The chance of a lifetime!!!

So why’d I quit.

I was sitting at dinner one night celebrating my friend Michelle’s birthday and said out loud that I’d love nothing more than a 9 to 5 job.  Get up in the morning.  Have a cup of coffee.  An hour for lunch.  Off at 5 or 6.

And the VERY next day i get a message on Facebook that says,

“have a big job for you possibly. A studio situation (in PORTLAND!) for up to a year or so for good $. PLEASE write back (AN EMAIL) I misplaced all contact info for you.”

This peaked my interest so I wrote back with my email address.

I got the following email a short while later:

Hi. Thanks for getting back to me. Here’s the thing. Have been asked to do a giant  extravaganza in China in 2014. Wuhan to be exact, the “frying pan” of China. The project is enormous and will make use of 1000 plus lighting units most of which are integrated into the building as opposed to being hung on “electrics” etc. I’m asking you to think about becoming project manager for me on the US end. You’d be generating studies, rough drawings to final drawings, interacting with other production folk (designers, technicians, managers, etc), keeping eye on budget issues, etc.  I think this could work out to about one year’s work, maybe a bit more and, thanks to the many digital means of communication: ALL in Portland!  I’m in the process of contract negotiation myself but I think this might be worth up to $1000 per week for you. I’d assume 5 days a week, 8 hours, etc, at the max – seems there will be obvious down times but I’m asking them to accept the idea that the “office/studio” as it were, is open throughout.  If yes, we should write a contract and get you working asap. I’m not back in Portland until the 13th – would be good to meet right away. In the meantime, you could begin by learning the show through the various drawings, 3D stuff, etc.

 Whaddaya think?




Could it possible be that I moved to Portland, Maine and actually get a full time job in lighting design.  Working 9 to 5.  For what’s not bad money.  Could it be.


So the back story.

I knew that Chris lived here.  I knew who he was.  I also knew that he lived a couple of blocks from Michelle and Lisa.  We actually finally met last spring when Adam and I were here doing a show.  Then we’d met again in the summer in Michelle and Lisa’s backyard.  It was nothing more than hello.  A discussion of the people that we had in common.  Nothing more.  So it was completely out of blue to get this email from him offering me a job when he didn’t know who the hell I was.


Who’s Chris.

Just a Tony award winning Broadway lighting designer who lives in Portland, Maine.   Who’s worked all over the world.


On September 5th.  After receiving countless texts from my “boss.” I arrived exactly 25 minutes late for work.  I asked to speak to him.  He walked around the side of the restaurant with me while I told him of this extraordinary opportunity that I had.  That it was full time.  Working on anything bigger than I had ever dreamed of.  And that it was the chance of a lifetime.  And I told him that I was quitting.  And in fact would not even be working that shift.  he continued talking for about three minutes till what I said had sank in.  The he said, when did you say you were quitting.  I handed him the key and repeated…today.  He took the key asked me if I needed anything from the office, I assured him that I did not.  He walked away without even saying good bye.

And I got in my car and drove away. VERY.  VERY.  HAPPY.



2 thoughts on “The chance of a lifetime!!!

  1. javabear January 7, 2013 / 11:42

    That guy is an ass.

    So did you get the lighting designer job? I assume not, since you said recently that you are unemployed.

  2. Emile Ballard January 22, 2013 / 09:48

    You’re welcome! I read your first post and thought you’d love it assuming you can find a job, which with some effort, you should be able to do. Portland’s perfect because it offers some of the bigger city amenities with a small town atmosphere. You can live in a nice walkable urban center but be out in the sticks in 10 minutes. You’ll have a good blend of things you can get from a city with nature close by and without the problems of bigger cities (traffic, crime, etc). If you need more, Boston’s not too far away for a day trip.

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