CriticalDance Forum

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Author:  salzberg [ Thu Oct 12, 2000 6:25 am ]
Post subject:  Qualifications?

There's a very interesting discussion going on right now on the Stagecraft mailing list about what "qualifies" a person to be a lighting designer, as opposed to a board operator.

I, of course, have been most eloquent, but I'd really like to hear your opinions before weighing in with my own. Let's not limit it to lighting, either; remember that scenery, costumes, hair, makeup, props and sound are all valid design elements.

Don't worry that you might not know enough about the subject; in this case, it's your own point-of-view that matters -- in other words, you <i>are</i> qualified to discuss this!

Author:  Basheva [ Thu Oct 12, 2000 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Well, Salzberg,you are certainly right - I know nothing about lighting dance. But as a member of the audience I know what I like to see. Lighting sets a mood and it can be an integral part of the story too - as in second act Giselle. But, also, as a member of the audience I need to see what is going on. Dancers, mostly male, costumed in black (tights, boots, etc.) against a dark backdrop, and a dark floor, really cannot be seen. This is double true when it is taped and/or televised. It amazes me how many times I have seen this happen with major companies who know this performance will be televised. The dancers legs/feet just aren't there. The same mistake seems to be made over and over again. One wonders don't they ever have anyone sitting in the back of the theater checking this out? Or viewing it on TV?<P>But, I have also seen several times, mostly in modern or avant guarde dance, where the costumes are metalic, and a spot light is flashing around the stage, how the light beam is then mirrored back with great intensity into the eyes of the audience. I have been in a theater when that happened and a large number of people left because of it. It is sad when so much work and effort goes into a production, by so many people, and yet can fail because of something like this.

Author:  salzberg [ Thu Oct 12, 2000 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Unfortunately lighting designers -- even brilliant ones such as Babs and (ahem) myself -- are largely at the mercy of costume and set designers. There <I>are</I> ways to deal with black-on-black-on-black, but it takes an equipment inventory that's not always available -- especially to a smaller company.<P><BR>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<BR>Online portfolio, now including "This Day in Arts History":<BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited October 12, 2000).]

Author:  BabsLights [ Tue Oct 17, 2000 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

#1 description most likely to make me cry:<P>"I want white. White floor, white costumes, white cyc, white light"<P>#2 description mostly likely to make me cry:<P>"I was thinking black would be cool. They have black costumes, and we'll use the black floor, and no cyc, just the black traveler."<P>Both of those statements are usually followed with: "Well, since it's all white (black) you won't need too much time to set levels, will you. It should be easier, right?"<P>As to the initial, question, Jeff. uhm....HUH? Really that was a designer as opposed to a board op?<P>Board ops....allow me to wax poetic. I would like to publically and internationally thank two brilliant board operators who made a tough show, with limited time, not only possible, but run smoothly and look great, even when a certain designer (won't mention who) started to lose her cool just before coffee. Sarah and Dan, this grovel's for you!And a special foot kissing to a certain rental house guy that made a 30 minute drive in 15 minutes when a certain product started making its OWN cues just prior to the designer losing her cool just prior to coffee. Wade, you guys are great!<P>What makes a board operator different from the designer? The board op needs to think like the designer, analyze like the electrician, have nimble fingers that fly, and a good memory. Oh, yes, and have a phone that has speed dial and know when to call in the Marines.<P>

Author:  Marc [ Sat Oct 21, 2000 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Well, in my mind a designer is either something that a board opp can evolve into or someone who just naturally has a deep understanding of how lights work and what 'looks good.'<P>While a board opp doesn't have to be able to understand what the final artistic effect is supposed to be, they DO have to understand how the designer is thinking so as to be able to work quickly and efficently with them.<P>A designer must be able to work with the inventory avalible, the space, the director/choreographer/whoever, and of course the board opp to create an image that furthers the intention of the work itself.<P>But most of all, a designer must be an artist. His/her work must not only make the dancers visible, it should add an element to the work that enhances the experience for the specified audence be it TV or in house.<P>Okay, and I'll stop rambling now.<P>-Marc

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Oct 21, 2000 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Welcome, Marc, and no, you're not rambling.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>...a designer must be an artist.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>This is one aspect of design that so many people don't get. I believe that there needs to be so much creativity in design to execute the vision of the choreographer. Yes, designers are artists as well.<P>Keep the comments coming!

