You Can’t Afford to Be a Lighting Designer


    I just read an absolutely fantastic article by Peter Maradudin about the amount of hours and money that go into being a lighting designer.  Please go read this article!

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    1. I read a similar article in the trades 5years ago, while hanging out backstage at the Wexner Center. It ball parked the same wage but it didn’t make the comment about working 69 weeks a year. 69 weeks. yikes.
      Its part of why I went back to school for my MFA.
      I love light and am fascinated by light. I am just good enough to realize that I will have to work twice as hard to get the same results of my piers and predecessors.
      No way am I interested if I have to hustle hustle hustle up the next gig.
      I don’t want to to dilute the designer pool, so I’ll stick with education and turning on new minds to theatre and theatre lighting here in my BFE corner of the world.
      I’ll practice design but I like just a few productions a year. More than that and it feels to much like work.
      Keep up the good fight freelancers. You won’t have to trip over me for finding work.

    2. I remember reading that article when I was in grad school. Depressing! Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think he even mentions the prospect of raising a family. I’d love it if a designer like TJ Gerkins wrote an article about living in Columbus and his experience as a designer, married to a designer, and the challenges of raising a family. And let’s take into account that a lot of designers have to tag on another career. Peter is a professor and TJ was (maybe still is) the Prod. Manager for CATCO. Which is fine, but I get the sense that there are very few designers who can JUST design and make ends meet.

      I’ve recently switched into architectural lighting design. I moved to New York and did the freelance thing for 3 years. When you sit down and do that math it is frightening. Thank God for tax write offs!

      Not to get all political….but I’d also love to hear how designers handle things in other countries where the arts are more publicly funded. Is it the same grueling challenge?

      Greg I like your comment about “More than that and it feels to much like work.” Work is good if you love it!! And if you are paid for your hard work!

      Hang in there all lovers o’ light!

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