Zarah working in residence at the wonderful Experimental Television Center here in New York State. Deserving of love and respect? Heck, yes. And so are you. The person hiring you may just need some hand-holding about how to give it to you.

Zarah Cabañas akaLady Firefly has a radical concept: what if you treated visualists properly as professionals? But she doesn’t make any assumptions that people working with visualists will know what to do. In a new manifesto posted to “Respect Your VJ,” she spells it out so there’s no mistake — including practical advice for making it happen.

You probably won’t learn anything by reading it. But the person hiring you (unfortunately) probably could. In short, the idea is:

  • Give credit.
  • Love them – including letting them play onstage.
  • Visualists are artists, not tech crew. (You should love your tech crew, too, but you wouldn’t highlight them onstage – unlike the visual artist.)
  • Pay them, and promptly.
  • Go over tech specs.

In fact, the whole idea is to communicate with the visualist, and give them the kind of input that will allow them to do more for you.

Check out Zarah’s work:
Zarah (Lady Firefly) on Vimeo

The “respect your VJ” suggestions are all simple stuff, but boy, is it often missed. I love the idea of it being on one website. Have a look; I’m curious if anyone has items they’d add.

Zarah writes with more of her thinking:

Zarah doing studio sessions with our good friends at Forward Motion Theater.

fellow visualists~!
here we are, its 2009, i’ve seen each and everyone of your visuals gracing the various events of new york city and beyond, and from the bottom of my heart i want to thank you for putting the good stuff up there! its exciting to see how our artform of visuals evolves, and is becoming more and more present in a wide scope of cultural niches and circles. i know from what ive experienced, we are often putting up visuals in places where either people have never really thought of them before, or don’t really know what to expect, or have some twisted idea of what we do.
so last night i wrote out and put up the first iteration that, as a VJ, i would appreciated future collaborators to keep in mind when working with one of us.
ive called it
i thought it was high time to have a simple webpage which included some practical pointers for those wanting to work in visuals at an event.
my goal with this page is to be able to use it as a tool, for myself and for yourself if you find it necessary — to be able to send anyone this link and get them quickly up to speed with what VJs need.
it may not be relevant to all the gigs we do, but i think it does address some topics ive discussed with many of you regarding our craft.
so im asking if you can please give it a look, think back to your own experiences….. however you think will make it better, simpler, clearer,,,, if there are things you see differently or should be included, it would be a great point of discussion to make this page better, write back! your feedback is necessary!