Daniel Roth, Media Designer

Home base: Tempe, AZ

Current project(s): On the Spectrum and Gruesome Playground Injuries for Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, opening November 2011; working with Studio 6 Theatre Company in New York toward the a US premier of the Russian play Winter by Evgeny Grishkovets.

Most notable achievements: One of my proudest achievements has been the creation of an original rock opera, Manny and the Mirror, which had five productions in Detroit from 2001 to 2005. Also, I had the great fortune of working with Robert Roznowski and students at Michigan State University to help tell the story of auto industry workers in the state of Michigan through media and live performance with our production, As the Iron Cools.

When I started in this industry: I have been involved in theatre as an actor/director/writer since a very young age. I moved into media design in the last five years after trying to balance separate careers in theatre and video production/graphic design. Media design is a perfect fit.

How I got into this industry: What I do now is a culmination of years working in professional theatres in Michigan and my training in an experimental media/theatre program at Arizona State University. I was fortunate to have experience in graphic design and digital video before working as a media designer. Media design is a small field, but it is full of talented professionals that have been helpful in getting my career started.

Influences: I am constantly impressed by groups like Bionic League, Mode Studios, and Moment Factory; theatrical companies like 3-Legged Dog, Troika Ranch, and Red Moon. I love companies that integrate media into storytelling, not just as spectacle. Designers I’ve been admiring include Wendall K. Harrington (of course), Jake Pinholster, Zak Borovay, and Daniel Brodie.

Worst advice I’ve ever heard: “Don’t worry. We’ll get you copies of our production photos.”

Best advice I’ve ever heard: “When did you last hit save?”

favorite thing about the industry: I am drawn to collaborative, intense processes where decisions have to be made and executed quickly. The field of media design allows me to make amazing content and change it dramatically on the fly. I love being able to manipulate giant images with the push of a button.

Favorite design/programming/technical trick: There is magic in a good cross-fade. By setting up well timed transitions between still images or video, dramatic effects can enhance the mood of scenes without the audience being aware of the change.

Plans for the future: Continue to work freelance while joining with like-minded designers or companies to work on large-scale projects. I would also like to help expand the field through teaching and writing.

Other interests/side gigs: I am working now to develop my architectural projection chops. I love using theatrical-style projections to bring inanimate objects and structures to life.

Awards, honors: ACTF Meritorious Achievement for 26 Miles and Tragedy, a Tragedy media designs

Organizations, memberships: ATHE member; company media designer for Studio 6 Theatre

Other: danieljroth.com

Other 2011 Young Designers To Watch