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When it REALLY bites you in the rear...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Boy oh boy, when it rains, it pours... as per the usual law of nature. I had such high hopes for this upcoming quarter. It was to start the final year of my UCSD career. Good things were supposed to happen. I was taking a class that I was excited about... hell, more than excited about! I was praying for another lighting design class. Two days before school started, I got word that it had been canceled. You know how many lighting design classes have been offered at UCSD since I began attending? One. And I took it when it was offered. It was a basic class, but I learned a lot. I worked seriously hard in it, too. Sometimes our lighting projects would require 3-5 hours outside of class time to complete. And I loved it so much. This class was the next step- advanced lighting design. It was meant to be small. No more than 10 or 12 students MAX. I guess everyone decided it didn't fit into their schedules anymore. So, they dropped it. And f***ed over the few of us that were left. So... I want to be a lighting designer for the rest of my life. And I've taken one 10-week basic class to date. That ought to be enough, right?

I applied to be an assistant lighting designer, ASSISTANT lighting designer for a student run production on campus. The Muir Musical has a lot of esteem, held in high regards, and is quite impressive for a student production. Faculty and staff and students alike all enjoy and are awed by the work and talent and dedication that goes into producing the musical. And I only wanted to be an assistant- NOT primary- lighting designer. And I didn't even get that chance. If I wasn't going to be able to take a class, then I wanted the opportunity to learn more through this (although I didn't know at the time that the class had been canceled).

I have asked several people several times if I can be an assistant for one of the graduate lighting designers who are working on projects at the Playhouse. I'm never told 'no', but I've also never been told 'yes'. I'm waiting for the opportunity to learn. I want to be taught how to be a designer. I know the basics. I've known the basics for quite some time. I need to know more. I can't get by on the bare minimum. And no one seems to want to help me. I am by no means a popular student... because I'm not an actor. I'm older. I'm inked. I'm pierced. I'm not a naive kid that can be ordered around. I am nice. I can be asked to do things. I usually don't even need things explained to me in detail. But, it seems like I'm getting overlooked.

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for the opportunity I got to be a part of "The Savannah Disputation" at the Copley (Globe theatre complex). But, I wasn't a designer. Hell, I didn't even have a hand in the design at all. I created a few pieces of paperwork and basically sat around as quality control. I watched the rehearsals and the previews. I was the liaison between the designer and the tech crew. I stayed for notes, I took notes, and I payed close attention to what was going on. But, essentially, I was an assistant TO the designer, not an assistant designer. Which is fine. I learned a lot. But, once again... not enough to really put it on a resume. I can't put it on a resume... My name isn't even in the program.

I want the chance to be a designer and it seems like every door is being closed on me. Am I following the wrong path? Am I doing something wrong? If I am, what am I supposed to do that's right, that's correct? I don't even know. I've said it once before and I'll say it again: UCSD's Theatre and Dance Dept. hates their own students. Well, their non-acting, non-playwriting undergrads anyway. They love their grad students. They love their actors and playwrights. Us designers... we get the shortest end of the stick. Usually the piece of stick that got stuck in a giant pile of poo first.

If I don't do anything design-wise to design a show, then I have nothing to put in my portfolio. If I don't have a portfolio, there's no way in hell I'm getting into grad school. And if I wanna focus my education solely on lighting design, grad school is where I do it. But, not if I can't get there. If you want to be an actor, and a darn good one, go to UCSD and be a theatre major. If you're an undergrad and you want to be a designer, go somewhere else. If I had known, I would have gone to a specialty school. And focused my BA as narrowly as possible on lighting design.

And in the meantime, I'm enrolled in a theatre history class that I specifically remember saying I didn't want to take. And another history class that I do want to take, but is going to be a ton of work... more than MMW ever was. Same goes for the theatre history class. I may never have a spare moment between the hundreds of pages of reading a week complete with written responses for each assigned reading, the presentations (for each class!), the 10+ page research papers (that's one for each class, folks!), and the department productions I'm required to watch (all 5 of them).

For some bizarre reason, my wrist feels infinitely better today. I hate my wrist. WHY oh WHY does it gotta be a b****? I need it. It's my righty. I hurt it the other day turning the steering wheel. That's all. Its such a wussy wrist!! It can't even TURN a STEERING WHEEL without failing epically. What is wrong with it?! Why can't someone tell me? I really have to pay $500 out of pocket for an MRI before I get an answer? For reallies? I just want to scream. "I'm sorry Steve... that wrist is gonna have to go..." *sawing motion*

I just want to scream. I am so jaded right now.

AND!! Since when do I have to censor myself on a blog?!?! Free speech, yo! First Amendment privilege AND right!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JILLYBEAN25
    I love being an electrician, too, but you're right. Its hard to learn design from the outside. Plus, I can't do as much electrician work right now thanks to my stupid wrist!!!
    4216 days ago
  • CLAUDIA1333
    I so know you're pain about the design stuff. When I was at school there wasn't a lighting design class until my second to last year, and it was just the intro one too. I love lighting but have not gotten the education I wanted. I'm working as an electrician now and am trying to learn more about design but it's definitely a struggle.
    4216 days ago
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