday, July 18, 2011

The City Life... for the summer at least!

©AEspinal Photography

So I live, breathe and OWN the New York Metro... and it only took me about 3 weeks to learn!

It’s really funny because my whole entire life I've lived right across the city that never sleeps.
Ever since I was a little girl I gazed u p o n the city lights that never seemed to turn off, for those who wandered the city streets without a bedtime. It amazed me, and left me wanting to know more.
This summer I was given a great opportunity to travel to the city everyday, but that wasn’t the best part. The best part was to actually intern for one of the greatest and most powerful networks on television today, CBS.
I started interning for CBS on June 6th and decided to commit myself entirely, by working every day from Monday – Friday. Working everyday would give me a chance to understand how the internal clock worked. Working everyday also gave those professionals that I would be working with a chance to understand me and know me, not just as ‘that intern’… but by my name and by the qualities I bring to the table.

The first day I started at CBS was definitely unexpected.
My alarm went off at exactly 7:05 am. I reached down to grab my phone and realized that the night before I hadn’t connected my phone to the outlet to charge and had 10% battery life! Knowing I had to other things to worry about and I figured I could plug it in at work I followed in my morning routine. Shower, brushed my teeth, and picked out a business casual outfit with black heels. After reviewing my checklist I had prepared the night before for my morning duties, I left the house.
Stepping out of the house the humidity attacked my hair… I walked five blocks headed towards the light rail (local train) and basically went from having straight hair to a curly afro… and the moment I got to the train the train pulled up but my heel broke… but I trekked forth. As I got on the train I looked for a seat, just my luck I sat next to a man that hunted for gold in his nose for the entire train ride, which last 15 minutes. When the train pulled to the station, I got off and transferred over to the Path station. While I walked over to the path, my good heel got caught in a crack while I crossed the street… good thing the light was red. I shook off all the bad luck and made the rest of my day better by thinking optimistically. Two more trains later I got to Rockefeller Center, which was two blocks away from the CBS building. I walked the two long city blocks in the horrible humidity and finally reached the tall dark skyscraper that cut a hole into the sky… even though it was a bit intimidating on the outside… the lobby was painted in this gold leaf color... warm and inviting. From then I knew I would enjoy my time at CBS… something as subtle as the color on the walls really speaks in volumes for me, and I was right. I met my employer Nancy and was welcomed with arms wide opened by everyone that day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Talent Show

Tonight we had an impromptu talent show! It was nice to just relax and laugh after a long week. Preparation wasn't allowed for the talent show. The girls just got up and did whatever they felt like doing. This is a video of two of my jazz girls. Erin is the blonde and Cottie is the brunette. Erin is the mom of the group. She's the one who makes sure everyone is awake in the morning and makes sure is everyone is accounted for (she helps make my job super easy haha). Cottie is the funniest girl in the group. She always has a witty comeback and keeps us all smiling. This video is just a snippet of how much fun we all have on a daily basis!


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Today was Montserrat's birthday! She turned thirteen! The girls and I decided to throw her a surprise party. Most of them took Monts to the pool so we could set up. We bought cupcakes and ice cream and decorated the room. I was really happy everyone wanted to do something special for her; Monts was really homesick and I think this party helped take her mind off it a little bit. There are nine girls in the jazz program and they're so close with one another. There is also a ballet program with about two hundred girls. This jazz program allows for a very close-knit group whereas the ballet program is very competitive. I'm so happy to chaperone the jazz girls! There is never a dull moment :)


