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You Do *What* Now?

Since I got my bachelor’s, I’ve been working fairly consistently as a theatrical lighting designer. Seeing as I’ve had a number of other day jobs and supplemental jobs in this time (some of which I wasn’t too happy to have), “theatrical lighting designer” was what I usually described my profession as. With anyone who didn’t have experience in the theatre, this inevitably led to the question, “So…what does that mean?”

I have come up with an answer to this over the years:

“Have you ever seen a play?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“You know how you can see the actors?”
“Yeah.”
“That’s what I do.”

Bad jokes aside, it’s hard to explain what a lighting designer does. Basically, if someone doesn’t have enough theatre knowledge to know what an LD does, then they likely don’t have the knowledge I need to touch on to explain it. Even worse is trying to explain how I do what I do. That’s a hard question even coming from other theatre folks.
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