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Old 01-31-2010, 11:39 AM
 
Location: NJ
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Default where to go to study..

Stage lighting or music production and sound engineer
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:26 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Sound engineering is a tricky and very competitive field. I would research any program very carefully and see if their alumni actually get work. Many small trade schools offer programs (the ones you see advertised on the subway), but I think it's because it's a sexy career that attracts a lot of young people. I suspect most of the people in those programs never make a living at it.

The easiest way to learn lighting design is to volunteer or intern with a designer or theater company. Lighting requires a lot of (literally) heavy lifting and designers are always looking for assistants.

Keep in mind, these are very, very difficult career choices. I have friends who have MFAs in lighting or sound design from Yale and have never made careers for themselves.

If you hone your skills and are good at networking, you can make a career of sorts in Downtown, indy theater. Unfortunately these jobs pay poorly if at all. I work with some brilliant lighting designers, but it's very difficult for them to get enough work to pay their rent.
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Old 01-31-2010, 05:58 PM
 
Location: NJ
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well I'm not looking just into working in NYC, maybe just the schooling. I think that then I would probably head somewhere else because I know NYC is probably way too competitive for that field as it seems all of them are as well.

Thank you for the info, but do you know also, if any, what school your friend would recommend? I was looking in the the New York film academy or Parsons etc.
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:13 PM
 
Location: New York City
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Film is film and stage is stage. They're completely different in terms of lighting. You need to choose one or the other. The Parsons program is about "environmental" lighting. It more about art installations, or lighting rooms, not stages. I work in the theater and have never heard of designer from that program.

My feeling about art school is: if you're going to school, make sure you get a degree. Avoid anything unaccredited or offering a "certificate." Nobody cares about what classes you've taken, only what degrees you have. Even if you decide to change fields later (most people do), you'll always have a degree.

I'm suspicious of any school advertising "creative" classes/programs (graphic design, sound engineering, film, etc.) on the subway. I don't know anyone who has gone to the New York Film Academy, but their Web site looks a little sketchy to me. NYU is far and away the best film school in New York, but very expensive and competitive.

If you live in New Jersey you best bet is Rutgers. They have a nationally known theater program and it's a state school.

How old are you? Do you have a BA? What is your experience?
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:40 AM
 
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I'm glad I stumbled upon a thread like this, because I've got some questions too if you don't mind.

I'm about to transfer to a senior college (most likely CUNY) upon finishing up my A.A degree, and am interested in the field of TV/video production (the technical side moreso than the creative). I like messing around with producting/editing videos at home, and have only scratched the surface by taking some intro courses, but I find it fascinating.

Anyone know what I can expect going into such a field? As far as what senior colleges to go to, I've got a good idea so far, CUNY-wise from talking to people. Several say Brookyln College, but that's way too far of a commute for me, so its down to City and Hunter for now.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:58 AM
 
Location: New York City
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I have a friend who has an MFA in video for theater from Brooklyn College. He gets work all the time. I don't know anyone in their undergraduate department, but it's generally considered to be the best CUNY school for the arts.

Frankly, you have the wrong attitude when it comes to schooling. You're making a decision that will affect your entire life. Basing your choice on the length of the subway commute is short-sighted. Do your research, fine the best program you can get into, and then make it work.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:44 AM
 
Location: NJ
1,494 posts, read 3,102,020 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpk-nyc View Post
Film is film and stage is stage. They're completely different in terms of lighting. You need to choose one or the other. The Parsons program is about "environmental" lighting. It more about art installations, or lighting rooms, not stages. I work in the theater and have never heard of designer from that program.

My feeling about art school is: if you're going to school, make sure you get a degree. Avoid anything unaccredited or offering a "certificate." Nobody cares about what classes you've taken, only what degrees you have. Even if you decide to change fields later (most people do), you'll always have a degree.

I'm suspicious of any school advertising "creative" classes/programs (graphic design, sound engineering, film, etc.) on the subway. I don't know anyone who has gone to the New York Film Academy, but their Web site looks a little sketchy to me. NYU is far and away the best film school in New York, but very expensive and competitive.

If you live in New Jersey you best bet is Rutgers. They have a nationally known theater program and it's a state school.

How old are you? Do you have a BA? What is your experience?
Hey tpk,

Thank you for the helpful information so far. It is easier to use the first person when writing but all this info is really for my husband. He is 40 and has some lighting experience when he was in England and used to work on some lighting gigs for different concerts, but he has no formal degree. At the moment he can't even get a damn job in Walmart, but he dj's in NYC at various parties. He keeps thinking about whether studying sound engineering or lighting might get his foot in the door in the music world, but as you said it seems competitive. He keeps going back and forth whether to study that or what he did for 20 years which was social work, which you need a degree for here as well but he's a bit tired of that.

I though the New York film academy school was highly recognized but I guess I'm wrong.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:36 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
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NYFA is for rich kids with parents who can foot their bill for expensive tuition and housing. It's not a reputable program like UCLA/UCLA/NYU, etc.

I do a lot of lighting and sound for theater (my degree is in playwriting but I've been doing technical theater for pay since I was 14). The hardest part of it is the networking. Once it gets out that you can do it and you're good, you will never be hurting for work. Getting decent paid work is tougher but doable if you are willing to travel and/or work ridiculously long hours. Lighting & sound for theater and film are not cushy jobs.

There just isn't a lot of money in the arts, even in the technical side of things. It's ok if you're young and in your 20s and can live in a hovel, but as you get older, you want more creature comforts and your husband will not be making that kind of money if he's in his 40s and trying to break in.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:29 AM
 
Location: New York City
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Your husband is in a tough spot. Do you know how many people want a "foot in the door in the music world"? It's a dream job that people half his age are willing to make tremendous sacrifices for the chance (however remote) of achieving.

It takes 10 to 15 years of networking before you start to make something that approximates a living.

Getting a BA in technical theater is probably not the best choice in his situation.

If he really wants to work in these industries, his best is as a stagehand or roadie. The stagehand union (Local 1) is notoriously difficult to get into. It's one of those New York unions that is hereditary in all but name.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:06 PM
 
Location: NJ
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Thanks for all the info. The other idea we had was to start our own dj business for parties and weddings here in NJ and offer the music, lighting, and projections. I guess we could give that a go instead and have him continue the social service route.. We all ready have most of the sound equipment.

I used to be in the graphic design field years ago in NYC and even interned for MTV and worked a couple of years in a studio and it still got me nowhere. I just became so sick of the attitude and the ruthlessness of everyone that I completely changed careers. I'm glad I did because who knows where I would've been now if I had stayed in that field
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