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Lighting Designers get their own play

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by teksalot2, May 22, 2005.

  1. teksalot2

    teksalot2 Member

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    Lighting design community

    I am participating in a project that will simulate a community based theater project. By interviewing and discussing light design, I am hoping to compile stories of lighting designers in to a series of monologues that will aim to entertain and educate others about the art of light design. Most people who attend theater, as opposed to those who create it, know very little about the technical aspects of it. And rather than try to compound all the technical fields into one project, I’d rather focus on the one I’ve participated in myself.

    By answering some of the following questions, I am hoping I can gain some insight into the quirks and oddities of working in light design.

    1. What’s your name?

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?

    4. How did you learn light design? School?

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?

    Thanks for helping me out. If you think of anything you’d like to add, please contact me at [email protected] Thanks again

    Roxanne Rosas
     
  2. moojoe

    moojoe Active Member

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    1. What’s your name?
    Zac C.

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    uh…I guess 6 years. Design for 1 ½ to 2.

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    Thought followspots were cool in 6th grade, so I did them and was hooked

    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    Noone would really fully teach me how to design. But I love theatre, and wanted to design as a profesion. So, I searched for months on end all over the web for any tutorial, and tibit of info on design, and learned from there. I then began making light plots for theoretical shows, showed them to a designer who I knew, and he would critique it.

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?
    oh god…well to start I do my plot by hand. I have access to various programs, but I love the look of a well drawn plot. All of the paper work though I do on Rosco LPS.

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?
    Being lead designer for Aladdin at the local theatre. First professional experience isn’t exactly theatre, but I aided in the design for a murder recreation for the show Forensics files.

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?
    Two weeks before Aladdin opened, I went to see Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of my favorite movies. And little did I know, the guy who played Frankenfurter also played Aladdin, I just didn’t recognize him. So at the show he runs by me and I smack his ass, and well at one of our performances, I'm sitting with the cast and crew before show, and he tells me he plays the part. I say, “oh! I smacked your ass a few weeks ago!!!” infront of a whole bunch of old people. Theyre reaction was quite good.

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?
    Night of a musical, entire cast and crew get really sick. Noone is able to sing, our racks catch on fire about every hour, oh, and right before doors open, our headset system goes out. We called the entire show on our cell phones. God that was a scary night.

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
    in 5 years, graduating from Purchase University, 10 years, on the road somewhere with cirque du soleil. 20 years, designing cirque du soleil or crew or designer for the Met.

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?
    Focus. I love seeing my work come together. It’s a very emotional time for me. Which is annoying because I need to be calm so that I can work with my crew.

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…
    the hiarcy involved.

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?
    Luc Lafortune- one of cirques best designers. Most recently designed Ka. Also my friend Maxx V. hes an excellent designer, and has an a truly increadible gift when it comes to design. I just wish he would think of it as a career. He would be increadible.

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?
    don’t give up. There will be so many obsitcals, but you need to stay in it, stay in it and youll become great.

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?
    I really wish theatre can grow up and evolve. I've read many articles how theatre always stays the same. Everyone is true to theyre ways. But if they are, they will kill of the industry. Theatre needs to evolve. Lighting surely is, but I wish theatre as a whole would too.

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    Heh. No light, I don’t like being on stage. But if there had to be light, probably a single deep red at about a 80 degree angle coming up into my face at full intensity. With just a very slight hint of blue at my exact left. like only at 40% intensity.
     