Friday, July 15, 2011


Today was my last day with the program, and after this post, in a week or so, I think I might go back and reevaluate the entire situation, but for now I want to let out my thoughts on how it went so far. As the program went on, and there were scheduling conflicts we had to compensate for (not always successfully), I began to learn that you need to be flexible and there are different ways to do things. The program has taught me that leadership has to come from yourself. You have to take responsibility for your own actions and for everything you do. If you want to run your own studio, you should first observe and learn how to do so. There is a lot to it: record keeping, portfolio organization, the skills needed to profit. It isn't something you just start up on a whim, or at least keep going because of it.
I learned that in the finer details of business one must have the desire and backing to keep going and must not forget why they do what they do. Although the program was a little tough on me, I feel better for it. I've come out of it knowing what I'm looking for in a job environment, who to trust, and what to take from the lessons I'm taught. I have to take the advice I am given and transform it into something useful. You cannot simply say 'align everything right' and expect it to make sense, or rather, continue to be a decent and growing designer; you haven't learned anything. But if someone prompts you to understand why align right is the better decision, wouldn't that help more in the future? Though my entrusted project was a seemingly simple one, I realize now that I am done with program (not the work, not by any means) that there is a lot of thought and more detail then one can originally realize in the conception of a piece of work. It is not merely to have the idea, but to be able to bring it to life. Much like that of a dance performance. Dancers begin with an idea or concept that they must bring to life, and nobody gets it right after the first try. It takes a lot of practice and adjustments. I suppose this knowledge of the grander scheme of things gives me a broader perspective for the other arts around me, as well as extends the amount of respect I hold for my fellow peers here at UArts.
We all do some amazing things with our life and time, and I will continue to think about the impact of this program on my career in the weeks to come.

Monday, July 11, 2011

At Endstation

I arrived at Sweet Briar college on June 24, in the late morning. The campus is one of the most beautiful in the nation, with over 3,000 acers of luscious landscapes and emerald hills, the Sweet Briar campus is the best location for the Endstation Theatre Company and their mission. Prior to my arrival I did some brief research into the company, Endstation is run by Geoffrey Kershner, its artistic directer. The mission Geoff tries to accomplish with each one of the company's productions is the achievement of superb theatrical presentation amongst beautiful landscapes and/or unique locations. Essentially, Endstation specializes in outdoor theatre. I met Geoff on my arrival, not only is he the artistic director of the company but he is also an acting major alumni from UArts. We took a short tour of the campus and talked about UArts when he was there and compared his experience to mine thus far. Turns out, not a lot has changed over the course of some 10 odd years since Geoff graduated and I started attending, at least not as much as I had expected. Geoff took me to some past sites where previous shows had been performed, last year their Hamlet was performed in and around a barn while the audience was seated on an adjacent hill.
After the tour and a short lunch I was thrown right into the mix. At the time, the company was mid way through its project called BLUR. This project incorporated high school students into a month long theatre camp which included classes ranging from dramatic research to audition technique and improv. Right after lunch I assisted a company member named Sergio in his improv class. Teaching high schoolers is...interesting. It's a little unbelievable to imagine just how different those I know in college are from those in high school. However, despite the age gap and the occasional relapses into a more recalcitrant time in my life, teaching high schoolers became a very valuable experience. I've always known that teaching is a difficult job, but I never knew just how difficult the position could be and how a student can really challenge you. I found that despite the difficulty, with my past experiences and knowledge from UArts aided me for my unexpected teaching position. I learned quickly that I am not only responsible for the students but also responsible for giving quality instruction, which can be an intimidating thought. You really have to learn to trust your knowledge, your experiences, your talent and ability in order to teach. Any level of self doubt ends up making you look like you don't know what you're talking about.
After the class I met with Geoff and Aaron. Aaron is a dramaturg at Florida State University, and was currently on a kind of fellowship with Endstation as well. We ate dinner and discussed my duties in conjunction with Aaron. One of Aarons goals was to help Endstation decide on what shows the company will produce for next years season. The plan was to produce a Shakespeare show with only six actors. We had four shows to choose from, Merry Wives of Windsor, Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Comedy of Manners. My objective was to help Aaron come to a decision by character tracking these shows. Through character tracking, I would be able to determine how many characters there were in the show, how many are on stage at a time and whether or not the show could be done with only six actors.
When I left dinner I had a little time to myself in the Sweet Briar dorm, which is actually very nice. I had a little time to settle in, but shortly afterwards I had to get dressed to see the company's production of Assassins (their first musical and one of their few productions actually performed in a theatre). The production was amazing and very professional. We had actually studied this musical in Survey of Theatre, and seeing the production come to life was great. Honestly, it was good to watch the company put their money where their mouth is. After seeing the show I was assured I was in a professional environment. I suppose I had some doubts about the legitimacy of this fellowship before my arrival, the idea of having a brief internship and grant to go along with it seemed unreal. I was glad to see the show and enjoy it because it sorta solidified my confidence in the company.


