“…Every time I am lighting a set, it feels like I am painting with light.” That’s what Ekaterina Doldjeva says about doing her job, she is an electrician on movie sets and TV shows. She also feels that she wouldn’t change what she does for any other job. That’s quite a mouthful for anyone. But when you see what she has done and what shows she has worked on you might understand a little better what she means, what her job really entails and why she likes it so much.
Ekaterina is from Bulgaria where she initially studied physics, math, computer science and English. While she was immersed in all of these interesting subjects she realized that what she was really interested was animation, graphic design and visual effects. She would look at the lighting styles of great paintings and create a computer image and then try to duplicate the lighting of the painting on to her image to make it real and alive.
Ekaterina moved to Los Angeles soon after school and enrolled in college classes in camera operating, editing, lighting and film history. Visual storytelling became her main focus after that and she decided that she would work in the film industry. She worked on numerous short films and independent features and then she was hired on Chicago Fire, the popular TV series. She also worked on Betrayal, Chicago PD, The Other One, Empire, Shameless and Sense8, to name a few. She was the electrician on these shows, which meant that she basically lit the show for the Director of Photography. The electrician positions the lights, gets power to them, moves them when necessary and is in constant communication with the Director of Photography.
Ekaterina has also worked as a camera operator and even though she loves being an electrician, which is such an important part of the filmmaking process, she ultimately wants to work her way up to being the cinematographer. Her job as electrician is a key step along the path toward being cinematographer because she has to understand (and she does) what effect each light has on different skin tones and how much lighting is needed to color the scene properly and where to put the lights in each scene. She has been busy almost the entire year so far and recently was the electrician on the major motion picture Office Christmas Party, starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Kate McKinnon.