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Withdrawals

Discussion in 'New Member Board' started by TheSlowPoisoner, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. TheSlowPoisoner

    TheSlowPoisoner Member

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    Hey, my name's Alicia, and I was, a few years ago, The LD at my high school, though I believe I was hideously under-trained for the position, lol. We didn't have a tech teacher and the previous LD dropped out without training a replacement, so I suppose that well may have had something to do with it. Anyway, being an LD is sort of a dream of mine (well, that and owning my own theatre), but I'm finding it a bit of a hard field to break into; as I said, I'm under-trained even for an unpaid high school LD job, so I need training, and none of the places that I've looked into have any sort of apprenticeship program, not even the local stagehand union. And I live in Las Vegas!

    Anyway, I suppose I've come here to sate my hunger for tech theatre, and, if possible, to find a mentor. The person who taught me what I do know about lighting design once mentioned this site being helpful to her for such things, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Well, hello everyone!
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    To break a perceived CB stereotype, and as a fellow Las Vegan, let me be the first to welcome you to Control Booth. Ask a lot, answer a lot. Use the search feature. Do you have a website? What are your opinions on the metric system? Pirates or Ninjas?

    Here is a thread which may be applicable to your situation--if you prefer working in the industry over furthering your formal education. If the latter, both CSN (at least one CB member currently attending) and UNLV (one member is an alum) offer programs in theatre. There is also Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas (one of our members is a 2007 graduate). There are also numerous lighting shops in town that are willing to hire motivated applicants to "clean mud off cable" for just slightly above minimum wage (one of our members is currently a summer intern with the largest shop).

    And I feel I must slightly correct you: While IATSE Local 720 may not have a formal apprentice program per se; they do offer classes, which range from poor to excellent.

    There are also many non-union on-call labor suppliers in town who provide OJT, out of necessity. Anyone can make a living in Las Vegas in the industry, provided they are cooperative, eager, and willing. And sometimes even if, like myself, they aren't.:lol:
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  3. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Welcome to the booth...as the UNLV alum previously mentioned I can tell you anything you like feel free to PM me. Vegas is a great place to learn and there are a few hundred different ways to go about doing it. The other way derek didn't mention is to hit up either 4wall, PRG or Alumifax and start out in the shops!
     
  4. TheSlowPoisoner

    TheSlowPoisoner Member

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    Thank both of you for your suggestions, those really may help me out. Although I'd love to pursue formal education where technical theatre is concerned, money is pretty tight in my current situation, so I'm not sure if that's possible at this juncture.

    It's odd that they offer classes over at AITSE--I contacted them at the suggestion of a friend in the union in SF, and they told me they had nothing even remotely related to apprenticeship, but that was a few years ago and the woman I spoke to seemed a little irritated to begin with.

    I DO, however, have a friend that, the last time I heard, had just gotten a job at 4wall. That was a while back, but it would be fun to learn under her again--she was the one who taught me and got me really interested in the field to begin with.

    P.S. Will do, also will do, not to speak of, highly superior to imperial, and pirates (by a rather slim margin). :mrgreen:
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    While Derek and Grog covered a lot they left out one vital piece. It sounds like in your case you at least need some college if not a full degree if you want to get a real LD job that pays. While it's possible to learn and develop your skills without the degree it takes a lot of time and it sounds like you have some catching up to do on your skills and knowledge. The typical non-college route goes something like this: Someone learns a lot of tech in high school and finds a gig at a community theater or rental shop where they do a lot of grunt work and develop their skills at the side of an LD who knows there stuff. By the time they are in their early to mid 20's they have some skills and experience to start taking on odd jobs and slowly build their resume. Judging from your post it sounds like you are a few years behind that time line so it's going to be more difficult to do it without the degree. The non-degree route also requires some dumb luck to kick in somewhere along the way. Again it's possible but it may be harder than you think.

    Communicate with Derek and Grog. They'll give you some good advice. Oh and there's another pro from Vegas... can't remember his name.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Sir Grogmeister,
    Was the below too obtuse for you?:)

     
  7. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Naw...just read your post...and then forgot what was in it....I should start sleeping more.
     
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey Slowpoison... you joined up early this morning and you are still online at 11:30pm... you've certainly jumped in the Booth with both feet. That's great. too often new members ask one question then leave. Be a regular you'll learn a lot and have a good time with the other regulars in the community... see below.

    Oh.. and the other pro from Vegas is a member named "Ruinexplorer".


    You read Derek's posts and then forget what they say. That's AMAZING... I don't think I've ever actually finished reading one before I nod off. :twisted:
     
  9. TheSlowPoisoner

    TheSlowPoisoner Member

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    hahaha okay, sounds good to me! And in regards to the other posts, I don't mind how long it takes, I just want to do it. Does anyone know where it is that I can get some literature on lighting design, start teaching myself, a little? What am I talking about, I'm sure you do, but can any one TELL me? Relatively basic stuff, of course.
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Start with the site referenced in this post. Not quite as good as reading the original text, but easier to attain than a $100 out-of-print book.
     
  11. TheSlowPoisoner

    TheSlowPoisoner Member

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    Thank you very much for the link. I'll check it out tonight!
     
