Starting as a stagehand during college in 1999, Brandon Eckstorm has also worked as a production electrician, lighting designer, and programmer. His projects include lighting and programming the Virgin Mobile FreeFest in 2010, the trailer release party and convention for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, programming for the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. for MSNBC, and even lighting events for the Dalai Lama. A Vectorworks software user since 2006, Eckstorm now works as the spotlight product planner at Vectorworks, Inc., connecting the industry to the development of the product and helping to train designers in how to make the most of their software tool. He will be teaching a 90-minute session at LDI titled “Previsualize Your Designs With The New and Improved Vision Software” (Saturday, October 20, 9am-10:30am), on how to visualize your design in rendered 3D views and communicate design concepts.
1. How did you get involved in the software side of the entertainment design and technology industry?
After many years in the live event world, I wanted a change from 300+ days a year on the road. When I saw the opening at Vectorworks, I thought it was a great opportunity to help improve tools that I was very familiar with.
2. What are the latest innovations in the software you will be teaching at LDI?
Vision has been changed so much with the new user interface and rendering engine, and we will have a lot of stuff to cover.
3. What software do you have in your personal toolkit, and how do you use it?
Vectorworks, Vision, MAonPC, and HOGonPC. I use Vectorworks and Vision and the onPC to create and plan out events.
4. What is the best advice you ever got professionally?
Wow, I have been given so much it’s hard to pick. I would have to say the best is “Hope is not a strategy.”
5. What advice would you give to young designers/technicians entering the field today?
I would pass on the same that was given to me: “Hope is not a strategy.” Have a plan, and a backup plan. I would also recommend learning everything—don’t get stuck on one manufacture. Remember that gear is a tool to create your vision, not the other way around.