In 2013, I Resolve To...

in Designer Watch

The world didn’t end on 12-21-12. So with the future looking bright, we asked lighting designers, directors, programmers and visual gurus:  What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?

Butch Allen: To wean myself off of my cable news habit.  I found myself on the street the other day trying to score some MSNBC, and realized this needs to stop now! Project for the new year?  Our new kitten: Wulfgirl.

Bob Bonniol: To try to take on easy shows and quit seeking out the hardest, “technically impossible” ones.  Just opened the new Blue Man Group show in Vegas, and designed projection mapping and video effects for Shania Twain’s new show at Caesars. Both are real technically crazy and utterly beautiful.

Adam Camp: To better enhance our personal relations and interactions with all our “inner industry” base here in Las Vegas and abroad — the goal being to work together with all the great people and companies in all our related industries to further our industry practices and production capabilities locally, regionally and even globally. Vegas has so many great local resources and people to help all our visiting industry colleagues execute their visions beyond expectations and well within budget.

Scott Chmielewski: To consider the art of the business: not just the accomplishments but the failures and shortcomings. To focus on these often not-so-pleasant aspects personally and professionally to try to better them. To implement new practices in the way I design, the way I interact with clients and the way I work with my team. I have tried to ensure my team and I learn and experiment with new technology, new methods in design, new tricks in programming, new tools in video and light. In 2013 I will continue that push.

Christian Choi: To do more lighting design. As designers, we aren’t really saving lives or doing anything heroic or noble; it’s quite a selfish satisfaction one gets from seeing one’s work go up. The most we can do is make more bearable the lives of those who push to get our shows on the air, and with as little stress as possible.

I’ve seen more than a few friends pass away in this industry from health problems, and even more who are likely to be on the road to clogged arteries, diabetes or strokes, mostly attributed to the nature of the entertainment environment. So maybe this year, I can care more about the well-being of the people working with me. My hopes and dreams are to continue on the path I’m supposed to be on, whether that means designing events for television or just herding sheep.

Dale Doucette: To start programming left-handed, because I am not sure how many more good shows are left in my right hand after 30-odd years of one-offs and casinos. Life is too short to get all serious.

Phil Ealy: To see a concert without any parallel, laser-like tight beams.

Steve Fallon: Map out your future, but do it in pencil.

Dave Farmer: Having become a father for the first time this year, my resolution was not to miss out on too much of my son’s upbringing. With the long hours we suffer in the industry regardless of level of responsibility, it’s a common problem.

Cory FitzGerald: To finally get around to forming my non-profit organization, “Take Back the Light.” It’s a group dedicated to the eradication of senseless video usage during live performances and the promotion of more interesting and proper use of actual lighting. That, or actually taking all the camera gear I drag around with me out of my bag every once in a while. It would be nice to have some more free time!

Debbie Fowler: To experiment with new color palettes and designs, keep my artists happy with my work, and stay busy touring!  I am flying to Brazil Dec. 28 for a New Year’s Eve show with Dionne Warwick, and will work with her in Europe in January.  I look forward to another great year with Dionne as well as lighting shows for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.

Han Henze: To set aside some time and funds for a real vacation (as opposed to a vacation at a motor sports event). My short-term goal is achieve outstanding daylight television lighting on CMT’s New Hot 20 — within the budget, schedule and labor allotted for that production.

Cormac Jackson: Try to work for at least one artist/event who has little or no budget, and create an interesting, creative show using whatever is available rather than whatever they want. Also, to step out of my comfort zone and work in a field that I have less experience and knowledge. To get a haircut, and, finally, to send less e-mail.

Jim Lenahan: I hereby resolve to never retire and work until I die. I have every intention of dropping dead on a stage somewhere. Just preferably not in Waukegan.

Chris Lisle: We are starting the year off with a bang and head into programming and rehearsals for Miranda Lambert’s Locked and Reloaded Tour on Jan. 2! My New Year’s Resolution is to learn the new console — we started programming last week, and so far, so good! I also resolve to find the mix for  “the perfect” Bloody Mary!

Gregg Maltby: I don’t believe in New Year resolutions, but I am grateful to continue working at a craft I truly love. After 35 years, I still love what I do, and think it’s a privilege to work in entertainment. I am very lucky.

Durham Marenghi: Lord grant me a budget so high that even I, when speaking of it afterward, may I have no need to lie!

Manfred “Ollie” Olma: Advice for the New Year: you can get a bright lamp darker but never a dark lamp brighter; less is more; and do not always believe what other people say.

John Osborne: To continue to give 100 percent to every project, big or small.

Jon Pollak: To somehow stop being annoyed at the lack of actual music being produced today and listen to more Joni Mitchell.

Benoit Richard: 2012 was an awesome year that included working as a set lighting programmer on the upcoming motion pictures Star Trek, Into Darkness and Iron Man 3. It’s been an awesome challenge to manage and control large lighting setups on multiple stages, assisting gaffers and cinematographers to achieve their vision on these major motion pictures. I enjoy switching back and forth between movies and live concerts.

My year ended on a wonderful note with George Michael’s Symphonica Tour in Europe. So after seven straight months on the road, my resolution for 2013 is to stay home and work in Los Angeles all year. More film projects and possible exciting tour designs will come up for me early in the New Year, so stay tuned!

Steve Richards: To spend more time on vacation!

Nook Schoenfeld: To find another clone of myself.

Robert Sondergaard: To actually take a summer vacation and get better at taking time away from work to be with family.

Chris Stuba: To cherish my friendships more; to take more pictures; to stop and listen to the music; to have more patience with people who do not know how to travel; and to use less LEDs and more tungsten.

Mike Swinford: To get through February and come out clean on the other side. I have Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, the NBA All-Star Game, NBA Jam Session, Ron White Comedy show and Jake Owen all within the first two weeks of February! Then off to designing summer projects.

Jerome Thompson: Looks like I am still having a Big$Rich Time for 2013. Looking to add some more stuff and possibly a guy. My New Year’s Resolution is consoles. I just need to get more time on more consoles.

Alastair Bramall Watson: I am thinking of setting up a foundation in 2013 to help audio people throughout the world. My foundation would help people understand that working in audio is not a profession, it’s an illness.

Ross Williams: 2012 has been a special year for me, and all of us in the U.K. I have been privileged to participate in some of the once-in-a-lifetime events. I have partnered with friends to embark on new ventures and have been lucky enough to spend considerable time with exciting new products launched over the past weeks. 2012 was also my turn to become middle aged, which I celebrated with high spirits and a little adventure. I’d like to think 2013 will build on the success of the past months. I look forward to spending quality time with family, friends and colleagues as the new season gets under way with exciting projects on the horizon.

Willie Williams: I’m not one for resolutions generally, but I can tell you what I’m up to in 2013.  Mark Fisher and I are designing a stadium tour for Robbie Williams, which will play U.K., Europe, South America and Australasia from May and on through 2013.  Mark and I designed an arena show for Robbie which played London’s O2 Arena last month, and now he is taking it outdoors.

After that (and, conveniently keeping the design team together) Mark and I are designing a U.S. touring version of the Queen musical, We Will Rock You.  The show is now in its 11th year in the West End, so it’s high time it made it to the U.S.

Resolve to keep Debi posted with your news as 2013 progresses into uncharted Mayan waters. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..