  12. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    [shameless_plug]Move to Salt lake and work for me! I have lost a bunch of crew and I am in need of good people, and people willing to learn. Almost all the LDs that come through our theatre are willing to teach, and of course I am as well. (one of those things that comes with working under an educational institution.[/shameless_plug]

    Other than that, welcome to the booth!
     
    TheSlowPoisoner likes this.
  13. kimberlite

    kimberlite Member

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    Hi there,

    I read your posts and would like to let you know that there is a lot of student aid out there just waiting for someone like you.

    I went to college by taking out student loans and by working in road houses, which have flexible hours, fairly decent pay and I learned a LOT while working:)

    There are many, many book on the subject, but as we all know, the hands on experience is much more valuable than reading about gear in a book.

    Here in So. Cal. there are many community colleges that offer several classes on moving light technology, lighting design, programming etc., hopefully NV has community colleges with the same opportunities.

    MOST, if not ALL, of the true Lighting Designers I know, who make 100% of their living by doing Lighting Design only have at least a BA, if not an MFA.

    Of course, a lot of LD's I know (including myself) do it on occasion, but pay the bills with other means of teching included.

    I think if you are really motivated and dedicated that you can be an LD without a formal education. But I think it will be a lot easier to go to school and take the time for yourself to learn the craft you love so much. You will make connections and have hands on training and be located to work during or right after school. There are a lot of amazing schools out there and an even greater amount of financial aid; some of which you pay back after you graduate like loans, and some you never pay back like grants and scholarships. Also, I believe that when two applicants have the same experience and one has a degree and the other does not, the one with the degree will get the job 9 times out of 10, because a degree shows employers that your education is broad and not only about lighting. It can also show that you achieved a long term goal. Not that anyone else can't do these things, but a degree can show them without them ever having met you at their first glance of your resume.

    I would be more than happy to recommend some colleges if you ever change you mind about going to school.

    But for now, why don't you check out these books:

    A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting by Steven Louis Shelley

    Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light in Theatre, Live Performance, Broadcast, and Entertainment by Richard Cadena

    Fantastic Light by Max Keller

    Scene Design and Stage Lighting by W.Oren Parker and Harvey K. Smith

    You could also try to decide what kind of lighting design you want to do, concerts, theatre, road house theatre, corporate gigs (industrials), theme park, architectural and find an LD in the field of your interest and contact them. Tell them how hard working and dedicated you are and ask them for an internship or an entry level position.

    I worked with someone who cold-contacted Jennifer Tipton (OH my GoD!) for an internship after he graduated from college for an internship and he got it!! Which started his career...

    Good Luck!! or Break a Leg!!
     
  14. TheSlowPoisoner

    TheSlowPoisoner Member

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    Darn, I wish to heck that that was a feasible option for me; however, I do have friends down there, though, and I could ask them if they're looking for work in that field. I know of one who almost definitely would like to, in fact. What positions other than lighting crew are open, are there any?
     
  15. TheSlowPoisoner

    TheSlowPoisoner Member

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    Thank you very much for the advice--at some point I would definitely like to go back to school, certainly, though at this time that's not possible. I do, actually, have a particular field in mind, already; I would love to design for live theatre. I can't tell you how many scripts I've purchased and found myself writing cues in them when I've gone back to reread them, for the pure pleasure of doing so. Last month I finished the process for Equus by Peter Shaffer, before that was Honk! by Stiles and Drewe.

    Thank you for suggesting the books, as well; I 100% agree with you about experience over reading, but they can certainly be of use, still. Also, I was thinking of going over to the local high school when the summer's over and volunteering in the theatre--my brother happens to go there, so it wouldn't seem all too weird. It's a new school, so I'm told their equipment is still in pretty good working order and only possibly obsolete (I don't know if it's the same with most school districts, but as far as Clark County's is concerned, they seem to get their kicks buying equipment that's on the verge of extinction--some of the lights in my theatre weren't even compatible with my church key). Anyway, I figure it'll freshen me up a bit if the director will let me help out.
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    If by "church key" you mean Altman Wrench, BASH Wrench, Century Wrench, or Dracula Wrench (my first one said Oleson, my current one is at work, and I can't remember what if anything, is on its casting).
    [​IMG]
    that's not surprising. I have used mine to tighten the tilt locks on 405s and 410s. However, with Clark County being the fourth largest, and fastest growing, school district in the nation, (2-4 new high schools each year) I believe you'll find most CCSD high schools are better equipped than anywhere else, except those located in Austin, TX--where a number of schools have complete installations of High End Systems, Martin, and Vari*Lite.

    However, this is a church key.
    [​IMG]

    Note that the tools are NOT interchangeable, although often times we wish they were!:)

    You might also try volunteering your services at Las Vegas Little Theatre. They are always looking for people who work cheap/free. The last legit show I designed was for them in 1991.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
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  17. TheSlowPoisoner

    TheSlowPoisoner Member

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    That's the tool of which I was speaking! I've never heard it referred to as anything but a church key, which I find strange since those tools are quite obviously NOT the same thing.
     

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