Thinking About the Future

I’m always thinking about the future.  This morning particularly for some reason…  I woke up at 4am with it on my mind this morning really heavily.

Canopy of Shadow

Whether it’s what’s next in lighting or what I’m going to do next with my day, it’s always on my mind.  We as humans have an inane need to find comfort in the similar and familiar, sometimes at a price of our happiness.  I’ve always enjoyed the journey, whether it be alone or with a companion, but the journey is the spice of life.  When you stop wanting to see what’s out there, or you stop wanting to discover new things, I think you’ve missed the point of life.  Things rock right now, and frankly I only see them getting better.  I am always looking to see what I can do to better the industry that has made me what I am today.

Let me ask this — are you involved in bettering the Lighting industries?  I work for a company that gives a shit, and it’s pretty f*cking cool.  It’s a first, as far as I am concerned, for me at least.  I am involved in things that literally change lives.  The more I work and the harder things get for the industry, the more I realize that we as an industry have to reach out and do our own outreach.  Redundant terms?  Maybe.  Absolutely important?  Absolutely.

I’ve traveled to and lived in some quite spectacular places in my travels.  I’ve seen some really amazing stuff, some really scary stuff, and some stuff that would make any human question what and how they were living.  I’m always interested to see what comes next.  For some, the future is a grind; it’s unknown and scary.  For me, I say bring it right the f*ck on.

Have a good day everyone, go out there and just own today.  If you want to leave a comment, I welcome it, and if not, may the sunshine be on your shoulders as you head into the future.

Jim

A Quick Letter to Robin Williams

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Robin Williams, I know you’re gone now, but I wanted to tell you something.

Your jokes and movies made me so happy during times in my life where everything was dark.  In many ways you and I are similar; we both make people happy sometimes at the expense of our own happiness.  Hearing that you passed really kicked my butt, man.  I wish that you and I could have become friends so that when you were down I could have given you a hug and said “hey man, come on.  forget this.  let’s go laugh this off and we’ll both feel better.”

There are so many people in this business that are just like you, Robin Williams.  We love to make people happy.  But then at the end of the day, sometimes there’s nothing to make the laughmakers laugh.  It’s a great tragedy of life.  As I get older, there are more of those great tragedies of life that come and go, things that we have to become accustomed to simply due to their permanence and inalterability.  There are so many things in life that we don’t realize are permanent unchangeable facts of life, like depression, like suicide, cancer, anxiety, exhaustion, alcoholism, addiction…  the list goes on and on, especially in our beloved industry.

I’m gonna miss you, man.  I’m so sorry that we didn’t get to be friends.

JimOnLight

___

If you’re a Robin Williams kind of guy or girl and you need a hug, drop me an email, ok?  I can’t take another friend or good person leaving us like this anymore.  There’s also the Suicide Prevention Hotline if you’re feeling like there isn’t another way.  I can assure you that there are myriad other ways.  Please believe me.  There are other ways, and if you need, I will put a panel of huggers together and we will hug this shit out of your mind.  We’ll do it together.

We can do it together.

InfoComm 2014 – Creative Booth Design for CHAUVET Professional

I am unbelievably lucky to be here where I am right now:

  • I work for a lighting company that is doing awesome stuff
  • I have a supportive boss and team
  • I have an incredible production crew that makes the design happen
  • I have a crew who values the programming time needed to rock and roll

Could I be any luckier?!  Mike Graham, Danilo Oliveira, Lucciano Cabrera, Anthony ChiapponeCarmen Diaz — you guys are my absolute heroes.  Thank you for making this one happen while I was ralfing my guts out.  You truly made this one great for me, it was like a gift showing up and being able to start mashing buttons.  Thank you, team.

Check out the “creative” design video we made for InfoComm 2014!

Check out some photos of the booth — we had a blast!

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Lighting Insights July 2014 — Balancing Video and Lighting

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I’ve been doing a video series with CHAUVET Professional every month where we talk about things to make your lighting design and production more efficient or more fun — it’s solely geared towards you, the LD or lighting production technician.  This month we’re talking about balancing video and lighting together for a cohesive look onstage.  Check it out!

