Portfolio Review

Portfolio Review

Art direction portfolio review application process

This Portfolio Review is for applicants seeking work in the craft of Assistant Art Direction. If you’re interested in more information about the Local 800 crafts of Illustrators and Matte Artists; Scenic, Title, and Graphic Design; or Set Designers and Model Makers, please visit these areas of the ADG website for more information. Before applying, the ADG strongly recommends applicants have at least three years of professional work experience in Art Direction work, in crafts equivalent to Local 800 crafts, or related fields. Examples of the applicant’s professional work must be included in the portfolio presented for review.

Incomplete applications, or missing fees, will postpone the applicant’s scheduled interview time.


Application Deadline: January 8 2022 ----- Interview Date: January 29 2022

Application Deadline: April 30 2022 ----- Interview Date: May 21 2022

Application Deadline: September 3 2022 ----- Interview Date: September 24 2022


  • Application Fee $200 (Non-Refundable)
  • Application form (please submit form to portfolio@adg.org) (see form below)
  • Copy of resume with related work experience and educational background
  • 3 letters of recommendation (please use form below)
  • Portfolio materials (see required criteria)
  • Interview

If an applicant submits work from a signatory (union) project, they must identify their job on the production, and whether the work was used for the production or created exclusively for this Portfolio.

An applicant may not submit work they created which displaced union covered work.


Upon completion of the application and interview, a notification of the result will be sent via email within two weeks.

The applicant who has been approved through the Art Directors Guild portfolio review process must obtain an offer of work in the Art Direction craft on an IATSE signatory production and complete 30 days of work in order to be placed on the Industry Experience Roster. Roster placement is the sole responsibility of the applicant.


Once all required documents are received, the ADG will contact the applicant with an interview date and time. Interviews will be arranged either in person at the Local 800 office, or via video conference.

The applicant’s materials must be received by the Local 800 office by the submission date, as listed on the ADG website. An incomplete submission will result in the cancelation of the applicant’s interview. Applicants may reapply for a subsequent portfolio review.

Applicants must be prepared to discuss any content in their application, portfolio, and resumé, as well as an Assistant Art Director’s role in communicating and interfacing with any departments within the industry.

Applicants must be prepared to present all required portfolio materials, using either physical copies, a digital presentation, or a combination of both. Applicants will have a total of forty-five (45) minutes to present their portfolio and to answer questions from interviewers.


Your portfolio must include the following materials. These materials can be from the same project or from many different projects. If you do not have some of the materials from previous work, you may create them for this application using a project of your choosing.

Projects created specifically for the portfolio review must originate or be based on a narrative script or treatment for a music video, live show or commercial. The source material can be from a produced project or from an original script.

Digital materials must be submitted as individual PDFs. No individual file may exceed 10MB in size. Please save any images at the highest resolution available at this file size.

Part 1- Sections 1-3

1. Script Breakdown (or Director’s Treatment, Agency Scene/Spot, Storyboard, or Act/Performance Breakdown)

Breakdown must represent the entirety of the project, or episode, and must include:

Scene numbers with page count (or applicable indicator of screen time or scene description, see examples provided), and set list indicating all location and/or stage sets.

Applicant must also include no fewer than (3) of the following:

Graphics breakdown, props breakdown, set decoration breakdown, special effects/pyro breakdown, picture vehicle breakdown, or narrative shot list.

2. Art Department Budget

Must include: A labor and materials budget for each stage set and/or location for a given project.

A labor and materials budget must include no fewer than (4) of the following:

Stage construction, location construction, graphics, set decoration, props, picture vehicles, art department labor, and research materials.

3. Prep/Strike Schedule (or Calendar)

Must include: A schedule (or calendar) that outlines the scope of work for prep days and strike days, including prep days and strike days for other departments, when their work interfaces directly with Art Department.

The applicant must include no fewer than (5) of the following departments that interface with the Art Department: Construction, plaster, paint, greens, graphics, props, set decoration, set lighting, grip, picture vehicles, special effects, or visual effects.

Part 2 - Section 4 - “Set Project - Locations”

Applicant must provide all materials listed below.

These materials may be from different projects.

4A. Research/Materials Presentation

Applicant must include a Research/Materials Presentation for EITHER (1) Interior OR (1) Exterior Location

Must include: A composed research presentation/mood board that clearly depicts the intent of the design.

Research/Materials Presentation must include, but is not limited to, examples of each of the following: Architectural style, visual style, set decoration, color palette.

