5 Questions With Danny Whetstone, DWP

1. You recently worked on the Super Bowl Halftime Show. What did that role involve, and what are the challenges of this production?
I was the lead projectionist, and I got involved through Ken Gay of LMG Design Studio. We’ve worked together a lot, including at a show Bruce Rodgers designed for Brazilian pop star Ivete Sangalo at Madison Square Garden. My company, DWP, also provided some of the gear, and we had four crew members on the projection team. It was an honor working on this massive production. The job itself went very smoothly, with tons of planning on the front end. Everything went according to plan.

2. You worked freelance many years and then started DWP in 2007 to focus on large-format projection and mapping. What drove you to set up shop?
I was a freelancer and a touring guy, but some opportunities came my way to do other things and grow. I really wanted to get off the road—really a driving factor, which is funny because I probably travel more now. I also wanted to have more control of what I was doing. Five years ago, projection mapping and building mapping was just scratching the surface, and it was a good time for me to get involved. Coming from a touring background, I think DWP fills a need for professionals with touring experience who know how to work for different departments.

3. What pieces of gear are interesting to you in the last year?
I see all the new widgets, but I have sort of intentionally aligned myself with Barco, because I know how they work, and I trust them. Our business is primarily built around Barco projectors, but I’m always willing to look at new gear. I’m also a coolux Pandoras Box guy, having spent a lot of time with Steve Gilbard through the years. I think we’re the largest owner of Pandoras Box products in North America. We also have lots of screens and plasmas. The majority is Draper StageScreen that can be any size up to 80' long; it’s modular so clients don’t need a custom screen built.

4. What is the best career advice you've ever been given?
“Do it right, or don’t do it at all,” from my dad.

5. What is missing from your toolbox that you’d love to see developed or improved?
I would really love to see improvement in mapping. It’s a big challenge to do mapping right now because it’s really rough around the edges. As it improves and timelines shorten, it will get better. People don’t have two or three days to do these projections, and it’s all driven by the ease—or not—of mapping, and it can get better.

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