I want to be a lighting designer

cutlunch

Active Member
I have that problem to. I usually think of a question to ask or i don't understand something perfectly and I would never ask anything about it because I would feel dumb.

As other people have said don't be afraid to ask questions but I'll put a rider on that.

Years ago when I did my Territorial Army ( our equivalent to National Gaurd) training the Regimental Sargeant Major told us "Before asking a question make sure your parachute is strapped on". What he meant by this was it is fine to ask a question but make sure you think about the question before you ask it. This is in case you already know the answer but hadn't realised. There's nothing worse then asking a question then as the last words leave your lips you know you already know the answer.

But don't be afraid to ask questions and as someone else has pointed choose your timing. Like for example in the middle of a pack-in might not be a good time to ask a "why question" but asking "how to do it questions are ok". Then later when you are waiting around for the actors to turn up might be a good time for the "why" question..

So don't feel dumb about asking questions.
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Well that settles it. I'm selling antique PAR can's on ebay.
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Well that settles it. I'm selling antique PAR cans on eBay.
Looks like someone in the UK has beaten you to it:
Reclaimed Enjoyment Vintage Theatrical Lighting.

One can't help but wonder how they got such a sharp, round edge from a Thomas PAR64 can?
proxy.php

Reclaimed Enjoyment Polished Chrome Par64

Only £160, which I think is USD 255!:)
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
They are selling questionable "antique" fixtures and he's not.
 

JChenault

Well-Known Member
Humm

Looking at the 'Choose a Leko For me thread'
http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/lighting/9234-choose-leko-me-6.html

I think that this fixture qualifies as an 'Altie'.

( The use of the phrase 'Klieg Light' in this context is fascinating. Since it is not a fixture made by Kliegl, I assume the seller is using it in the movie sense of the word. One wishes that if the purveyor of this chrome plated piece of s**t would at least have picked a fixture more closely associated with film than an altman 6x12 )
 

NevilleLighting

Active Member
Ship had a really great answer to your question. Lots of gems. Many would kill for my career of living in hotels and having nightmares about making connecting flights. That's just the bright side.

When I was a youngin I got some good advice from a seasoned Broadway designer I was assisting. He cautioned me, on my upcoming move to NYC, that you will be viewed as either an electrician or designer and you must choose how you want to be seen. There was a lot of wisdom in that statement that I could go on about for hours. You'll have to make a choice and the choice will be hard. Work will be harder to come by for a while but if you dedicate yourself hopefully it will work out.
 

Esoteric

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I went a combo route.

Went to school and got my bachelors. During summer I went out on tour on 3 month contracts. Did a few 6 month contracts (my professors were very understanding). Toured with the same company (WWE) a few times from 2 weeks to 6 months as a ML tech (because of my education, I was lucky to attend the University with the largest ML program in the Western Hemisphere at the time) and eventually as an assistant programmer. After school I decided I didn't want to go to grad school (a common track if you want to design in regional theater, but not the only one as you will see), so I started designing for local companies for next to nothing. I formed an LLC (best move I ever made) and started business. Between my local designs (made possible by the money I saved up on tour) and my contacts at school, I got a few gigs designing at the regional (but not LORT, I am not a USA member) level. Then had a religious conversion and found my true calling. I mostly quit doing theater (I still do an occasional show if it suits me, or is a very interesting design), and started doing live music designs for Christian events and Christian bands. Between my programming and ML skills and my live background it was natural. I design the rig, test it, program it, and then give it to my crews to go out while I move on to the next one. From there, churches saw my designs and asked me to start doing installations and renovations for their churches.

So now we have our own line of LED and moving lights, we do a lot of church renovations and installations, we design and tour Christian band tours, and light church events. We also do about 20% of our business in educational renovations and installations, corporate events, secular live music events and tours, and the VERY occasional theater show.

Not where I thought I would be 15 years ago.

Mike
 

StNic54

Active Member
So the question remains - six years later, how did techiegirly's career turn out?
 

sk8rsdad

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Don't most designers see a piece of that $800,000 per week as a royalty? A few of the cost breakdowns I've seen show the console programmer making more than the designer initially.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

MarshallPope

Well-Known Member
Generally, the sound designer designs the show and leaves and the sound op/engineer(s) stays with the show. Similarly, the lighting designer designs and the programmer programs and then they leave, and another lighting op(s) will run the show.
 

DuckJordan

Well-Known Member
Don't most designers see a piece of that $800,000 per week as a royalty? A few of the cost breakdowns I've seen show the console programmer making more than the designer initially.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Depends on the contract. Most however don't see any money after the show opens other than what their contract stated. No royalties just the lump sum the producer agree'd to pay.
 

MNicolai

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Depends on the contract. Most however don't see any money after the show opens other than what their contract stated. No royalties just the lump sum the producer agree'd to pay.

Or you could go the Tharon Musser approach with your contract. Story goes that when she designed lights for A Chorus Line, she knew it'd be a hit so she agreed to work for next to nothing, but negotiated that'd she'd receive x% of royalties. Had the show bombed, she would've barely been paid anything. Her gamble paid off when the show was an incredible hit and she accumulated a small fortune over the years in royalties.

So the story goes, that is...
 

MikeJ

Well-Known Member
Note where lighting designers are on the pay scale graphic. Sigh...

http://www.infographicsshowcase.com/the-cost-of-a-musical-on-broadway-infographic/

I'm a bit skeptical of this. $38K a year as a Broadway designer; give me a break. I know designers in the mid-west, Vegas, and NY that make much more. Hell you can hardly get by in NYC on $38 grand.

I would like to see their sources. Looking up the equity minimum for actors is easy, but polling designers, who are generally paid per contract, on and off Broadway is a different story.
 

Footer

Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
I'm a bit skeptical of this. $38K a year as a Broadway designer; give me a break. I know designers in the mid-west, Vegas, and NY that make much more. Hell you can hardly get by in NYC on $38 grand.

I would like to see their sources. Looking up the equity minimum for actors is easy, but polling designers, who are generally paid per contract, on and off Broadway is a different story.

http://www.usa829.org/Contracts/CollectiveBargainingAgreements(CBAs)/Theatre,Opera,Dance.aspx

There ya go. Start doing the math. You won't get rich doing art. I have a feeling the designers you know also do corporate or R&R work which usually pays more.
 

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