About Joe Franjoine

Posts by Joe Franjoine:


The USITT Upstate meeting that took place at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts was an amazing experience. Han Lixun, the designer of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was the headlining speaker. Hearing him speak was very interesting. Han brought up some of the issues faced and how the design team was able to create solutions that were visually stunning. What struck me the most was how the design process that they used was very similar to what we do here in the United States.  Han’s English was very limited. However, when showing some of our work, he could easily understand what we were doing and what our paperwork meant. This really proved to me how design is a language of its own. After hearing him talk and going to some amazing workshops, we were able to attend dinner with everyone, including Mr. Lixun.  At dinner, we learned some more about his background and what it was like to be a designer in China. As the evening was coming to a close, Han went on to offer a visit to his studio in Beijing! Hopefully one day I might be able to take him up on his offer! Overall, this was an amazing event that I am very glad I was able to experience. Hopefully something similar to this will happen again in the near future.

Urinetown Electrics

Being the Assistant Master Electrician on Urinetown was a great learning experience and was not what I expected at all. This was my first time working on a musical of this size and scale. However, I still felt confident that everything would fall into place and would be done on time. I quickly learned otherwise. Even though we were able to get a head start on the electric process, a lot of the help that was given to us was very inexperienced. It was going to be a challenge to get everything done in the proper time frame.

Urinetown was also a technically advanced show. It took advantage of approximately 20 American DJ Mega Pars, 6 Vari*Lite VL3000’s, and 12 Wybron scrollers on top of the conventional units.

However, one of the hardest issues I faced as the AME was actually not with the equipment. It was more difficult for me delegate the labor force given to me.  It’s a special skill to be able to direct people around and have them work on different projects while overseeing it all.

Luckily, after much hard work and many hours, everything came together nicely and Urinetown turned out wonderful!

Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase

Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase opened and closed this past week at the University at Buffalo. I had the pleasure of designing the lighting for the piece that Dana Bojarski choreographed. It was an interesting experience designing for the first time at this school, as I am only a freshman. However, I felt very prepared by the time the show came around and was overall pretty happy with the way my design turned out in the end. After seeing the piece of the first time, I felt like Dana, through her dance, was trying to create an eerie and distorted organic environment.  I knew I wanted to primarily manipulate color and angle of light to achieve my design concept. However, when working with a set repertory dance lighting plot, this can often be difficult to do. After watching my piece more and more, I realized I wanted low angle sidelight to cast distorted and unnatural shadows across the dancers along with haze to add to the spine-chilling environment. Due to the fact that there were not any lighting booms in the show, I had to request specials that would be placed on the deck. Thankfully, time and inventory allowed me to get what I wanted. Once technical rehearsals started, I was happy to see the progress that was coming along with my piece. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the hot “spanked pink” color that I chose to come from my specials. I experimented in the light lab after my piece was finished rehearsing one night and came up with the combination of R96, R40, and R135.  Seeing the new color the next day definitely was more effective at achieving my design objective.  Overall, I was very happy with the way my piece turned out for Emerging Choreographers’ Showcase and was very proud of my fellow designers. However, a note to the wise: make sure the gel in your specials gets properly swapped before the next show!