Browsing articles tagged with " School"

The Coffeehouse that serves no coffee

Jan 14, 2010   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, School  //  No Comments

By the time December 18 hit, I was pretty ready to be finished with school. I’ve loved it, but it’s been a long few years, made even longer by the fact that Colin and I were doing long-distance through the entire thing. No matter how ready I am to move on, though, there are always those things that are hard to leave behind. Things I wish I had a bit more time with.

Besides the obvious — friends, In-n-Out, my Starbucks employee discount, and the weather — it was hardest to leave behind the Coffeehouse Theater. I’d spent three semesters as resident producer, along with my good friend Michael, and if there’s one thing I wish I’d had more time to work on and leave my mark on, that was it. Read more >>

6 weeks!

Oct 29, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, School  //  No Comments

First, go take a look at my recently-updated portfolio page. I’ve finally got a good chunk of the documentation from this summer up there — and I must be really on the ball, because Waiting for Lefty, which only closed two days ago, is already up! Read more >>

Dinner and a movie

Oct 20, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, School, Theatre, Weekly Round-up  //  No Comments

Ah, this was the kind of weekend that makes my heart sing.

I saw the West Coast premiere of Eclipsed at the Kirk Douglas Theatre on Friday night. Saturday, I saw Medea at UCLA Live — two very intense, very brilliant nights of theatre. Which, of course, meant that I needed a comedic break, so Sunday, I saw Whip It. Read more >>

Five years later

Oct 16, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Ministry, Real Life, School, The Arts  //  1 Comment

The one “real” class that I’m taking this semester is an Entrepreneurship class, which is really kind of a goal-setting and career-planning class — you know, the kind that almost every school offers in the last year or semester before graduation. In some programs, it’s a mandatory class; this one isn’t, but it’s a great class anyway.

This week’s assignment is to outline goals, starting with long-term, and then breaking it down into 5- and 10-year steps. Now, in my opinion, setting goals like this is good for two things. One is, of course, the (stated) intended purpose: to be able to look ahead at where I want to be, and then to figure out how to get there and what the steps are along the way. Break it down into manageable steps that are, in a sense, accomplishments in themselves, as well as being milestones along the way to a larger goal.

The second is having a record to look back at and see how life changes. The best thing about setting goals is being able to watch them shift and fluctuate as life changes, watching priorities and important moments change along with them. Read more >>

First of many steps

Oct 13, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Career, Creative Discontent, Ministry, Theatre  //  No Comments

I got my start in the arts in church. I sang in the kids’ choir (which my mom directed), got my first speaking parts in musicals, and did special music on Sunday mornings, all starting from the time I was 5 years old. My first full-length script was produced there; I started directing plays when I was in high school; I did shows where I simultaneously wore the hats of director, producer, production manager, and designer; and I even got my first taste of arts administration and producing in the church. I wouldn’t have called it that at the time, but I instinctively knew that something had to make the show go. Someone needed to create the infrastructure for the work to happen, and there was no one else doing it, so I did.

I’ve gone on and done a lot of work outside of a church environment, of course, and I’ve never wanted to build my entire career within the church, but I’ve always had a very clear view of its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the arts. I know how important the arts are within the church. I know the kind of growth and support that a church can give to an arts program. I also know how incredibly frustrating it can be at times to work primarily with volunteers, or to work in an organization whose mandate is not, first and foremost, arts-centered — where the arts fit into the fabric of the rest of the community, and not the other way around.

However.


Sep 28, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Well, these last two weeks have been a rather unintentional mini-hiatus — I suppose I just wasn’t quite as on-the-ball as I should have been about getting entries ready for what I knew would be a busy few weeks! Read more >>

What we do best

Jul 6, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture, Faith, School  //  3 Comments

Ever feel like there’s a message that keeps hitting you over the head, getting more and more obvious?

John Cosper, a Christian playwright and filmmaker, posted a manifesto about “Christian films,” particularly talking about what needs to change. It’s a great read, and I wholeheartedly agree — and if you’ve ever heard me talking about many, many Christian scripts, you’ll have heard the same concepts as they relate to very specific pieces that I’ve worked on.

However, the broad meaning of his manifesto isn’t what struck me most today. Instead, it was the following paragraph:

Seek out the best teacher or mentor you can. Don’t go to a Christian teacher just because they’re a Christian. Go somewhere that you can learn from a true artist, one who is a master of the craft in their own right. In other words don’t seek to be the best Christian writer/actor/director you can be. Seek to be the best writer/actor/director you can be.

A few hours later, a very different entry popped up on my RSS reader. Cole Matson, a theatre artist and C.S. Lewis scholar, is writing a series of posts on his transition from the Protestant church to the Catholic church, and it’s a fascinating and deeply personal story. Today, part of his entry talked about the decision to go to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, rather than Wheaton College, for his undergrad:

I had loved Wheaton, and had been in awe of its existence as an intentional Christian community of scholars “for Christ and His Kingdom,” as Wheaton’s motto goes. However, I also wanted to study to become a professional actor, and Wheaton did not have a theatre major, much less a professional training program. As a matter of fact, there did not seem to exist a Christian college of Wheaton’s faithfulness and academic caliber that also provided professional arts training. (This gap is one I hope the C.S. Lewis Foundation’s C.S. Lewis College can fill.) The other school to which I had been accepted was NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, which has one of the top undergraduate theatre programs in the country. I asked my dad, who I knew was pleased that I had fallen in love with his alma mater, for his advice. He said:

“What do you want to do?”

