In the first of Your Stage Lighting Interactive articles, we look at 3 challenges in the stage lighting world and ask for your opinions about the kind of person that works in stage lighting.
Daylight actually turns lampies to stone. Image by calm a llama down
This series of Your Stage Lighting Interactive articles take the form of a short idea, a few questions and the chance for you to get in touch and let us know what you think.
Your opinion counts so don’t be shy, put your thoughts on this article in the comments box at the bottom of the page.
I have recently been consulting on a potential new moving light product (No – I can’t tell you what it was, if you were wondering). The producers of the product don’t have a background in stage lighting or “show business” so, as part of some broader market research, I was asked to describe three problems that face everyone in stage lighting. Although geared towards lighting products, the questions got me thinking about the nature of the theatre and events industry – and the people who work in it.
Here are brief versions of some the answers and how they relate to our people:
- Time – “The Show” deadline does not go away or get pushed further into the future (unlike some examples in the building trade – penalty payments…). Lighting systems are based around the need to get a lot done in a short time frame (venue time, schedules etc.). It takes a certain kind of person to be able to work towards that goal, even if it means changing your plans to get it done in time.
- Budget – The entertainment industry is sensitive to costs and show budgets. There is never an endless pot of money to throw at any one show, so compromises are always made, cheaper solutions found etc. It’s kind of a make do and mend attitude – if a solution will last for the show, then that’s what we do. People in the lighting business can’t be perfectionists, “good enough” is the motto.
- Change – Due the transient nature of shows and the time and money limitations, despite all the planning, there are often changes made to plans. Things cut (omitted from the show), moved, made bigger smaller etc. Things change right up until the doors open. All of our people are problem solvers. Problems that arise on a show build are usually solved within a matter of minutes, with a decision being taken (because of the “show” deadline).
What do you think?
I like working in the stage lighting business because it is filled with “my kind of people”. Creative, pragmatic with a grasp of priorities are traits that everyone backstage has. This bunch of intelligent weirdos and individuals are family. But that’s enough from me.
Heres some thoughts to get you started (you don’t necessarily have to answers these, just let us know what you think).
What do you think is special about our industry and the people who work on shows?
What challenges do you think make “show business” unique?
Why do you find stage lighting and working backstage so fascinating and attractive?
Put your ideas in the comments box – I really look forward to hearing your views.