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Flash 'n Trash musical

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Shakspeares suck, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    Alright Control Booth heres the deal. Earlier today I found out that our spring musical is going to be 'Fame'-the musical (obviously). The instant I saw that I was not very happy, because after seeing the trailers for the unpcoming movie based on the musical a couple of months ago i told myself i was never going to see it. I further confirmed this by watching numerous other trailers and youtube videos of the show. I am mostly not happy for two reasons:
    1. FROM WHAT I CAN TELL this show has little to no actual lighting design, I consider myself an actual designer and want to make art with my shows. this however seems as though it falls into the flash n trash type of design because it is so rock concerty. constant strobing, numerous automated lights that are there to serve the purpose of making cool effects, rapid color saturation changes, Lights into the audience, etc. etc. ETC. (lol) So I want to know if a) anyone has done the show and how they did it. and b) What anyones thoughts are on flash n trash and if it applies to this show
    2. this musical is based on the lifestyles of actors and dancers and the like. I know Technicians arent ever really recognized anyway, when they deserve some of the most recognition, But CMON! a show actually based on lives on a couple of "stuggling" actors?! it just makes me want to do the show less. I know im ranting, oops, and yes i do know that one of the girls dies at the end of the show.

    I will do the show no matter what happens because it is what i love to do, Im just not estatic about this show being my last show of senior year

    dont get mad at me CB, Im simply asking for some backup into the matter or some critique on it.

    thank you

    Michael
  2. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Member

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    As a fellow high school LD, here's my suggestion...don't get yourself too worked up about the show until you get into production meetings with the director, to see what he or she actually wants. Maybe the director's vision doesn't involve Flash 'n Trash like other designers' designs have had in the past; Don't only base your thoughts (especially before production meetings) on what others have done in the past.

    Now, if the director does decide to use the Flash 'n Trash method, don't think of it as a bad thing, think of it as a way to learn a different method of design. Part of educational theatre is not just teaching the actors and musicians different types of shows, it is also about teaching the designers. So just because you are used to designing in a "traditional" style, doesn't mean you can't learn a lot from doing a different style of show. If you decide to go into this as a profession, you could be doing designs in different styles of shows -some traditional and some not so much - best to learn some techniques early on.

    So I know I didn't really give you any advice on how to light the show, but I hope this gives you some help, at least.

    Dhslxop
  3. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Member

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    It all depends on the show. Sometimes, a show calls for Flash and Trash, and it's appropriate.

    All that I can say is have fun with it.
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    The lighting design for anything is what you as the designer make of it. Very few designers have the luxury of choosing what shows they do. Would you have preferred HSM I, II, or III?

    You may have heard of a little show called A Chorus Line, that virtually everyone enjoys working on.

    [​IMG]
  5. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    Dhs: good point, I will walk into the show and take it away as a learning experince thank you

    Derek: as always, point proven and point taken :) and for the record I wouldn't prefer HSM
  6. Wolf

    Wolf Member

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    No offense but have you read it yet? The movie and the stage version are different and in the stage show it says that technicians come on and hang a curtain (or something very close to that). While thats not much it is something....
  7. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    I haven't read it however I would be quite funny if that did happen

    That rant was probably a little too much admittadly, just trying to validate why I don't wanna do the show/ venting
  8. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Flash n' Trash is, by definition, lots of flair and flash (often from movers) when NOT called for by the script/show/director's concept. When necessary, however, "flash n' trash" can add to the lighting of a show. If, that is, you and the director decide that that's the kind of lighting you want to go for for the big numbers. For me personally, the shows I enjoy most are those which I am able to completely change lighting styles, from subdued romantic lighting to huge flashy numbers with movers moving all over the stage.

    I think you'll find that you actually really enjoy working on Fame. While it may incorporate some elements of "flash n' trash", it also has some very solemn and emotional moments which require equal attention from the LD. In a way, it's actually very similar to A Chorus Line. It's the story of a wide range of people, from vastly different backgrounds and experiences, who are all chasing their dreams. While we see how the characters interact with one another, we are also being introduced to each of the characters and learning about their dreams, their desires, and their insecurities. The show goes much deeper emotionally than it first appears, and with an excellent director and design team, it can really have a strong emotional impact. It's not an easy show by any means, and to this day it's still one of my favorite shows out there. Have fun!
  9. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Member

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    Hey Michael,

    While I have never seen or read the stage version of FAME I'm sure it is alot different than the movie, the stage version has also been out for a long time now.

