Corporate events might not seem as enticing to a young LD as concerts or theatre, but think again, says Chuck Gomez. "Since I was a teenager, lighting has been such a joy for me," says Gomez, who fresh out of high school picked up some manuals at the behest of a club owner he knew and learned how to light. A decade or so later, the LD teaches others how to use the gear, and has graduated from clubs to days-long business affairs for 15,000 guests, the mainstay of his own three-year-old company, McAllen, TX-based Illumin8.
These events combine concert and theatrical presentation--but, unlike those two arenas, price is not a priority. "When I found out how huge the budgets were in corporate theatre, I knew it would be great to have so many toys," Gomez says. "Celine Dion has a beautiful rig, but we're doing everything that show does, and 10% more, on a corporate gig. We use all the best gear from all the manufacturers; I think people may not know how much of it is being used in this market. It's to the point where if you don't have it, your clients miss it."
One client who enjoys the impact of high-energy illumination is motivational speaker Tony Robbins (below). The LD has teamed up with Bill Ganz, president of Redondo Beach, CA-based Corporate Production Design, to help Robbins get corporate crowds on their feet. With shows that range in size from four-day ballroom events that draw 1,500 to one-off arena programs that attract 10 times that many, that's a lot of feet.
"It's challenging in that we have to be extremely theatrical and give Tony everything we can--and we have to stay out of his way, too," Gomez says. "He likes hardware, but we have to keep it business-oriented when he's teaching; he doesn't like the audience to be distracted by a bunch of gear laying around. The automated lighting builds in color and texture as Tony's intensity does, and music from films like Titanic and Chariots of Fire comes on for additional inspiration."
Inspiration is an on-the-job requirement for Gomez. The LD, who has been a Status Cue(R) console instructor for High End Systems, must plan for flexibility when he uses the firm's equipment in the Robbins shows. "The level of creativity constantly changes, particularly with ballroom shows, where there is no standard rig. It's difficult; you have to come into a room and make it work."
Gomez has been making it work for clients that have included Amway and Tupperware; for Vacationlink.com, he recently lit an e-commerce event broadcast live on the Internet via streaming video. And he has branched into production, setting up shows for Tejano artist Bobby Pulido, with whom Gomez shares an office. No matter what the task is, "I feel like part of my job is to come in and blow the client away with what the technology can do for them."