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SMU Meadows to Battle Carnegie Mellon, Webster U in Live Lighting Show Rematch

The SMU Los Monos de Muerte (“Death Monkeys”) team will compete live at the 2016 LDI Convention in Las Vegas on October 21

Hog Factor 4
The SMU Los Monos de Muerte (“Death Monkeys”) team advanced to the finals of the 2016 High End Systems “Hog Factor 4” competition with their lighting design of “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers. The team will compete live at the High End booth during the 2016 LDI convention in Las Vegas, Oct. 21.

For the second year in a row, judges have selected a team of SMU Meadows M.F.A. Theatre Design students as a top-three finalist for High End Systems’ “Hog Factor 4” live show lighting competition, to be held on Oct. 21 during LDI Las Vegas, the industry’s biggest annual convention. This year LDI is expected to draw more than 12,000 attendees from all over the world.

Over 100 college teams entered the contest, with the SMU Los Monos de Muerte (“Death Monkeys”), the Carnegie Mellon Hog Hushers and the Webster University Fauxtons once again squaring off. The top three also competed against each other at Hog Factor 4 last year, with Carnegie Mellon taking first place, winning a Hog 4 console and a $20,000 scholarship for their university, and runners-up SMU and Webster winning a Hedge Hog 4 console and a pair of Shapeshifter moving light effects fixtures for their respective colleges.

All three teams receive an all-expenses-paid trip to LDI.

Each of the teams will present a live lighting show at the High End booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center, using High End’s Hog 4 console and various newly released lights, including SolaSpots, SolaWashes, Shapeshifters and Uno fixtures. The SMU Los Monos de Muerte team will rock out their lighting chops to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

Team member Andrew Garvis (M.F.A. Theatre Design ’17), who plans on working as a lighting designer in New York City after graduation, says the Hog Factor 4 competition will be a perfect chance to get to know industry leaders.

“LDI is a must-go industry event,” he said. “Not only do we get a free trip to a well-known industry trade show where a major vendor is going to be showcasing our design work -- that in itself is worth it -- LDI is where all the vendors showcase new gear and show the direction the world of lighting is going. The competition is a challenge and is a great way for us to get our names out there.

SMU MFA Theatre Design team
Team members Kolby Clarke, left, and Andrew Garvis, with Russ Bockemuehl on laptop screen.

SMU team member Kolby Clarke attended LDI last year, courtesy of a student sponsorship from ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls), a leader in lighting and rigging technology. “It was an amazing experience to meet successful individuals from many avenues of the lighting world at LDI last year,” said Clarke. “LDI is attended by professionals from all aspects of live production design – there’s something there for everybody in the industry.”

Like Garvis, Clarke plans to use his time at LDI and in the competition to make contacts and build on his future as a lighting professional. “As my interests are varied between the many forms of lighting design and programming, it’s simply a matter of meeting the right people and finding the right fit,” he said.

Last year’s SMU team was a one-man show. Luther Frank (M.F.A. Theatre Design ’15), founder of Luther Frank Lighting/Projections of New York, said the Hog Factor Competition was a great way to connect with the industry. “I met an incredible number of people, including production managers who would later hire me for projects in New York City,” said Frank. “I met influential people throughout our industry who offered great advice and insights that continue to help me today. I'm sure these students will enjoy the experience as much as I did."

SMU Meadows Head of Theatre Stage Design Steve Woods said returning to Hog Factor 4 is an honor. “This is an opportunity for three of our lighting design graduate students to meet movers and shakers in the design industry, get their names out there and careers launched,” said Woods. “We’re thrilled to be one of the top three national finalists for the second year in a row and are looking forward to this year’s challenge at LDI!”

Read more about the SMU Meadows M.F.A. Theatre Design program, Andrew Garvis, Kolby Clarke, Luther Frank, LDI Las Vegas and High End Systems.

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