This One’s for Igor

Instant giggles

Hi, World.  Jim here.

My buddy igor is having a rough day.  No need to explain, he’s just having a tough time today.  I need everyone who reads JimOnLight to do me a favor — normally what I’d do when Igor was having a rough day is I’d just give him a big ass hug because, well, that’s my thing, I do that.  If I hug you at a trade show, it’s because I wanted to share the love!  Jim hugs are no joke, mophos.  So back to the favor…

If you can read this, or you’re around someone who can read this, close your eyes and think happy thoughts for a second or two, and send that shit to Igor, would ya?

I love you brother!  Hang in there man, you’re amazing!

Barcelona Igor

Reza and Igor at dinner

Ten Reasons Why It Sucks to Be Fat in the Lighting Industry

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Hello, friends and neighbors of light!  I hope this morning finds you happy and healthy, and brimming with enthusiasm to just go out there and kick today’s ass!

I write this post to talk about something that we don’t talk about frequently:  how our physical health affects our work in the lighting industries.  From Research Science and Photonics to Rock and Roll production, if you work in light and you have extra bacon around the midsection like me, you probably feel the pain that the surplus chub brings to the table.

I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much my entire adult life, and in 2014 I am going to win against the forces of fat.  Over the last three years, I have lost 80-something pounds of pizza from my belt line, and by the end of this year I plan to have gotten considerably closer to my goal weight of 200 pounds.   Usually when I need to overcome a challenge, I will collect information like someone with major OCD about that specific subject and then make a plan of action.  Right now, the plan is to talk about how being fat in lighting sucks in order to bring the subject to light, per se, wocka wocka.

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So getting on with it:  

  • do you have a few extra butter rolls sitting on your belt line?
  • Is your headset belt pack padded over top by a layer of old cheesecake?
  • Have a hard time not getting that second (or third) serving in the Craft Services line?
  • Does the container you carry your tools in fit inside the container you bring your lunch in?

Then you too can commiserate about this topic!  I’m sure there are many, many more I haven’t even considered or probably have forgotten about in my days, but here are ten things that BLOW about having extra bacon around the midsection in the lighting industry!

#10:  GIG BUTT/Chub Rub

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Come on, don’t pretend, you know exactly what the hell it is I’m talking about. Gig Butt happens when you’re outside, in the summer, loading in shows somewhere where it is hotter than hell, and you might not have showered in a day — not getting to shower every day happens on tour sometimes, ask anybody.  It’s when your thighs get red and irritated from your clothes and sweat and bacteria constantly rubbing together. It sucks the monkeys ass, And if you have worked and lighting, you have experienced this unpleasantness. However, when you’re fat, multiply this unpleasantness into something with a magnitude of volcano and fire/Brimstone, all that.  I lost enough weight at one point that I did an entire summer of shows, and the number of times I got gig assed was zero. Friends, it is totally worth losing weight simply for this single aspect.

#9:  Clothes Wear Out Faster

Frayed and torn old jeans

It might not seem like a very big deal, Or maybe something you don’t really think about, But when you have extra weight you actually put strain on your clothes as well.  And we people of size can really f*ck up some gear, can’t we people!  Big ol’ sweat salt rings around our collars; splitting the asses of our pants from time to time when they might catch a certain way when we’re kneeling down to straighten some cable or plug something into the desk; the random tear in a shirt that some of our chub caught on something as we walked by; all of these are symptoms of the condition of overweightitude.

#8:  Injuries

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You know, it’s not hard to understand why having extra weight can cause a fat body to get injured by doing normal tasks in the lighting industry — we perform all kinds of sometimes unbelievable tasks, from hanging lighting from a ladder to climbing up inside lighting truss at height.  For a person of normal size and in good health/in shape, these tasks aren’t usually much of a bother.  But if you’re a person of pie, like me, just the everyday average task can really screw up one’s will to live if you happen to come down wrong off of something, or extra weight just bounced you off of something in the way, which does happen, people.  Fat is just unpredictable!

