CMC: Session Previews

"I’m so excited about Live Design’s Second Annual Concert Master Classes," says creative consultant Jeff Ravitz, a leading concert lighting designer who has worked with Bruce Springsteen for over 20 years. "We had some terrific sessions last year and we plan to build on that to offer even more information, techniques and personal recipes for creating the best in concert lighting and production design, video and projection, and programming. We even have some tips on the business side of our biz."

I’ve been very lucky to schedule some of the most respected names in concert visual creation," Ravitz adds. "This year’s panelists include design pioneers who have helped create some of the most memorable, ground-breaking and eye-popping shows in concert history, and they’re anxious to share some of what it took their entire careers to learn. I’ve even added choreographer/director, Amy Tinkham, to the mix so we can hear about concert creation from that point of view."

Here is a little preview of what you can expect at this year’s sessions:

Overview Of Concert Lighting Design: CMC creative consultant, Jeff Ravitz, opens the weekend with some thoughts, reflections, and opinions about where concert design came from, is, and where it’s going.

Concert Lighting Design, "The Blank Page": Steve Cohen, a true maestro of the concert design artform, breaks down his personal process for creating a unique, original production design. He'll talk about the beginning of an idea and how it develops, his research methods, the relationship he creates with the artist and the production team as the idea evolves, all the way to assembling the finished show in rehearsals. There are sure to be a few good stories, as well!

The Art Of Thinking Differently: Anne Miletello has skillfully avoided the cookie cutter approach to concert design, and her clients are some of the most interesting, creative, and non-conforming performers in the music business. Some play arenas, others theatres or clubs. While one show has a huge budget, the next one will require artful dollar stretching. Anne will deconstruct her design approach from concept to concert.

Fixture Choices: Spots, Washes, Conventional, Automated, & LEDs: Jim Lenahan, Anne Miletello, Steve Cohen, Butch Allen, Jeff Ravitz: Designers talk about why & when they choose particular instrument types, with examples and demonstrations. Designers live and die by the fixtures choices they make, and it’s rarely an easy decision. It’s all about the final result they’re looking for over the course of a two hour show. Five busy designers explain how they piece together the light plot puzzle with a carefully-selected assortment of washes, spots, LEDs, searchlights and, of course, lekos.

Willie Williams Talks 360: The esteemed U2 production designer collaborated with his scenic, video, and lighting teams, to produce a history-making concert tour that broke through conventional boundaries in every way. Willie describes the gestation of a spectacular show that not only broke records for complexity, technology and scale, but truly delighted the eye and left audiences breathless. Can Willie still call himself a minimalist? Hear him explain in his own words.

Programmers: The Design Perspective From Behind The Console: Patrick Dierson, Arnold Serame: Programmers are, perhaps, the designers most important tool. An amazing light plot must be transformed into cues to truly come alive. Listen to two veteran programmers unravel the mysteries as they talk about what they bring to the party and how designers can get the most out of their programmers. They’ll explore where the designer ends and the programmer begins. These days, it’s harder to tell!

Projection & Video: Bob Bonniol, Tim LaValley & Amy Tinkham: Today, video and projection screens dominate the visual landscape of most concerts…and the world! It starts with content…or does it? Perhaps it starts with a screen shape. Two of the industry’s top projection & video designers and one of the leading concert director/choreographers reveal how they conceive and deliver video that often doubles as scenery and reinforces the lyrics and music as much as lighting. Where does the lighting designer fit into this new equation? Maybe lighting can go back to being…just lighting as video becomes the real eye candy. Our experts will tell all.

The Business of Designing: Tim O'Brien. Moderator: Jeff Ravitz: Like it or not--and few of us truly like it--we have to conduct ourselves in a business-like way to get work, keep work, and to get compensated properly. Tim O’Brien represents creative professionals. He connects with the producers, directors, and anyone in a position to hire—and then he cuts a deal. Perhaps Tim can’t promise us a job, but he can give us some pointers on marketing ourselves and then negotiating the most important elements. Do we need a written contract? How do we protect ourselves from liability risks or intellectual property theft? What do we most often forget to ask for? How to put your best foot forward and then keep it from being cut off! There will be a Q&A session at the end of the session.

Anatomy of A Permanent Show: Yves Aucoin: Most concerts play one or two-nighters. Once in awhile, a show moves into a venue and stays there for two years. Celine Dion’s well-respected designer explains the requirements and design mentality of a production intended to take months to install and rehearse. Yves Aucoin has done both types of shows for Ms. Dion and he’ll talk about the very different approach necessary for each. We’ll also hear about Yves’ experience designing the ultimate concert: The Beatles Love for Cirque du Soleil.

The 2011 CMC takes place at USC, December 3 & 4. Register now to join Ravitz and this incredible group of designers for two amazing days.

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