Perhaps in the next ten years, we will see a big push towards marketing away from actual hands-on paper books. Right now though, there are only a handful of things better than having a book in your hands, flipping through the pages, making everything tangibly make sense. If nothing else, once you’re in a position to either have your stuff out of storage at your parents’ house, or once your stuff is out of storage once you’re off the road on tour, or – uh, once your stuff is back out of storage after that other tour, then I highly recommend getting a few, or all, of these texts!
The more you learn, the more you are worth, and the better you feel knowing the new info you learned AND that you’re better than you were prior to reading the information. Knowledge is power! I wonder why this is so hard for some people to understand… you just don’t learn anything acting like you fucking know everything.
One of my favorite three books to teach in University environments — Steve Shelley’s A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, Third Edition — informative, entertaining, and from a trusted source in the Lighting Industries. Make sure to check the different book styles, you can get this in hard cover, paperback, and on the Kindle if you want
. For me, at two bucks more for the paper book, I went paper book.
One of our industry’s few true Product Managers left, Brad Schiller’s book, The Automated Lighting Programmer’s Handbook, is a true testament to a career of experience, profile, and understanding. Read Brad’s book and understand what it is to live your life as a lighting designer, lighting programmer, and touring lighting ninja.
From Richard Cadena, one of our industry’s most prolific writers, Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician. This is a book that, if you desire to get into this business as a technician, engineer, R+D scientist, student, lighting designer, or just that person who stands by the loading dock door and looks hard at people without credentials, this is the book to read.
Another awesome text from Richard Cadena…
Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light in Theatre, Live Performance, and Entertainment
continues to be the most trusted text for working and aspiring lighting professionals. The book is in its second edition, Richard keeps it fully updated to include new advances in lamp sources, like LEDs and plasma lamps, automated and programmable displays, updates for managing color, and new methods for using electronics.
Not having a Richard Pilbrow text is kind of like never having green vegetables — not only are you going to be full of shit, but you are also going to be missing out on vegetably-delicious-important-goodness. Richard Pilbrow (or Ricky Pilbrizzle, as he is affectionately called) is one of the fathers of this industry, his work has been seen and experienced by so many over the years, and he has shaped this industry into something amazing. I highly recommend getting this text. Make sure to get Stage Lighting Design: The Art, the Craft, the Life from Richard Pilbrow, and his new book, A Theatre Project. Life changing stuff.
From W. Oren Parker, R. Craig Wolf, and Dick Block — another of my three favorite lighting texts in the University environment… Scene Design and Stage Lighting is a complete basic lighting design and collaboration text that pushes the message of communication among the areas of design and production. Several book styles to choose from of course, including a Kindle edition of the Worlf/Parker/Block version.
Michael Gillette has several awesome texts out in the Entertainment market, this is yet another great classroom text, and a definite book to make room for in your personal Lighting library. J. Michael Gillette’s book, Theatrical Design and Production: An Introduction to Scene Design and Construction, Lighting, Sound, Costume, and Makeup, is in its Sixth edition. I have two editions myself… one second, and one fifth.
An AWESOME text from lighting designer Kevin Lee Allen comes Vectorworks for Entertainment Design: Using Vectorworks to Design and Document Scenery, Lighting, and Sound, the Vectorworks text if you’re either teaching or learning in the University environment. Kevin has a way with Vectorworks that only the giraffes understand out on the Savannah Plain… so just go with it and get this book, especially if you’re not an AutoCAD-trained, lifetime CAD user. Kevin will help you to learn.
A later edition of the text… Scene Design and Stage Lighting from Wolf and Block continues the work set forth in the earlier editions ofScene Design and Stage Lighting. Well worth the read, and a definite candidate for long term spots on the bookshelf.
Another masterful bit of copy from Richard Cadena, Lighting Design for Modern Houses of Worship (Book) is the go-to text if you’re looking to improve your lighting skills in the House of Worship genre. Richard’s style of breaking things down into understandable, digestible pieces really adds to the reading experience… once you’re finished reading his texts, you realize that not only did you just learn something incredibly valuable, but you now want to read more about it. Richard’s good like that.
As far as great lighting references go, the IESNA Lighting Handbook might be one of the best references out there for a general lighting designer to have on the shelf. There’s a funny thing about this though… you’re gonna pay a few hundred dollars for this book; it’s an option to buy once you’re accepted into IESNA, which I was, and I took advantage of getting it at the reduced price. Once you’re a member of IES though, you also get the compendium of papers and white materials that goes along with the industry at the time. I still keep mine as handy as a crescent wrench, there are unbelievably awesome materials in this text.
For the Architectural Lighting minded folk among us out there… a Jason Livingston text that is well worth the sixty bucks, Designing With Light: The Art, Science and Practice of Architectural Lighting Design. I picked this book after a reference from LightFair last year, I highly recommend reading this little gem.
The third edition of Jim Moody’s absolutely incredible book, Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art and Business, only gets better after you’ve read the first and second editions. Jim Moody is a concert industry father — a man who has done more in his days than most — and this book is a good, solid look into what many call the ultimate job.
I’m of course referring to concert industry work. What were YOU talking about?!
That’s enough for this time… please check back, and often!