  3. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    “Lighting design community
    I am participating in a project that will simulate a community based theater project. By interviewing and discussing light design, I am hoping to compile stories of lighting designers in to a series of monologues that will aim to entertain and educate others about the art of light design. Most people who attend theater, as opposed to those who create it, know very little about the technical aspects of it. And rather than try to compound all the technical fields into one project, I’d rather focus on the one I’ve participated in myself.”
    Once attended a week long lecture series at ISU by Jennifer Tipton. If you contact the theater if not library you might be able to access any if recorded or written down lecture notes. Otherwise in introductions and prefaces to various books, the author/famous designer will often share with the audience some of their experiences. Such experiences when cited can be very much of use. Mention in your lecture notes on the design experience tips and thoughts by Jean Rosenthal out of her “The Magic of Light” book, and cite her lighting design theory in all forms of presentation including and especially the movie “West Side Story” and all the audience while they might not have noted the lighting will instantly take a connection to it. Someone says the movie West Side Story and while they might not have thought about it’s lighting design, they do have instant memories.
    Otherwise, the best way I think to inform is perhaps supplemented by multi-media and demonstration, in addition to any interesting notes you find from other designers. Take the example of that beam angle chart common to most books. Just a single face when lit by single and double lighting instruments in each photo in the series. Pretty woman, starts on stage or in better yet large slide presented to the audience with a common table lamp on stage. She moves about the table lamp on the floor and still gets the same crappy lighting to her. You than in the live, by film or slide turn off the table lamp and go thru a simplified for attention span series of photos showing different looks or effects. Than you add some color to show the drama and mixing. KISS, keep it simple stupid for the demo of one person lit at first but perhaps end with a short light show of the possible.
    Than go into the history or how your career became a field with something romantic or Victorian in typical lighting for the age as example. Run thru a series perhaps of say harsh foot lights that wash out the face and in general provide bad lighting, to sketches by Craig and Appia on their design intent. Read Robert Edmond Jones, Craig and Appia for where the design theory started. Go to the Basic McCandless concept and show it as a base. Than build on it for effect perhaps ending with a slide or video clip of some current Broadway musical followed by a clip from a rock show. Finally end with perhaps a photo of a scene lit in one way as it shows some intent, than another simple scene that’s the same lit with different intent.
    If you do your intro to the lecture, you should be able to take care of the concept & history in say 15 minutes, than have time for the rest of your presentation. Lots of books available on design over the years would be useful in citing difference in style over the ages.
    For style of how to present your thesis, you might get books by Reid and Pilbrow. Reid’s book “Lighting the Stage” might be especially useful in presentation style. I believe there is also a new book called something like “Designers on Design” that has much your same thesis. Otherwise reading into TCI/Theater Crafts, Ligiting Dimensions, American Theater, PLSN and other sources in past issues over the years and especially when designer interviews were major features, you can get lots of incite into known designers.
    By answering some of the following questions, I am hoping I can gain some insight into the quirks and oddities of working in light design.
    1. What’s your name? Brian Shipinski
    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre? Lights 20 years, theater 24 years.
    3. How did you get involved with theatre? Sister was doing it and it was advised that I look into it for something to do given I could sling a hammer at home well.
    4. How did you learn light design? School? School and books. While minoring in lighting design was of more interest than costume design following my set/design production degree was primary, the reality of lighting design did not click until it had to be done for a show.
    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design? Programs, I have Auto Cadd and Vectorworks, but no time to tinker with re-learning them. When I was in college, we had Auto Cadd Release 12 available but you had to go to the IT part of the school to get trained in it. My own computer had “Generic Cadd” and while it was useful for drafting, at the time there was not a feasible ready to use way of doing theater design. Instead it’s always been hand drafting - normally in ink my preferred medium. No time while in a show to tinker with the Cadd, even if it would save time later.
    Method, read script three times and only on the last time start taking notes. Talk with the director about his or her concept, than re-read the script again and refine notes as to the production’s intent and the script needs. Lighting design is normally much more simple than set design in that you don’t have to provide a feel for the set and style it’s presented in physically, only match design to intent and sculpt with the inventory, fixtures, channels and dimmers available. The light is more like sculpting than painting as separate concepts but similar. The first has you shape and mold the image intended, the other has the intent in relation to it’s setting. Takes a lot less work in design and background to do a lighting design. More a you and your vision thing for inspiration than that of a accurate portrait or some sense of it type of design intent based upon imagery rather than selectivity in what’s shown and how it’s shown. Both are very much alike, but the lighting intent is more what’s revealed and how it’s sculped in revealing it than set design is commonly. Hard difference to separate in that both have much the same design elements, still mostly one is based off something you intend to make reference to, the other is in conveying an image of a thought on it. This after general location, time of day etc are covered. Set still is more a reference to the world the play occupies, lighting than becomes more a statement of the feelings intended to express by the world revealed. Both while intertwined might in some way be different in this way to some extent.
    Traditionally, I would study as above the script, talk with the director and designers and watch some rehearsals. Lots of rehearsals for lighting. The more the better to gain incite onto the emphasis intended and very important also the blocking. Without the blocking, you are lost as a designer. This given some other very important goals such as visibility time of day etc.
    As a set designer and at times as a lighting designer, I started research into the play, the times, art of the period, author’s intent, etc and just followed it where ever it took me. I would trust that while I came up with ideas, none were finalized until I became so absorbed into the research that I eventually had a dream about the play. At that point all research stopped and I started sketching what I saw in the dream. I might read an entire book on structural steel design if that’s where my research took me, than move onto something else on a different line, perhaps also read the script again, but after the dream of what I see, I sketched the looks I and the director as per directive wished for. If it did not quite match up with other parts of the design, rehearsal or director’s intent, we would discuss this new concept and at times I re-adjusted that vision to more fit the show. Craig would not adjust his vision for the reality of the show. I tried this once in having vision for a different theater space and fitting vision into it, it did not work. Each theater and space requires a unique design for it. Someone else’s concept or one you wish to try might fit into the picture but even at that it needs to become the concept for that production and not attempt to recapture something that worked elsewhere.
    Traditions, while not working on a show, I might study other designers designs and often get ideas from them, while designing a show, I will not look at what someone else has done. If before hand I saw something, that image will remain. Since each show is different, seeing what someone else had for a solution simply does not matter. As a designer, and given a script there will be certain similarities or stuff as a given by the script. After that, you can’t capture someone else’s image, nor should you own thoughts on the imagery as an artist try to copy someone else’s intent. When I design a show, it’s tradition to start with a blank page. Design as I wish than once the sketches are done, work on converting it to reality of fixture location, gel, dimmers etc. First the image, than worry about how to pull it off.
    Location to work. First is the design studio with research library, computer and drafting table. Than is the design meeting, and finally the rehearsal. I will sketch often the blocking of scenes while in rehearsal to help later in figuring out what the focus area is for cuing and intent but this is rough sketch and often following the show study for design intent. The more rehearsals you attend, the better the feel for the presentation you will have. Not perfect especially if in a class room, and much will change but still important to attend as much as possible. Dimmer channel to patch, fixture location by plot, gel choice, etc. follow design. Don’t worry about such things, that’s later and only paperwork.
    Once I have the design and it’s realized in a plot, on the spot I can normally do a rough scene by scene cue fixture dimmer setting to match the image I’m attempting. That’s good enough to start the rehearsals with that are under lighting. After that, it’s just a question of refining the cues to make intent and rough cues a reality. And often a change of them to match the final blocking. Still once the image is there and realized, it’s just a question of dialing it in for production as opposed to what was on sketch.