Author:  salzberg [ Sat Oct 21, 2000 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

. . .But how do you define "do the job" and "who can do it"?<P>. . .Which brings us to my other topic, "What do you want. . ."<BR>

Author:  BabsLights [ Wed Mar 28, 2001 6:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Do you think a choreographer makes a good lighting designer?

Author:  salzberg [ Wed Mar 28, 2001 8:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Some do.<P>While reviewing this topic, I thought, "There's never been an electrician who didn't think s/he could be a lighting designer." That's because electricians think they could easily do what they see lighting designers do -- but they don't ever <I>see</I> most of what lighting designers do, because it happens before the show's in the theatre. The choreographer's in a similar situation, although his/her partial vision of the job differs from that of the electrician.<P><BR>To be a good lighting designer, a person must:<P>1. be able to analyze the choreography (and/or script),<P>2. have a vision of how to interpret/reinforce it, and<P>3. have the technical knowledge and vocabulary that enables one to realize that vision.<P>Choreographers certainly have an advantage in #1, and #3 can certainly be learned. The problem is with #2 ("the 'vision' thing"). Either a person thinks in light (the way that choreographers think in movement or musicians think in music) or not; it can't be taught.<P>------------------<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<P>Online portfolio: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>This Day in Arts History: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><P><BR>

Author:  Basheva [ Wed Mar 28, 2001 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

You say it cannot be taught - but can it be mentored?

Author:  salzberg [ Wed Mar 28, 2001 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Assuming it's there to begin with, it can be developed and refined -- and that process can certainly be enhanced by a knowledgable mentor -- but that's just learning how to use that which you already have.

Author:  Basheva [ Wed Mar 28, 2001 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

In my opinion, this is also true of those who teach - teachers are born - and then mentored to know how to use the gift that is already within.<P>Refined, developed and enhanced.

Author:  Marie [ Mon Apr 02, 2001 8:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Babslights, I get why all black would be hard to light but indulge me and tell me why all white is a nightmare.<P>Designer vs. Board Op is two different ways of thinking. Left brain vs. right brain. It doesn't mean that some people aren't capable of doing both but most lean one way or the other. Envisioning undetermined variables creatively is different than responding in a skillful and timely fashion to preset circumstances. <P>Marc, when I read your name I thought you might be Marc Parent, a Canadian lighting designer! <P><BR>

Author:  salzberg [ Tue Apr 03, 2001 3:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

White is a problem because it tends to overwhelm everything else -- including the performers (this is more of a problem for actors, though, because it's more important to see faces).<P>Any time you have costumes and backdrops that are the same color, it becomes more difficult to prevent the dancers from "disappearing".<P>------------------<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<P>Online portfolio: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <BR>This Day in Arts History: <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A><P><BR>

Author:  MeredithJL [ Sun Apr 08, 2001 10:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Qualifications?

Hi all,<P>For what it's worth....In my experience as a technical director (straight & musical theater--I haven't done many dance productions), the most talented and able designers have been the ones that have also had extensive experience as a technician in their starting-out days in the business. <P>As a result, they know the capabilities of the instruments at their service, be it in lighting, scenery or costume design. They know the limits and the strengths of the various materials at hand. A result of this wholly-rounded understanding of their respective crafts is that they are instantly able to intuit when a technician or TD (or ME) type is BSing them! Image <P>Additionally, I think designers are really "born." Anyone can be a great technician, but you really have to WANT to design. I take myself as an example: I'm an excellent carpenter,props builder and draftsman. But I have no desire whatsoever to be a designer. That's not me, and that's not what makes me love the theater. I think it's much harder to be a designer; I've built many gorgeous sets that I was very proud of, partly because I made the designer's renderings appear in real-life. Then again, I've built many a well-contructed ugly set as well. (You won't see those in my portfolio. Image )<P>Meredith<BR>Meredith<P>

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