#7:  Balance and Flexibility

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Let’s face it, lighting people – if you once were relatively thin, like I was once, things like climbing truss ladders and walking 20.5″ truss was a cake walk.  Now it’s really a cake walk, with me looking like the cake when I’m up somewhere off of level ground working.  It’s difficult sometimes when you carry extra weight to do the things that need to be done in the business simply because we no longer have great flexibility and balance like a person without some butt luggage to carry around everywhere we go.  Know what I’m saying?

#6:  Your Appearance (and Your Assumptions of Other People’s Assumptions of Your Appearance)

I_Beat_Anorexia_T-Shirt

Friends, it is an unfortunate truth of our industry that the better you look, the better you feel,And the better you are perceived in our business. Disagree with me if you want, that is completely within your rights. But whether you’re in FOH calling the shots or coiling feeder in Dimmer Beach,  the way you look can play hell on your psyche.  When you are a person “of size,” like me, you are constantly wondering if people perceive you a certain way.  It’s called human nature.  Our industry is absolutely chock full of people who not only take excellent care of themselves, but look like they take excellent care of themselves.  Sometimes not being one of those people in a crowd of those people can seriously play tricks on our fat subconscious.  Or, maybe you’re one of those people who could give not a crap about how they look and feel, and if so, more power to you.  I never learned that skill.

#5:  PPE Issues

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People, let’s face it.  They do not make PPE (which means Personal Protective Equipment — harnesses, etc) in sizes above Thick Cut Bacon.  What does this mean for us people with extra bacon around the midsection?  it means that either A) you’re climbing that f*cking access ladder in a harness that looks like you’re baking bread with rope wrapped around it, or you’re simply just not going to where it is required to wear said PPE.  You catch-a my drift?

I remember watching an episode of The Biggest Loser a few years ago in which Bob put on a harness with something like 200 extra pounds on it to simulate the pressure of someone who weighed 400 pounds on the show.  It looked like he was strapped with 25 pound sand bags and rolls of socapex.  This is how I imagine the extra weight on our bodies to feel like when we’re carrying around coils of 4/0 or rolls of socapex.

#4:  Location Limitations

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Unfortunately, sometimes as a person with surplus love you just can’t go certain places that are required to work in lighting.  Sometimes this is up inside of the rig, sometimes this is inside of a theatre where you have to be Kate Hudson to fit anyway, and sometimes it’s just some cramped place you have to get to do something.  When you can’t see your feet, there are just places people like us won’t fit.

#3:  Exhaustion

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Let’s face it, people — being fat is absolutely effing exhausting.  When you double up the kinds of work that need to take place in our industry and add that to having a couple extra rolls around the midsection, the result is just purely crappy.  Being overweight and having to work the schedule that we often have to work here in lighting can just completely break your will to do anything, including move.  It’s a fact!

#2:  Working in Hot Climates

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Ok, this is one I hate almost as much as #1…

Being fat and doing shows where it is hot S-U-C-K-S.  SUCKS. It sucks sucks sucks to be fat and be COVERED in sweat after doing something as stupidly easy as unstacking cases.  It sucks to have sweaty white salt rings around the collars, back, and armpits of your black t-shirt because Mother Nature decided you needed to load in on a 100 degree day into a convention center than doesn’t have the AC on until show time.  It sucks to be fat and be sweaty on a show site where your pants just stick to you like white on rice and a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm.  So generally, as a rule of thumb, HOT DAYS + FAT GUY + SWEATY EVERYTHING = SUCKS.

#1:  TRAVEL Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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Now your mileage may vary on this one, but the number one thing that I despise about my size is traveling.  Economy seats are too small for people with wide asses.  Train seats in Economy are too small for people with wide asses.  If you’re still young and doing work where a handful of people travel in one car… well, as you can imagine, nothing good can come of stuffing one of us into a vehicle for long trips.  Being fat and traveling is like an exercise in patience — how long can I sit crammed in this seat with my knees halfway down my throat and my dough stuffed between each armrest, sweating, and miserable?

