We have all met them. The lighting designer with grand ideas of the look of the show, but it is all in their head. They cannot produce a plan and the paperwork. They make it up as they go. So sorry you types – but you are not lighting designers. I have often meet this type of creature, they rock up to the venue and then start asking for lanterns to be moved, focussed and coloured. So you ask them for the paperwork, as you know it will make your job easier. They give you this look of “its an organic design“.
I can understand not drawing up a plan if they are going to use the standard rig as is, as long as they have notes. It is when they expect to change the rig , with no design on paper, that things can go horrible wrong. The venue tech is likely trying to write notes of what is happening as the lighting designer is changing their mind, focus and patch. So what do you do? You could ban this type of designer, but you are not likely to know until it is to late and they are in the venue. I mean this designer might come up with some great ideas, but coming up with them when in the venue is not the best time and is a waste of resources as this is were you are going to go over budget. A good designer can put his/her ideas down in a form that can be understood by the lighting team and also be able to present their concept in words or pictures for the rest of the design team. On the day is just not good enough. One cry I have heard from “would be designers” is – I cannot afford the software. Well I am sorry guys you do not need software to do a lighting design. Years ago there was no such thing as CAD software. We used pencil and paper to design the lighting. In fact I made my own stencils for my very first lighting design. I then progressed to bought stencils, which I still have and cherish. I now use software. Stencils are still available as is paper, so having no software is not an excuse for the sloppy design process of no paperwork. To me as a designer and venue technician you go down in my eyes and you are not my equal even if your designs are brilliant. You are making the venue techs life extremely hard, you are potentially holding up everybody else creative processes by dithering and stuffing around.
So if you are a would be lighting designer, please think about the people that are going to have to work for you and with you.