As Crystal Kan and Jake Hollander embarked on their second annual free Portfolio Review Day on May 31, 2020, they faced one daunting challenge—a worldwide pandemic. Kan wasn’t sure how to easily manage more than 80 candidates sharing their portfolios with 30 volunteers while giving each attendee individualized attention.
The solution came unexpectedly during a virtual trivia night hosted by Nickelodeon. “Once I saw they had breakout rooms in Zoom, I knew we could do it,” says Kan.
After pre-screening more than 100 applicants and ensuring their portfolios were job ready or in progress of being job ready, Kan gave each artist whose portfolio was accepted a specific time slot. Once they logged into Zoom at the appointed time, they were assigned to a volunteer reviewer and placed in a private, virtual breakout room. They allotted 20 minutes for each review with a 10 minute buffer in between slots.
The virtual nature of the event allowed artists from across the United States to submit their portfolio, including one from as far away as Alaska.
Testimonials from attendees included:
“That was probably the most helpful feedback I’ve had on my portfolio in a long time. It was refreshing to hear from someone who had comedy experience and not just action talking about comedy. Thanks again for organizing <3”
“I appreciated the candid feedback but also that it was encouraging. I like when I can know what needs to be fixed, and what I should be fostering as a strong suit since it’s easy to just think that the entire thing is busted.”
“I had a great experience too! She really comforted me about my anxieties about being in a non-stop testing spiral.”
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for holding the portfolio reviews today! I appreciate the hard work the team of people managing the Zoom rooms did, and Joe gave me some super helpful and friendly advice! Thanks so much again!”
Though the virtual event turned out to be a success, Kan would like to be able to offer two events annually—one that gives attendees an in-person experience and another virtual event that offers the same opportunities for those in communities who may not be able to attend in person.
At the end of the day, an exhausted Kan ordered a pizza and onion rings and relaxed doing a puzzle at home but now her thoughts turn towards next year. She hopes that more people will be interested in supporting the Portfolio Review Day next year to continue growing the event, improve outreach to more communities, and offer free opportunities for feedback to those who may need it most.
If you are interested in volunteering or helping to lead the effort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.