    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?
    While early in school, a friend of mine asked me to take over for her as light board operator for a show she was doing at a store front theater. I later was asked back by the writer/director to design his next show. Not a hard thing in the small store front theater world, normally it’s harder to find someone to fit the bill than to do the show. So I did this set design for a original flawed text and production of a not very good show only slightly of worth. I also failed the production as a designer in the bad show in that while for the small room it was in, I took proportion and scale into account, and had what was probably one of my better set designs, the audience after the show more frequent than not walked onto the stage and took a close look at the scenery - especially the painted brick. It would seem that my failing was that the set outstripped the presentation and they were more interested in the set than the show while supposed to be watching the show.
    None the less, at some point probably a week before the show, company the lighting designer assumed to be doing the lights turned out not intending to do so. We were stuck thus with a set, actors and costumes but no lights. It was later decided that since I had or was in advanced lighting classes in school, and nobody else in the theater company was going to step up, I needed to at least throw some light on the subject. They did not expect much, just light the scenes some and call it a day given the set, street clothes and blocking was about done and all that was left was making it visible on the six scene - one channel light board available.
    My major problem in school while in lighting class was somehow linking design theory with making it reality. Sure I could mechanically reproduce from a magazine photo what direction the light was from, and even plot out with light fixtures and gel how to re-produce it, but I was missing somehow that next step in the difference between live intent with design and reality. I could design for moments in a photo or some basic scene, but if the actors crossed out of their light, I was lost in them no longer following my intent.
    So I did my best in the 9'-1" ceiling with a mixture of 150w PAR 38, 3" Fresnel, PAR 56 and some 3.5Q5 fixtures taken from the main stage. I also found 28 pinspot fixtures and in the only real inspiration, intended to as extra fixtures make a rainbow with them across the 14' wide stage at it’s end. Hmm, pinspot, about a 3x5 degree beam. Given about a 14' throw distance, it was problematic but it worked to some extent once frosted the heck out of.
    (Long story TBA later about the pinspot rainbow implementation.)
    Anyway, the lighting for the show as the first one realized was okay at best given it functioned but both the play did not inspire me to light it, nor was I good at lighting yet. Play was about a guy attempting to start a lawn mower and his life falling apart around him as wife and friends walk by and relate their difficulties about him and their relationships. Not much to light there given a bright sunny day.
    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer? Don’t remember beyond the concept that what I design often is thrown out initially but later is what we end up with. Constant what the director thinks than the reality and back to what I think type concepts.
    An actor that would do his best to avoid the light. Flooded the heck out of a small stage so he could not escape his light no matter how much he tried. And tried he did. Quite the challenge to find a place for him during rehearsals to wander about in finding a dark part of the stage. Quite the challenge for me in staying one step ahead of him.
    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing? Same with funny experiences, the intent is to do work without any un-known’s good or bad. Great is when nothing of interest happens. Adventure for a designer as something physical and not theory should be prevented if at all possible. Lighting design is in part the actor finding his light. Had this one act where there were two actors in a sort of office. One was about young, the other older. As the story came about, there was some question or sense that the older character was Hitler in hiding. The Protagonist of course was in the means of figuring this out as the audience was, and the director would not allow any yes or no answer as to was or was he not Hitler. Small light plot and fairly small stage. Only had one fixture to spotlight this Hitler character. By chance and a bit of focus, somehow at least to me it seemed that I caught the exact beam angle most movies light Hitler from. This and the actor was darned good, plus the colors on stage were just right. This one beam of light the actor could find anywhere on stage was not otherwise noticed on stage, other than when this actor stepped into it and during his monolog. As I brought up the intensity of this special as opposed to the rest of the set’s lighting which left him in question as a more normal person, thru the play it became more suspect his background. This granted that the actor was doing a great job and the lighting only assisted him. In the end, it was a magical design I doubt I could re-create.
    Otherwise for Shadowy Waters, there was this trashed club light we replaced colored lenses with gobos on, than added a 8x9 lens train to the front of. Above the audience, it was as if the rolling and spinning of the light moved in three dimensions with the music in a perfect moment of the play. That area when there is a distinct pause and the audience can become distracted as the actors are by the song of the spirits. Over the heads of the audience really was some form of ghostly apparition. Again, done once, can’t be repeated.
    This for me is the adventure and art of design, if only a few select moments when all is perfect in the world you in visioned.
    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? I retired for the most part from doing production work. My intent is to some day get back into design, but having burned myself out sufficiently on design and construction of set and lights where I don’t accept un-safe gear, or set design and by necessity construction most often, it’s easy to burn oneself out. Occasionally perhaps once a year now I’ll do a design but they are very stressing and often since those willing or wanting my design are less developed, it’s very stressful in just getting that design realized. While I intend to get back to design, and probably will do some community theater in the future, I await retirement in giving myself back to the design with production requirements in making what you wish also constructed. Can’t stay 26 and staying up three days straight for ever. I had to make a break.
    Until than, I found a job where I get to tinker with gear and buy stuff for the entertainment industry for a living. Don’t do much design proper these days, but there is elements of even fixture construction that is design and experiment sufficient for my itch. Given I’m also a tech person, that tinkering with stuff and more having stuff brought to me and doing what ever takes my interest in the day well outweighs the “hurry up and wait” normal to doing productions, much less is barley sufficient in having some small design element to the production.
    I’m doing some community theater work now and am a ME for a large lighting company where as opposed to designing the stage, I design and construct the fixtures other shows use. In the community theater, eventually I might make more magic some day but for now am still in retirement or post burned out from design and production on a 24/7 schedule. 35 Years from now I hope to retire from where I currently work as a ME. In that time if I design a few shows at work or at the local theater, that’s sufficient. Made Jesus appear on stage once. How could he not the haze was so thick you could cut it with a knife, but the black light, follow spot and other lighting also helped by way of design - plus another great actor.
    10. What’s your favorite part of the process? Favorite part of the process is as stated those if only even a few moments when a realized design I had seen as vision, become a shared vision to the audience. That as a lighting designer especially is all important in the end. For set design, it’s less reflected in some very few and brief moments of absolute as per a light design, instead it’s more a broad vision that works with the production and makes it’s statement in working. All very dependant upon matching design to production - talent for scene or brief moment when all is right and correct in the world on stage as viewed by an audience.
    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything… I despise others that don’t care sufficiently. Last theater show I did properly, they had a old Vision light board that constantly crashed with it’s corrupted memory and out of something like 36 channels, 28 were currently working and they would not guarantee all would for the production either at very least. I added to this with my own gear. The theater gear I was to design with was in all ways was shot and 90% of the time once dropped from the grid needed at least a minimum amount of service call to it if not major work control cable to fixture and all parts between. Here I am hired and paid to design and install the theater’s lights to my design, and the only way possible to do so was to give total service call to all their gear so it was up to minimum safety standards at very least and dependable, than supplement it with my own gear both bought out of the stipend and personal inventory. Place had scrollers in storage but not ever used them because it would be too much work or too complex for them. Didn’t have time either but had I them in my theater I will have made the time.
