We had the good fortune of connecting with Rin Mizumoto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rin, what is the most important factor behind your success?
My success as a lighting designer stems from my ability to improvise, which I believe comes from being up-to-date with constantly evolving technology.
Live entertainment requires frequent improvisation, both on and off stage. As a designer who collaborates with directors, managers, other designers, and technicians, I always strive to be ready for anything, and spend a lot of time preparing for shows like drafting detailed drawings of all lighting components and where to pull power and data from, programming “macros” on the lighting console to accommodate various emergencies during the show, and planning emergency procedures for the technicians.
Despite this careful process of preparation, there is always a chance the unexpected will occur during a live show with hundreds or thousands of people in the audience. It is my responsibility to solve these issues efficiently and ensure that the performance continues to run smoothly without the audience noticing any flaws. I believe this is why my ability to improvise has become an integral part of my journey as a lighting designer.
As a freelance designer, I also work in various artistic settings, from traditional stages and large outdoor venues to TV/film studios and non-traditional warehouses. Each of these venues have a different type of setup, fixture, and console that require a unique way of operating them. Again, I’m improvising and accommodating to different situations by working with new lighting equipment, such as state-of-the-art intelligent fixtures, network systems, and updated versions of softwares/consoles. Being efficient with various types of lighting consoles is especially helpful since theatrical shows and music concerts use very different lighting consoles, and I love working on both types of productions!
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I believe my uniqueness as a lighting designer comes from my cultural background. I have experience working in both Japanese and American entertainment industry, and I believe knowing two similar yet very different worlds really sets me apart from others.
My bilingual ability has provided me the opportunities to work in unique international settings. Recently, I worked for the Japanese media production company, Fuji Media Technology. This company collaborates with Cirque du Soleil’s touring shows in Japan, and I acted as the main translator between Cirque’s technicians and their Japanese guests. I have also been lending my bilingual skills for a Japanese lighting company that sells/rents American lighting equipment to their Japanese customers. I translate technical manuals for various lighting equipment, which requires high-level attention as well as in-depth knowledge of both theatrical and cinematic lighting equipment.
Initially, I considered my bicultural identity a challenge in the American industry, but it quickly became my greatest asset. I love being able to connect two cultures through the medium of live entertainment, and I hope to use this unique skill to continue contributing to both Japanese and American productions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to different beaches throughout the LA area. If my friend from Japan was visiting, I would take them to various ethnic restaurants as well, because Japan does not have a lot of authentic ethnic food. I love and appreciate LA’s diverse culture, and I would want them to experience that!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First, I want to dedicate a shoutout to my roommates who have spent the past year and a half with me in this pandemic. All of us work in the entertainment industry with different areas of interests. We often work together as well, which is very fun, and it is just so good to have creative individuals near me who are also passionate about what they do. And secondly, I would like to send a shoutout to my family who lives in Japan for always supporting me from afar. They are truly the reason why I can pursue my passion in lighting design as a career, and I can’t wait until they can come visit LA and see my shows in person (once the pandemic situation gets a little better!)
Photographers: Delaney Finnegan, Azuki Umeda, Sophia Goodin, Francis Gacad