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Graduated!

So, I’ve graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.  I should add, I’m not sure what my final grade was – I mean, I think it was quite good, but as the piece of paper I was given didn’t say (nor did anyone else’s say, if you’re wondering) then only cunning mathematics and a whole complex system of philosophy may hold the answer to that question…

You may notice I’ve started a new category in my blog – Lighting – in honour of the fact that from this moment on, my cunning life-plan is this: to be gainfully employed in the world of theatre lighting as much as I possibly can and in those (surely far-between!) moments when not being employed in the above manner, to while away my sorrows by writing as many books as there are bytes on my computer.  And maybe a few plays and graphic novels as well, just as soon as I’ve cracked the art of getting my character names to capitalise nicely.  (You’d be amazed what an art it is…)  As life plans go, I’m sure my Dad would be quick in pointing out that it’s not as good as being, say, a doctor – at least from the point of view of his supported old age.  But it will, with any luck, combine the two things I love – theatre and writing – into one gainfully structured life from two utterly chaotic ones, since I firmly believe that no writer can just be a writer and not go a little mad, and likewise, no freelance lighting technician can just do lighting and not go equally bonkers.

With which said…

… deep breath…

I am a freelance lighting designer and technician based in London.  When I lit Pericles I went in too steep and didn’t consider the potential of cross-light enough; on Midsummer Nights Dream my cold profile cover was too narrow (although I’d argue that was the fault of the kit list, not necessarily my focus!) – on the Tree I think the cover was a bit too wide and I really should have thought harder about the follow spots.  On A Lie of the Mind I went too shallow – BUT!  Birdies are cool.  Let no man even attempt to deny it – birdies are entirely, utterly brilliant.  On Macbeth my profiles were focused too hard, but I have learnt that there are other ways to animate a scene without using wheels and that toplight is startling in sensible doses; strobes are cool but sunfloods can be curiously programmed with a little cunning.  If stuffed a two-point cover can do the round but beware low grids, tight walls and tall actors.  On Into the Woods I learnt that a ten minute fade is no shameful thing; from the National Theatre I learn that parcans can be brilliant and a 5k at 15m is surprisingly dim; that window gobos have nothing on profiles well-focused; that sometimes bounce is useful if you just charge straight at it with a cry of kill and sometimes it’s a right pain in the backside, especially if you’re sat uphill.  I discovered that you really should check if your birdie bulb in a practical is 12V or 240V before testing this too empirically; always keep your 3-5 pin converter with the glaciator; Mac IIIs can invert their face panels if you’re trying to read them upside down in a darkened grid, there is no such thing as too much L200, neither is there such a thing as L120 that isn’t high temperature if we’re being serious about this.  NEVER give your gaffer tape away, and always label your screwdriver.  Tea is good.  Biscuits are better.

All these mistakes I have made in the last… oh… three, four years?   Good news being, is that I am very unlikely to make them ever, ever again.