I was able to sleep in this morning. Today I have a much less busy schedule, and after my long trip and schedule of yesterday I am a little thankful for this. Today I worked on tracking both Merry Wives of Windsor and Comedy of Errors. This took me about four hours for both. It's very tedious work, but for the company's purposes it is essential. Geoff and Aaron understood the assignments repetitive nature but were very thankful to have me on board to help with it. When I was done I handed in my results. Geoff and Aaron looked the results over for both plays and arrived at an issue. Geoff's aim for the show next year was to have six actors take on multiple roles and have them in a constant, hilarious scurry from character to character. However, Comedy of Manners would prove to easy for six actors while Merry Wives of Windsor might be impossible. I was then assigned to complete the other two shows, which would continue to help narrow the selection.
Later, I ate dinner with the production crew of Assassins. Most of them were interns as well all of them were local. Turns out Endstation also aims to cast and hire from the local community as much as possible.
After dinner, Geoff invited me to shadow him during his rehearsals  on Sunday for Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Endstation's current working production.


BLUR classes occur on the weekday, it mimics a high school schedule. So on this Sunday morning I decided to take a walk about the campus before I started to do more character tracking. I found a boat house (and made a note to myself to go cannoning before I had to leave), hiking trails and horses. No I did not stumble upon wild horses in the majestic forest. Actually, the school is an equestrian school. It is also an all girls school. So, if I had a horse and were a woman, Sweet Briar would be my first choice. In reality,  neither of those aspects apply to me, too bad because the school is very lovely. It probably sounds like I cannot get over the campus, in a way it is true. It has been a long time since I have been to the Appalachians and I have always loved the region as a child.
After my little expedition I returned to my "homework" and began to character track Geoff and Aarons other selections for next year's season. Today I am also scheduled to usher the matinee performance of Assassins. After that, I have a little more time to work on character tracking and then I am off to Twelfth Night rehearsal.
When I arrived on location I was given a brief low down on the setting of the production. The play was set in a meadow near an old train stop with a antique caboose grounded next to it. In the meadow were butterfly bushes that were arranged in a V formation open to the audience. The audience would be seated in front of the V opening and would from there be able to enjoy not only the mountainous back drop nature so kindly donated but also the colorful sunset that would occur during the plays duration. Geoff explained to me that there are more mechanics to out door theatre than are typically understood. Most out door theatre can be played on a two dimensional level, which in his mind was silly because in any space you have the options of levels and variety. However, outdoors you have a trees, bushes, buildings and vistas that can provide levels and options for exploration and discovery. For instance, for the top of this show, Festie (the fool of the play) introduces us the exposition of the play. The play starts with the actor skipping, running, and jumping around in the distance towards the playing area before the audience. The audience may never see him exit the woods and come towards them, but it's still pretty clever to have actors entering ahead of time from far away places. I suppose if you have these kind of options, you might as well use them. It takes a different set of eyes to direct an outdoor theatre production. Not only do you need a creative eye for the space you'll have, but both sound and lighting become factors beyond your control. You have to understand the logistics of acoustics and sometimes you have to accept that rain happens, how do you deal with that. Planes, helicopters, even noisy birds can prove to detract from the action on stage. The elements can be bitter sweet to theatre, so it is all a matter of how you incorporate your production to nature and how you handle its curve balls that inevitable dictate the overall product. I once thought outdoor theatre was amateurish, but there actually is an art to it. As for the rehearsal, I laughed and enjoyed myself. I conversed with Geoff every now and then about this and that, but mostly I observed and noted all the above.


