I do a decent amount of corporate work as a lighting designer. I very much enjoy being able to bring art and design to a corporate function, and I also enjoy being able to play with moving lights and make pretty stuff. I mean, who doesn’t?
This last show I finished here in Phoenix is different though – I have to say that they were the most amazing, kind, and passionate group of people I’ve had the pleasure of lighting in quite some time. You see, this conference was about nurses and doctors who deal with patient wounds, and making sure people heal. Let me tell you, they were passionate about their jobs. I got to listen to a nurse from the US Air Force talk about treating battlefield wounds in Afghanistan, a nurse who volunteered in Hurricane Katrina treating wounds, a nurse who treated patients in China after the monster earthquake they had last year, and many others. This show touched my heart.
I also got to work with a ridiculously talented group of people – a production manager who kept his stuff together and took no crap, a great video director who made the dissolves look amazing, absolutely delightful camera ops, graphics folks who knew their gig well, and an audio lead (and his amazing A2) who made the show sound crystal clear. Sometimes I wonder how I get so lucky working with good people! It’s so fulfilling to work on a great team.
I do have a very post-event hilarious story…
The story goes that in my plot I designed ten Vari*Lite VL3000′s on top of varying heights of 20.5″ truss, as you see in the pictures. What I actually got were Mac 2000 Profile II electronic ballast heads, which was fine with me, as I like using them. I was setting up FOH and getting the console patched (which was another story that involved a Hog II operating firmware that hadn’t been updated since 2006) while my electricians were placing the Profiles atop of the truss towers. Of the ten units on top of towers, there were three Profiles that were just being mean to me – they were all doing the exact same thing, being unresponsive to pan and tilt. A call to 4Wall later and three new units come to the Convention Center along with a 4Wall tech. Before he got there, my guys had checked data cables, DMX addresses, and myriad other things that I was wracking my brain to try to solve. I checked the patch, I checked the console output, everything. I’m stressing because we have rehearsal in an hour, I have a megaton of heads and LED units on this show, and I want to make sure the client is happy.
Lo and behold, when the 4Wall tech arrived onsite to bring me new gear, I scurried up the truss tower to check out a few things (I’ve been at FOH this whole time), and on my way up the truss tower I realized that the three units that weren’t working because they weren’t Mac 2000 Profile II units. It turns out that some of the gear I got from the production company (NOT 4Wall – we did some 4Wall rentals and some existing gear) were mislabeled when the stagehands installed them – three of the heads were Mac 2000 Performance units stuck in Profile II cases. Boy, don’t I feel like an ass.
Another day, another city, another show. Now I have another story to put in my book.
Check out some pictures of the show – it really turned out beautifully (in my humble opinion of course), and better yet, the people who needed to be happy were happy.