J. Kenny Loveall
Web Designer/Programmer and Lighting Designer

Current Happenings

I currently attend the University of Houston, in Houston, TX and I am majoring in Computer science with a minor in Math. In addition to this I'm in the Honors College at UH and am on the UH Bowling team and active in many clubs on campus (such as IEEE, Quidditch, and Cougar CS). In addition to all the above I also work part time for Choice Tutoring, and in the on-campus Games Room (where I'm a student supervisor).

Background

Web Programming

Beginnings

I started out making websites when I was very young (around 9) with the help of my dad. I wasn't sure what I wanted to make, but I wanted to make some website and so my father helped me figure out how to purchase this domain and begin working on my site. After doing this for a few years I wanted to add some interactivity to the site. I contacted my hosting company who directed me to Resource Index which opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me. For a while this sufficed, but right around the time I was entering high school I wanted to learn more and extend these scripts to do more.

High School

As I entered high school I wanted to do more with these scripts. For this I started learning about CGI/Perl and shortly thereafter found PHP. Also around this time I talked with my father about how to design databases and he introduced me to the concepts of database normalization and relational databases. Since then I've learned HTML, CSS, XML, PHP, CGI/Perl, SQL, and JavaScript/jQuery. I've also built many websites and took a class in high school over Web Mastering in which I learned Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Flash.

Current & Future Plans

Currently I work programming and designing the site for Choice Tutoring. This site has all sorts of cool features (unfortunately they're all in the admin section) such as text message alerts, communication with QuickBooks, and a tightly integrated site. Additionally I helped redesign the site to attract new visitors in which my background in theater and the arts greatly paid off.

Electrical Engineering

Beginnings

I suppose I should have known that I was destined to be an Electrical Engineer (or more my parents should have known) since I was 4 and my favorite book to read was an informational pamphlet from SPS (our local electricity provider) which explained in terms kids could understand how the power grid worked. This was my absolute favorite book since I got it and would insist upon reading it every night and would then regale my parents with just exactly how all the power lines around work as we were driving down the road.

When I was around 6 or so I began to become fascinated with holiday lighting. I convinced my parents to let me put up a display that year and from there I was hooked. Every holiday season I would insist that we get more lights and do more expansive displays. As I was about to enter high school I began to look into synchronizing the lights to music. It took quite a while to get to the point to be able to do it, but by my Sophomore year of high school I was finally able to do it.

Junior High/High School

When I got into Junior High I started to get really active in theatre. I had been interested in it before, but junior high was the first time I really got to experience doing full productions and doing all the required tasks. As part of that experience I started to learn about load balancing and calculating various things like wattages and amperages.

This continued throughout high school where I got more interested in the more technical aspects of it. I explicitly remember reading an article in PLSN (Projection Light and Staging News) about how to balance loads of various type (incandescent, LED, HID, etc.) all on the same branch and wanted to know more about how the various types work and how they alter the electricity (and also how the electricity even can be altered). This curiosity festered for quite a few years and it wasn't until I went to Emerson and decided that theatre wasn't quite for me and that I really wanted to learn how computers take the if's and while's and assignments and make those into electrical signals and how to design digital and analog circuits. It was this curiosity that has led me to want to major in Electrical Engineering.

Theater

Beginnings

I became interested in Theater and more specifically stage lighting, when I was about 5. It didn't start very good though; my stepmother had to literally drag me to a summer theatre camp. I told her over and over that I was going to hate it, and that I didn't want to go. In hindsight, I'm really glad that she didn't listen. While on our tour of the theater space we went up to the control booth, and there I saw the light board and said to my self, "that's what I want to do with my life." The rest, as they say, is history.

From the time I was 5 until 6 years later I went to this same camp which was specifically for acting. For the last two years, however, I had gotten to know the camp director, and she let me do tech, with the last year being from conception to construction to running of the design (scenic, lighting and sound).

Junior High

While in seventh and eighth grade I fully participated in my junior high's theatre company, earning well over 100 Junior Thespian points designing and working many theatrical shows and performances for the school's choir, band and orchestra. For many of these shows my eighth grade year, I designed, programmed, and ran complex light shows choreographed to the music. I most commonly did this for choir, as they had music recorded and it could be linked via MIDI to the light board to ensure exact timing on light cues.

In addition to working many shows for the choir, band, and orchestra I designed lighting and was light crew head for School House Rock Live, Jr., The Attempted Murder of Peggy Sweetwater, and Aladdan Jr.; I was also Asst. Stage Manager for The Emperor's New Clothes.

My final act in junior high was to be technical director for the end-of-the-year talent show. For this I had many responsibilities, including assigning crew member jobs, scheduling rehearsals and performances (with approval of the director), chaos control of about 40 6th through 8th graders, and acting as Stage Manager for the three performances. I also programmed many light sequences for certain acts in the show.

High School

Throughout high school I was very active my high school's theater department. I was involved in every production from my sophomore year on that I was eligible for. This included productions such as Jekyll & Hyde, The Crucible, Daughters of Atreus, and Throughly Modern Millie. More about these shows and the other shows I did during high school can be seen on my theater work page.

While I was in high school I was also a PAC (Performing Arts Center) Assistant which involved being part of a team of students that worked the various band, orchestra, and choir performances as well as other events that came into our space (such as teacher in-service days and community events). We had to oversee and perform, usually on a very short time table, a coherent design and production for whoever was renting the space. Usually for these events I ran the lighting, however, I also had much experience doing audio, stage management, flying, and video production.

My senior year I was given the opportunity to hold the title of V.P. of Production. This position was essentially the Lead PAC Assistant and also required participation in all theater events/productions. Part of this (although not a required part) was that I created a PAC Manual detailing the specifications of the space and filled with detailed instructions on how everything in the space works, or should work. It included things such as a crash course in the lighting, sound, and video control boards and the Stage Manager console as well as flying instructions, warnings and the like. The last major component of the book was including listings of where all the various hookups for things (i.e. audio/lighting inputs/outputs, ethernet hookups, intercom connections, etc.) were and what they did as well as what all of the random things I had learned over the years (such as what switches did what, how certain things needed to be done, etc.). Additionally in my senior year I started volunteering at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts as an usher to see more shows and to give back to the theatre community.

Emerson Year

After I finished High School I went to Emerson College in Boston, MA where I planned to major in lighting design. While there I worked on many stage and TV productions, both student groups and department shows. Some of these included The 30th Annual EVVY Awards, Crumble (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake), and The Golden Age. As the year came to a close, and especially when I went to USITT that year I realized that while I love doing theater, I really missed working with technology and computers. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that theater was, for me, more of a hobby rather than a career. This led to me transferring to the University of Houston (because Emerson is a liberal arts college) where I am now majoring in Electrical Engineering.

Current & Future Plans

Now that I am back in Houston I am once again volunteering at the Hobby Center and plan to continue to do some community/school theater on the side, although it is no longer my main focus. Since theatre has been such an integral part of my life thus far it will be very difficult to ever remove myself from it completely. Additionally, the skills and attention to detail that only getting one shot at a performance or a cue has taught me will stick with me for the rest of my life and is extremely beneficial in Engineering (the basic artistic skills don't hurt either).