Because my emphasis is in both Technical Direction and Set Design, I wanted to find a project where I could do both. Don't want to do all that work for both, then only represent one.
To back up two steps, let me tell you a better description of what I do.
In high school I got involved with technical theater. I loved all the crazy projects you'd get to do, like building giant noses or making silly sound effects. I jumped around and did all sorts of things, lights, sound, set.
Now in college, I just work on the set. They split it up into a few major parts. The set designer designs everything, the furniture, walls, any objects on the set. Next those designs go to the Technical Director and the Prop Master. They divvy it up to see who builds what. The TD takes the big stuff (walls, doors, platforms) and the Prop Master takes the smaller stuff (furniture, pictures on the wall, etc.) The other key person in this is the Paint Charge, but we'll get to them later.
Here is a set I designed last year.
I kinda love all four of these positions. When I first got to university I did props, but I loved seeing how hard the carpenters worked and how much fun they were having, so I joined them. Its been awesome. It is such a wonderful feeling to finish a day of hard work (both physically and mentally) and see something you've built actually exist. As a carpenter, first you learn (obviously) carpentry skills. How to use tools, be safe, and build stuff. The next skill you learn is how to manage people. The role of a technical director is to figure out the best way to build things, manage the schedule of when to build them, manage the people who will build them, and make sure there is enough money to build everything that needs to be built.
I also learned a lot about set design, painting and building props. In order to do one of these jobs, you kind of have to understand all three. Usually you choose one, but take a class or two in the other areas as well, but I decided I might as well take all the classes in all the areas! So I've got experience in painting, prop building, set building and set designing.
Drafting is pretty important too. Btw.ANYWAYS.
Fast forward to now, I've been working on a play where I designed the set, and then was the technical director, and oversaw the building of the set. It has been a pretty amazing experience. Its not something they let students do often. I think the last time someone did it at this school was 5 or 6 years ago, and it is still sometimes referred to by his name (doing a "Dorian").
Egads, I've typed a lot. If you've made it this far, congratulations. I'm almost done
I'm really excited to share everything I've worked on, but as a professional courtesy I'm waiting to show any pictures of the finished set until the show opens (this friday!) So stay tuned...