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Wish me luck, everybody.  If you too want to get less fat, shoot me an email, let’s do it together.  A single twig is weak, but a bundle of twigs is strong.

LDI 2013 in Photos

A fun show happened this year in Las Vegas — lots of beams, lots of friends, and I met my goal to share hug karma with 20 new people!

I’ve heard a few people now call LDI something like “LED-I.”  After making me giggle like a dumbass like I’m known to do, it’s not like it’s far off the mark — the industry is dominated with LED wash fixtures, LED pixel mappers, LED moving head spot AND wash fixtures, and all kinds of other diode-powered light makers.  Strobes, too — LED strobes are intensely appropriate, but they deliver a different kind of stab than a Xenon strobe.  They’re not better or worse, just different!  The industry still has the gamut of discharge, incandescent, and other non-LED sources as well, but there is less push generally on these types of fixtures.

I find that such an interesting paradigm at the LDI show – lots of companies have non-LED stuff and they show it, but there is  definitely a large LED offering in our industry (as is the case in most industries of light right now).  Sometimes I wonder if there are less non-LED beams bouncing around because that’s what the industry wants or if it’s because of the cost savings of NOT having those non-LED sources en masse.  Power is expensive stuff at these shows, and so is drayage on all of the heavy gack that goes along with larger draw 208 gear and dimming.  Most LEDs anymore allow you greater flexibility with 208V power too, making the power linking possibilities even better.  I only had one 48-way PD for the CHAUVET Professional booth, and that powered everything I had designed into the rig, video panels and all.

I programmed the booth I designed on the Avolites Sapphire Touch, which has become my new favorite desk.  I finally found an interface that was designed the way that my brain wants to program.  This has been a joyous time in my programmer life!  It’s nothing like the old Avolites way, they’ve made the flow so unbelievably amazing that it is literally a joy to program.  I just had it again on the Concert Lighting Master Classes this last week, but I’ll be writing a separate post about that this week.

Check out some photos from the show, and I was glad to see you if I saw you at this year’s show!  If I didn’t see you, I’m sorry — we’ll see each other next go round or soon, you know how this business goes!  I was bummed that I didn’t get to see the Fox family.  This show kept me busy, I barely made it out of the booth except for about an hour to walk the floor.

Click on any photo below for the larger images in an *awesome* light box!

 

Sometimes Life Gets In the Way, But We’re Still Live!

dizzy-jim

Good morning and good day, JimOnLight readers!  It’s “o’ dark thirty” as my dad always says, and guess what?  I’m at an airport getting ready to fly somewhere for a gig!  Say it ain’t so!   I just had my 78th trip to Las Vegas for LDI since 2000…  it seems like just yesterday…  actually no it doesn’t, I’ve been to Vegas WAY too many times for anyone’s good!

You’ll have to pardon my long pause here on the site…  I have been adjusting to a new gig (which is awesome) and to having my wife out of the country while we work on immigration issues.  You’d think Canada and the US would have a little looser restrictions on bringing your loved one to the states when you’re married, right?  Wrong.  Immigration is the single most confusing thing I have ever dealt with in my entire life, and I’ve been divorced twice!  Wacka wacka!

I’m heading out to Los Angeles for the Concert Lighting Master Classes this week — I’ll be programming for Jeff Ravitz, which is WAY cool for me, I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s work for many years, and I’ve interviewed him before for the website.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m the Customer Engagement and Education Manager (and Lighting Designer!) for CHAUVET Professional down here in Sunrise, Florida — I came on board back in August 2013, and I’ve been working myself ridiculous for Berenice and Albert, who are amazing people with a drive that matches none other I’ve met.  It’s quite amazing to have a mentor like Berenice, she literally pushes her people to greatness.

In other news, I have a digital stalker!  Anyone have a good lawyer they can recommend?  Shit’s getting ugly.

Have an amazing day, everyone!  JimOnLight is back.  Sorry for the pause, sometimes life gets in the way.