MSA Audition and Portfolio Guidelines


Audition and Portfolio Guidelines

Each student applying to the Marin School of the Arts completes either an audition or portfolio presentation as part of their application process.

MSA accepts students at all skill levels; please contact us for more information or clarification of the guidelines listed.

Auditions for the 2021-2022 school year will be held Jan. 23-24, with interviews conducted online via Zoom. Guidelines will be updated as needed for the online format. Please use the guidelines before in preparation for an online experience.

MSA auditions/presentations guidelines vary according to the program.  The MSA teacher(s) for each program will meet with applicants either individually or in group.  Please see the guidelines below for more information.

Students may audition in more than one area, with a maximum of applications to three program applications allowed.

CINEMATIC ARTS

The Cinematic Arts auditions guidelines are below.

Please email your portfolio to Mr. Chidel by January 16 to allow time for review before the Jan. 23-24 auditions.

Please be prepared to present two examples of your work from the list below:

1. Completed film or video (approximately 1-3 minutes in length)
2. Storyboard (similar to a comic strip that is a hand illustrated version of
key scenes and edits as they would appear in a short video or movie)
3. Short stories or scripts (3 – 5 pages)

Please note: Applicants of all skill levels are encouraged to apply. Please contact Mr. Chidel for any questions or assistance.

CREATIVE WRITING

The Creative Writing audition guidelines as follows:

The Creative Writing program would like to receive your portfolio by January 15 in order to review it and be more prepared for your audition/interview.

You may upload your portfolio with your Creative Writing application or using the upload button below.

1. Please submit a 2-6 page sample of your writing.  Your writing sample can be one longer piece, or a combination of shorter pieces that you feel best represents you. The samples can be complete or incomplete and can be in any writing genre or format (short story, poetry, song lyrics, scripts, personal essay, or anything you think is suitable).

2.  Please provide a statement of purpose of 2 pages or less (typed) that briefly tells us who you are, what you hope to gain from the Creative Writing Program, and what you have read or watched lately that has been inspirational or interesting to you as a writer.

Your audition appointment includes two parts:

a. Creative Writing Portfolio (as described above);

b. Interview – a short conversation with Ms. Pollack and current students in the program;

Please note: Applicants of  ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Please contact Ms. Pollack for any questions or assistance.

DANCE

Please note: Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Please contact our faculty for any questions or assistance.

Due to Covid-19 considerations, the Dance applicants will audition by video, as described below. Instructional videos for the stated combinations will be available in December.

Please begin by watching this video from Dance Director Janelle Mitnick Cooper. You may also download the audition guidelines here.

Your audition submission should include

1.  These two required combinations:

Review the videos provided by MSA Dance below to learn and record yourself performing both the 1) ballet variation and 2) hip hop choreography. Please begin your video recording by stating your full name.

Ballet Variation Video

Ballet music

Hip Hop Choreography

2.  A Short Solo Performance:

A choreographed solo of 1-2 minutes in length should also be included in your video submission. It can be in any style that best exhibits your strengths as a dancer. The solo can be self-choreographed or choreographed by another dancer or choreographer.

3. A photo of yourself:

Please upload a head shot of yourself, with your name in the title, clearly showing your face, along with your video(s).

A note about filming:

Due to increased pandemic concerns, MSA is no longer able to offer dancers the use of the MSA Dance Studio to film their audition materials. Please do your best to find film in a location that allows for maximum movement.

Appropriate video attire: Please wear tights, leotard (female dancer) or plain t-shirt and sweat pants (male dancers) with dance shoes or other appropriate movement attire.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

Please note: Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Do not be discouraged by the audition guidelines below. Please contact our faculty for further information. All audition materials must be submitted by January 15 using the upload button(s) below.

Contact Classical/Rock Band Director Matthew Verplaetse

Contact Jazz Studies Director Dr. Greg Johnson

PLEASE NOTE: MSA has music lessons available for students to learn to read music and prepare for the MSA Music program. Please click here if you would like more information.

Jazz, Chamber, Concert Band, & Strings Students

Submit an audio or video recording by Jan. 15 to the link below that includes the following:

1. Any three Major Scales and a Chromatic Scale.

2. Prepare the etude from the downloadable audition packet  (click the link at left to open).

3. Optional for jazz applicants: Improvise over F Blues (note the backing track for this option coming soon!)

5. Optional: You may play an additional etude or piece of solo repertoire you would like for the audition panel to consider.

