What Are You Struggling With In Your Story Right Now?



Yes! I wanted to use this “smart” analogy, where the character is always shining the spotlight on others. And I wanted him to be working on a new musical. But, now I’m like. Do lighting designers ever meet the actors? Are they involved with the creation of the musical, or do they only get involved once everything else is done? It’s a major roadblock. I’m on chapter 4, and he’s going to work, and I’m like, “Wait… where is he going? A dance studio, or the opera house?”

And I’m also wondering if he can work on a musical 40 hours a week for 6 months. Or if lighting designers work various odd jobs for concerts, and operas, and high school productions. I was not enough of a theater geek in high school. :sob::sweat:


I feel like boring characters are okay sometimes. I remember The Great Gatsby having a really boring main character. It can work.

Also, if your character is chill, then when she gets angry for real, it’ll be more impactful.


40 hours is quite a lot of hours

Also I’m not a lighting expert but I think a studio or theater would make more sense than an opera house. Or at least, I don’t really recall very much lighting going on at operas.


I’m not into theater at all but I know a lot of people in it, they’re actors but this might help: I know they have rehearsals with the lightning designers there. There’s a whole coordination as to how the lights work during a play, and I’m positive it’s arranged between the set designer and the artistic director (or coach? what are they called :joy:). From what I’ve learned from the actors I know, there are three stages to rehearsals, reading first, on set, and finally with the whole scenario put together, and that is where the lighting designer would appear. He would have cues (I’ve seen them with papers, I supposed they’re written down :joy:) for the proper lights to come up.

There should be a series of tests done with the stage designer as well, before rehearsals take place. They should be meeting up with the stage designer and directors to decide when and what lights to use, etc.

Your character could maybe be headed for a rehearsal? Or to meet up with a stage designer to decide on the type of lighting?

(Also, I like your analogy a lot!)


Do NOT take my ‘profession names’ seriously because I don’t know, for the life of me, what any position is called :joy:


Aha, your information has been invaluable!

So, do lighting designers only work at the performance venue? For instance, I know most rehearsals take place at some random studio for the actors, unless they’re practicing onstage. I’m guessing that costume designers and set designers probably mostly work at the same place as the lighting people, but I don’t know if they’re usually just off by themselves.


The opera house is just where the musical will eventually premier. And 40 hours is a typical work week. I just wasn’t sure if lighting designers commit 40 hours every week to one thing, or they usually have a lot of different gigs going on at the same time.


Ok, I was doing a bit of reading, and lighting designers apparently work with architects and other smaller events like weddings and photography projects. Even outdoor installations and private projects, like apparently you can just hire a lighting designer to work on your living room! It’s actually fascinating, cause these guys are everywhere. Not just entertainment venues of sorts, but like art stuff, and events, etc. That could be a plus for your character if you don’t want to limit them to the theater thing or just would like for them to be working on several projects, or just have them showing up on several scenarios.

I found this text (I googled it in portuguese, my first language, and the brazillian have a lot on it apparently!) I’ll translate as best I can because I think it could be useful for you, just give me a sec! :wink: (I got REALLY excited about this, please don’t mind me)


Oh, you’re so helpful! but please, no need to overexert yourself. You don’t have to go through all this trouble.

Also, you’re from Brazil? I love that place! I visited during the olympics.

P.S. Your english is very good


Actually, portuguese! And sadly, I have never been to Brazil even though I have friends there I wish I could visit!

And don’t worry at all, I was actually really interested in this. I briefly worked in video/movie-making and never had a very intimate contact with lighting designing (that was someone else’s job :joy:) but in school, we were given a general idea of what it involved, etc. But I got really curious as to what else is there, and what this job entails, etc, so I might have got carried away on my own, don’t worry!!

(Also, thank you so much! :D)

Anyway, to the best of my abilities hehe, and sorry if it sounds a bit weird, I am not always a good translator haha, here is a bit (I’m going to hide it under the drop-down thingy so it doesn’t to bulky):


"An activity that I really like is the preparation of sketches while I watch rehearsals for lighting designing jobs and the creation of light for shows. The sketches can be done during the idea itself, in which case, they’re generally quick drawings that are meant to materialize those ideas. Then, the sketches are improved, thought over, until they become a solid project.
We can talk about work tools: from clipboards and papers to photo and video cameras. I prefer to work with a clipboard, several sheets of paper and coloured pens or pencils, they make my job easier.
A thing to keep in mind is that the light designing job cannot be isolated from other designs that compose the visual identity of the show. Set design, props, figurines, every element of the scene. For that reason, it is really interesting for each of these professionals to work closely with one another and witness rehearsals together.
What do lighting desingers need to write down and gather for their studies? Movements, the duration of each scene, general area of the actors’ performance, colours, shapes, abstract ideas, every thing than can be appealing for an artistic creation. Your sketches and notes can either follow a sequence or not. I do believe that, when we work in a sequence of thought, our work is enriched, but that is personal, in the end.

