All mainstage productions at Ithaca College follow a formalized design process. The schedules for these meetings can be found in the Production Calendar.
Each student designer has a faculty design advisor in his or her area of design. The design advisor will be involved in the design process in a variety of ways and times throughout the process. There is one faculty design mentor assigned to each production to facilitate the design process (these assignments can be found on the production assignment grid). The design mentor attends every design meeting and acts as a liaison with the individual design advisors. Individual design advisors will meet with their students as needed and will be present at the formalized design meetings as schedule permits.
For interfaces with shops and budget reviews, please see the appropriate section in the handbook or contact your design advisor with questions.
It should also be noted that the following meetings are not the only meetings that will take place between director[s] and designers. It is expected that there will be outside meetings with various groups to accomplish the design. These formalized meetings are meant to be snapshots of the progress to allow the others involved in the production to keep up-to-date as the production evolves and for the faculty to gauge progress.
Every production will vary in the steps needed to complete the design process, but the process generally follows this sequence:
MEETING 1 – IDEAS
At this initial meeting the expectation is that all designers have read the script, libretto, score, listened to the music (if available) several times and come ready to talk about the piece. They should also be familiar with the playwright/composer and the piece's place in history. A list of questions for the director is helpful as well as concrete thoughts about the piece's themes and meaning. It is here that the director will share his/her initial thoughts about the piece, its tone and set an initial approach to the production.
MEETING 2 – RESEARCH
At this meeting, it is expected that all designers will have done initial visual/aural research in support of the ideas and concepts discussed at the first meeting. At this time the director and other collaborators will have a chance to respond to the research as a group and begin to formulate a visual/aural vocabulary for the piece. This meeting is predominately geared toward scenery and costumes; however, lighting and sound designers should be proactive in this meeting, sharing their ideas and research as well. The costume designer is expected to have a rough costume plot at this point with copies to distribute as appropriate.
MEETING 3 – ROUGHS
At this meeting the scenic and costume designer will share rough ideas and additional research. For scenery this should include a rough model or color sketch and ground plan. For the costume designer this means rough sketches and visual research that begins to focus the design, as well as making specific character and color palette choices. Lighting designers will present research and sound designers will present research and examples of sound/music ideas as appropriate. The entire collaborative team (and design mentor and advisors) will respond and further shape these ideas.
MEETING 4 – PRELIMS (FIRST LOOK FOR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND SHOPS)
This is a presentational meeting. Here the designers will present their ideas to the team in tangible formats. Scenic designers should have a model with rough plan and section. The costume designer should have specific visual research or a sketch for each character with a complete costume plot. The artistic director, technical director, and costume shop manager will also attend this meeting to get a sense of the scale of the production designs and roughly determine if they are within the resources budgeted.
MEETING 5 – FINALS (DISTRIBUTION OF DESIGNS TO SHOPS)
This is a presentational meeting. Here the designers will present their ideas to the creative team and members of the production staff and make their designs available to the shops so they can begin their budgeting process. The artistic director, technical director, and costume shop manager will attend this meeting to receive the drawings and begin to determine if the production designs fall within the budgeted resources. Scenic designers should have a color model with rough plan, section and elevations. The costume designer should have specific visual research or a color sketch for each character and a complete costume plot. If the design is found to be beyond the resources available, the designers will work with the directors and shops to bring the designs into a scale that is producible.
MEETING 6 – DISTRIBUTION OF MATERIALS
In this meeting, scenery will distribute their completed (and budgeted) draftings and scene-by-scene ground plans and preliminary props list to the director, other designers and stage management. The costume designer will make their completed colored designs and updated costume plot available to the group. The lighting and sound designers will present a more formal approach to their work via research and examples.
At this meeting the designers will present their completed [and approved] designs to the entire production staff. Scenic designers will present their design via model, research and drawings. Costume designers will present their design via color renderings and research. Lighting and sound designers will present their approach to the production, which may take a variety of forms. (See Sound Design and Lighting Design Process section in the handbook for a complete set of expectations for those disciplines).
SHOW AND TELL
This typically occurs at the first rehearsal for the actors. It is here that all designers present their finalized design ideas to the cast. It is mandatory that all designers be present at this meeting.