    What I really hate be it doing a show of quality for those not able to do such a show, or in those reported to do such a show but not giving a crap about their gear is in doing shows where I come in with intent but have to get distracted in making what I need to design function first, than continue with design. On that show, I spent perhaps 25% of my time on the show design - simple show or not and not very inspired, still, I had to hire someone to help install it once the gear was safe. This in addition to stuff I bought made me loose money and a lot of time for a show I in making it function, never got even near full attention to it’s design. No matter if or if not my design intent will have been sufficient (not very good show), I wasted my time instead on making the gear and light board work, rather than refining my design.
    I hate that by the time I finally had my design done and installed, it did not match the show either in blocking or in production lack of script or talent. I hate that opening night, I was running the light board with the operator of it taking notes on cue changes. Hate that the limited vision I saw for certain elements were completely lost in production and that I failed in adjusting for them or in having time to create new elements that would work. Hate that I was made to seem a fool by the director in seeing the crap design I did, no matter if the gear was safe, it did not function for the show - even if crappy show and I will never be asked back. And most especially hate that here I put a lot of out of pocket money into my art above what was paid, did my best and in the end all the work neither served the show, nor was of any use to the theater that thought safe fixtures and stable dimmers minor detail. This being probably the #2 most recognizable store front theater in Chicago, a place I could take over easily in qualified as TD - real TD, I’m banned to design in now.
    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes? McCandless, Jean Rosenthal, Craig and most especially Caspar Neher. Mentors for design, sure my teachers from college and designs I have seen in production. After that and lots of books, it’s more been for lights at least something that is more a personal design for me that others while I learn from and inspire only form a basis but don’t attempted to be reproduced. To a limited sense, Margrait Nelson in Chicago as designer has had some role in some images on the mind I helped to focus thus can reference to for ideas, but for design what I design is more what I see than based upon what other people have done.’
    Teachers help refine your work and teach in general, Craig, and Rosenthal inspire concepts, and McCandless provides the basic concept to base from. After that, it’s image and design for me and I don’t really look at work of others for lighting design.
    13. What advice would you give to a future designer? Read as much as possible on all subjects possible. Constantly read and more important retain in study from Brecht to architectural lighting standards and illuminance levels. Read the GE catalog in knowing differences between lamps, and read the manual for the fixture or drafting program you intend. Study by doing in both light board operation and hanging fixtures others design. Do you want to be the actor changing the light bulb with ten standing around saying “I can do that” or more important, the IA crew having three to change that lamp - “gotta problem with that?” Or do you instead wish to study the why of this specific lamp as opposed to others and study as you hang for others, it’s effect on the stage. Coolest thing in the world is not the person on the light board, it’s the person helping to focus the lights and not even the one doing it. Instead it’s possibly the one holding the ladder that gets to study the difference a little touch to the shutter will have on stage as different to what’s above it in view. Person above the ladder has one view of the focus, that person on stage has another view of it as separate from doing so, instead time to really look at the change as opposed to attempting to hang on for dear life. That’s the experience end of study under others. Don’t be thinking about lunch or ambition to be the one on the light board as if an actor thinking “I could do better”, instead study what’s done and learn the how to make it reality. Lean the difference between the beam of a 6x9 and 6x12 at 15' so it’s as a memorized beam spread in your memory while you design. You don’t need photomerics if you already have worked with the fixture sufficient to have a mental picture of it’s look and throw.
    Back in college, we compiled photomorgues of photos out of magazines. We were supposed to study the art and the implementation of the photo’s lighting, than keep it for a reference guide in images. Fairly useless in most cases, but there were some photos or drawings from magazines that did inspire. If you get but one concept and inspiration out of a hundred of them, and from them also know how to re-produce this image, such work is paid off.
    There is must do stuff such as drafting, ability to sketch artistically, mechanical knowledge of control and fixtures or wiring that you need to know. Lots of organization and paperwork necessary, but first comes the art based upon experience and study to hone and make better the library of visions you can have. The more you see, the larger the ability to pull up inspiration. How many people when I say "Blue Boy" instantly pull up an image of a famous painting, much less have some sense of what it really looks like in how it's revealed by way of light and shadow? No, you don't have to study or have certain traits, instead you need to study everything from the effects of shadow of light on a brick wall morning noon and night dependant upon the season to paintings and even in watching "Meet the Press" note some elements of at least style. Not persay draw up a plot once you understand how to do so from a image, instead recognize more a style that can be reproduced where you need. Images on the mind is like money. The more you have in savings, the easier life.
    Learn as much tech and detail as you can. There is a huge difference between a Fresnel lamped with a DWN as opposed to BTL, yet you will still find them in the field. In a focus, the designer in getting what they wish must be intimate with the fixtures they use, otherwise running the barrel one way as opposed to another won’t either be seen nor noted to be better in another direction. The wrong lens train or choice of one over another and especially in choice of gel, comes only with experience.
    Try not to over design, over cue or over color your other than most important or most fantasy type of images. One is often tempted to bring down all but where the action is than have to bring ti back to normal as it were, get really bold in saturation, or have a really tight design that does not allow for actor mistakes where they are now in the dark. Such mistakes on the designer’s part cause fatigue often with the audience. Instead hold back one step so you can go one more where appropriate or cover for what doesn’t quite fit into your picture for the concept. Amber shift is also a ***** when over saturated. Spill your magic right away and you have nothing left also later on. Moderation is the key yes, at some points you do want to bring down the rest of the stage or saturate an image, just otherwise do it one or two steps by way of design less than you think you should. Same with cues, not every important thing to note needs a cue. Time delays are great as with subtle changes, but they also take a lot of control. If the general production does not allow for this, the subtile control you wish for will all be a question of timing and how it works night to night. Often this timing will have been better left out. Lighting is to light, convey etc. first, than supplement and support. Support is also important, the lights should not overshadow the action or actors. If this means a wash is best so that those seen can be heard, it might mean a less flashy design by you but a better overall production. Talent stepping into or especially doing their lines within shadow unless designed to be this is a bad thing.
    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add? Good luck, but in some sense, are you trying to make general audience clap as per some Renaissance artist’s set design might get a curtain call of it’s own as spectacle - function or not with the production itself as it often did nor, or are you trying to make people realize that which if all is well with the play, those of the audience should not see in it standing out as it’s own art? To a certain extent, they might hopefully even at a mall stop to look at the lighting fixtures as they provide light on a display, or give thought to “I’m going to get me some of them halogen lamps” type theory as if track lights will solve all evils, but I hope it’s less to impress rather than make this element as one of them become recognized but not stand out. A book by Bova “The Beauty of Light” is a excellent text for making “civilians” recognize the effect of light in all forms without making it stand out. Highly recommend you read this book if attempting to lecture others on light in making it beyond spectacle to impress above the collaboration.
    Lots of study and practice. Study into all from TV to magazines to classics and painting. All that is visual has a light source that is useful by way of association with for the audience to relate to is useful to study. What effects does a grainy photo have upon the viewer. Should you wish to convey a similar image on stage, mastering both fixture and design will allow for this. Create a visual memory by way of production experience for how to and what to use to do this. Test options for concept after this.
    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    Above with examples, as for me, I might change looks with each paragraph or intent. Some really basic changes in say color, some changes to what's overtly bad lighting, and some that's great lighting.
    On the other hand, given I'm a tech person and stay to the shadows, perhaps just some light so I'm seen - especially my eyes as one key recognized as important, and what happens on the monitor or upstage is part of the class in changing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2006
  4. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    So thats where his name came from! ;)
     