Your audition time will include a 5 minute interview with faculty. Contact msa@nusd.org for assistance.

For Rock Band Guitarists, Bassists, Keyboards and Drummers

Learn and record the specified sections of the songs listed for your instrument and upload your recording(s) by January 15. Focus on learning from recordings BY EAR and not from tablature or sheet music—your success in the MSA Rock Band program will depend heavily on your ability to learn by ear. Perform with a recording of the song, but make sure your playing is the most prominent element of your recording.

During the live Zoom portion of the application process, you may be asked to demonstrate knowledge of scales, chords, and inversions. Drummers may be asked to demonstrate knowledge of different styles and concepts including odd meters, etc. Have your instrument with you.

Please contact Matt Verplaetse, Instrumental Music Teacher, at mverplaetse@nusd.org if you have questions regarding any element of this process.

Keys:
Play a blues (as an accompaniment, soloing optional)
“Jump” by Van Halen – Intro

Guitar
“Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas – all main riffs
“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath – all main riffs

Bass
“Hysteria” by Muse – main riff
“Apostrophe” and “Eat That Question” by Frank Zappa – main riffs from each

Drums
“Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas – whole song

ROCK VOCALISTS:

Incoming students wishing to participate in Rock Band as vocalists should audition for the Vocal Music program. They will be eligible to audition for rock after having completed a year in Vocal Music.

VOCAL MUSIC

Applicants of all skill level are invited to audition. Please follow the Vocal Music audition guidelines as outlined below, recording your selections on video or audio-only files for submission by January 15 by using the upload button below.  You will be contacted to schedule your Zoom interview, which will be held the weekend of Jan. 23 or 24.

1.  Perform a piece of your choice, a cappella or with accompaniment/music source. The piece should be able to show the best attributes of your voice.

2. Optional for Jazz Choir applicants: Prepare a scat solo of your choice.

3. Be prepared to sing a series of exercises to evaluate ability to match pitch, range, and musicianship.

Please note: Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Contact Ms. Addleman for any questions or assistance.

VISUAL ARTS

Digital Arts

Portfolios of 6-10 pieces should be submitted electronically by January 15 in preparation for Zoom interviews on the weekend of Jan. 23-24. Please use the upload button below to share your digital files – please format all files as .jpegs. You may photograph non-digital artwork and save as .jpeg to upload for review. It is helpful to include your first and last name in your file name.

Samples of the student’s work should include:

1.     A manipulated portrait using Photoshop, Illustrator, or some other digital illustration software
.

2.    A manipulated fantasy landscape or interior

3.    Four to six art pieces showing interesting aspects of your work.  These can be either
traditional painting and drawing mediums or created as digital illustrations.

All works should be 5 x 7 or larger.  Please identify each work with your full name

If you do not have access to Photoshop or some other Digital Darkroom Software, you can download GIMP. It is free and functions much the same as Adobe Photoshop or get a free trial version of Photoshop Creative Suite @ Adobe.com

Please note: Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Contact Mr. Gersh for any questions or assistance.

Video Game Design & Development

The portfolio section of the audition is very important. The thought and care put into your presentation will demonstrate your passion for designing video games and/or your desire to learn.

Imagine a video game you would like to create to complete the guidelines below and upload your submissions by January 15, before the audition interviews on the weekend of Jan. 23-24.

Please include the items below portfolio and utilize the upload button to share your files. Take a picture of any non-digital artwork. All files should be uploaded as .jpeg files and include your full name in the title.

1. A character design illustration – either digitally or through a drawing and painting or any medium.

2. A game level design both depicted as an illustration and explained in a short written passage.

3. A synopsis of a video game that you like to create. Please explain in a short written passage and indicate which game genre it would fall under.

No prior experience is required to apply for this program. Please contact Mr. Gersh if you have questions.

Painting/Drawing

Please submit your portfolio by January 15 using the upload button below.  All images of artwork should be saved and submitted as .jpeg files. Please include your full name in your file name. Zoom interviews will be held on January 23.  Samples of your work should include:

1.      A portrait, in any medium (drawn from life or a photograph)

2.      A still life, in any medium (drawn from life)

3.      Something from your imagination, in any medium

4.      A painting using color

5.      Include 2-5 other pieces that exhibit the best and most interesting aspects of your work.

Works can be submitted in any media or technique and use a variety of approaches.

Please identify each work with your full name.

 Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Contact Ms. Mancini for any questions or assistance.