Some items that we can include in our sketches are:

  • Stage
  • The position of (the words are ‘poles’ and ‘towers’, I assume these are lighting instruments??)
  • Number and type of equipment used in a scene
  • Colours, hues, shades, etc.
  • Type of projections, shadows and effects
  • Other objects and support
  • Colours of the set, figurines, props, etc.


  • The mood of the scene
  • The type of environment
  • Metereological conditions
  • Schedules (day, night, etc - important to define the angulation of projections)
  • Keywords (it can help in defining colours, shines, shades, etc)
  • Metaphors (ideias that come inspired by the images)
  • Directions given by the stage director (for a better understanding of the show)
  • Other opinions


Oh, wow, fascinating. So in your experience, how long does it take to design the lighting for a musical? And do these designers finish one project before starting the next? Or do they juggle a lot of jobs simultaneously?

So, if you’re not in Brazil, are in in Portugal? Because the time difference means it must be very late where you are. :sleeping:


(Yes, Portugal! And it is late, very late indeed :roll_eyes: don’t tell anyone heh)

I worked more closely with independent projects and studio stuff. In the case of studios, they tend to work with defaults. There’s a series of types of light defined for the kind of show being filmed, and there are a few things to take into account like the people on set, which implies a flattering light, a lot of filters (I think they’re called diffusers, I’m not sure of the correct terminology in english for this, but the low budget version is vegetable paper, or tracing paper, or just the stuff you use in the oven :joy: trust me, it works just as well!), taking into account the right spotlights to use and ALWAYS be wary of shadows on the human face, people can be really picky about that! There are like ground rules to things you should do on set. I don’t know how it goes on specifically on a show, but I was reading about orchestras and one thing to have in mind is that the musicians need a good light on their sheets, so it would require a soft light on them. For film and stuff, it’s more a designing job: when outside, technicians have to measure the intensity of light so the cameraman can balance it on the screen, you use a lot of reflectors (polystyrene is the low budget version of a reflector, save my life a couple of times!). I didn’t work a lot with electric lighting, although we did have these portable lights once that exploded in my hand, those things were really weak and the battery didn’t last a lot, but these days I believe they’ve improved (this was 2009, so). It was really subjective, and these were independent projects, so we did on scene, just testing it out and seeing what worked best.

I think some venues have their resident lighting technicians but a lighting designer seems like the sort of person who would juggle a few projects, working here and there wherever they fancy (it does sound like a high paying job for how specific it is)


Wow, for someone who says they aren’t that knowledgeable on the subject, you seem to be quite the expert. Hahaha. Tomorrow is thanksgiving in the US, but I suppose it’s not a holiday in Europe?


Oh this was just from watching, if you actually asked me to do anything, I’d freeze, no idea what to do :joy: we were just generally given an idea of what each part entailed so we wouldn’t be mindless directors (we had a whole electricity course because of this!). It was YEARS ago though, I’ve forgotten most of it and haven’t been back on the whole filming scene in a long time.

It isn’t! Tomorrow is just thursday, here :smiley: Happy thanksgiving (well, a bit ahead of time, but in my timezone we are WAY into it anyway!)


Omg, do you have places to be tomorrow? If so, you really should go to bed. Looking at computer screens can screw your circadian rhythms.


It’s actually my day off, which is why I’m relaxed about the time haha I should be heading off to bed though, in anyway. Bad habits, eh…


aha, lol. Thursdays are a weird day to have off.


Strange schedules!


I suppose Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 is too predictable for some people. It means you lead an interesting life


I struggle with plot as well. Sometimes I listen to music and the lyrics give me ideas, or I’ll look at art or make art and imagine scenes in my head that are mostly just aesthetic. So for the plot, I just connect the dots with them. But I think there’s an old saying for plot that goes, “when in doubt, make things worse”. So if it’s a normal day, just have something really bad happen, somebody gets poisoned, an astroid hits, etc etc. And since you know your characters, shape the story from their reactions