By: Payton Gray
Andrew Law is a 28-year-old from Chicago, IL. He grew up Southside of Chicago in the Pullman neighborhood. Andrew attended Mount Carmel High school in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Then for college, he went to Indiana State. Growing up he was raised by his Mother, Donna, and his older sister, Amanda. Their mother always took them to the roller skating rink on Fridays and Saturdays and Andrew always loved the lights also every Halloween in his house, he went to a lighting store by Chinatown to get lights and the fog machine.Then he would have a haunted house in his basement for the neighborhood. Andrew and his sister grew up always going to Disney so, when they got older they both had the opportunity to work with the Disney company.
What do you do for a living?
I am currently a full-time lighting and programmer/ lighting designer for the Walt Disney Company. I’m also Freelance Lighting Programmer and Lighting Technician in the lighting industry in LA.
How did you become involved with the lighting industry?
Well, it actually started off as a punishment in high school. I was always getting trouble, getting detentions. So the dean thought it would be best if I had an extra curriculum activity and to be part of the theater program in high school. My responsibilities were to hang lights and maintain lighting system. Then, actually turned out to be one of the greatest things for me. From there, I thought that my time with theater was coming to an end because I was only involved during my junior year and senior year of high school. It was time for me to go to college and I had really taken an interest in computers. So I thought maybe computer science would be my major and I took some courses during school. Ended up hating it because it was so boring and then took with Disney and ended up hating too. I went back to school having to take some more courses and….my advisor had a course for theater class and I just took it for the three extra credits. It just so happened to be an amazing class for me. No joke, the teacher’s name was Michael Jackson and he said he was the president of the light department at the school, and I was like what do you mean? He was like, I do the lighting for the dance residential, concerts, anythings and everything that has to deal with lighting. Maybe like the second or third week of class, he invited me to one of his light class. Is the school, which is basically a big diagram of all the lightings positions and I went and had a good time. Basically, after that I declared lighting as my major in school. From there, I took on the role as the school master electrician, so I worked on various plays and stuff like that. Then, I got the summer job running the lights during concerts at Indiana State for three seasons. Then my second semester I took a job out here in California called Productions Resource group.
What are some of the projects you’ve worked on and who are some of the artists you’ve worked with?
I’ve worked on a lot of projects. In school, I did a lot of plays and concerts but coming out of college, one of my first gigs was Vanity Fairs after party at the Grammy’s. Then, every year I do the Halloween show at Universal Studio. I toured Europe with Nas, and then toured and Beyonce on the Formation tour, her DVD shoot in New Orleans which is time-consuming which took like 17 hours. Also, I’ve lived in Shanghai working with Walt Disney. I was the main lighting director for two shows.
What is the most memorable project you’ve worked on?
It would be the Shanghai project, only because that was the longest time I had to live out of the United States. It was an undertaking because we started off with nothing and now the park is open.
Who are some of the people that inspired you as a child to go into the lighting industry?
I think as a child I didn’t really have someone that inspired me and as a kid, my mother took my sister and I, to the rolling rink Fridays and Saturdays. I remember I was really good at skating but people would make jokes because I would stand in the middle of the rolling rink just looking at the lights. Also, there’s pictures and videos of me doing it as well. People would always say it was weird that I like lights.
We see these amazing lights on Broadway shows, videos, concerts. What is a dream pro
It would have to be if Beyonce ever went on a world tour. I would want to be the main lighting director…. it’s on my bucket list. But I would also love to do the lighting for the Grammy’s. I did have the opportunity to do the install project for lights and there were over 1,100 lights.
If you had one word that describes your career, what would it be?
Why is that?
You put in all this work, not sleeping right, and not getting a proper meal. Plus not seeing your loved ones and the big payoff is seeing the project finished. The reaction from the crowds.
What advice would you give to someone that doesn’t want to have a normal job? Like other people in the world.
First off, it’s going to be hard. You’re going to have people say negative things.But when I go to work, it doesn’t feel like it because I enjoy what I do for a living.