  5. Jamie

    Jamie Member

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    Location:
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    Reply

    1. What’s your name? James Horban

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre? Since I was about eight, which was about nine years. Theater about five.

    3. How did you get involved with theatre? Only type of lighting dealio involved in school, so I took tech theater and became assistant LD.

    4. How did you learn light design? School? Yeah, right now i'm tudoring afterschool w/ my tech director learnin stuff.

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design? I usually use 45-45-60, which is where you go 45 dgres out and up from the actor, place your fixture, do it again the other way, and place another fixture 60 degrees behind the actor. This mimicks the most natural light. I use many programs, but mainly Expression Off-line, Martin ShowDesigner, WYSIWYG, Chauvet ShowExpress, and Elation CompuWare. Not all for the same location, but for different uses.

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience? My first experience was stressful, for everything seemed to go wrong; bulbs were blowing, gels fallin out. it was bad. my first professional experience was as a freshhman working w/ Stage Tech Inc, and that was fun. loved hangin out w/ MAC 2000's and Hogs.

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer? We took a stage pin cable, cut off the plug, and stuck it into a dimmer. We then took a bad cable, cut of the end, and jabbed it onto the exposed plug. dang, that thing blew UP. we blew 3 circuit breakers and got chewed out by or tech director, who was laughing histerically himself.

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing? We have one followspot, Sparky, and sends all its current through you if you touch it and your telex ant the same time. i was a freshman doin a show, and bein really gullible and dumb, didn't think it was true. welll, yeah it was, and half-way through the production you saw one followspt go flying of stage shining into nowhere. man, we still have that followspot too, time to find a freshman...

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? i want to be an LD for a pool-concert hall that my frineds are starting up. hopefully it will work, and become pretty successful.

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process? the part during a performance that yopu programmed to look REALLY neat, and you see it written on the cue sheet as the next cue, and your arms get all numjb in anticicpation. dang, the bEST part...

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything… the stupid electricians that leave wires hanging everywhere; TIELINE PEOPLE!!

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes? Roland Black. he's quiting after July, but he has made my the LD that i am.

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer? be creative, CREATIVITY. it's quickly dying out in this industry cuz it's being replaced by software. be yourself. if you think R22 goes with R44, use it...

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add? it takes ten good jobs to equal one oh sh!t

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look? blue wash cyc w/ water projectors and two MAC 2000 washes on each side of the podium. probly some MAC600's with mag sweeping slowly on cyc and stage. MAC500's w/ prisms and moonflower rotating slowly on crowd. i dunno, i'd probably change my mind too many times... :D
     
  6. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    New York
    1. What’s your name?

    Zachary Spitzer

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?

    lighting: 3 years, theater: school plays since 5th grade really

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?

    When I was really young (like 6 or 7) I would set-up my desk lamp as a light and a CD player as sound and have "dance recitals" and force my sister to dance while I turned on the desk lamp to light my sister. When I came to my current school I was shown how to set-up the extremely basic system that we had at the time. The person at the time was a senior and there was no one else who would do tech. The year after I started, learned by being shown, plus a fair bit of "well if I hang the light here, it looks good". This was while the system still consisted of twelve 500 watt fresnel, so there wasn't much designing involved. The school then spent a fair bit of money and got us a real theater set-up, and there was me and the teacher who really got the system installed. Over the summer the teacher left suddenly (got a better job) and I was left as the only one at the school to run the new system.

    4. How did you learn light design? School?

    Partially books, partially this website, and a fair bit of "well if I hang this light here it looks OK, but if I move it over here, it looks better". Well, come to think of it a huge thing was over the summer when I was interning at the theater, just watching the LD and ME program the show and watch the stage to see what they did.

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?

    Well, I find myself walking outside looking at shadows thinking about how thats a nice gobo, or seeing how the sunlight looks on peoples faces. Besides that, when I get a show I read the show to learn the show, then I read it for the basic looks that i'm going to want. I then go in and plot the show. I then try to watch a full run of the show and mark down where all the cues will go and what they will do (speeds up programing a lot). When I get into programing the show I then have some cues written in the script that I run, and its a good guide to start. I then watch the show another 3 times in tech week and edit/add/delete cues. The last show I did (No Exit) I kept changing the look for the end of the show (its a very complicated show, by Jean Paul Sartre).

    I started designing by hand with a little template and used lightwrite for my paperwork. I still use lightwrite, since it is an amazingly powerful paperwork program. I now use vectorworks for my plots, purely in 2D mode, though I am teaching myself more of the program slowly.

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?

    At school, erm, I guess it was two Tom Stoppert plays, After Migrate and The Real Inspector Hound. I have never been paid for a design (yet), but my first professional theater experience (that I was paid for) was to work backstage for a week on a youth theater show. I am now on the over-hire list for two theaters.

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?

    Hum, well I wasn't designing, but I was programing a gala, and as I was sitting at the light board waiting for the show to start some guy walks over to me at the light board and asks "how many channels does that sound board have". I looked at him and told him that the sound board was behind me and I was not sure.


    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?

    This past show I did, No Exit, I think was the best show I've done. I read this show in English class, and one of the actresses at my school and I looked at each other and said "i really want to do this show". So we did. In this show there are 3 main characters in hell, and they have flashes of what is happening on each. My design was to create the back wall as a scrim, and have actors acting behind the scrim. I also did a lot with harsh side-light. I wish I had some photos to put up of this already, but I have to take the video and get some shots from that. I am very proud of that show, and just wanted to talk about it.

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

    I want to design broadway shows. 5 years graduating college (not sure where. 10 years, on broadway, 20, i'm not sure, time will tell.


    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?

    I love right after the focus, which always ends up being late at night, sitting down, breathing a sign of relief that the work is over for now, and just turning things on and looking at what I have. I love bumping through channels and seeing how it works. The feeling of everything coming together in is the best thing ever.

