February 2016

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February 2016


Costume Portfolio Reviews at USITT 2016

Esther Van Eek Costume Commission

A portfolio may be the single most important marketing tool a designer or technician has in such a visual industry as the theatre. A portfolio is a record of developing achievements and strengths, so it needs periodic updating. Preparing for a portfolio review is a great opportunity to clarify thinking about work and to ask questions about how to improve its impact.

The Costume Design &Technology Commission hosts several days of portfolio reviews each March at the Annual Conference & Stage Expo; USITT 2016 is no exception. Review slots fill up quickly, so sign up now for a slot.

Participating students and professionals benefit from the feedback and encouragement they receive from costume design and tech faculty and industry professionals. Reviewers are treated to a look at the work of up-and-coming artists and have the opportunity to mentor them in a collegial environment.

Through the Commission, every person who signs up for a review will present their work to two professionals who will offer advice on format, content, sequencing, and page layout. The reviewers have experience building and using portfolios. They will share the tips and tricks that have won jobs and the faux pas that have cost them opportunities. Presenters can learn best practices, improve presentation skills, and gain the confidence a wider audience brings.

Reviews can be geared toward individual questions or concerns. Even mid-career costumers find feedback invaluable when it’s time to update the look of their portfolios. Shaped by where someone is in a career, what the goals are, and the unique personality that person brings to the work, a portfolio should showcase artistic identity. Getting quality feedback will help ensure it does so as effectively as possible.

With the number of student members in the Commission multiplying very rapidly, portfolio reviews are one more way the Costume Design & Technology Commission is working to ensure all its members’ interests are addressed.

Professionals looking for an opportunity to serve might consider signing up to conduct reviews. It does not take a lot of time, and anyone new to the process will be teamed with a colleague who has done reviews for the Commission at previous Conferences.

For more information contact Esther Van Eek at evaneek@uwindsor.ca.