Lighting Design pitfalls

When designing lights for a show you are working in collaboration with a group of artistic people such as directors, choreographers etc. This at times can be fraught with angst. Some of these people have trouble spelling out what they see in their head.  There are others that do not think in a visual manner. This can then make the design process rather slow and painful.  Recently I have worked with some directors who are visual people and they can present their ideas to a lighting designer in a way that he designer can understand. This info can be in the way of colour, style or mood. They have an overall vision of the look of the production and they want the designer to have a similar vision and use their design expertise to complement the vision. It is often a pleasure designing for people like this as you both have a similar goal to reach.

But how do you deal with the other type. Were extracting info can take a lot of effort. These are they type that state” I know what I want when I see it”, but they cannot tell you what they want. So you spend hours explaining to them you ideas but it does not get through. You have to wait until you are in the theatre and are in the plotting stages when you start to get a glimmer of what the director wants. Unfortunately the glimmer can often be “that is not quiet what I want” or “can a light come from over there?” pointing to a piece of air that is going to need a sky hook to hang a fixture. So even though you have limited time available the director thinks it all can happen instantly and that the light should already be there. Something that might help the vision impaired directors is visualization software. This at least gives you a chance to show the director something that they might comprehend. They will also get an idea on how things could look.

so we need to nurture directors that have a vision and can communicate it. Those that cannot communicate are going to need time and a lot of work. It also worries me if they cannot think visually how are they going to get the story across with their directing? Maybe they think it is only the words that are important, so therefore they should be doing radio drama.

Rant over.


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