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…

    Programing. I love right before programing, and right after it when the show is all done, but I get very stressed during programming. For some strange reason, I hate having the actors hold for me (usually because the actors need the rehearsal). However, it is still fun, and I don't hate it, I just like it least.


    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?

    Not one person. I go to shows and decide if I like this cue or that cue. I have worked with a guy named Paul Carbone who has taught me a lot and is a really good designer, so I guess you could say he comes closest to being a mentor.


    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?

    Think outside the box. Try it, no matter how crazy you think it may be, try it, because it could look really, really cool.


    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?

    Dark blue stage wash from the top, single spot from a front/side position (box-boom type position). I think. Maybe. It depends if it was a funny monologue or a serious one.

    EDIT:Hey, look, its my 900th post!
     
  7. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Eastcoast USA
    1. What’s your name?
    Wolf825... :D

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    Almost 20 years now...doing lights, sound, production design or management, and general stage tech work for every possible kind of show imaginable... started when I was 17...haven't stopped.

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    I started in theater--school shows...moved on from there to Corporate work and professional productions. Got into sound deeply...then came back to lighting when moving lights became very popular and common and did programming and learned how to repair and troubleshoot them. Now trained in repair on High End, Martin and VL toys.. I learned a long time ago--BE FLEXIBLE and BE GREAT at EVERYTHING ON A STAGE so you know and can forsee problems or conflicts or integration needs. Plus--when one side of a show isn't hiring (lights) the other sides usually are hiring (sound or stage work). I have an extensive background of expertise and experience in sound, lighting, design in both and all operational & technical aspects as well, plus stage work for carp, fly, rigging, staging, electrics, special effects, props, costumes, and general production operations for theater, touring, concerts, corporate & other industrials, trade shows, TV, sports and broadcast. Learn to do it all and do it exceptionally well...and you will never have need for a job or income..and people will be beating down your door.

    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    Did some in college...my teacher and I did not get along. He was an idiot and he knew I knew it because I had been working professionally for 5 years and he had just graduated college and became a teacher and had NO experience.... So that was short lived...

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?
    I have no usual methods of design... Some designers look at a show and put up their standard cookie-cutter plot and focuses they use for everything--and then spend hours struggling to getting it to work. I do the opposite and learned this from many great designers--don't hang the plot in your mind or for real til you know what you are hanging around and what is needed for the show.. Sure I have a base plot of washes, focuses and fixture positions I like, but I hardly ever stick to them. If all the stages were identical and all the situations were identical--sure a standard thing would work...but in the real world, you have to be flexible and adapt to the situation. I can't say I have ever hung the same plot twice--except for other designers work... :)

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?
    First experience was in high school...I mostly remember the cast parties... First professional gig I got hired at 19 to design an off-broadway show that was being built. Thats where I learned to put into practice that you have to be flexible and adapt.. You can MAKE nearly anything work out, if you know how to use the gear...

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer? As a designer I am always looking at other designers work--to try and see what they see and try to think how I mightr have done something different or how I percieve the show or scene differently and see how they see it. Funniest thing I guess I have had are those days where nothing goes right for you..and afterwards they are funny to think back on...like the time I cooked two beacons cause someone put them into a dimmer instead of a wall cuicut and switchbox--and when I brought up my stage wash the beacons went off and I thought someone had turned the switch on--but then they then slowed down...then they started to smoke...and finally just stayed lit while they smoked. Then there was the time a shop had lamped the source 4 rental order with 575w250v lamps (instead of 575 115v)..and it was dim as hell and I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out what could be wrong with the dimmer curves or power... Then there are the times on opening night when the director comes up with a "brilliant idea" and comes to me with 15 minutes to house open and says he wants to hook up blacklights for the show...and I look at him and go..NO--go direct something or get some catering...get a clue--the design is done and the show is opening NOW and it looks EXCELLENT the way it is and now is NOT the time to change or add any of your flash and trash ideas you should have thought of MUCH earlier...

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?
    what do you consider adventurous or great?

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
    I dunno...

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?
    running the show and cueing a show...getting the timing JUST right.

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…
    idiots who don't see a show as a collaborative effort or how things have to work together... Like vidiots who show up and decide to hang a screen in the middle of your front wash at the last minute.

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?
    Eh...I've worked with a lot of great designers and well known lighting folks...no hero's..no mentors... You can't be a copy or replica of someone else--you can only take what you learn and adapt it to your own.

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?
    Dont' take any crap when it really IS crap....and learn to take crap that really is NOT crap... Oh--and please for the love of Dog BE ORIGINAL and BE CREATIVE... McCandless is a hack--don't take a signle design style you learn in school as "gospel" and barf it out everywhere you go and wonder why it doesn't "fit". Learn various styles and their PRINCIPLES of how they work and WHY, and learn to adapt to situations and learn HOW to use shadowing and lighting and Focus and Instrument selection..don't make us techs "suggest" the solution to you later AFTER we have already hung it and you see it doesn't work and you don't know what to do. KNOW your craft outside of a text book...know it in practice and it wil make your design a LOT easier and makes things work the first time. Spacial Physics--seeing a 3D object in your head and being able to think and see how it would work from different angles in your head is a very KEY thing to being a good designer and problem solver IMO...

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?
    I dunno...ask a question and its better likely to generate a response from me. Ask what I would like to share--there is too much to list...

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    It would never be the same....it would change to reflect the various things and styles I have done--from washy corporate looks...to theatrical sillouettes, to bright hazy sharp cool concert looks...to dramatic scenes and backgrounds.....just like life--its never the same thing twice.

    cheerios...
    -w
     
  8. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    1. What’s your name?
    Ignacio "Iñaki" Rosenberg

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    About 8 years

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    Through my High School

    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    Books, watching other designers, finding my own style

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?
    I'll ussually do this totally useless plot just to get the excitement out of the way. Then I'll do a proper plot based on rehearsals. I'll fill tons of booklets with info about the show and ideas, and then filter them. Its different for concerts.

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?
    Pippin, horrible experience, the director was drunk pretty much 3/4 of the time, my budget was really low, and one of the MAC500 locked up in white halfway during opening night.

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?
    Seeing an actor take a dive into an orchestra pit full of subs, land on a bubble machine and fix it!

