My (Way) New Year’s Resolution

Posted on January 16, 2012

Written by Mike Graham, product manager for CHAUVET Professional

I have seen The Matrix a ton of times. Not only do I like the story, but the effects were really cool. The problem with cool effects is that you start to see them over and over again. The effect known as “bullet time” was developed so that the viewer would be able to see an action sequence in a scene move around in 360 degrees like it was a still frame.  Unfortunately, there have been about a million films shot since then that have killed this effect.

Designers face this problem every day. Having to keep it fresh and not fall into the trap of doing the same effect over and over again. I’m not going to point fingers, but you all know what I am talking about. So we have to keep on changing our bag of tricks out. We have to say “NO!!” when a producer asks us to create the look they saw on The X Factor last night. (Well, maybe not “NO!!”, but creatively say that would not be a good idea.)

For me, when I was working on various cruise lines, it was especially difficult to keep fresh looks all of the time. It is the same room with no changes for six months at a time.  Honestly, how many ways can you design lights to “My Way”? It became a case of having to challenge myself to not do what I did last week. I had to go beyond conventional looks and start really working the controller for all it was worth, to build multilayer effects and work time fades a little differently.

The other problem is just having a creative block. Creative block leads to overused looks. For me the best way to combat this to let my mind wander onto anything but lights. Clear my mind and not focus on anything in particular, then after a little while, I could start to visualize the music in colors. Then the colors get some shape. Soon, I’m sitting back behind the desk just moving lights around and creating looks again.

This year, let’s all make a resolution…No stale, used-up looks for shows! Me, I’m still looking for another look for “My Way”.