As we end 2006 and move into 2007, LD takes a look at promising young professionals in the fields of lighting, set, projection, and video design and programming. Some also dabble in costume design or content creation, writing or filmmaking, but they all have one thing in common: each has a knack for design and represents the next generation of the industry's talent. Here are two to whet your appetite, but we'll be profiling many more of these younger pros in the next few issues, so keep reading.
Position/title: Freelance lighting programmer, content creator, video director (www.mobius-productions.com)
Current projects: Various gigs in television
Most notable achievements: Handled all content creation and programming for the 7th Annual Latin Grammy Awards
Industry history: Freelance programmer and shop tech for Stage Equipment and Lighting; lighting programmer and video director for Univision Network, handling all content creation and programming for all major specials, including Univision Upfronts (2004-2006), Premios Juventud (2004-2006), and Premio lo Nuestro (2004-2006).
Notable gigs: I also recently created video content for the Versa Tubes used in MTV's 2006 Video Music Awards and handled video content and lighting programming for the Bang Music Festival in Miami for the Trance Stage, featuring DJ Tiesto.
When I started in this industry: 1994
How I got into this industry: It's in the family. I'm the fourth generation to work in the production industry.
Influences: I really like to get cues from nature and science fiction, the real and the ethereal.
Worst advice I've ever heard: Just put some aluminum foil on that fuse since it keeps blowing.
Best advice I've ever heard: Don't stress too much. If it doesn't go perfectly, the world isn't going to end, so just make the best of the situation. And always try to push yourself a little more.
My favorite thing about the production industry: We get to use all this technology, but in a creative application, it's the best of both worlds.
Favorite design/programming/technical trick: White content + media server = any color you like.
Other interest/side gigs: Algorithmic art
What's next: I am pursuing a freelance career in video content creation and direction, as well as lighting programming.
Residence: New York City
Position/title: Set/costume designer
Current projects: Romania. Kiss Me (Play Company, sets), Eurydice (Georgetown Gonda Theatre, sets and costumes), Purity (PS 122, sets), I-Land (Ma-Yi Theatre/East West Players), Ah Wilderness (Baltimore CenterStage), Taming of the Shrew (Dallas Theatre Center), The Onion Cellar (American Repertory Theatre)
Most notable achievements: Sets and costumes for Ma-Yi Theatre's Trial by Water, sets and costumes for Opera Boston's Angels in America
When I started in this industry: I have been involved in the theatre since I was 12. I was involved in a lot of political theatre in the Philippines where I grew up.
How I got into this industry: I got into American theatre design by watching every kind of theatre I could see and working as a crew person and in professional prop and costume shops in New York. I was awarded a scholarship to go to NYU for grad school. I started to assist when I got out of grad school and formed relationships with directors.
Influences: Generally, my work is influenced by world politics and just about anything from rock music to 18th-century French porcelain. As far as designers, I had Paul Steinberg as a teacher at Tisch. His aesthetic really made an impact on me. Paul's designs are always so free of clichés. Also, the costume designer Gabriel Berry — she approached designing for the theatre so viscerally that her designs were so immediate and just emotionally dead-on.
Worst advice I've ever heard: “Develop a visual style.” I was so confused by this piece of advice. What excites me about each project is the new language, the new world, the new sounds and smells. Everything has to be fresh and new with every new project. Another piece of advice that I resented was, “Try to stick to one medium.” I also work in TV and film, and I find that I am able to do better work in both because of the balance both creatively and financially.
Best advice I've ever heard: “Don't forget to take care of yourself.” Early on, I abused myself so much trying to make things happen. I just wanted to work so badly. I did not know how to deal with life — the life that hits you in the face when you walk out of the theatre.
My favorite thing about the production industry: The sense of community, the people who support each other's work, the idea that we are all working together to make something that is ultimately bigger than all of us combined.
Favorite design/programming/technical trick: I love embracing the architecture of the space. With smaller, funkier spaces in New York (I do a lot of downtown shows), one really needs to be more creative and open about the theatrical structure of the set. Opening up a space and redefining it by playing with audience perspectives is sexier than figuring out what kind of molding is appropriate. I also am in love with the idea of using the building materials as they are, as they come. There is something powerful about not making something look like what it's not.
Plans for the future: To keep on working, raise a family, make a movie.
Other interest/side gigs: I also write.
Awards, honors: Audelco Nomination; I.R.N.E. Awards Nominations for Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing; 2003-2005 NYTW Design Fellowship.
Organizations, memberships: IATSE USA local 829; founding member of Knife Inc.; Red Bull Theatre Company.