My path to design was sort of roundabout. Growing up I never knew it was really a career, even through high school, at least that it was a particularly creative career. I've always loved theatre. I was an actor in high school because that was really the only way to truly sink your teeth into dramatic material at my school. I was always an active writer, so I sough out playwriting in college, and in my first playwriting class I asked the best way to get involved in the department, and someone needed a stage manager, so I did that (terribly) for a while, and then started taking the design/production concentration courses. I found myself loving my design classes and thats what stuck. But I realized, in retrospect, that I had always had a foot in the visual world. I loved legos and blocks as a kid. I would never make the things on the box/in the directions, just my own stuff. My best friend and I were obsessed with batman, and every time a new batman toy/batcave came out we'd go to his house and combine them into A SUPER GIANT BATCAVE. I was not as wealthy as him, so I didn't have the official toys, so when he came over to my house we took my mom's plants, my sister's dollhouse and christmas decorations and made the villain hideout. There is still an aquabatman at the bottom of the pond in the back of my house after a particularly epic battle at sea.
I had drafts and drafts of floor plans for the ULTIMATE MANSION. I've always loved maps. Planning trips. I was the kid with the map at the zoo navigating/making sure we saw EVERY animal. When I finally stumbled into design it was an experience akin to coming out: "I've always had these feelings and inclinations towards design- I just thought EVERYBODY looked at plays like that...."
Why New York? How did you make your way to the city?
I came to New York for school- it's the only place I can really do the variety of work that I do and make a living freelancing on it.
How do you negotiate artistic need and limited resources? Is there an artistic difference between how you approach an indie show versus a show with plenty of time, money etc?
I'm very material orientated- I think and design very physically based so that helps when it comes to designing with limited resources. I do what I can with what I have.
What's exciting for you about doing an indie show? What makes you cringe?
I don't really completely buy into distinguishing an "indie show" from any other show. The same things make me cringe and excite me in every show I work on.
What could the indie community do to make things easier for you as a designer? What would you like to ask of producers/artistic directors/general managers/production managers?
First of all- make sure there IS a production manager.
Pay less for space rental.
Charge more for admission.
Pay ME more.
Pay a TD or, ideally AND, a production manager.
Allot more money for labor, less for actual materials; I can make a much better design with 1000 for materials and 1000 for labor/Production Manager/TD than 2000 for materials and no $ for labor.
Tell me about something you achieved recently that makes you feel really good:
I did 18 shows in 2013. I'd say that about 85% of them went swimmingly. I am proud of this. Trying to get that percentage up for 2014.
What's coming up for you that you’re excited about?
I co created an event called "Work With Me Here" happening at Here Arts Center from March 19th through 23rd. I'm essentially created a highly visual space and 16+ playwrights are sharing works in or about process. We've got some really awesome people involved and it's gonna be super super fun.
Here is a kickass trailer we made: vimeo.com/88018191