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?
    Hey I'm from Argentina, I got rid of height fright by being put in a truss and flown 60 feet in the air. Everything was adventurous.
    I've had to do lights for horse auctions and learn ho the horses see light and react to color (baaaad idea by the way, they hate it).

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
    Working as a technician in some large Audio or Lighting company, hopefully become a designer.

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?
    Ohhh....Printing the plot, load in and set-up, that first time when everything is turned on and I see what I've done. The last night of a run.

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…
    Like everything in this industry, you can never make everyone happy.

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?
    I have people I admire their designs, like David Hersey, Natasha Katz and the Fisher/Eisenhauer pair

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?
    Have fun....whatever you do, do it from the inside. And never stop learning

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?
    No matter how "correct" a lighting design is, you always need a human element. It truly makes a difference.

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    Blues and cyan, proper toplight, red velour curtain cross-lit in red.
     
  9. teksalot2

    teksalot2 Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    So Cal
    Thanks

    Thanks to everyone who helped me out on this project. I posted the final copy of the work online so if you submitted a survey reply you could read it. I tried taking quotes or paraphrasing comments from everyone and created several characters with the same or similar names. (some characters are compilations)

    Hope you enjoy it

    Roxanne

    http://staffwww.fullcoll.edu/rrosas/thelightingmonologues.doc

    PS It is a word document so you will be prompted to save or open it.
     
  10. moderately_clueless

    moderately_clueless Member

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    I'm hardly what one would call a designer, only a lowly high schooler, but I suppose I'll throw in my two cents.

    1. What’s your name? Molly

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre? A pitiful two years

    3. How did you get involved with theatre? I had been performing since I was little, so I auditioned for a play and quicky learned that I liked tech much better.

    4. How did you learn light design? School? So far I've learned just by watching and reading. I've had a few really good people at my school and I learned a lot from them.

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design? I just like to experiment. I severely lack experience and actually getting to design due to a crazy director with control issues, but I just like to get something up and see if it works.

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience? Hardly any design experience, being in a high school with little to do other than simply light the actors. However, being crew chief on this last show has been very interesting. First professional experience coming up this weekend, we'll see how it goes.

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer? None come to mind as of now.

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing? Well, on my last show, there was one particularly stupid kid who decided to go climbing above the ceiling tiles by the catwalks, slipped and fell through the ceiling tiles, left hanging holding onto a cable thrity feet in the air. Oh, what a fun day that was. Not great or adventurous, just stupidity in a form so great that it deserves mention.

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
    I honestly have no clue. We'll see how far I can go.

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process? I like those few hours between having everything focused and programmed and the curtain going up. A nice sense of accomplishment and a job well-done. Cheesy, and horrible, yes, but still rather pleasant.

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…
    Well, dealing with people on my crew who do stupid things and don't tell anyone. Having repatched dimmers and a rewired soundboard suddenly with no mention of changes is a little frustrating. Also, being in a high school theatre, nothing ever works. It can take several hours just to get a light with decent cable, wiring, lamp, lense, channel and getting it hung and focused. Nothing can ever be done simply.

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes? Just a few of my teachers who have graduated and gone on to be successful in theatre.

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer? I'm hoping to be a future designer, so none here.

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    As of now, it would probably relatively dark with a few randomly scattered beams with different colored gels. Discombolulated and random.
     
  11. gabe

    gabe Member

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    1. What’s your name?
    Gabriel
    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    About 2 years.
    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    Didn't make it into the 7th grade musical, ran the lights (read, trained monkey) but couldn't get enough.
    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    Winging it, low budget school shows, keeping one wash up and refocusing for everyshow.
    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?
    I don't use any computer programs, or draw plots. We never have time. I allways think about what I would do with an unlimited budget. Then work down until I get something resonable.
    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?
    Well, professional experience is yet to come, but my first experience as the sole ld was a few months ago. I actually cried at one point, because in our theatre you need to climb up an extension ladder to get to the ap, and there was no room left in the schedule to get the whole theatre to myself for 3 hours. It was crazy.
    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?
    So, 5 minutes before the house opens, all the power outlets in our booth stop working. So I have to bring all the sound gear including the rack down out of the booth and repatch it in the house.
    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
    5 years, just graduated from high school, freshman in college studying light design. 10 years, just graduated from college probably work on a cruise ship in the theatre so I can see the world. 20 years, broadway.
    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?
    Ide have to say hanging/focusing, I really like to see all the work start comming together.
    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…
    The bathroom in the theatre smells, thats about it.
    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?
    Yes, Andrew Alker, big shout out to you. I would never be here had it not been for you.
    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?
    Theatre, is all about reputation. Make sure you leave good impressions on everyone you meet, it might get you that one call for a job.
    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?
    Everyday at school when I walk into the theatre sixth period, I allways feel at home. I completely forget all the homework and crap that happened at school that day. And I couldn't ask for more friends, it's just the best environmen there is.
    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    Wow, thats a tough one. Ide have to say, in a cool blue wash, that covered the entire stage, with no side light or backlight, nothign fancy. Maybey at 65% nice and simple, in the dark.
    Thanks for helping me out. If you think of anything you’d like to add, please contact me at Thanks again
    My pleasure.
     
  12. ETCrulesyourface

    ETCrulesyourface Member

    Messages:
    3
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    Location:
    silver spring MD
    1. What’s your name?
    Galen Miley

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    lights 3 years theatre 4


    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    after the prodding of my actor friends i decided that i had nothing better to do and was instantly hooked


    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    self taught after the seniors in my HS left a power gap

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?
    i usually start by lighting areas with lots of front amber and no color blue then start working back through the stage. i like to work in the space i am lighting mostly because i despise having to stop design to go measure something. i love/hate wysiwyg want to learn autocad or vectorworks

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?
    absolutely psychotic i had rentals flying in and a 3/4 done set it turned out to be a great show but i didn't sleep for a week. my first pro experience is working at a large rental house in Baltimore.

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?
    as a electrician i would be up on the lift focusing and the LD would want the light a little to the left and of course the bolt would be stuck so it would take me a second to fix it but, before i even moved the light the LD would say "oh that's perfect". this happened multiple times much to my amusement

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like
    someone booted up the console and loaded the wrong show so i was writing cues 20 second before they were onstage and no one noticed

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    10 years? 20 years?