Today marks the end of my relaxed schedules, which I pretty happy about. At 8:00 I shadow Michael, who is not only the lead in Twelfth Night but also the Shakespeare teacher for the BLUR students. I noticed that it is very difficult to teach high schoolers Shakespeare, mostly due to the depth of the subject matter. I won't go into iambic pentameter or scoring of classical text, because I don't want to do to my readers what the class did to the students, but classical text has a dialogue and rhythm all it's own. I think my Michael accepted that the subject is difficult to teach, and to a degree gave up. I wished I was here longer so I could come up with some exercise to make the text more interesting and engaging.
The class I shadowed next was an audition technique class with Sergio. This time I was more of a teachers assistant compared to the last class. Previously, Sergio has asked me for cold read selection for the class (a cold read is a type of audition where the actor is given a text on the spot with little time to look it over and is asked to perform it for the auditioner). I selected a few scenes for him and today they were to be put into the hands of the high school students, and I am going to be their director. Being on the other side of the audition room is great! It certainly is a lot more relaxed, however I was always at attention in order to take notes on the auditions. I will say, for scenes I know well, some of these kids came out with some pretty inventive interpretations. I had to determine on my own which interpretations were stronger than others, and if they were at all valid to my vision for the scene. After the mock auditions, we all sat in a circle and discussed what had happened and what to do next time. Sergio and I then gave a couple of brief personal stories about auditioning before we departed.
The next class I shadowed I have hard time naming, because it was more of an interpretive class where the students were challenged to create performance pieces based upon research. Today, I shadowed Angie as we went to the library and looked through archives of the original owners of the Sweet Briar campus. The students were divided into groups and each one got a family member that was on file. I helped students find interesting documents that could possibly be turned into a kind of performance. Once everyone had found their necessities, we photocopied the documents and had the students depart until tomorrow where they were to come with ideas for their performance.
Next, I had lunch with Geoff and Aaron and we discussed my findings from character tracking Taming of the Shrew and Two Gentlemen of Verona. These two plays were quickly dismissed since the concern was that neither one would have catered to the six actor idea. I then suggested cutting a few actors in order to make the action of the production even more crazy. Geoff seemed to like the idea, but I won't know what his decision will be until next season.
That evening I shadowed another Twelfth Night rehearsal. Even though I have seen a few rehearsals, each time the actors find new ways to make me laugh. I really am dealing with a professional group of people.


Today's classes were rough, mostly because the students were out of it. My entire day was pretty much spent trying to excite the students and wake them up, I tried to implement some of my Voice and Speech training to achieve this. It helped a little, but the battle lasted all day. Today became the day I think I officially decided that if I were to teach theatre it would have to be either at a college level or at some kind of magnet school. I don't think I have the patients for the lack of discipline. This topic actually came up between Geoff and I, I asked him why I didn't see him teach a brief class during the summer camp. I knew he had gone through the UArts program and had had the combat training, I wondered why he hadn't offered to start a combat class. Geoff said he couldn't handle the lack of discipline either, and discipline was something combat classes at UArts strive for. His training here gave him a set of skills that last him even into today, but those skills, for him, do not make him compatible with high schoolers. Later, Geoff gave me a piece of advice that I found honest and imperative to my success. He told me to always keep an eye out for opportunities outside of school, try to tap in on any gig you can in the area, get your name out there. He said people aren't as forgetful as you may think, they'll remember you. So I will certainly keep doing what I'm doing, of course my education comes first, but the world is only a few more years away. Geoff stressed that it is important to try and give yourself a destination after college, the world is easy to get lost in.
For tonight's rehearsal, we got rained in. Geoff was a little irked (actually, he was really mad) because opening was coming up so soon and he wants his actors to get as much time in the real space as possible. I was upset as well because my last day here would be spent watching an outdoor show be run in a small black box theatre. However, the sun did come out in the evening and we quickly moved to location. That evening, with all the broken rain clouds in the sky, and the mist creeping up the mountains, we had the most gorgeous sunset I had seen over the time of my stay. As rehearsal went on, the sky was filled with red, pink, orange and deep blue. It was the perfect lighting. We even had to stop rehearsal for a moment because it was so distracting, even for Geoff. Then, when the sun finally set, the land was lit by fireflies. It has been a long time since I had seen this many fireflies, and I have to say it was one of the best ways to end my fellowship.
After rehearsal, a few techie friends of mine went to the boat landing and hung out. We watched the stars and listened to folk music late into the night. It was hard to say goodbye, I suppose I really put it off until the last minute at 2:30 in the morning, but I did miss home and I was ready to go back.


