Our last SILV student is Maile Varian, a junior at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, where she studies lighting design and technology.
Varian is a lighting designer and programmer by trade. She enjoys working on a variety of productions, such as plays, musicals, concerts, and corporate events, as she likes to get a taste of everything. She currently is working two jobs, as a scene shop assistant and as a bartender.
“Maile Varian worked relentlessly in the class and in the end stepped up to show her programming to the class,” said Frank Brault, our product marketing manager for entertainment and an instructor at SILV. “I think she learned a lot during the class, and she goes out to her first lighting gig in New York well prepared.”
Maile Varian giving her presentation at SILV
We talked to Varian about Vectorworks and her experience at SILV. Here’s what she had to say.
What drew you to pursue theater design as a career?
Theater, for me, was something I grew up with, as I am a fourth-generation lighting designer. It’s always been something that has fascinated me, and I have always thought in terms of light. Specifically, my dad drew me to theater. I always wanted to be just like him and now I get that option on an entirely different level.
What drew you to apply to SILV?
I had heard of SILV from several of my peers and was always fascinated by the idea of going. All of the courses sounded interesting to me, but the ones I was most excited for were Vectorworks, SFX, previz, and movers, media, and rock and roll. SILV presented me with the opportunity to learn things I would not be able to learn in a collegiate setting.
How would you describe your experience at SILV?
In a word, exhausting. You are doing at least one college semester-long class each week. You are constantly challenged and constantly watched. You learn so much about yourself, your personality, and work ethic. I also met some of the best people, who quickly became family. I cried when everyone left.
What did you find helpful?
Networking for sure! But truly, everything.
How was your experience learning about Vectorworks and Vision?
Amazing. I love Frank. He is such a goofy guy and he brought an energy and excitement that was contagious. He also understands our world. And Vision was great! Oh man, is the previzualization software incredible.
Students at SILV
What are your plans moving forward?
I have a year and a half left of college. Then I want to tour the world and become a more established lighting designer.
How has SILV helped you with these plans?
It taught me skills and networking. It also helped me become more humble and, simultaneously, more confident.
What features of Vectorworks and/or Vision do you think will be the most beneficial to you?
Definitely lighting! And all of it in general, but Vision will be crazy helpful for me because of how little dark time I get.
Anything else you would like to add?
Vectorworks was one of the main reasons I came to SILV. My university does not allow us to use Vectorworks. It’s either AutoCAD or Wysiwyg for lighting. I have been wanting to use Vectorworks my entire career and am excited to share what I learned with my peers.
Students at SILV
Interested in progressing your lighting design career with Vectorworks? Then visit our website to learn more.