Experience Design and Production

Before applying, please make sure to familiarize yourself with the Experience Design and Production Specializations, faculty, facilities, and curriculum.

Please note that you must complete all Admissions Requirements as well as the audition or portfolio requirements to be considered for admission.


Application Guidelines

Admission to the Experience Design and Production program is based on portfolio review and a personal interview.

Applicants must include a résumé and an artist’s statement. Your artist’s statement should discuss your goals and their relationship to your past experience, as well as evidence of your interest in performance based design whether in theater, film, installation, writing or other related forms.

Submit portfolio materials to our the portfolio section of the application and bring portfolio materials to an in-person interview. Interviews will be scheduled at the request of faculty. Applicants who wish to be considered for an interview must have completed all components of the application by the Regular Deadline. Invited students who are unable to attend an in-person interview may schedule a phone or video interview.


BFA Program in Experience Design & Production

The BFA Program in Experience Design & Production is comprehensive in scope, with the expectation that students will explore multiple metier offerings in the design program, while also having the opportunity to pursue an individualized course of study following the first two years.

Applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and interests are encouraged to apply. The portfolio submission should reflect your primary areas of interest and artistic strength. Areas of experience design and production include scenic, costume, lighting, video, sound, experience design/themed entertainment, stage management and technical direction. In addition to the portfolio, all applications must include a short video introduction.

Portfolio

The BFA Experience Design and Production portfolio may include the following as applicable:

  • Examples of drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, or other artwork.
  • Examples of graphic and drafting skills.
  • Examples of theater design, including models, sketches, costume designs, light plots, prompt books and photographs of props, scenery and costumes.
  • Digital Media— that documents your sound designs, including any accompanying paperwork (cue sheets, equipment lists, drafting, etc.).
  • If applicable, include scores, original music compositions and evidence of computer literacy and indicate if you play a musical instrument.
  • Examples of work that show your craft skills in scenery constructions, painting, props, and/or costuming and lighting, including photographs of realized work, drawings, drafting, samples, patterns, and artistic ideas.
  • Examples of created video work and installations.
  • Documentation of fully realized original work as demonstrated by video, slides, or photographs of designs, and/or documentation of works-in-progress.
  • Architectural drawing, textile work, performance art, and video work are also welcome.

Video Introduction

In this Video Introduction, tell us about one person, place, thing, or event that has helped shape your artistic practice.

  • Duration: minimum of 30 seconds, maximum of 90 seconds
  • Speak directly to the camera
  • Do not read from a prepared statement
  • No edits
  • No special effects or on-screen overlays
  • File should be uploaded or linked directly to the portfolio section of the CalArts Application
  • Does not require professional-level equipment; cellphone cameras or consumer cameras are okay.

 

MFA Applicants

Graduate applicants should include both a video introduction and a portfolio. See below for instructions regarding the video introduction.

Portfolio submissions should include the following:

Costume Design Specialization

  • Examples of production work including all preliminary work, such as rough sketches, models, technical sketches, and research.
  • Documentation of fully realized original work through video, photographs, scripts, and storyboards, as well as documentation of works-in-progress.
  • Fine art work including drawings, paintings, textile work, sculpture, performance, etc., or photographic documentation of the aforementioned.
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one professional.

Lighting Design Specialization

  • Lighting plots and paperwork.
  • Production still images or video.
  • Examples of design, drawing and graphic skills.
  • A writing sample communicating visual or theatrical ideas.
  • Digital or hand drawn renderings of lighting design intentions.
  • Lighting plots in Vectorworks or Autocad and other lighting paperwork including Lightwrite or equivalent.
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one professional.

Scene Design Specialization

  • Examples of production work and design, as well as drawings.
  • Pieces that demonstrate photographic and/or graphic skill.
  • Fine art work, sculptures, models, or photographic documentation of the aforementioned.
  • Documentation of fully realized original work through video, photographs, scripts, and storyboards, as well as documentation of works-in-progress.
  • Architectural drawings, textile work, performance art, and video work are also welcome.
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one professional.

Interactive Media for Performance Specialization

  • Examples of video design for performance projects.
  • Examples of Virtual or Augmented Reality projects.
  • Examples of video installations, single-channel video art, or projection mapping projects.
  • Examples of cinematic, music video, commercial, or film work.
  • Examples of interactive art, creative technology, programming, gadgets, inventions, creative writing, and hacker/maker projects.
  • Video or still image documentation of other original new media projects.
  • Examples of exciting, new works-in-progress.
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one professional.

Sound Design Specialization

  • Audio or video files that document your sound designs, including any accompanying paperwork (cue sheets, equipment lists, CAD drafting, etc.).
  • If applicable, include scores, original music compositions and evidence of computer literacy and indicate if you play a musical instrument.
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one professional.

Technical Direction Specialization

  • Production books and drafting or technical drawings.
  • Photos of completed work or works-in-progress. These can include work in disciplines other than theater.
  • You may also include examples of organizational ability and technical or artistic experience.
  • Three letters of recommendation, including one professional.

Stage Management Specialization

  • A current resume
  • Your artist statement, which should address your interest in stage management and performance, your thoughts about the role of the stage manager in the creative process, and your reasons for pursuing an MFA
  • Samples of paperwork you have created for production that demonstrate the range of your experience (character/scene breakdown, prop list, deck shift plot, schedules, contact sheets.) When possible please include sample rehearsal reports and samples from blocking and cueing scripts. Please do not submit an entire production book at this time.
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one professional.
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended.

Applicants selected for interview might be asked to provide a complete production book and the names of two additional professional references.

Producing Specialization

  • A current résumé
  • An artistic statement, which addresses your vision for the theater and its place in the world and why you are a producer
  • A writing sample (this can be from a grant, marketing copy, a performance review, etc.)
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one professional
  • Any materials you have created or worked with that illustrate your experience and organizational ability, such as marketing
    copy and/or flyers, fundraising appeals, general management materials (budgets, organizational memos, timelines and schedules, company management or systems manuals, etc.)

Video Introduction (all Specializations):

In this Video Introduction, tell us about one person, place, thing, or event that has helped shape your artistic practice.

  • Duration: minimum of 30 seconds, maximum of 90 seconds
  • Speak directly to the camera
  • Do not read from a prepared statement
  • No edits
  • No special effects or on-screen overlays
  • File should be uploaded or linked directly to the portfolio section of the CalArts Application
  • Does not require professional-level equipment; cellphone cameras or consumer cameras are okay.