    5 years cirque du soleil 10 years Broadway programing 15 years Broadway designing mind you i am a junior in HS

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?
    seeing it all come together

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…
    having gels melt through during shows and having the best gear throw a hissy fit

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?
    beej my old TD, berkley the senior who taught me a ton and ken posner cause WOW

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?
    not much seeing as im still green but mind the details

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?
    not really
    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    beautiful indigo backwash with striking light yellow beams throughout
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2007
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
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    you do realize this thread is 2 years old?
     
  14. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Kilmarnock, VA
    1. What’s your name?
    Bill Cronheim

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    44 years

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    Community theatre

    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    By watching others

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work?
    Programs you use to design?
    On paper with pencil, straight edge and fixture template

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?
    A community theatre was building a new building, since I was 13 at the time they had me in the rafters installing the catwalks, then the pipes for lighting postitions, then the fixtures, they run cable, then focus the instruments, then run the show with the LD.

    First professional design work was at Times Square Stage Lighting in NYC. Now known as SLD.

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?
    Harry Chapin asked through the PA for me to make him look like a rock star. I blacked out the stage.

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?
    Doing the first bus and truck tour of Hair when it left Broadway... nuff said.

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
    Retired - retired - dead.

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?
    Pushing faders

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…
    Load outs.

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?
    Ted Schedka

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?
    Study, listen and observe.

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?
    No.

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?
    Great :)
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
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    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    NECROPOST WARNING... this thread is ancient.

    Although it's interesting reading... "Brian Shipinski?"

    No big guy... we've got to do something about that around here you should be something more like "Ace Danger" or "Stone Commando"... "Ship Riprock?"
     
  16. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

    Messages:
    111
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    Location:
    New York
    1. What’s your name?
    Dillon Cody

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    Since 1996.

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    Started out by showing up to the first audition of the fall during my freshman year of high school. I introduced myself to the director who introduced me to some other technicians. The rest is history.

    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    Purely on the job training. Working alongside other professionals and teachers really gave me a good "toolbox" of skills. I attended a large university with a well-known theatre/drama department, but didn't stray from the technical direction department.

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?
    In building a cue, I start with back light (which is where I like to bring in the most color). To that I add side light and then front key light and color-fills. I design strictly off of my eyes. I use little paperwork -- a hand-drawn hanging plot, excel spreadsheet hookup and a magic sheet of the stage. You don't need fancy rendering software to come up with impressive, well-thought-out, successfull designs.

    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?
    Gil Hemsley.

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?
    The best advice I've gotten in terms of getting a second job from a producer: Light the money. Producers spend a lot of cash on sets, costumes, acting talent, hall rental, production rights, etc. If the audience can't see the show, they leave unhappy -- despite how artistically cool your design was. In order of importance: 1, light the talent. 2, light the set. 3, light the air. If you have time/resources to do more than that, then 4, make it cool.
     
  17. texskittles

    texskittles Member

    Messages:
    52
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    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    1. What’s your name?
    Kent Sprague

    2. How long have you been involved with lights/theatre?
    theatre for 7 years/ lights for about three

    3. How did you get involved with theatre?
    I started by being bullied into playing Benjamin for my church production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    4. How did you learn light design? School?
    I learned by watching an older student at my school while i was an underclassman and then later by working with designers when they came in to light shows for us. My senior year i did the design by myself and had my director and another designer come and critique my designs as well as give advice. I learned all of the technical stuff and how to work the instruments and board etc from our theater's technical director, a road hardened former tour techie. needless to say i learned how to do things right or not at all.

    5. What’s your usual method of design? Habits? Traditions? Location to work? Programs you use to design?
    d
    A: I usually sit in on quite a few rehearsals to get the feel of the show and the moods for each scene
    B: I divy the stage up into basic zones for easier design later, anywhere from six to 17 for my last show (stupid musicals)
    C: I will focus my zones with a warm and cool backlight (broadway pink is a wonderful color) as well as warm and cool front.
    D: I like to have a lit syc (assuming it fits the show)
    E: I will then program my cues from the zones that i have as well as adding specials and anything else as needed.

    6. What was your first experience as a light designer like? First professional experience?

    I didn't get a lot of help for my first show. Luckily it was an original production written by a teacher and student at my school so there was no precedent. the show was pretty simple and i didn't have anything more complicated than a light chase sequence. Unfortunately i have not had a chance to design professionally yet as i have not graduated yet

    7. What is the funniest experience you’ve had as a designer?

    Tech weekend for our show came and were really behind on our cues. The policy in our school is that a faculty member has to be present for students to be working. Our director said she needed to go home so Nick, my board op and I pretended that we were packing up but as soon as she left we went right back up to the booth. 4 liters of Mountain dew and 100 cues later we realized that we had to be coming back for school in 6 hours. Although we were wasted for the next two days it was the most productive cue session i've ever had, even though i couldn't remember writing half of them.

    8. Can you think of any really great/adventurous story you like sharing?

    9. What are your goals for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

    5 Years: I hope to be graduated with a BA in Theater tech (focus in lighting).

    10 Years: Graduated from Masters program and hopefully a steady job working with semi professional or regional theaters

    20 Years: Working in the big leagues!!!

    10. What’s your favorite part of the process?

    I really like actually getting out there and hanging the instruments. There's just something about doing the physical work that is really satisfying. When i'm done i can step back and say "I did a good job"

    11. What’s the part you hate about light design? If there is anything…

    Writing cues can be trying, especially when you need to constantly rewrite them for nitpicky things.
    12. Did you have any mentors/heroes?

    My TD at my school really knows his stuff and helped me learn all my basics and get me started. Mark Battell, a local set designer really helped hook me up with people who are willing to teach and give opportunities to those just starting out. And Tiff really helped by giving me the lowdown on light design basics and everything i really need to know to succeed

    13. What advice would you give to a future designer?

    Find someone who can teach you. Don't try to design your first show alone. get lots of help and listen to what your mentor says because they have lots of experience... but on that same note don't be afraid to float your own ideas because they probably have merit. You're there to bring new stuff to the table.

    14. Is there anything you’d really like to share or add?

    Just that i think you have a very interesting idea here

    15. If you were to perform a monologue of your life onstage, how would the lighting look?

    I like to think of myself as a very colorful person. there would be lots of color change to fit every emotion. and I would add green... Lots of green because no one likes to use green. I'd do it just to spite all the directors who told me i couldn't use green
     

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