Professional Lighting & Production Summer 2023 | Page 29

like it was something that was an interest of mine from almost the very beginning . And I never thought it was possible to actually have a career when I was younger , in this business , but I ’ ve been one of the fortunate ones who ’ ve been able to do it . And that ’ s why teaching , for example , is so important , because I want to kind of give that to the next generation , give them the opportunities , if possible that I had .”
When questioned on advice for that future generation Donald Holder is candid , optimistic and encourages a diverse education and worldview .
“ I don ’ t think there are any guarantees in life ,” he admits .” I don ’ t know if there ’ s any set way because you can ’ t just one day decide you ’ re going to become a lighting designer ; I can ’ t tell you exactly how you get there . But I can tell you this : there are several things that we do or that I think are really required for you to do the work and to be successful at making the work and one is to develop your eye . The best way to do that is to become a student of light in nature , open your eyes to the world around you , and how light fills the world that we live in , and how it reflects off surfaces and the colour of the light as you move through the day and how it works inside and out . In other words , don ’ t just observe light in a very deep kind of objective way . So that you can sort of categorize and store all that information , that visual information in your head and reference it . The other thing is just become the best communicator you can be . And the only way to do that is to read as much as you can , to write , go to films , go to plays , talk about these things with your friends and your colleagues , become a student of the performing arts and also a student of the human condition . Study politics , study political science , study psychology , art history , and I think that , as theatre makers , we ’ re people who sort of reimagine and explore the human condition , the world that we live in , and we also open a window onto society and who we are as a culture . And the only way to really do that is to have context [ and ] have a sense of what the world is and how it works . Beyond gear , the best way to be become a lighting designer is not necessarily [ knowing ] all the new products . It ’ s about doing the sort of the intellectual and analytical hard work and becoming a more expressive , thoughtful communicator because that ’ s the hardest thing to learn . Those are the hardest muscles to develop .”
Matt Bauer is the Editor of Professional Lighting & Production . He can be reached at mbauer @ nwcworld . com .
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