Jamie Squillare

Jamie's personal Blog - Archive for October, 2014

I want to be a Stage Set Designer

If you’re creative and imaginative you could be ideally suited to working in stage set design. As one of LA set dressers I – Jamie Squillare would like to share my opinion about designing so you could easily decide is it your profession. If you’d like to work in film, TV or theater this may be the perfect job for you. This guide will help you determine if you’ve got all the attributes you need to become a successful production or stage designer: You don’t actually need any qualifications to enter this line of work but it will help to have a university degree in an art-based subject. You’ll need artistic flair as well as practical drawing and model making skills. Being able to research, show great attention to detail alongside problem solving skills and having better than basic IT knowledge will all be invaluable. Presentation and communication skills are also essential as you’ll be expected to work within a team as well as within budget! You’ll also need to be able to work under pressure as deadlines must always be met.

If you need more information Behind the Curtains at the Theater just ask me – Jamie Squillare

The work as a stage set designer starts at the beginning of the production planning process until the opening night and includes sketching design ideas to show what the sets will look like for each individual scene. Taking into account the available budget you’ll work with the director and the production team to study the script and discuss ideas. You’ll have to research the details for the production and ensure the costume and make-up are appropriate. Any overseeing of set building and decoration will be your responsibility too. You’ll spend much of your time in theater workshops and depending on the production you may be required to travel. This career path normally starts with you becoming an assistant for a designer or as a trainee in the art department. As your experience grows you can work up to the position of stage set designer. Practical experience is essential to build your portfolio which shows your design work to potential employers. If you get involved with locally based community theaters and student theatres for example, this will all add to your credibility. Your portfolio should be continually updated as you develop your craft. There are many stage set designer courses that you could enrol on to help you on your chosen career path. Many designers are self-employed and work on a freelance basis. You may become involved in exhibitions and corporate events or go into film after starting in the theatre, and there may be opportunities with television commercials or music videos.

Once you’ve had a few years’ experience the choice is yours! I made my!

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Behind the Curtains at the Theater

So we have the movies, television and of course the internet complete with live streaming. There are festivals, concerts and the list goes on, sometimes it seems like all the world really is a stage, but for all that I still don’t think that there’s any entertainment that beats a night at the theater.

Why? It’s hard to quantify but part of it is the intimacy. Films are made for an audience of millions, television for anything from hundreds of thousands upwards but even the biggest theater can only seat a few thousand and around the country there are multitudes of tiny venues; school halls, church halls and community centers. The performance is live, put on just for you the audience of the night, and even if you go to see the same play three times, every one will be in some way a unique experience.

Even the smallest and most humble of performances carries something of a sense of occasion. And so it should. It’s not just the actors on the stage that make the event happen. There’s a whole team working behind the scenes to get a production live. They’re responsible for the costume, the stage set design, props, special effects and maybe music too. Let’s not forget the prompt, sat in the wings ready to cue some poor frozen actor who’s momentarily forgotten his lines. There’s make-up to consider and don’t forget the sound production and lights.

There’s so much that goes into making a play happen, so many people who invest part of themselves into those few transient hours that it’s really no surprise that there’s an energy in live theater that you’ll never find at even the biggest Oscar winning film.

Stage set design

When you go to the theater, you’re part of the performance too. Any actor will tell you that on a good night the interaction between audience and performers makes the evening flow. Another time the audience is cold, unreceptive and try as they might, the folks up on the stage just can’t bring them to life.

So, next time you’re planning an evening, consider something you might not have done for a while. Forget the blockbuster, and please don’t let inertia keep you in your chair while you tell yourself that when you can see the best in the world from the comfort of your own home there’s no point in leaving your home.

Go to the theater. Hit Broadway or support a local amateur production. Who knows, that rather captivating young actor you see might one day be one of the leading lights of this fascinating world. You might admire a clever set, put together on a minimal budget and be seeing the early work of someone who will one day be behind the scene star of set design.