4B. Sketch/Rendering

Applicant must include a Sketch/Rendering for BOTH (1) Interior AND (1) Exterior Location

Must include: Thumbnail sketches, hand sketches, or digital renderings, communicating design alterations of an interior and exterior location.

4C. Director’s Plan - Location

Applicant must include a Director’s Plan for BOTH (1) Interior AND (1) Exterior Location

Must include: The placement of design alterations, set pieces, and/or set decoration.

4D. Location Site Survey Photos

Applicant must include Location Site Survey Photos with their notes for EITHER (1) Interior OR (1) Exterior Location

Must include: Photos with notes indicating design alterations to location.

Visual design alterations may include: Added construction, plaster, paint, greens, graphics, props, set decoration, practical lighting, picture vehicles, placement of special effects and visual effects.

Part 3 - Section 5 - “Set Project - Stage”

Applicant must provide all materials listed below, for ONE multi-room stage set or live performance stage set. These materials must be from the same set.

5A. Research/Materials Presentation

Must include: A composed research presentation/mood board that clearly depicts the intent of the design.

Research/Materials Presentation must include, but is not limited to, examples of each of the following: Architectural style, visual style, set decoration, color palette.

5B. Sketch/Rendering

Must include: Thumbnail sketch, hand sketch, or digital rendering, communicating the design of the set.

5C. Scale White Model (or Digital Model)

Must include: A scale white model (or digital model) showing design of set.

For White Models—Physical model must be brought to the interview. If the model is unavailable, applicant must provide no less than (5) photos of the model, including an overhead view, which clearly conveys the space.

For Digital Models—Applicant must provide no less than (5) views of the model, including an overhead view, which clearly conveys the space. Alternatively, a fly-thru video is acceptable.

5D. Scale Stage Spotting Plan (or Venue Plan)

Must include: Labels and dimensions indicating placement of sets, backings, stage walls, stage doors, and fire-lanes on a sound stage or venue.

Spotting Plan may also include, but is not limited to: Greens, picture vehicles, media surfaces, audience risers, camera placement.

5E. Director’s Plan - Stage Set

Must include: A set plan with placement of set decoration/set pieces.

Part 4 - Section 6 - “Additional Materials”

Applicant must provide all materials listed below.

These materials may be from different projects.

6A. Scale Drawings of Traditional Architectural Details

Drawings do not need to be finished construction drawings, but must demonstrate an understanding of communication regarding the design of constructed sets.

Must include at least (2) traditional architectural details, for example:

Window detail, door detail, moulding detail, stairs, columns, etc.

6B. Construction Documentation

All construction documentation must be keyed to a ground-plan, elevation, or relevant drawing.

Schedules may be in the form of either a spreadsheet or a visual representation.

Must include (2) of the following:

Door schedule, window schedule, hardware schedule, greens schedule.

Must include (1) of the following: Set practical lighting plot, picture vehicle schedule, special effects/pyro schedule, masking schedule.

6C. Graphic and Signage Design

Must include research examples and a digital (or hand) sketch for (2) of the following:

Prop graphic, set decoration graphic, architectural sign/element.

6D. Backing Information

Must include: Visual research, material and size information, a sight line and image scale study, and a plan and section showing a backing’s relation to the stage set.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I don’t pass the Portfolio Review, can I re-apply? If you do not pass the review, you may reapply for a reduced fee. There is no limit to how many times you may re-apply.

2. What are the requirements for Recommendation Letters? The application form must be filled out completely, including the name and title of the recommender. All recommendations need to be from professional work relationships; no educational relationships accepted.

3. What if I don’t have all the required materials? All criteria must be submitted, or an interview will not be scheduled. If your submission is missing any required documents, you will be asked to re-submit with all required documents for a subsequent round of the Portfolio Review.

4. What materials can be included in the portfolio? The applicant may submit material from multiple projects on which they worked within the Art Department. The majority of the applicant’s portfolio must come from their professional work, or may be created specifically for this review.

5. What documents can I submit from a signatory (union) production? Any documents submitted to the Portfolio Review that were created in the context of a signatory (union) production must have been completed in one of two ways:

  • Documents the applicant created while working under a Local 800 job classification (i.e., Asst. Art Director, Set Designer, Graphic Designer, etc…)
  • Documents not covered by the applicant’s job classification on the production, that the applicant created for the Portfolio Review and was not used as working documents on the production.


Please call our office at (818) 762-9995
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