“Become an actor.”

“Then go where they do that best. In this case, that’s not Wheaton.”

Twice, in very different contexts, the concept of choosing a school or other training for its quality rather than for its theology.

Two things strike me as I think about that.


This is why we do it

Jun 12, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Real Life, School, Theatre  //  5 Comments

I don’t think I’ve ever not had an understanding of producing. There are some artists who don’t know or understand what it takes to actually put on a show (or an exhibit, or whatever), but that’s never been me. Yes, I have training as an actor and director, but I also have always put in the production work to make it happen, even when that wasn’t my primary role.

One of my jobs at CalArts is Resident Producer in the Coffeehouse Theater, which is an interdisciplinary space open to students to present non-curricular work. The committee acts in a curatorial capacity, as the Coffeehouse is primarily a presenting, not a producing, entity. That means that we work with a lot of artists who want to show their work, but have no idea what goes into producing it. Our job is to walk them through the process, step-by-step, and teach them how to work with a presenting organization, because those basic producing skills are things that every artist should know.

In any case, that side of things has always been, to me, an integral part of the art-making process, and I started doing it simply because no one else was. I needed to have a place to do work, and, like many artists who begin producing, it began with that simple need.


Let’s go to a show!

May 28, 2009   //   by Alida   //   Creative Discontent, Culture  //  No Comments

I still need to get a second job for the summer, since my internship with Calgary Arts Development is not quite full-time, but I have to admit that I’m dragging my heels a little bit in getting something set up. There’s so much going on in this city that it kills me to think of eating up my evenings with a second job. I don’t take advantage of nearly enough of the stuff that Calgary offers, but these days, it’s coming across my desk constantly. When I’m more aware of what’s happening — and around people who are more excited about it — I’m reminded that I need to be out there, seeing and doing more. I want to be getting out there and doing something at least once a week, and there are that many opportunities (and more!), if only I didn’t have to work evenings elsewhere.

It’s the same thing when I’m in school. While I was working in the Public Affairs office, I knew about virtually everything that was going on at the school and at REDCAT, and there was always so much I wanted to see, but there’s just never enough time for all of it.

I make it more of a priority than some people, of course. Even in a “bad” month, I’ll see at least one performing arts event. It’s very, very rare that I’ll go longer than that without seeing something, but occasionally, it happens. Still, I aim for at least two events a month. It’s made somewhat easier by the number of people I know in the arts — even if I only go see events that have friends in them, I’ll see an average of 12-15 events a year, and that’s not even getting to everything that my friends are in.

I try to go beyond just the places where I know someone, though. That’s a good place to start, but it does tend to be a bit limiting. I’m a fan of subscribing to half-price and other listing services (TicketWeb in New York, Goldstar in L.A., ArtsMart in Calgary) and choosing something random with a company I’ve never seen before.

With my job at CADA, I’ll have the opportunity to see all kinds of work. Part of that is, like I said, simply because I’m more aware of what’s out there. Part of it is because I have access to tickets. I just hope that whatever other job I get doesn’t interfere too much with the important stuff in life, especially during the summer, when I don’t have things like classes and rehearsals to fill my time. Even though the summer is traditionally the down season for theatre and regular season programming, there are more than enough festivals, concerts, special events, and exhibits to see, and I plan to take advantage of as much as I can.

I’ll try and post once a week with a roundup of what I’m seeing, reading, listening to, watching, and browsing. It’ll keep me accountable to make sure I’m not getting lazy with my arts intake, and it’ll maybe give Colin and I an excuse to go see things we wouldn’t otherwise see.

How much do you see? What do you wish you had time for? If you’re in Calgary, what’s the most important thing I should make an effort to see this summer?

Grad school projects based on “Harold and the Purple Crayon”?

Dec 7, 2008   //   by Alida   //   Books, Creative Discontent, School  //  No Comments

A few days ago, my Facebook status read thus: “Alida’s creative idea is inspired by ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon.’ Yes, that’s right. That’s what grad school has done to my brain.”

A friend replied, “If you were in my grad program that would be perfectly acceptable. In fact a girl in my publishing class is doing her project on Harold. I am doing mine on The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

I told her that maybe, once I’d finished the project, I’d post a synopsis of it, just for fun, since I’m fairly sure that a library school project based on “Harold and the Purple Crayon” is vastly different than mine, and it’s cool to see how we can take the same source material and have to do something completely different with it.

My assignment, for my Advanced Case Studies in Producing class, was to create a proposal for a project. This wasn’t a complete strategy (which would include a budget, marketing and PR plan, preliminary contracts, timeline, personnel needed, etc), but rather, a preliminary proposal for a commissioning project that was inspired by the research we’ve done into the worldwide producing environment. Preferably something exciting, challenging, complicated, compelling, and big. Basically, it was a chance to dream big without the limitations of trying to figure out the reality of it.

So here’s what I came up with:



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