I'm probably in a sentimental mood because, here at Lighting Dimensions and Entertainment Design, we just finished with the Broadway Lighting Master Classes, the Broadway Sound Master Classes, and the Eddy Awards; the latter, sponsored by Entertainment Design, honor both new products as well as people of achievement in the industry. This year's winners were particularly interesting; the people all came from the theatre — mostly the New York theatre. There were so many connections between winners and presenters that it seemed to be a real convention of colleagues. It was, I think, the warmest and most special EDDY Awards yet.
Funnily enough, it's a feeling that you don't often get in this industry. Small as it is, it can be incredibly Balkanized. The West Coast is alienated from the East Coast The concert people don't talk to the theatre people. The theatre people don't talk to the club people. All too often, the academics are cut off from the professionals. Designers working the not-for-profit world sometimes feel left out of things, and are jealous of their commercial colleagues who can demand all the latest gear. And so it goes, a world made up of a hundred different subworlds, all focused on different markets and different niches.
That's life, I guess, and I think we at Lighting Dimensions help to bring people together, both through this magazine and LDI. That's why the lead story in this month's BizWire News section seems particularly important. Turn to page nine and you'll read how ESTA has brought together a number of key industry organizations (including IAAM, IATSE, and USITT) to take part in its Certification Council. The ESTA release calls this development “unprecedented” and they're not kidding. A top management organization, the leading technicians' union, and a national organization comprising professionals, students, and academics, will all now work together on developing a personnel certification program. It's an enormous milestone.
The personnel certification program is also an enormous undertaking. Nevertheless, it is, potentially, a quantum leap forward in terms of the professionalization of entertainment technology. If the program succeeds, it will also, I think, make ESTA a far more important organization than it is even now. Don't look now, but this industry is growing up.
But the thing I keep returning to is this: the real importance of this turn of events is the way people are learning to work together. When that happens, there's nothing that can't be accomplished.