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2015 Young Designer To Watch: Travis Mouffe, Video Designer/Director

Meet Travis Mouffe, video designer and director and one of the recently selected Live Design's 2015 Young Designers To Watch.

Residence: Seattle, WA

Current project(s): Just finished working on two operas, Nabucco and An American Dream, with Seattle Opera. Currently working on the America’s Got Talent Live 2015 tour, assisting with an upcoming large arena show, and also assisting on a couple corporate gigs.

Most notable achievements: For me, my most notable achievements so far have been: graduating with three degrees from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2011 (Film Production, Film: Critical Studies, and Communication Studies); video design with critical acclaim for Into The Woods at the Mt. Baker Theatre in Bellingham, WA, in 2011; and video design for the world premiere of An American Dream with Seattle Opera in 2015.

When I started in this industry: I did my first live performance projects at the University of Colorado, Boulder from 2010 to 2011. The first was a four-wall projection design for an MFA dance performance, which led to doing the video design for a BFA dance performance and a multimedia black box residency. I moved to Seattle in 2011 and began working at MODE Studios in 2012.

Holland America Line. Photo by Travis Mouffe.


How I got into this industry: I entered the film school at the University of Colorado with plans to become a narrative filmmaker. The strong emphasis on film theory, experimental cinema, and the history of the craft (zoetropes, shadow plays, magic lanterns, cinema of attractions, early animations, etc.) encouraged me to try to work more and more outside the standard cinematic rectangle. I became very enchanted by the idea that cinema emerged from a history of magic, illusion, and wonder. It was an “audio environments” class that first encouraged collaboration with dance students to design video projection for live dance performances. I continued collaborating with the theatre and dance department, designing the video for two thesis performances (the MFA and BFA concerts) and a black-box residency. After moving to Seattle, my collaborative projection design work led me to find MODE Studios. Through MODE, I did my first theatrical video projection design for Into The Woods. I have since worked as a content creator, video editor, media manager, VJ, and video designer.

Influences: My granddad, Lynn Wolfe, is a painter and sculptor, and was often the subject of my student films. He turned 98 years old this year and still loves working in his studio. My father, Frank Mouffe, instilled much of my love for music and movies. My wife, Rebecca Partridge, is my second set of eyes on everything. Dr. Seuss, for his ability to convey timeless, socially complicated, and whimsical narratives to children. Bruce Conner, Martin Arnold, Nathaniel Dorsky, Luis Buñuel, and Stanley Kubrick are the most influential filmmakers I have studied. Metallica. Disney, because I grew up on its animated features and specifically, having seen the video projection on water at Fantasmic! J. R. R. Tolkien, for his extensive work of mythical narratives. Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden Of Earthly Delights is my favorite painting.

Holland America Line. Photo by Travis Mouffe.


Worst advice I’ve ever heard: “Fix it in post.”

Best advice I’ve ever heard: “Make it look inevitable,” from Bob Bonniol, when I first started at MODE Studios.

My favorite thing about the production industry: All-access/working gig credentials, some of the people you meet, seeing the performances, and the feeling when something really works.

Favorite design/programming/technical trick: Time-remapping: I love manipulating time within video, slowing down, reversing, retiming to music. Otherwise, my first go-to video effects are hue/saturation, curves, and levels. Simple manipulations can make all the difference.

Plans for the future: Continue trying to create magic and wonder, keep up with technology, and care for my family. Eventually, I would enjoy teaching.

Other interests/side gigs: Traveling, photography (especially time-lapse photography), cinema, dancing, and my family and pets.

Awards, honors: My short film, Nedéle, won Best Narrative and Best of Festival at the BFD Film Festival (Boulder, CO, 2010). The flamenco show, Antigona, produced by Noche Flamenca and directed by Martín Santangelo, for which I designed and programmed the video, has been nominated for two Bessie awards (2015).

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