When I awoke I packed my things and tried to get around to saying bye to everyone. My last conversation with Geoff was promising because he actually suggested I try and intern with them again next summer and to audition for their next season. I'm defiantly keeping it in mind. I left feeling great, I had had a priceless experience and will always keep the company in my head for the future. Endstation showed me first hand that a theatre company is not a simple thing to run, the business is a new all day job that requires consistent stamina and love for what you're doing.This being said, Endstation isn't even located in one of the east coast's main "hubs" for theatrical activity. Still, the company is booming and busy, I can only imagine a theatre company in Philadelphia, Boston or New York City must be even more hectic. This experience could have diverted me away from ever starting and running a theatre company, but to the contrary, I have actually been inspired to start one. When, where and how are all particulars I'm still unsure of. most likely Philly, but none the less I think it is an objective I would like to achieve (wow, how very actor of me). I can't thank everyone involved enough, this has been a blessing.

And here's Twelfth Night...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rock West

The emphasis on preparedness in the Emerging Leaders Program translates into every aspect of my job at the Rock School West. I'm a chaperone to the girls in the jazz intensive. This is quite similar to being an RA. I'm responsible for checking them in at night, making sure they sign out properly, and am available for anything they may need. It's really fun! All of the chaperones are much older and the girls are close to my age. I'm friendly with the girls but I'm also conscience of the barrier between us (chaperone/student). Emerging Leaders helped me to further explore my strengths as a leader; the students and faculty respect my leadership qualities because of the way I work. I'm friendly with the students but not to the point where I'm viewed as unprofessional.
Today I met Nicole Harmonn, director of Rock West. She's amazing! She let me take a full day of class which was exciting! I took two contemporary classes and two jazz classes. There was a great variety in teaching styles so I had to make the adjustment and adapt to every teacher. Tomorrow I'll be doing some administrative work with Nicole. I'm not really sure what she'll need specifically, but I'm interested in seeing what kind of work goes into running a studio.
The people here are awesome and welcoming! I'm enjoying every second. This Summer Fellows program is just brilliant! More to come later :)


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Starting out inDesign

The opportunity was irresistible: a chance to work in your field this early on in college? Sign me up! It was a chance to get a real understanding and look at the way my world worked. It wasn't just the 'art world' in general. It wasn't just one section of an artistic world, it was my world. My specific little world dedicated to the field I was studying. There was an appeal to being allowed to utilize my schooling and turn it into something profitable. Not necessarily profitable in a monetary sense, but in a learning sense; in the idea that there would be experience to lay claim to, field experience. Field experience is something that cannot be denied as invaluable.

So, when at last, my chance knocked on my door, I took it full fold, looking forward to the lessons I was set to learn. How to take the Leadership Program and turn it into something else? How would I take the skills I learned and utilize them in this related Summer Fellows Program? I suppose one of the first things to use would be time management. I have set periods of time in which I can do work and hopefully try to accomplish all that I could in that time. I was in charge of what I was doing in that moment. Sure, there was plenty of time to work outside the daily program, but what could I accomplish while there, while the advice was still available? It was curious trying to figure out this balance, and as I am only up to my 2nd session (of 8), I'm still trying to understand.

Each time I go, I get to understand a little more about what it takes to run your own company (particularly a design firm.) There is a lot that needs to be communicated. As I am only in the beginning of my findings, there isn't much more to say. I've got another meeting tomorrow, so hopefully more to come!