Sculpture and Ceramics

For three-dimensional works, please upload images of your submissions by January 15, using the guidelines and upload button below. .

1. One sculpture of a favorite object, character or image from your imagination, made of any kind of clay and at least 5″ in any one direction, larger if you choose.   Please give your piece a title.

2. One sculpture made of a combination of at least 3 different materials you find around your home (sticks, string, recyclables, etc.), also at least 5″ in any  direction.  Please give your piece a title.

3. Two images of sculptures that made an impact on you.  Be prepared to explain why these sculptures impressed you and what kind of sculptures you would like to create yourself.

Please note: Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Contact Ms. Kalleen for any questions or assistance.

Product Design

Please upload portfolio materials by January 15 using the upload button below. Your portfolio should include still images, files or supporting materials that illustrate two examples of your work or ideas from the list below that applies to your experience level. Please include your first and last name in your upload title.

For students with previous experience:

1. A completed project in any medium showing high quality work. (examples include tinkering projects, electronic projects, woodworking examples, student-designed 3D printed objects, functional prototypes, clothing or any object that shows your interest in creating well-designed things).

2. Product ideas (this can be a project in-process or design sketches for a proposed project).

3. CAD files (bring a print out of an object modeled and rendered in CAD).

4. Code examples (code written in any language. Be prepared to describe how the code functions and the tools used to write and debug the code).

Students with no previous experience

 1. Please write an essay about something you’re interested in making and why.

2. Describe any product ideas, and/or provide sketches or concepts for project ideas. You may also include examples of projects completed by others that you would like to explore or create.

Please note: Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Contact Mr. Knudson for any questions or assistance.

Photography

The Photography portfolio section of the audition is very important. The thought and care put into your presentation will demonstrate your passion for photography.

Portfolios must be submitted by January 15, allowing for review before audition interviews on the weekend of January 23-24, and must include the following pieces:

1. A portrait, in any medium

2. A total of two pieces from the following choices:

a) Landscape;

b) Shadow/Light/Reflection;

c) Rule of Thirds (look this up on the internet at http://photography.about.com/od/takingpictures/a/ruleofthirdsdet.htm)

3. Four to six additional photographs – your best work

All works should be 5″ x 7″ or larger prints, in color or black and white. Please identify each work with your name, address and phone number.

Please upload your portfolio using the upload button below.

Please note: Applicants of ALL skill levels are encouraged to apply. Contact Ms. Eggert for any questions or assistance.

MSA THEATRE AUDITIONS

All MSA Theatre auditions will be through video submissions due by January 18 using the upload button at the bottom of each section.

Please use the guidelines below, followed by a scheduled Zoom interview January 23-24. We prefer auditions videos be shot in 1080p, horizontal frame, from the waist up.

Interviews with theatre staff and students will be held after video materials have been received. Applicants might be asked to recreate a segment of their video to see how they respond to direction.

If you need any help or have questions about any of these requirements, please email Mr. Franz at: msatheatre@gmail.com.

MUSICAL THEATRE

1.    Perform one memorized monologue

Please slate, sharing your name, and the name of the play that your monologue is from. Title cards are useful, but not mandatory.

Select a monologue of one minute or less that shows who YOU are and is from a published play, not from monologue books or websites. Students must know the author and need to have read the whole play to understand the character and scene they are performing. Please do not over rehearse. Have fun!

2.    Perform two different 16-bar cuts of songs from the musical theatre genre:

Please select one up-tempo piece and one ballad. Again, please slate with your name, and the name of the musical that each song is from. Title cards would be useful, but not mandatory.

Please choose a song with a strong melody, preferably from the 1920s –1960s. All songs must include a musical track; no a capella versions. If you need assistance, please email your sheet music as a marked pdf IN YOUR KEY, indicating beginning and end points and we will return a track.

THEATRE ARTS

1.    Perform two memorized, contrasting monologues

Monologues should be of one minute or less. Please slate, sharing your name, and the name of the plays that your monologues are from. Title cards are useful, but not mandatory.

Contrasting monologues include: one classical and one modern, one serious and one comical, etc. Avoid dialects and accents. Find something that shows who YOU are and is from a published play, not from monologue books or websites. Students must know the author and need to have read the whole play in order to understand the character and scene they are performing. Please do not over rehearse. Have fun!

 

If you have questions about any of these requirements, please email Mr. Franz at: msatheatre@gmail.com.