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Re: costumes and lighting

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  • Linda Scribner
    Sylvia, A couple of questions: Did the lighting designer say why the colors wouldn t work? Was it an issue of distortion because of saturated lighting
    Message 1 of 15 , Sep 17, 2008
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      Sylvia,
      A couple of questions: Did the lighting designer say why the colors
      wouldn't work? Was it an issue of distortion because of saturated
      lighting colors? The reality is that saturated lighting colors will
      change any color. Or is it an issue of characterization, which would
      have to include the director who determines whether a color is right
      for a character in a scene.

      When I have encountered these kind of problems, I have always sought
      for a compromise. For example, from the very beginning a lighting
      designer will know a skirt is called for in the script, by the
      director, etc. to be a red skirt. However, the lighting palette
      makes the skirt glow extremely hot. I can leave the skirt alone and
      watch an out of balance scene or tint the skirt to kill some of the
      red, which is usually the solution I will take.

      However, when a director has approved my designs and I have made
      fabric swatches available to a lighting designer ahead of their color
      deadline, I expect the lighting to compromise and accept that in that
      dark blue night scene, my orange dress will turn brown, as it would
      in real life.

      I cannot abide any one outside of the director dictating design
      choices and find it offensive when we cannot collaborate and find a
      solution. In the general scheme of things, due to build times, etc.,
      I have to settle on colors before the lighting designer. If we
      haven't collaborated all along, I believe the compromise needs to be
      made by the last in line (sorry if that offends anyone.) But at the
      same time, I will not allow my work to look like a mistake if there
      is a need for certain color lighting. My favorite productions are
      those in which we all generate the designs simultaneously and are on
      the same page from the beginning. For example, in one production I
      chose to make the costumes non-descript colorwise for a first act so
      the lighting designer could do more with color to create location.
      All I asked is that he respected the color coices for the 2nd act
      costumes in the same way. And it worked.

      Sorry, got on a bit of a soapbox but I'm really tired of dealing with
      this issue myself. Once had a lighting designer and director approve
      of a color for a corderoy suit - rust. So we built a tailored,
      1970's suit, color all approved. First dress, the director had a
      hissy because the suit appeared too hot in certain spots. Rather
      than have the lighting designer change out a few gels that were a bit
      warm, we were asked to dye the suit. Now, most of us know dyeing a
      hand tailored suit is not the best choice to retain a "new" look for
      the suit. But the director insisted that the lighting designer had
      worked too hard and she would not ask him to change gels. We did
      it. The suit looked crappy. Not our fault. Just a stupid choice.
      Oh well. It is our job to serve the production...

      Linda
    • Curtis
      I can honestly say I don t recall this particular argument being an issue on any of the shows I ve worked on...but that is primarily because the groups that I
      Message 2 of 15 , Sep 18, 2008
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        I can honestly say I don't recall this particular argument being an
        issue on any of the shows I've worked on...but that is primarily
        because the groups that I work with do production meetings on a
        regular basis, starting months ahead of the production itself, so that
        everyone knows what everyone else is doing. The lighting designer has
        a heads up of costumes, as well as practical lights on stage from the
        props designer. Props and costumes get a chance to iron out who it is
        that will be rounding up canes, pocket watches, etc.

        I have, lately, been having problems with shows at the park, all of
        which can be traced back to the problem of not having enough
        production meetings. Ninety percent of the problems any production
        will run into can be avoided if everyone talks about what they're
        doing...but some people don't like to work that way. Those are the
        people I don't like to work with, because invariably, I end up hip
        deep in garbage that never needed to be there in the first place.
        These are the shows where I end up working overnight for three nights
        before final dress to try and fix all the stuff that fell through the
        cracks.

        So, I STRONGLY encourage you all, push for production meetings. Don't
        just sit down with your director and talk about what you're going to
        do. Sit down with the entire production team, so everybody is on the
        same page. Have the stage manager take notes, so if there's any
        question later on, someone can, in fact, say, "The director said
        THIS," instead of bickering about what was said in one meeting versus
        what was said in another. If there are particular costumes that you
        feel are 'make or break' for a character, let the lighting designer
        know about them, so some kind of compromise can be achieved...if
        you've got a good lighting designer, they can not only avoid giving
        you problems, they can enhance what you're trying to do. Be willing
        to give as much as you ask, though, or else you get a reputation for
        being hard to work with and people don't want your assistance. Yeah,
        artistic vision is important...but theater is a collaborative art
        form, which means everyone needs to have a little give and take.
        You'll be amazed just how many problems never arise when you start
        sharing information with the production team well in advance, instead
        of at tech rehearsals.
      • Sylvia Rognstad
        Couldn t agree more. I dropped the ball on this one and am paying the price. The director should have known better too, but she is relatively inexperienced.
        Message 3 of 15 , Sep 18, 2008
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          Couldn't agree more. I dropped the ball on this one and am paying the
          price. The director should have known better too, but she is
          relatively inexperienced.



          Sylvia

          On Sep 18, 2008, at 1:42 PM, Curtis wrote:

          > I can honestly say I don't recall this particular argument being an
          > issue on any of the shows I've worked on...but that is primarily
          > because the groups that I work with do production meetings on a
          > regular basis, starting months ahead of the production itself, so that
          > everyone knows what everyone else is doing. The lighting designer has
          > a heads up of costumes, as well as practical lights on stage from the
          > props designer. Props and costumes get a chance to iron out who it is
          > that will be rounding up canes, pocket watches, etc.
          >
          > I have, lately, been having problems with shows at the park, all of
          > which can be traced back to the problem of not having enough
          > production meetings. Ninety percent of the problems any production
          > will run into can be avoided if everyone talks about what they're
          > doing...but some people don't like to work that way. Those are the
          > people I don't like to work with, because invariably, I end up hip
          > deep in garbage that never needed to be there in the first place.
          > These are the shows where I end up working overnight for three nights
          > before final dress to try and fix all the stuff that fell through the
          > cracks.
          >
          > So, I STRONGLY encourage you all, push for production meetings. Don't
          > just sit down with your director and talk about what you're going to
          > do. Sit down with the entire production team, so everybody is on the
          > same page. Have the stage manager take notes, so if there's any
          > question later on, someone can, in fact, say, "The director said
          > THIS," instead of bickering about what was said in one meeting versus
          > what was said in another. If there are particular costumes that you
          > feel are 'make or break' for a character, let the lighting designer
          > know about them, so some kind of compromise can be achieved...if
          > you've got a good lighting designer, they can not only avoid giving
          > you problems, they can enhance what you're trying to do. Be willing
          > to give as much as you ask, though, or else you get a reputation for
          > being hard to work with and people don't want your assistance. Yeah,
          > artistic vision is important...but theater is a collaborative art
          > form, which means everyone needs to have a little give and take.
          > You'll be amazed just how many problems never arise when you start
          > sharing information with the production team well in advance, instead
          > of at tech rehearsals.
          >
          >
          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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