October 2010

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October 2010

News From USITT's President:

Make Connections

Joe Aldridge President

At the 2010 Annual Conference, many notable individuals, such as Richard Pilbrow, center, took time to look at the special exhibits at Stage Expo. Mr. Pilbrow is just one of the people who are willing to talk about their experiences when they are at events.

Photo/Tom Thatcher

Well, I have to thank the members of the Board, the staff, and the membership for the successful web-based Board meeting on August 13. In addition to the members of the Board and the staff in Syracuse, 11 regular members joined the electronic meeting. I was happy to have them and look forward to more joining in on the next meeting.

Our next series of meetings will be in Las Vegas during LDI. We will meet at Harrah’s on Friday, October 22 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and at the same time on Saturday, October 23. The meetings are open to any member who wishes to attend. I will post a copy of the agenda and the Board Packet on the USITT website about a week prior to the meeting. I encourage all to attend and become better aware of the operation of the Institute.

As you will have read in the last issue of Sightlines, students wishing to participate in the Student Volunteer Program have been able to apply for the past two weeks. I encourage all students to apply. It is a great way to have your conference registration waived in return for volunteering 15 hours of labor while at the conference. Not only do you become involved with USITT and with the conference, you have the perfect opportunity to begin to network with members who just might be your next employer, colleague, or future employee.

I remember a Conference not so long ago in Long Beach where students of mine wanted to get to know some of the “names” in attendance, but didn’t know how to meet them. It just so happened that the late Peter Foy was sitting in the Flying By Foy booth at Stage Expo, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to talk with anyone who happened by about any of his favorite subjects. These subjects all related to theatre, and his roots. I trooped over to his booth and introduced my students to Peter and he spoke with them for over 30 minutes before I went back and rescued him.

At the same Conference Thurston James was in attendance and one of my students wanted to talk with him about a career in props. I directed her to go over and introduce herself and strike up a conversation. She felt awkward so I took her over to Thurston, made the introduction and stepped aside to let them talk.

Again, after about 30 minutes, I rescued Thurston from this student. I did this repeatedly with “names” in attendance. My students were amazed that I knew so many people.

Other than Peter Foy, I had only casually met the others, but I knew that these folks were at the Conference so that they could network with people, their peers or students; it didn’t matter. It was by introducing myself to folks that I got to know them.

I suggest that, as you become more involved with the conference activities and business of the Institute, you take advantage of the networking opportunities that present themselves to you through your participation. Go up to any of the attendees at a conference and introduce yourself; get to know them. Who knows? You may have something in common. But I caution you, you only have one opportunity at making a good first impression.

Nine weeks, as of this writing, and enjoying it more every day!