Exam Info: Western Region
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Designers and Scenic Artists interested in joining the Union who reside in the Central Region may do so through either the Examination or the Professional Membership Application process.
Note to Projection Designers
There is currently no formal Exam/Interview procedure for admitting members into the new Projection Design category. Working Projection Designers may join the union via the Professional Membership Application procedure (see How to Join) or by contacting the Business Representative for Live Production – currently Carl Mulert – in the NY Business Office at 212-581-0300 to arrange a review of the Projection Designer’s résumé and other portfolio materials.
Please contact the NY Office for more specific information.
Exams in the Western Region
Exams are given in the Western Region in four categories of membership: Costume, Lighting, Scenic and Sound Design. Currently there is no Exam given for Scenic Artists (painters) in the Western Region. Design applicants should send the Application Form, a résumé and the non-refundable Application Fee of $200.00 to the Western Region office address listed on the form. The fee must be paid by personal check only made payable to "United Scenic Artists Local USA 829."
The reviewers will be looking for the skills required for each category, as listed in the category-specific exam information letters found below. Experience in the profession is the best preparation, and applicants from academic or fine arts backgrounds are encouraged to work in the field before applying to the Union.
Western Region Exam Forms & Information
Category-specific Exam Information PDF files:
Western Region Application Scheduling
Deadlines for receipt of ALL APPLICATION MATERIALS - résumé, fees, letters of recommendation, and portfolio materials are:
April 1, 2019
July 1, 2019
October 21, 2019
No personal interview is required. If you have questions, please contact the Exam Committee via e-mail to: WestExam@usa829.org prior to beginning the application process.
Mail-In Portfolio Review Requirements
You will be asked to mail your Application, your Résumé and a personal non-refundable check for the $200.00 Exam Fee to the Western Regional Office at the Mailing Address listed at the bottom of this page. All other materials including three (3) Letters of Recommendation and, depending on the category in which you are applying, the following portfolio items, must be sent as PDFs via e-mail to WestExam@usa829.org and must be received before one of the deadlines listed above.
- Costume Designers - Complete designs for two (2) produced productions: one contemporary play and one period play. Include: PDFs of color sketches with digital photos of swatches; digital photos of finished design work (not to exceed 10 in number)
- Refer to Costume Design Exam Info West PDF (above)
- Lighting Designers - Complete designs for two (2) produced productions. Include: digital PDF files of drafted light plots and sections; paperwork, hook-ups, instrument schedules, track sheets, shop orders (where applicable); digital photos of finished design work (not to exceed 10 in number).
- Refer to Lighting Design Exam Info West PDF (above)
- Scenic Designers - Complete designs for two (2) produced productions, at least one to be a multi-set production. Include: digital PDF files of drafted ground plans, sections and design elevations; painter's elevations; digital photos of color models, color renderings and/or black & white sketches; digital photos of finished design work (not to exceed 10 in number).
- Refer to Scenic Design Exam Info West PDF (above)
- Sound Designers - Complete designs for two (2) produced productions, at least one to be a non-academic production. Each design must provide all necessary information for a sound engineer to pull the show from a rental shop (and hang and cable it in your absence). We may request a CD or DVD of sound examples.
- Refer to Sound Design Exam Info West PDF (above)
It is essential that each applicant e-mail in to the reviewers only that which has been specified. Entire portfolios or more than 10 digital photos will not be accepted.
Briefly, the reviewers will be looking for the following important indications of professional standards:
- Costume Design - Knowledge of period and style; use of color and fabric; construction methods; concept and rendering.
- Lighting Design - Knowledge of the use of light and its impact on actors, scenery and costumes; research, concept, collaboration and drafting; knowledge of equipment.
- Scenic Design - Knowledge of architectural periods and styles and research; basic construction methods, materials and drafting; rendering and sketching ability; model building skills; painter's elevations.
- Sound Design - Knowledge of equipment; rationale for their choice & placement; cuing; music & effects; collaboration with scenery & lighting.
The relationship of all four design categories to each other will be an important element, as will a sense of dramatic flair and originality.
Any materials you wish to have returned must be accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope large enough to hold such materials.
Professional Membership Application
Local USA 829 currently has Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) in the Western Region which cover employment of Designers at:
- The Ahmanson Theatre
- The Los Angeles Opera
- The San Francisco Opera
Designers hired by any of these companies must make application for Professional Membership before work may begin. To apply, contact Western Region Business Representative Monique L’Heureux as soon as possible at 323-965-0957. See How to Join for costs and a list of materials which must be submitted.
The Regional Business Representative will then present the applicant's credentials and current job status to members at the next General Membership Meeting for an acceptance vote. Should the application be denied, the Initiation Fee will be refunded.
LORT (League of Regional Theatres)
Designers who have secured work three times at LORT theaters must make Professional Membership Application upon being hired for a fourth LORT production. We recommend that Designers working in LORT go through the Exam / Review process prior to the fourth show.
Western Region Office - Mailing Address
Mail all application materials to:
(Your Category) Exam Committee
United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829
1200 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90017