My name is Joshua Wakley and I am targeting a career towards lighting design, approaching this venture through skills in lighting, gaffing and colour grading for a broader understanding of technical and creative applications. Broadening my understanding at this stage enables me to get a feel for every role involved with lighting across multiple media forms. It also opens fall-back options (e.g. grading) to keep funding myself whilst I pursue my passion.
My current experience suggests I need to have a deep understanding of lighting, in particular colour temperatures and impact in various scenarios. This physical application of light carries across as a digital representation when dealing with colour grading. Working under pressure and quick problem solving are further attributes to this medium. Heavy manual labour implies physical strength and basic DIY knowledge (e.g. rigging). Social and team skills tie this together as leadership can vary from command to following instructions. Finally basic electrical knowledge is vital for the role (e.g. power distribution).
This career opens to a variety of media production roles across theatre, live events, film and television. A film route would start as spark, progressing to best boy and gaffer. Theatre, live event and television suggest internships or understudy roles to progress from. An alternate is starting with a hire company (e.g. Stage Electrics) gaining knowledge and hopefully finding work through clients.
Challenges will arise when having to learn new technology or prove competence of existing systems. This will be the case of teaching myself beyond what the job offers, constantly keeping in the lighting network. Competence can be proven through additional qualifications and training, personally I feel electrical knowledge is where I need to improve in order to make myself most employable. Freelance contracts can be challenging due to breaks in work and finance, however I am trying to avoid this where possible.
I have a strong set of skills and knowledge in live event work through employment at North Somerset and Timber Lake Camp, however I need to seek more experience in larger operations (e.g. music festivals). I feel confident in the creative and technical applications of lighting, I can continue to build upon this from professional placements and opportunities. Through this I can understand what I want from a career and aim my learning for specific requirements the industry is asking for.
At this stage I want to be looking at live event and theatrical jobs over film or television roles. I am planning to chase up opportunities at Timber Lake Camp as I love the idea of being employed in America. Through researching visas I hope to understand additional skills I can build upon, making me more employable in the UK and US. Expanding upon electrical trade skills is another possible avenue. I want to continue to explore roles in the UK, seeking experience to better understand the professional environment as it strays away from my degree in filmmaking and creative media.
At this stage I still need full confirmation in myself that live events and theatre is the field of work I want to pursue. I am definite is getting involved with lighting, but feel more professional experience will help me making this verdict. I am still open to film and television at this stage so I don’t want to restrict the way I market myself. Continuing my current clean design cannot harm my approach, it demonstrates a variety of skills from multiple platforms, however I need to sway this for particular emphasis on lighting and colour grading.