Our Next Generation Of Young Designers To Watch
Zach Blane, Lighting Designer
Home base: New York, NY
Current project(s): Lighting designer for Roundabout Theatre Company’s new play Suicide, Incorporated; lighting designer for New York Musical Theatre Festival’s Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, A Musical.
Most notable achievements: Designed for Roundabout Theatre Company (YANK! workshop) and Barrington Stage Company (Zero Hour); assistant to Brian MacDevitt on 13, Will Ferrell’s You're Welcome America..., and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone; two summers at The Williamstown Theatre Festival; graduated from SUNY Purchase College with a BFA in Design/Technology.
When I started in this industry: My original objective was to go to college for musical theatre and be a professional actor. Around the age of 15, I began to notice how much influence the lighting had on my performance and on the audience’s perception. Before long, I was designing children’s theatre shows, teaching myself as I went, then teen shows, and finally, mainstage shows. I had lit more than 20 mainstage musicals before entering college.
How I got into this industry: When I told my parents I wanted to “light shows,” they were a little confused. My mom began spending hours researching lighting design. She somehow found the email addresses of all of the Tony nominees for Best Lighting that year and wrote to them explaining that her teenage son had expressed interest in this field, and she wanted to ask some questions. She received a response from Philip Rosenberg, an associate of one of the nominees. He was so generous with his time, and he invited us to a Broadway tech rehearsal. Anytime he was working on a show, I visited.
Influences: Edward Hopper, Thomas Kinkade, Tim Burton.
Worst advice I’ve ever heard: “You should have a back-up plan in case this doesn’t work out.”
Best advice I’ve ever heard: “You can’t control everything. Focus on your own journey, and enjoy the ride.”
Favorite thing about the industry: I love being able to meet new people on every project. I enjoy learning different processes, styles, and collaborating with other creative minds. This helps me reflect on my own approach and grow artistically as well as personally with every new experience.
Favorite design/programming/technical trick: Most times, I don’t want the audience to physically see the lighting change. I want them to feel it. This allows me to manipulate the light in such a way that the eye does not detect a change.
Plans for the future: Short-term, to turn 25, so I can finally drive the rental car when I am out of town! Long-term, to continue designing, creating, storytelling, performing, and immersing myself in art.
Other interests/side gigs: Psychology, The Discovery Channel, singing
Organizations, memberships: United Scenic Artists Local 829