Aspiring Projection Designer

Discussion in 'New Member Board' started by BirdInTheCity, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. BirdInTheCity

    BirdInTheCity Member

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    Hi Interwebs.

    Unlike most of the folks on here who live and breathe theater, I'm sort of a newcomer to this. For the best 8 years, I've worked in new media advertising and recently decided that I wanted a change of pace. I've always been passionate about theater, but only recently did I make the realization that a lot of my skillset would translate nicely into the still-burgeoning world of projection design. So while I'm definitely still a n00b in the theatrical sense, I do have a lot of experience with motion graphics/special effects/3D/computer programming. Ultimately, I hope that translates into new opportunities.

    Please check out my work! Bird In The City
     
  2. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Sherpa CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Welcome to the booth! It looks like you have won half the battle. Now you need to master the display of your works.
     
  3. BirdInTheCity

    BirdInTheCity Member

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    Thanks! Any advice as I get started?
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Don't quit your day job. In the mean time, take a look at the dance world and the off broadway world. There are plenty of people there that would love a projection designer that works fast and cheap. That is basically what you will have to do until you get a portfolio built up. The term "projection designer" is so new that there are very few people actually making a career of it. The ones who are working work a lot, the ones who are not... well... are not. Your going to have to find your own way, there is no easy way into this.
     
  5. BirdInTheCity

    BirdInTheCity Member

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    Thanks for the advice! Does it make more sense to try doing smaller projects or is preferable to apprentice/assist someone who is more established in the industry? I suppose I'll end up doing both, but I'm trying to find the place to focus my energies right now.
     
  6. Eehjeen

    Eehjeen Member

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    Hi Brian! I must say Production designing was one of my dream jobs, the primary reason why I went to Film School actually. I've mostly assisted the PD in film and commercials after I graduated then eventually I got into a Production Design Station for events. But my health deteriorated (36 hours straight work, exposed to dirt and blah blah) so I was forced to quit. But I still love that field. My advice is...networking and connections. If you work on smaller projects, make sure you do it well enough for you to be remembered, and have someone refer you to other people. That way you can build up the connection and your name eventually. Good luck!
     
  7. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Sherpa CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Sorry it has taken me so long to answer your question. I was working on a big show and ended up injuring my back while on it. I am slowly catching up on the forums and New Members forum is generally the last one I check.

    Anyhow, when you are considering projection design for live performance, there is the content design which you have mastered, there is the display (projectors and screens and what not), and then there is all the stuff in the middle. The first thing you really need to focus on is the stuff in the middle, which works directly with the content. This is going to be mainly a media server/player of some sort. Each one works better with a certain file type or carrier type. However, understanding the physical medium that your content will be displayed with and on will ultimately help you to stand out from your competition. At some point, you will be the one telling the production what type of screen or resolution and brightness of projector (potentially even light source of the projector). All of these components work together to make a projection design (not just content as some may have you believe).

    I would first off start cold calling all of your regional and also national AV and staging companies to freelance as a content designer. A friend of mine started a media company right out of college and within the first couple of years had already designed for Ceelo Green, Cirque du Soleil, and American Idol as well as some mega churches and corporate events. At 21, he already has sold off his half of the business and has already taken on a new business in a related field. My point is that it will definitely take you some time to call the various companies that need your services and start up taking on their extra business when the people that are already doing this for them are already booked. This will help your portfolio. You will learn through these companies, who have a fixed stock of gear, including media servers/players, how to best create content for them (they may already have much of this information already and request the content to be provided in a certain way. As you get better, you will start having the option to request specific equipment to make your ideas reality.

    If you can, drop by some conventions like the upcoming NAB next month in Las Vegas or InfoComm in June in Orlando. This way, you will have the opportunity to talk to various manufacturers and get some hands on experince with their gear. Plus, there are tons of great learning opportunities through their classes that they offer. Possibly of use to you will be the Broadway Master Classes offered by Live Design. They will offer them in New York during the summer and then at the LDI conference in the late fall.

    If you have some specific questions on getting started, please feel free to visit the multimedia forum and ask away. You will get much more of a response than a continuation here. :)
     

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