By Laura Frank

I hear this again and again when I talk to my industry peers. Two months ago, that statement would have been followed by, “I don’t miss the hours” or “I needed the break” but lately the caveats have disappeared. We miss each other. Or the paycheck. Likely both.

Our working life has this beautiful rhythm that allows us to be immersed in our projects, bonding deeply with those in our immediate presence while we share the highs and lows of building a show together. The community we create out of those shared experiences survives time, distance and cultures.

𝙎𝙤 𝙬𝙝𝙮 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙖 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙗𝙪𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚?

Show by show, year after year, we iterate and advance our own practice. We develop our relationships with our clients and teams. However this knowledge is difficult to share. The language we use to describe the various details of our workflows, the steps we take to build a show from start to finish, as we improve we rarely document our process. Even rarer is the chance to talk to our peers and take a deep thoughtful look at what we do and how we want to strengthen our work for the future.

𝙒𝙚 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙖 𝙧𝙚𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬𝙡𝙚𝙙𝙜𝙚 𝙗𝙖𝙨𝙚 𝙖𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙖𝙨 𝙖 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙜𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙘𝙪𝙨𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬𝙡𝙚𝙙𝙜𝙚.

Scenic & installation video design is an evolving discipline. The jobs we occupy now barely existed 10 years ago. To think what these jobs might look like in another 10 years is hard to imagine. Sharing our experiences and learning from each other will accelerate our ability to develop our practice and our relationships to the larger production community.

When we talk about community we must also talk about diversity. We need to do more than say, “𝗔𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗪𝗲𝗹𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲.” These words without action dismiss the unstated portion of that message. “𝗔𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗪𝗲𝗹𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗹𝗹 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀.” We all struggle to get our breaks in this industry, but some are more limited in their options to find those breaks than others. It’s up to us to reach out, find the women and people of color who work in our community and personally invite them in, not passively wait and expect them to show up.

Let’s make this initiative happen for the health, longevity and diversity of our scenic video production community.