    First I would like to comment on your statement that "this show has little to no actual lighting design." I completely disagree, every show has the ability for an "actual" lighting design. However if you come into the room thinking this your design may not be as good as you want it to be simply because you do not care about it, then forget it. Before I go further I would like express my feelings about the term "flash and trash." A rock concert or especially a rock musical can have tons of movers, strobes, bars or pars, mole-fays, acls, leds, etc. and NOT be "flash and trash." Personally I see "flash and trash" as an incompetence for either analysis or time. With "flash and trash" one usually just presses buttons/faders on a light board, FLASHing the lights with no intent or purpose, thus creating TRASH. This trash usually doesn't matter because it is what the paying audience is accustomed to, plus they probably wont remember any of it in the morning anyway. Is this a valid excuse? No. But it happens every day. However not every rock show uses this "flash and trash" technique. For these shows the design doesn't stop with the plot; like any good design the cueing of the show is well thought out and executed. At times will these shows look the same as a similar show with the same gear? Yes, but this is just coincidence. If you watch videos of big name artists' concerts you will see tons of movement and flashing, but you will also see that this movement and flashing is choreographed shall we say with the artist's song and the colors used are well thought out with the set list. This is design. And I'm sure many R&R designers would be offended when you say there is no art to this. Back to the theatre world. It is a design choice to integrate the design styles of R&R into a theatrical setting. This should be done with a LOT of care though. It becomes easy with the access to this neat gear to just press buttons and make cool things happen. Everything you do with the lights you should be able to justify. When does a ballyhoo become art? When there is motivation behind it. You should find this motivation for everything you do, and not during programing. Just because during tech you find out your lights can change spinning gobos while scrolling through colors and moving in different directions should you use them for this, however if this was a design choice from the beginning then feel free. Of course this would all need to be approved by the director while working on the concept of the show during production meetings. There is so much "actual" design to a musical implementing R&R style lighting; you might especially want to look into the designs on broadway by Kevin Adams. He has lit a good bit of rock musicals such as Spring Awakening, Hair, and Next to Normal. Having seen these three shows I must say that while all these shows felt very rock and roll there was also clear design for the theatre and no "flash and trash." After all he's gotten a couple of tonys for them.

    To me you seem to be disappointed in this show choice because you feel that you cannot use it to display your talent further down the line, such as in a portfolio review or interviewing at the college level. However I may be wrong. If I am right though, I believe that anyone looking at your work would be much more interested and impressed by the time you would have took to think out the little details. This would be much more impressive then saying that you stole you're whole design from a dead guy's book published in the 1930s. It shows that you're creative and can think for your self, it also shows that you are aware of the use of new technology in the theatre.

    Just my 2 cents... anyway, good luck and have fun!
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  10. NevilleLighting

    NevilleLighting Member

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    I've had the distinct displeasure of designing lighting for Fame at North Shore Music Theatre some years ago. (Love the theatre, will miss it, hate the show) While I didn't care for the musical I still gave it my best effort, especially since it was in the round and lighting dependent. In any scene you have the ability to try to capture the quality of light that the scene needs and to try to capture and express the emotional intent. The Pas de Deux with Tyrone and Iris can look really nice. There are some ok songs with weak scenes stitching them together. In the last song, yes, you want to flash and trash your heart out. You might find some other places in the show to trash up too. But, as much as you can, sink yourself emotionally into the scenes and give them your best effort. There are numerous opportunities in this show to make some very nice stage pictures if you temporarily stuff your understandable dislike for the show. It's what I like to call "earning a living."
  11. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    Paul,

    You are right. I was wrong to instantly judge the show as being flash and trash, after an afternoon to think about it and reading all of the responses to this forum (not to mention an hour of playing my drums as hard as I can) I now see this show as a great oppurtunity to experiment with new things in my designing concepts and practice. Thank you all for your opinions on this. I'm now excited to dabble in purposeful "flash and trash" and see what I can do with it. Paul you were right to say that I don't see this as a portfolio oppurtunity but you have changed that, thank you. I also stand corrected because you are also right in the r&r aspect of lighting where most big shows have true designs. I actually want to do a big rock concert somewhere along the line and this show would be a great way to get into some of that. Thank you all again

    Michael
  12. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Member

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    And if all else fails, think how much worse it could be. I need to flash and trash Hamlet. The director really wants that style across the board. It shall be an interesting start to my thesis and I plan on tearing that script apart into millions of pieces to figure out how to justify it so it doesn't seem too entirely out of place. Luckily I already started to do some of that last year while taking Dramaturgy.
  13. Shakspeares suck

    Shakspeares suck Member

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    Haha flash and trash Shakespeare? Somehow I like the thought of that :) lawl
  14. JChenault

    JChenault Active Member Premium Member

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    Er - last season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland - production of Midsummer Night's Dream - LOTS of flash and trash. We had to add effects to the moving light software just for that show.
  15. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    I would say that midsummer nights dream makes a lot more sense to use extensive movers, haze, etc. than Hamlet. Saw one production (forgot where) that had the entire theater in a cloud of fog the entire night, huge numbers of MLs, and I couldnt exactly figure out what was going on all the time, but it was cool! (at least thats what the lighting geek in me said!)
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    I have done lots of country and rock shows. Some would call it flash and trash, but if you look, each color was carefully picked (i have spent hours working on color palletes to get what i wanted)with all of their contrasting colors. Gobos were picked based on look, but then they were also chosen based on arial effects. Same with the beam positions to pull the show in. Maybe at some emotional number the beams will be in the air and then when it goes into a solo all of the movers slowly move to the lead singer. I will work on a song until i get a warm fuzzy feeling and say yes this is how the lights match the song. Strobe sequences are planned also, not just random strobing. For a song i may want the rig to strobe with a random pulse, or from the outside in, or up to down.
  17. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Kojak CB Mods Premium Member

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    Though I have not done this show, I worked on the B'way show when the tour came through my roadhouse. I think that there are so many more opportunities for various lighting styles in this show than you get with most shows. After all, since it is about the performing arts, you should be able to apply multiply lighting styles (as long as your rig can handle it). Of course Flash n Trash is a style. It can be a distinctly difficult style to master the ablility to make it look good. I actually envy you being able to design for a show like this. There are relatively few (in my limited opinion) scripts that give you the freedom that this show will allow. I'm glad that you are now looking forward to doing this. Make it your opus.

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