Dress up, make it an occasion, clap loudly, laugh at the jokes and maintain a respectful silence for the moments of high drama. However good or bad the production turns out to be it will be unique, you’ll have been there and you’ll be helping to keep arts alive.

Don’t Move House Build Up or Build On

The high price of properties in the USA today is changing the face of american families and how they live. Young people are finding it difficult to find properties of their own and deciding to stay with mum and dad for much longer. The ideal solution would be to move into a much larger home but property prices are ruling out this route for many families today. Just a few decades ago this wouldn’t have been a problem because rents were much more affordable, mortgages were easier to obtain and the general price of property was much lower. Young people are being forced out of the USA property market and choosing to stay at home well past their teens.

One solution, when you need more room in your home, is to build an extension or convert the attic into a usable living space. Recent figures indicate that as many as 3.3 million 20 to 34 year olds are still living with their parents. Rather than squeeze into the available accommodation families are choosing to extend or make better use of space as opposed to moving house. It is not just grown up children who are staying at home. An increasing number of elderly parents are moving back in with their children.

build in

Building an extension is a more affordable option for many families today. On top of high property prices there are added costs of stamp duty, legal fees and agency expenses. When you compare this with the cost of extending your home and creating a separate living space for a family member the choice is pretty obvious. However before calling in the builders there are various home improvement ideas that could make a difference to the overall living space without costing a fortune.

You could open up your rooms for a more open plan approach and create multi-functional areas with more light. You could convert an unused room into an extra bedroom, turn the garage into a cosy living space or maximise the use of your current space by using under the stairs for extra storage or as an additional bathroom. The cost of remodeling your property will depend on the scale and complexity of your plans but expect to pay between 500 and 800 pounds a square metre. For a garage conversion, which is fairly ambitious, the cost could be as much as 1200 pounds a square metre, while a loft conversion will be slightly more and a basement conversation more again. If you’re looking to build a whole new extension then you’ll need to allow for 1500 pounds per square metre.

Jamie Squillare Shares How to Add Value to Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Although the housing market in the USA has begun to pick up there are still plenty of you out there who have decided to stay put rather than buy something new. For those of you here are some ideas to improve your current living space and prepare you for the time when you’re in a position to move. I know there are many home improvements that can add value to your home but there are also those that can seriously devalue it.

I’m Jamie Squillare and I would be happy to read my home improvements tips below:

4 ideas by Jamie Squillare


Because the kitchen is the heart of any home any money spent on updating will be money well spent. The important thing is not to be too ambitious and to stay in keeping with the other rooms in your home. Don’t spend thousands updating the kitchen with the latest units and appliances as you’ll never recoup your money when you sell. The biggest bang for your buck can be gained by a fresh lick of paint. Modern, bright colors will go a long way to updating your kitchen without costing the earth. If some of your appliances are a little old purchase newer energy efficient models that’ll save you money and are kinder on the environment.


If there is more than one of you in the household there will always come a time when there is a queue for the bathroom. If you have the space build in another bathroom or construct an extension. You might have a room that is underused or space underneath the stairs where an additional bathroom can be slotted in. More than one bathroom is a very attractive addition that will pay dividends. Cost will depend on the scale of your addition and you can save extra money by shopping around and even buying second hand.


We’re all more concious of the impact we have on our environment and prospective buyers will be impressed by any energy efficient home improvement ideas you have introduced into your home. Add to that the money you’ll be saving on your own energy bills and you are on to a winner.


A home’s insulation is often forgotten once it has been installed. When was your fitted? 10 or 15 years ago may be? If this is the case then it is due for an upgrade. Much more efficient materials are now available to be used as insulation material. You could save as much as 1000 pounds a year with modern insulation. Seal up any cracks to further increase your savings.

I know that simple updates can be the most cost effective:

Keep on top of your decorating by refreshing your paintwork on a regular basis and keeping your house clean and clutter free. Put issues right as soon as they happen rather than leaving them and letting things get worse. Repair that leaky roof before further damage occurs and start a schedule of regular maintenance. Nothing looks worse for any potential buyer or indeed for your own peace of mind than a home that is uncared for and falling to pieces.

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