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Anyone else with this problem.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by HighWattageKid92, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. HighWattageKid92

    HighWattageKid92 Member

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    When it comes to my high school we have an amazing facility but it not maintained by anyone. Whatever works works but if its not there no one is getting it unless it out of my pocket. Does anyone else have that problem and if so any ideas? I thought up of bake sales n stuff to raise money for better equipment.
     
  2. NABster07

    NABster07 Member

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    With my theater, a highschool space that was just built eight years ago, we have a TD that is incharge all the time. He also teaches some tech theater classes that help out with building huge sets and such. He is always busy because when we dont have one of our own productions, we are being rented out. We are the nicest facility for miles and miles and there is a lot of money in the comunity, so therefore we get some fairly large acts in there, such as Arlo Guthrie this august. If your space is really nice, and there isnt something to rival you real close, that can be a huge selling point. Getting a budget and being able to keep profits in house is also a huge advantage. With our productions we borrow money from the school, pitching that we will make it all back and we do, so we pay them back and keep all the profit into producing a show the next year, and also equipment to improve the facility to make it even more of a desireable location.
    as far as raising money, look for private donations around where you are located. Our theater was built off mostly private donations. The profit from that will more likely be greater then a bake
    sale. Equipment in the theater is expensive, so you might be able to buy one source 4 with your bake sale profits if you are lucky. Find somebody that is loaded and loves the arts!
     
  3. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Common problem with high schools and some other facilities. A contractor comes in and installs a great system which was one line in a budget that was approved by the board. Then the system slowly decays as no one ever thinks to include some form of maintenance contract in the future budgets. To the people operating the facility, even the simplest request for repair is hit with enough red tape that if it were gaffers tape, you could supply the next three U2 tours.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    A couple of strategies.

    1) The theater department isn't the only one who uses the theater but is often expected to maintain it for everyone. Approach the student body with a well documented package that shows how much lamps cost, how many you have, and what your other maintanance issues are. Ask that they chip in a certain amount each year to help cover the costs since they probably use the theater more than you do for other student activities.

    2) Go to the administration and demand that a maintenance fund be setup so that if an outside group rents the facility the money from that rental comes back to support upkeep of the theater. This may be a huge fight that has to go all the way to the school board but it's worth it.

    3) If you can't do #2 ask that some sort of a maintenance surcharge of say $20 an hour be added to the regular rental rate. This would stay in your fund.

    4) Go to the principle and say I have these specific needs that will cost this specific amount to repair. This effects every activity that uses the theater and should be shared by the school as a whole. Can you help me get the funding for a small upkeep fund to do these repairs and others that will happen in the future. Help me convince the student body to chip in. Help me get some money out of outside rentals. etc... Be respectful! Be prepared with real numbers and specific details... put it all in a nice excel spreadsheet. Dress up nice like it's a business meeting. Impress your principle with how much you know and how well you have researched. It'll go a long way toward getting you some help.

    As a High School drama teacher in a really poor school I was able to pull off #1, #3, and #4 and I got all my gear working. Get your drama teacher/tech advisor involved. There is always a little money for this type of stuff but you need to push for it now before the school year starts. It may actually be too late... the budgets may already be locked in and you may have to wait until spring.
     
  5. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    It's definitely common. We don't have an official auditorium manager, but it is understood by consensus that I'm in charge. Gafftaper gave some great thoughts, and I would only add that #4 is huge. Demonstrate that you're a knowledgeable professional, and don't pay out of your own pocket for equipment and upkeep.

    If you're maintaining and running the equipment, be strict (and professional) with how your equipment is used, that will also cut down costs.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I can't tell you how many times I came in to school in the morning only to find all the stage lights turned on onstage. I had a LOT of serious but professional talks with people educating them that it cost me about $10 an hour in lamp life to run all the lights.

    That's brings up another good strategy. Figure out the dollars per hour cost of running your lighting system in terms of lamp replacement.

    For example: I have 36 S4's with 2000 hour long life lamps. Lamps cost me $20. That's $720 to replace them all. 2000hrs divided by $720=$2.78 per hour toward the cost of replacement to run them all. Total them all up you'll be surprised how much lamp life you burn REALLY fast.
     
  7. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    You also have to factor in the lifespan of the equipment. Lets say you have $90,000 in total equipment (dimmers, lights, etc.) If you use a 10 year average lifespan, it costs you $25 per day or $175 per week. The equipment will probably last a lot longer, but there's also a lot of time where it is not in use, so I find the formula evens out pretty well.
     
  8. HighWattageKid92

    HighWattageKid92 Member

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    Thanks guys
     
  9. DAE

    DAE Member

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    All of the above replies are good and cover most bases.
    You need to recruit users from different sections of the school so when you go to ask for maintenance funding there are wider areas to get it from. i.e. dance, darama, award ceremonies, conventions, club meetings.
    It is harder to get capital or upgrade funding so put your plan together that only asks for capital funding every other year.
    As has been said, look for outside one off funding and even though it is the easiest solution, keep your hands out of your wallet, that way the system will find the funding when the increased users group wants more lights working.
    A cheap and effective set of worklights, easily switched on, will take the pressure off using stage lighting for set construction and early rehearsal sessions, with responsability put on a person for every session to ensure lights are turned off at the end of each session. Make sure there are adaquate security lighting on movement detectors or timers to allow people to leave the venue and feel safe without leaving your main rig on.

    I have built up a few amateur theatre groups lighting rigs and initially we borrowed and loaned from other clubs, juggling productions schedules so shows did not clash and asked the committees to pay 1/4 of what we saved in hire costs into buying new equipment. This built the pool up untill the clubs went solo as they had adaquate rigs to use. You will also find that this method relies on a good relationship with the other clubs and as people move on, these relationships will dwindle over time.
     

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