20 tips for your performing arts portfolio

January 26, 2022

There are tons of career opportunities for performing artists. The internet is loaded with evidence of other successful young people living as thriving artists, not starving artists!

The creative life is rewarding. But first things first – you need a portfolio.

The greatest ballerina on earth won’t be accepted into the collegiate dance school if the admissions office doesn’t know what type of person she is. That’s where the spikeview performing arts portfolio sets you apart from the rest.

That said, let’s jump into 20 tips for your portfolio. 

These are sorted by five different career options: musician, dancer, director, hair & makeup artist, and set designer.

Musician

  1. Record recitals on video. To make your performance really pop, use an external microphone to record the audio. 
  2. Record a private lesson on video. Even if you don’t use the audio, people love seeing artists at work.
  3. Write a short post about one performer who inspires you.
  4. Take close-up pictures of your instrument, sheet music. Also have someone take some pictures of you performing.

Dancer

  1. Record a collaboration with another dancer or group of dancers.
  2. Include both pictures and video clips of your evolution as a dancer. Don’t hide imperfections in your growth, embrace them!
  3. Write an essay about what dancing for an audience means to you.
  4. Record a video of an instructor talking about one or two of your greatest strengths. 

Director

  1. Collect short quotes (1 or 2 sentences) from 10 people who have worked on a film or theater project with you. Teachers, classmates, or friends – anyone.
  2. Record a “day in the life of” video of a film or theater production. Include periodic time stamps to show how you’re managing your time.
  3. Write about a local networking event you attended. This doesn’t have to be related at all to the performing arts industry. 
  4. Record a trailer for a feature that you directed. 

Hair & makeup artist

  1. Include before-and-after pictures of your work. This could be a friend you painted up as a zombie for Halloween. Anything demonstrating your skill.
  2. Write a post about how hair & makeup transforms a character on stage or in movies.
  3. Include pictures and video clips showing a variety of looks, not just your favorite style.
  4. Interview an accomplished hair & makeup artist, and write about your top takeaways.

Set Designer

  1. Record a video of you designing and then building a set piece. 
  2. Include pictures of plays, even if it’s during rehearsals. Lots of pictures. Show the cast using your handiwork. 
  3. Write a post about how light changes the mood and atmosphere of a scene. 
  4. Describe what you’ve learned about design from mentors and other people older than you.

What’s next for you?

We’d love to hear about your hopes and dreams for a career in the performing arts. Are you planning to use your portfolio to help get into a particular university, or are you heading straight for the workforce?

Let us know!

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