For the past three weeks I've been in Vegas working on the new Mamma Mia company assisting Ed McCarthy (who is Howard Harrison's associate for this show). Each day as I work through the production process, I've been thinking about my book, The Assistant Lighting Designer's Toolkit, which publishes this month.
It has been very cool to compare notes in my head of things I included in the book as I move through the process. After the last year and a half of trying to organize this very complex profession into a straight-forward textbook, it has helped me become even more efficient.
Things to remember run through my head all day long. Things like:
- Remember to get extra coffee stirrers, napkins, and sugar with each coffee order.
- Update magic sheets, but keep the old ones in case I need to refer to them.
- Keep the designer happy by always refilling the M&M's.
- Check off work notes each day with the production electrician.
- Never be off headset as the assistant.
- And so many others.....
So many notes from the book run through my head daily that I can hardly begin to even tabulate them. These thoughts above may seem like little things but it's the attention to detail that makes the most successful assistants. Assisting requires keeping track of both the lighting related items as well as the personal issues needed to keep everyone happy. It's really a thrill to keep all the cogs running smoothly.
I truly think the ALD Toolkit is a useful book to have out on the market. I began it as an exercise to document the process for myself -- as a simple checklist for prepping a show. It quickly evolved into something that I wanted to get to the masses so that aspiring LDs and ALDs had this info before working on their first major show instead of tripping and wading through it on the job like I did.
Now that I have the chance to truly beta test the process and its concepts, I'm happy to say that the book means more to me than ever. I can see how it will help others when they are learning this profession from scratch, and it makes me proud to have written it. If I were a relatively new assistant, I would keep it in my assistant's kit or my bag and refer to it repeatedly for each segment of the process. (Although I would do this in secret when the designer isn't looking, like a proper Lighting Ninja should.)
I hope those 15 of you that have advance copies have enjoyed the book and found it to be a useful resource so far. Those of you who don't have a copy yet, I hope you order one soon. Good luck using it on your next show! Please visit the comments page and let me know how it goes. :)
On a side note, this is my favorite Starbucks coffee name to date. With a name like Anne, not everyone can hear you over a busy and loud coffee counter so I never know what name I'm gonna get written on the cup. However, this may be my second favorite to when Pollo Loco gave me back an order with just the letter "N" written on it. LOL!
I light, therefore I.....