John Allbee Freelance Lighting Designer
Concerts, Events, Theater
Born in South Lake Tahoe, CA, I grew up in Los Angeles, as the son of a rock drummer. Early on, I developed a love of epic live shows as I would watch all the excitement backstage or jump right in helping carry my Dad's drum gear. I was my Dad's best boy. Being around so many creative people with unconventional lifestyles was influential in the development of my creative and esoteric side. Interpersonal communication skills developed quickly as I navigated different modes of consciousness and egos growing up.
By the age of sixteen, I had found my rebellious side and shifted my focus to practical matters I dropped Drama class for Economics class. In college I was studying to be an investment banker. After a few realizations and being in the office, I traded the suit for robes as I found my way in the Hare Krishna movement. Learning how to find balance I began the inquiry of how to handle my needs for creative expression and asset accumulation. Still wanting to be a part of the grandiose show I took my father's advice and I chose technical theater instead of musicianship.
It was this choice that found me apprenticing for my mentor as a stagehand on the Warner Brothers back lot in the prop shop. Through this experience I gained many skills and connections. This prompted me to move to San Francisco to finish college. In college I choreographed dance pieces and ran all the tech for other classmates. This led to my entrance into the IATSE union local #16.
I remember in a film production class the instructor asked how many of us wanted to be directors or actors. About thirty people rose their hands. Only six of us sat there with folded arms until prompted to stand up. Upon standing the instructor announced us to the rest of the class by saying, "Remember these people standing because soon you'll be sleeping on their couches." I loved that.
I was one of the fortunate ones in my class to get early entry in the IATSE working and touring with major shows. It was really intense. I honed in on lighting, sound, video, camera, rigging, and stagecraft skills. After graduating I was in full stride working rock arenas, trade shows, corporate events, museum galas, music videos, movies and commercials. Being able to now handle all that I chose to focus on lighting. Nothing allows me to be more creative and a part of the show than lighting. There's nothing better than watching a show come together from a producers brainstorm, to the designers vision, to the raw power and emotion of the participants, to the congratulations of a job well done, and a "see you on the next show."
I am currently a freelance lighting designer, working from my private office/warehouse in San Francisco. I enjoy meeting other professionals and following the latest trends. I enjoy attending conferences and symposiums, as well as adding more books and manuals to my reading list. Although I am highly sought after, I am always open to new projects. I have an inventory of lights ranging from Conventionals to LEDs to Movers. No job is too big or too small. Let's Rock!