Jim Moody and Paul Dexter, authors of the third edition of Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art and Business will be speaking at the Live Design Concert Master Classes at CenterStaging in LA, December 11 & 12, 2010. They will also be on hand to sign copies of their book, the most trusted and comprehensive text for concert lighting.

This excerpt takes a look at the business side of the business:

"It is relatively easy to get a group to say, "Okay, do our lights!" It is not so easy to keep from getting ripped off. One problem is that most designers go into a meeting eager to show the group how much they know, so they spill their creative guts. Do not be so naive as to think the manager is not mentally taking down every concept you throw out, even if verbally he reacts differently. All too often your ideas show up on stage, but you do not!

This is an old story because it really does happen, the United Scenic Artists (USA) and similarly the International Alliance of The­atrical Stage Employees (IA) unions have specific rules that no member puts pen to paper or presents an idea to a prospective client until a contract is signed. Excellent rule, but you need two sides to play the game. Rock & roll has only one side, the manager or producer of the artist. The other side that supports the designer or crew does not exist. Sure, the USA and IA would love to have designers work under their banners, but frankly, they did not realize the economic potential to their members early on. They were not alone; most of the adult world felt that rock & roll was just a fad. An economic plan geared to the rock & roll designers' needs and the setting of the industry standards is a long way from being a reality.

What are the economics of rock & roll touring? Who makes the money and how much? Should you work for a company, an artist directly, or be independent (freelance) with your own consulting company-which is best? These are questions that you should consider before you walk into that first meeting.

There is no governing body setting fee standards in rock & roll, there is a range of fees, which have been static throughout the years because of an increase in the supply of people wanting to enter the business. The coming years don’t hold much promise for dramatic changes. The economics are such that it is all relative to how much you are in demand as a designer. The few mega-tours and their designers will continue to make the big money relative to the other 99% of designers working in the field. However, that is no different than in any other consultant/design field. The idea is to create the demand so you can get paid whatever you want."

Order your copy of this essential book on concert lighting when you register for the Concert Master Classes. Do so before October 24 and save on all prices.

Related articles:

CMC Spotlight: James Moody

CMC Spotlight: Paul Dexter