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Lighting Design

In a Lighting Design presentation, the Thespian must prepare a presentation of lighting designs for a published work written for the theatre. Designs for performances of original work, poetry, fiction, screenplays, television, or any other medium are not permitted. Only one Thespian may be involved in the design. No collaborations are permitted. Designs for either theoretical or realized productions are acceptable.

The skills measured by the adjudicators during the presentation are:

  • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the lighting design process
  • Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the artistic and practical constraints that impact design and the relationship to the unifying concept
  • Basic understanding of the technology/equipment needed to implement and support the design
  • Ability to research and understand the connection between style, period, locale, genre, and other historical and cultural influences and design choices
  • Ability to document, present, and clearly explain and justify design choices

In a Lighting Design presentation, the Thespian must follow the aforementioned rules for the International Thespian Excellence Awards as presented in this guide, and also the following rules specific to this category:

The Thespian must prepare:

  1. A light plot (digital or physical; scale should be 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch = 1 foot), indicating all information necessary to ensure clear understanding of the designer’s intentions and large enough for the adjudicators to see the details.
    • The location and identification of every instrument, accessory, and specialty unit should be represented on the light plot, along with the following information as appropriate:
      • Color medium
      • Set and masking
      • Areas
      • Lighting positions with labels
      • Type of instruments
      • Unit numbers
      • Circuit
      • Channel
      • Focus/purpose
      • Gobos/patterns/templates
      • Practicals
      • Special instruments (LED, moving lights, foggers, hazers, fans, relays, etc.)
      • Instrument key
    • The light plot should be clearly and neatly labeled with a title block that contains the following information:
      • Play or musical title and author(s)/composer(s)
      • Performance dates and facility in which it took place (if the production was not realized, indicate the performance space for which the plot was designed)
      • Scale
      • Entrant’s name, troupe number (optional)
  2. A portfolio of support materials (bound or digital) that must include the following:
    • One-page design statement that includes:
      • Unifying production design concept
      • Theme of the show/recurring motifs
    • Research, including:
      • Summary of given circumstances from the script
      • Functionality requirements
      • Genre, locale, and setting of the play (or other explanation of the world of the play)
      • Artistic and practical needs that impact the construction
      • Sources of inspiration for design and color palette (if used)
    • Budgetary requirements or other constraints and considerations.
    • Techniques used within the design.
    • Instrument schedule.
    • Magic sheet/cheat sheet.
    • Sample color media used with explanations of choices.
    • One of the following two options:
      • Description of three light cues, organized by act and scene with a stated purpose for the cue and planned timing of the cue. Include a description of the time of day and location of the scene (indoors, outdoors, etc.), as well as use of intensity, color, movement, directionality, and/or quality of light to communicate to the adjudicators both meaning and mood during the scene, as appropriate.
        -OR-
      • Three light renderings that include a description of the use of intensity, color, movement, directionality, and/or quality of light to communicate to the adjudicators both meaning and mood during the scene, as appropriate.
    • If the production was realized, a photo series or short video (no longer than 1 min.) that highlights the lighting cues should be included (no dialogue or music from the play may be included in the video).
  3.  A five- to eight-minute in-person or digital presentation summarizing the work with connections to concept, collaboration, and design decision-making. Digital media may be used during an in-person presentation as well (participant must provide their own equipment).
    • The video component may be a webinar-style presentation (i.e., a voiceover during a PowerPoint slideshow) or a talking head-style presentation (i.e., talking to the camera).
    • Suggested standard prompts for all technical categories are provided to help guide the content of a video presentation:
      • What are some of your responsibilities as a lighting designer?
      • How did the director's concept influence your designs?
      • How did the style of the play affect your designs?
      • If the show was realized, did you struggle in unifying the director's concept across all areas of design?
      • If you had more time or resources, what would you change?
      • What would you be willing to compromise in your design if you had to?
      • What was your inspiration and how did you research it?
    • Also consider these category-specific questions:
      • How did you use lighting design to help tell the story? Give a specific example and explain the thought process that went into generating your design.
      • What role(s) did the other design elements play in designing the lighting for this production?
      • What would you say was the biggest lighting-specific setback you had to overcome while working on this design?
      • Reflecting on your process, if you could change one part of this design, what would it be and why?
    • Any video presentation must display the work so that the adjudicators can see the details. If the details of the documents/photos referenced in your presentation cannot be clearly seen in the video, they should be included in your portfolio of support materials.
  4. Optional written essay response to share additional information about the lighting design with the adjudicators.

Lighting Design Rubric

PRESENTATION

Explanation of the executed design, unifying concept, creative decisions, and process

Superior
Above Standard

Presentation thoroughly explains the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design and the creative process, demonstrating an in depth understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept.

Excellent
At standard

Presentation explains the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design, and the creative process, demonstrating an understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept.

Good
Near Standard

Presentation offers a limited explanation of the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design and/or creative process, demonstrating a partial understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept. 

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Presentation offers little or no explanation of the creative process and/or fails to explain the executed design and their contribution.


RESEARCH

Evidence of research of the given circumstances of the script as well as artistic and practical needs which impact the design.  

Superior
Above Standard

Comprehensive and detailed research addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and illuminates the unifying concept.

Excellent
At standard

Thorough research addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and aligns with the unifying concept.

Good
Near Standard

Limited research partially addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and/or inconsistently supports the unifying concept.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Research fails to address the artistic and practical needs of the production and/or lacks alignment with the unifying concept.


INTERPRETATION

Design choices merge the unifying concept with the designer’s unique vision.

Superior
Above Standard

Design choices powerfully enhance and communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play, and demonstrate a unique voice.   

Excellent
At standard

Design choices communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play and align with the given circumstances.

Good
Near Standard

Design choices partially communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play and do not distract from the given circumstances.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Design choices fail to communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play; choices may or may not support the given circumstances.


DESIGN JUSTIFICATION

Connecting the design choices to the artistic and practical needs of the production.

Superior
Above Standard

Comprehensive explanations justify the design choices, illuminating the connection between the artistic and practical needs of the production.

Excellent
At standard

Appropriate explanations justify the design choices and demonstrate the connection with the artistic and practical needs of the production.

Good
Near Standard

Partial explanations somewhat connect the design choices with the artistic and practical needs of the production.  

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Limited explanations fail to make the connection between the design choices and the artistic and practical needs of the production. 


EXECUTION

Products presented convey ideas and choices that support the script and unifying concept.

Superior
Above Standard

Detailed products communicate and enhance artistic ideas and choices to provide exceptional support for the script and unifying concept. 

Excellent
At standard

Products communicate artistic ideas and choices that support the script and unifying concept.

Good
Near Standard

Products partially communicate artistic ideas and choices and/or inconsistently support the script and unifying concept.

Fair
Aspiring to Standard

Products lack a clear focus and/or fail to support the artistic ideas and choices, script and/or unifying concept.

 

Download All Rubrics (PDF)