I’m usually all about post-production here on my blog but our local to Nashville filmmakers group The Nashville Filmmakers Guild is putting on our first hands-on workshop on Saturday, July 30: Lighting. The price is $95 for a General Admission and $70 for NFG Paid Members. We will have longtime Nashville gaffer and lighting wizard Jeffry Gordon leading the workshop. It’s also unique in it’s time in that it will run from 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM CST in order to take advantage of the evening for part of the curriculum.
We put out some questions to Jeffry about the workshop, the profession of working with light and lighting in general. The answers are below followed by all of the details about the Lighting Workshop. This Nashville Filmmakers Guild event is different than one of our last big event The Great NLE Debate but should be equally informative.
Nashville Filmmakers Guild: What got you interested in production lighting?
Jeffry Gordon: The interest has been progressive and a continuation of artistic pursuits.
The first distinctive experiences with light were in theater, in High School – plug this in, point it there – no theory, just hang and focus.
Life as a touring musician revealed the need to light our stages, and I had an opportunity to view professionals ply their craft in a variety of performance situations.
While in Los Angeles in the early 80’s I worked at SIR and was swept up in the craze of Hair Bands making music videos to fill-up the airwaves of MTV. From there, commercials, movies, episodics.
The move to Nashville in the early 90’s placed full weight on lighting and production as a source of income.
Who or what are some of your influences for gathering ideas on lighting for your work?
Nature, art and the availability of all the content that surrounds our life and times.
Describe your approach to lighting when a DP comes to you with his ideas for the scenes or shots?
As a Gaffer, I acquiesce to the vision of Director of Photography. I am of the mind that the vision of the DP and the restraints of budget fashion the end result. I will offer options to a DP, but not dictate a specific treatment as that is “beyond the pay grade” of the job description. Once the broad strokes of an approach are determined it is my responsibility to work with the crew to efficiently, effectively and safely deliver a timely execution.
You’ve been in the industry for over 30 years, how has lighting technology improved in that time?
I came into the mix at the end of Carbon Arch lights. Tungsten, HMI, Xenon fixtures were very similar in style to what we use today. Fluorescent fixtures brought a lighter appeal to the craft. The format change of film to digital, qualities of lenses have brought about a variety of changes as well. We are now in the midst of LED making its inroads to the mainstream – smarter lights that blend with the new technologies and afford a greener production footprint.
What are some of the challenges you still face as a lighting technician?
Shrinking budgets. Expectations of clients. The politics of the business.
You’re the lead instructor for a new workshop happening in Nashville with the Nashville Filmmakers Guild, tell us a little bit about it.
There will be practical conversation about lighting, reveal of various fixtures, business thoughts and pragmatic approaches to predictable outcome. I’m hoping to merge practical applications of lighting treatments with the script – so the applications have a point as opposed to simply throwing a bunch of chit chat at the attendees.
What type of creative is this workshop designed for?
We all learn from each other. I imagine that there will be something for all in attendance.
How are you hoping this workshop helps filmmakers with lighting?
A respect for the craft. A better understanding of the process. And, a trick or two to add to the quiver.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring gaffer, what would that be?
Be patient. This is an experiential business and there is no teacher like being on set. I am a big fan of learning from the bottom up and mastering the craft before you sell yourself as something beyond your skill set.
About the Workshop
Lighting is considered to be an essential tool for filmmakers, videographers and even photographers. Visual storytellers everywhere will stress the importance of having proper lighting to convey the mood, style, even the character of the project.
This 1 day intensive, hands-on workshop will equip you as a filmmaker with the essentials of lighting so you will be informed and confident of the tools and techniques available for your next project.
There will 3 main areas covered in this workshop:
- Corporate Lighting (interview and talking head)
- Creative Lighting (interior day and night)
- Nighttime Exterior Lighting (for narrative styles)
Attendees will have hands-on opportunities to tackle creative and technical challenges and work in a team environment. Participants will be using a mixture of lighting sources such as HMI, Tungsten, Florescent and LED sources. All attendees are required to bring a set of gloves for protecting your hands against hot materials. It is strongly recommended that attendees have a light meter with them during the workshop.
Saturday, July 30, 2016 from 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM (CDT) – REGISTER HERE
DR&A, Inc. – 45 Willow Street, Nashville, TN 37210
You can elect to bring your own meals however no fridgerator will be available for cool storage. The dinner options available and more information is available here.
About the Instructor
Jeffry Gordon is a passionate community advocate with thirty-plus years of Industry experience. Career experience includes elements of craft on every side of the microphone and camera, the bulwark of focus has been in lighting.
Lighting action for camera is an experiential pursuit. Jeffry has been both Chief Lighting Technician on multi-million dollar movies and gaffer on countless music videos, commercials and industrial productions. From single camera narrative and multi-camera episodic endeavors to live venue design and architectural affects – lighting is an ever changing, artistic pursuit.
Jeffry lives for each opportunity to ply the craft that has been decades in the making. Time in action on set is only bested by mentoring of the creatively curious and the growth of opportunity for the next generation.