We’re mixing up the format again this week as we sit down not with a designer, but with the man in charge of handling the contracts for ALL designers, it’s United Scenic Artists Business Rep for Live Performance, Carl Mulert. Carl is the go-to-guy for all contract and union related issues for designers working in theatre and he’s with us today to talk about everything you’ve always wanted to know about USA but were afraid to ask. Cory and Carl cover a multitude of topics including when to join the union, how to join, the different kinds of contracts covered by the union, how collective bargaining and negotiations work, how pension and welfare contributions work, how the union can help you, and how YOU can help strengthen the union. They also briefly discuss the difference between working in the US and working in the UK where designers are not covered by a union. This episode is a must listen for young designers going into the business and probably a good refresher for existing members. There’s a common phrase among designers who need assistance or have questions navigating their contracts…”Call Carl,” over the next two hours, it should become clear why. Enjoy!
This week we welcome back the very first guest to ever sit down for an interview, it’s the return of Sound Designer Lindsay Jones! But this is no ordinary episode. Lindsay is the undisputed king of travel tips, tricks, hacks, secrets, and every other solution to making life on the road as stress free as possible and he joins us today to share with us his wealth of knowledge and experience. Cory and Lindsay chat about airline preferences, loyalty miles, perks and upgrades, best and worst airports, booking websites, what to do if your flight gets canceled, car rental insurance and a whole host of other related topics. They talk about the thankless job of Company Manager and the role they play in making travel arrangements for designers. And as an added bonus, Lindsay shares with us a fascinating tale from his current show ‘Privacy’ at the Public Theatre, which may or may not involve a certain US Citizen living in an undisclosed location in Russia. If you’re a designer who travels a lot, this episode is required listening and will hopefully be the first in a series with Lindsay as he helps everyone learn how to save the tears for opening night, not the Delta terminal.
Welcome to Episode #62 with Lighting Designer David Weiner! David recently returned from 10 weeks in Disneyland lighting the all new theme park show ‘Frozen: Live at the Hyperion’ and he’s here to tell us all about it. He discusses the differences between a theme park show vs a traditional Broadway musical in terms of reproducibility, maintenance, gear choices, and design inspiration. Cory and David also deep dive into his many other projects including the challenges presented by revolving sets in ‘Misery’ and ‘Grace’, lighting ‘Godspell’ in the round, and his foray into architectural lighting design, including the Nature Research Center in Raleigh, NC. They also muse on many moments of the tech process including dry tech, working with programmers at different levels and reading the room. And hear about how the makers of Viagra benefited from David’s lighting brilliance!
Welcome to the second half of our interview with lighting designer Kevin Adams! In this part, Kevin talks about how light bulbs and electric objects found their way into so many of his designs, the kinds of discussions he has with directors both in the rehearsal room and in the theatre, why he likes a quiet tech table, and how working with Vegas based programmer Benny Kirkham has finally allowed him to “give up the headset.” He shares stories from ‘Next to Normal’ and ‘The 39 Steps’, tells us about sharing his life with acclaimed Scenic Designer James Noone, and finally gets around to answering those pesky 10 questions..which includes a fashion detour about Cory and Kevin’s shared loved of Chuck Taylors and Kevin’s excitement about his upcoming pairing of Star Wars T-shirts and Japanese overalls!
Welcome to 2016 and to a special two-part interview. This week we sit down with four-time Tony Award winning lighting designer Kevin Adams! In this first part, Kevin discusses his unique route to becoming a lighting designer, which included working as a scenic designer on the West Coast, working on music videos and commercials, and even being a go-go dancer! He shares with us his thoughts on lighting education, why he loves gardening, whether we’re embracing LED technology too quickly, and what he thinks is one of his biggest weaknesses as a designer. He has great stories from the design processes of ‘American Idiot’, both the original and recent versions of ‘Hedwig’, and ‘Hands on a Hardbody.’ Come back next week to hear stories from ‘Next to Normal’, how he has freed himself from the tech table, and what happened when he met Peter Sellers!
We’re kicking off our next 50 episodes with the first in a (hopefully!) series of discipline specific panels…this week it’s Lighting Design with Scott Bolman, Burke Brown, and Ben Stanton. The three studio mates sat down with Cory in Brooklyn to talk about the highs and lows of being a working lighting designer in 2015. They cover a wide range of topics including making a living and keeping costs down while making small fees, how they find and utilize assistants, how they choose what projects to say yes to, and whether it’s a designer’s job to find a way “in” to every piece. Cory and the guys also chat about when it’s ok for the LD to also program, how much the inventory really matters, what parts of their job they wish they were better at, and how they incorporate new technology into their designs, such as Ben’s decision to include over 150 LED lekos in his Tony nominated design for ‘Fun Home.’ (hint..it worked!) The more the merrier this week, so pull up a chair and eavesdrop on our discussion.
It’s Episode #50!!! To mark this milestone, host Cory Pattak gets in the hot seat as this week’s guest. Former guest and girl-you-wish-was-your-best-friend Jen Schriever cracks open a bottle of bubbly and takes on the reigns of exposing the man behind the mic. Jen and Cory leap frog across a multitude of topics including the creation of the podcast, rejected title ideas, the reaction after nearly 40k downloads, and Cory’s hope for the future of the show. Cory chats about growing up an only child theatre kid which involved building elaborate scale model theatres, being a “moving light designer” in high school, a foray into film acting, and all manner of bizarre activities kids do to amuse themselves. They also chat about their current design processes, the moments that excite them the most and the ones that terrify them, and why cooking and design are two sides of the same coin. Enjoy this special episode and thanks to everyone who’s been listening. Here’s to 50 more!
If you’ve seen even a handful of Off-Broadway shows in the past 15 years…chances are you’ve seen the great work of this week’s guest, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau. Tyler has a ton of insight into the non-profit world having worked at essentially every major Off-Bway company and many of the regional theatres around the country. Cory and Tyler chat about his work in shows like ‘The Invisible Hand’ and ‘The Wayside Motor Inn’ and how he has become a master at lighting box sets with limited lighting positions. He also gives us a window into his process for ‘Be More Chill’ at Two River Theatre, how he uses limited resources to his advantage, and the kinds of conversations he has with directors and scenic designers. And finally the topic you’ve been waiting for…we do a deep dive into the world and usage of LED tape!
This week’s guest is one of the busiest designers on Broadway, it’s Lighting Designer Howell Binkley! Cory and Howell touch on many of his recent and past work including his award winning design for ‘Hamilton’, revisiting ‘How to Succeed…’ again 15 years later, and how his dance background informs his designs. He also discusses whether there is such a thing as a “Broadway lighting design”, how he interacts with his longtime Associates and Programmers, what his process is for laying out a new plot, and the emotional toll of creating art that can so easily be washed away in an instant, as was the case with his recent work on ‘Dr. Zhivago’. And learn how a different path nearly led Howell to become…wait for it…a mime!
The podcast is going international this week with British Lighting Designer and current duel-Tony nominee, Paule Constable! Paule chats (while Cory geeks out) about her designs for “War Horse”, “Curious Incident” and “Cripple of Inishman.” She discusses the difference between US and UK lighting approaches, her love of large, single source gestures, why she doesn’t get hung up on making designs symmetrical, and her country’s love of haze! Hear how all the technical elements of a monster of a show like “Curious Incident” came together and why there are no gobos in “Warhorse,” a show that takes place almost entirely in a rural landscape. And Paule talks about being a female designer in the UK, the stigmas and biases that still remain, and what it was like to be the first woman ever to win the Olivier for lighting. Grab a pint and enjoy this bloody good chat!