"I didn't participate in the classes last year, but I did go and visit since all my friends were there!," says concert lighting designer Arnold Serame, who has joined the faculty for the 2011 Live Design Concert Master Classes on December 3 & 4 at USC.
"I distinctly remember walking in and feeling a distinct charge in the air, like I'd rarely felt before," he adds. "On one side of the room were groups of students and young lighting professionals who were charged, as if they had gained some secret knowledge that they had been looking for. On the other side of the room, were the normally jaded, well known names in the lighting business, feeling energized with the enthusiasm and excitement the students were giving off.
"I remember walking into the room thinking, 'This would be fun to be a part of!'
"I'm really excited to be talking about the roles of programmer and designer in the lighting creative process. When I was primarily a programmer, I trained a lot of board ops. And back then, our emphasis was, "Be ready for anything that the designer might ask you." I can remember for a couple of designers, quite literally filling the memory capacity of the moving light desk because we literally poured lighting cues into the console," Serame explains.
"Now, the great limitation is time. And now that I'm the one hiring programmers on a lot of my shows, I'm finding that I'm doing the opposite— I'm streamlining their time and telling them what they shouldn't be spending their time on," he continues. "I can remember one show where I had to walk away from the console for a few hours and telling the programmer to build their basic palettes in, only to come back later and see that he had built an amazing array of every shade of pastel color palettes. I had this great epiphany that the show this programmer had just come from was a theater show that needed all of those color palettes. That, it was up to me, as the designer, to moderate my programmer's workflow to where I needed the show to be. That I, as a designer with a programming background, have no excuse of ignorance when it comes to knowing what needs to be in the console."
"I'm finding these days, that programmers need to spend as much time training on non-console design skills. Communication. Color sense. Musical timing. I'll share my top twenty list every big name designer wants every programmer to know. Number one on the list: Listen!"
Serame has a great list of things he'll share with participants at the CMC:
I'll share exactly why I think I've been successful as a programmer and the kinds of skills, background and training have served me best over my career.
I'll have on my list those things that I expect every programmer to know walking in the door.
And, I'll have the big three qualities that separate the great programmers from the just good programmers.
I can also talk about the difference in programming for yourself versus another designer versus a NAME designer. Also, the differences between programming for theater, versus concerts, versus television.
I'll also have my list of things every designer can be telling their programmer to make sure the work process goes as smoothly as possible.
"Most of this will be targeted towards that lighting professional who is moving up to the next ranks in their lighting career: from student to pro, from board op to programmer, from programmer to lighting designer," he concludes. "My advice will be very rooted and practical : how to make these future and current lighting professionals more marketable in this very small industry we're all in."
Register today and share two days with Serame and the other great faculty members at the CMC.