I asked the audience if there was something they would like me to cover in one of my videos and got some great questions from Mike who wanted to hear more about my stage lighting journey. In this video I’m going to answer:
How did you become interested in stage lighting?
What was your first piece of gear? (Fixture[s], Controllers)
Where did you get your first instruction on stage lighting? (School, Church, Mentor?)
What type of event was your first live show?
How I Got Started!
I got started with lighting by way of audio, and started with audio by way of PowerPoint, believe it or not! Originally my brother began volunteering in the youth group of our church with the sound and PowerPoint and being drawn to it myself I began to follow in his footsteps.
My First Piece of Gear
Many people who are in this field get started because they have either a church or a band or something of the like that needs proper gear and setup. I got into all this a bit differently than most, being in the youth group of my church where we just had lyrics and sound to work with. I started learning both of these in the beginning of my journey and then added lighting to my repertoire when I began serving in the newer building where lighting became included as part of the service.
It turned out that when we moved to the newer building, there was really no one in the congregation who knew much about lights. The first things that I got to work with in the lighting world were what the church had, which was ETC express consoles.
I also worked with some lighting in my high school which was not the best quality lighting. It was basically a simpler version on the express.
Gear-wise we used a lot of source 4 PARS and then when I began my first job we used a lot of PAR cans and that was what introduced me to the world of LED’s.
Who Was My First Instructor?
In the early days of learning lighting there was not a whole lot of instruction that went into the process. Originally when the congregation that I was part of moved into a new building there was nobody that knew how to do the lighting. For the first couple years of being there lighting was extremely minimal, basically just flipping on the house lights so that people could see!
Eventually a person named Scott stepped in and said there were a few improvements that could be made such as adding some colors in here and there. He was an AV integrator at the time and knew a bit about how to set things up properly and graciously asked me to come in with him to give a hand. I learned alongside him and he helped me to get the lights pointed properly, taught me what gel was, showed me how to add colors to lights, and over time he began putting me in charge of the set up.
Being given the basic knowledge and the freedom to experiment with the lighting was huge for me and my learning process and expanded my artistic side when it came to lighting.
My First Live Show
My first live show was a church service. Within the youth group that I was part of, I put in thousands of hours running audio and working with lights. I learned so much there just by having the free reign of trial and error and having a bit of guidance to learn to do things safely while I practiced. They gave me the perfect resources to be able to experiment and grow into a lighting professional.
Outside of the church, high school theater was my other first experience with events. This was the first official event that included paying customers.
My very first paid gigs were with the small production company I originally worked for. The very first event was the Redding Fair in Redding, PA.
There is definitely a lot more to how I got into lighting but those were some amazing questions and hopefully gave you the start of an inside scoop on me as a person and allowed you to get to know me and my journey just a little bit better!