Paul Young of Scenery Projections
Ross Lowe | Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Every now and then, somebody comes along with a cracking theatrical innovation which really catches your attention.
When Paul Young recently popped up on Twitter to say hello during #DSCHour and shared a YouTube video of one of his ‘scenery projections’, we were hooked and had to know more.
Downstage Centre caught up with Paul to find out how his particular techno-wizardry is already giving local drama groups and regional theatres a technological boost that is transforming their shows and enthralling their audiences.
“My great love in theatre is creating an experience”
For Paul Young, it’s all about the look and the experience. Since graduating from university he’s worked as a video director, and has been involved in theatre since he was 16. He knows all about the importance of getting everything looking absolutely top notch while making the most of the environment or performance space available. “My great love in theatre is creating an experience,” explained Paul. “I believe theatre shouldn’t be passive – it should create an experience for the audience.”
It was this drive and determination to create different worlds, different looks and different experiences for theatre audiences that led to him creating Scenery Projections. It’s a forward-thinking and innovative technical theatre company which gives Paul a real opportunity to indulge his passions for all things techie. Says Paul: “It’s a new way to create the scenery for amateur productions. Technology has become more and more available and affordable for amateur groups but professional level videos and graphics have remained out of reach for many of them who don’t have huge production budgets.
"Combining my professional experience and my love of amateur dramatics"
The idea behind Scenery Projections is to change all that by taking advantage of all my professional experience and combining it with my love of amateur dramatics. I produce professional-standard work at a price clearly geared towards amateur productions – and to my knowledge my particular kind of service doesn’t exist anywhere else in the UK”.
depth, interaction and style
The results are pretty stunning. Paul’s projections can effectively provide ‘cloth replacement’ scenery and he works all the way up to fully atmospheric and engaging animations which add huge levels of depth, interaction and style to shows.
As you’d expect, it’s no easy task and requires plenty of work sat at the computer. But the technical challenges are something that Paul fully embraces. “There are always technical challenges when producing work,” he readily admits, “but I think the main challenge is to keep an eye on the story. I have to continually ask myself ‘what are the projections adding to the scene, what do I need to tell the audience, how do I need to make them feel?’ I love technical challenges but making sure that the ‘art’ works is even more important”.
When working with a theatre group to provide them with his specialist skills, Paul begins by meeting the director to discuss their requirements, styles, goals for the show and what their inspirations are. “Every show and each process is different depending on the complexity of the requirements,” says Paul, “but once we agree on the work I set off to create their vision!” Paul always welcomes input from the director as he puts the work together, and they have the opportunity to make final changes before the final files are delivered.
Paul’s work opens up a whole wealth of opportunities that simply didn’t exist before in local theatre, and he’s quick to point out the advantages. “Whether a group needs a more realistic look, more backdrops or settings than they can afford to hire or paint – or if they simply fancy adding digital scenery to bring their story to life, projected scenery offers so many advantages over traditional cloths. The flexibility of projecting media has almost no limits – you can project a whole stage or integrate a smaller screen into a physical set.”
“Of course, the beauty of Scenery Projections is that if a show design already exists, groups can just hire the scenery set as it is or with some changes – nice and simple! As I don’t charge for the design work, just the hire of files, it means that the price is the same for a new or existing show.”
"I love the Derby Theatre as it's just such a beautiful space!"
Over the course of time, Paul has been lucky enough to work in a variety of venues. “I love the Derby Theatre” he confesses, “as it’s just such a beautiful space! I’ve filmed there and love running about in the rafters and walls of the theatre and seeing views the audience just never get to see. I’ve also filmed some promo work on the stage of the Nottingham Playhouse and loved the experience of controlling that environment.”
He’s also had some exciting moments outside of theatre too, and the proudest moments of his career so far came when two films that he had directed were nominated for Royal Television Society Awards in the Best Promotional Film Category. “The first of those nominations came last year and unfortunately didn’t win on the night, but the second is coming up soon so I’ve got my fingers crossed!”
It’s a thrilling time all-round for Paul, but he’s not one to sit on his laurels and is constantly searching for new levels of inspiration to fire his already active imagination. “I’m always inspired by the use of new technology and new techniques to find different ways of telling stories and creating new experiences for audiences,” considers Paul.
“As with any art, theatre must and will always evolve.”
Paul Young was talking to Ross Lowe.
Scenery Projections are based in the Midlands but cover the whole of the UK.
To speak to Paul call 07834 370895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulandrewyoung
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