Expanding My Networks

When I came to Pitt, I knew I wanted to pursue a theatre minor, though I didn’t know in what capacity. I had been a performer in high school, but I was interested in possibly following a production/design path instead. During one of my first days on campus, I talked with my to-be CAF mentor, Professor Gianni Downs, about the opportunities available through the theatre department. As we covered the vast opportunities available through the department, our conversation turned to scenic design, which is his specialty. Knowing that I had shown interest, and before I had even taken a class, Gianni recommended me to a student director, and my focus has been on scenic design since. My development of this project in particular was also heavily inspired by a class that I took with Gianni during my sophomore year (his Scene Design 1 class introduced me to a deeper world of design that I hadn’t previously been exposed to). Since developing the idea for my project, I’ve been able to turn to Gianni with questions ranging from research to software to design skills, while still being able to maintain my own ownership of the process.

While my project is centered on the skills that I’ve been learning as a theatre minor, I’m actually planning to pursue a career in the film/tv industry rather than live performance. This area in particular is heavily based on connections, so I’m hoping to broaden my network as much as I can over the next year. One pro about this is the ability to make these connections anywhere, through anyone! While my connections at Pitt have definitely helped introduce me to new people and opportunities, I am not limited in reach to this community. For example, I was able to learn about my current job as the art assistant on a local film through the theatre department, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to expand my network from there! My current plans have me stationed in Pittsburgh for the next few years to continue building on the connections I already have here.

The past few months working on this project have introduced me to many different facets that can interact with and influence the design process, many times in ways that are surprising and/or unexpected. Within the Pitt community, I would love to collaborate with the Psychology Department to develop a scientific study that further corroborates aspects of design and how it can impact the audience experience. Specifically, after taking an evolutionary psychology class during the spring semester, I think there could be a lot of potentially interesting information gathered from an evolutionary approach to the design process. Continuing on projects with both the Theatre and Film departments here is also a focus for my senior year. Within the professional world, I’d love to work with creatives focused on empowering female storytellers in the film industry.

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