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As I sit here

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Esoteric, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    As I sit here working on my new website (thank God this place has wireless internet) I am really frustrated. I hate it when people do not respect other people's time.

    I have never seen the need for a "dry tech". I hate them, they are pointless.

    So here I sit working with a good sized resident theater in a nice performing arts center with up to date equipment, with nothing to do for two hours, since the "dry tech" finished early and rehearsal doesn't start until 6:00PM (probably 7:00 by the time the actors get into costume).

    My part of the dry tech? Considering all the light cues were built, and the SM already had them in her book? I sat here and read my new book. Good thing I brought two. I watched the scenery change, and listened to them set levels to their sound cues.

    So here is 6 hours of my life, wasted. My time is valuable. If they didn't pay well I would have refused to attend.

    I am such a sell out.

    At least I am getting out of Preview.

    Mike
     
  2. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Um, I'd like to propose a motion: "Take the money and run."

    Any seconders?
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I know some people who don't like dry tech, and some who do. Most of our LDs that come through use the time to write cues as for us, dry tech is the first time that we get to see all the scenery on stage and all the elements of the show (save actors) in a near complete state. It is also one of the coveted dark times set aside for writing cues outside of tech. However, we dry tech on a day where we don't go into a rehearsal with the cast afterwards, so if we get done early we go home.
     
  4. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    I only see it necessary if there is a very complex set with a lot of complex movement. That way actors aren't sitting around while the stagehands are practicing on the set.
     
  5. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    I kind of agree with you here. If you NEED to pre-cue, this can be a good time to do it with scenery on the stage... and with people around to ask questions of. But if I've got cues in the board, I'm wasting time sitting there. I usually explain in an earlier production meeting... long BEFORE tech time... that I will pre-cue the show on my own time and that the real business of lighting the show requires the actors and the text. ( I also don't do cue-to-cues normally. Do you want me to light the show, or these static spots on stage?) I suggest that it might be best for this show if everyone could focus on putting together one element at a time... "Why doesn't the deck crew run a shift rehearsal at 1, then you can focus on setting sound levels at 5 when they're at dinner?" It keeps everyone moving, nobody waiting, and me doing something other than wishing I was on a console with embedded video games. Once in a while a company just tells me 'no, we do it this way here...' and I just have to suck it up and do it. And remember that sometimes the obnoxious stuff that gets done in one particular theatre gets done that way for a reason that is particular to that theatre and crew and you just have to go with it. But more often than not if I try to constructively work my way around a dry tech early enough in the process, I can....

    Art Whaley
    Art Whaley Design
     
  6. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    I really tried to be "unavailable" but in the end they insisted. The show had already been cued (in fact we had already had a complete run through with actors and lights). I can not imagine walking into any rehearsal without cues written (I write them right after focus). Doing anything more than putting numbers in the console requires actors on stage. Anything else is pointless.

    But I got a good book read, and worked on my website.

    Mike
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Ah' I remember such days, and also working hard during such days in working in quoting out my five year plan for the theater or spending my time while on-site working on components to the rigging or lighting system. On the other hand, a good book... I remember entire shows in relation to books read even if paid to run the light board.

    Consider the relation of the two above in what you where doing on pay. Five year plan to get the theater where it needs to get, or doing the job for pay? At times yea, in sitting "ready which is why I don't do shows now" it's necessary to be in the ready instad of readying parts or prepping fixtures or working up that five year plan for your space, but on the other hand was this even if in viewing a catalog this time?

    On the other hand, I infrequently get into that mode also. Today I spent like two hours in a ten hour day looking at some new architectural lighting fixture catalogues I got in today. Hmm, that's fascinating type stuff in keeping it in mind for future needs, or emailing my sales person, how much does that cost and what's it's lead time be it for current project we are working on or long standing need for in another source for this part. Noted some stuff that's cool and to keep in mind, but on the other hand part of my job is fixture and gear making and at some point I do need to find time to sit down with catalogues. Got two guys on our current project, and two guys fixing cable in waiting on parts to come in for the next project to start. Do other stuff during the day and even help or prototype at times, but for the most part I don't normally do the production work on projects.

    This or repairs in other thing in waiting for the "go" on a project under deadline up against minimum shipping times for it's parts did walk away from my computer in at some point just doing the simple while really board, fixing DMX cable for a few hours. Most light booths have an extra Edison outlet, any chance your theater don't have any cable to repair while waiting in being worth your pay? Sit fixing a bunch of Edison cable while being not needed perhaps?

    Ah' a good book, got Sheldon's "Stage Decoration" currently cracked for re-read. Not getting far in it so far in being ambitious both at work and home.

    Can remember many books read while paid to run the board. Didn't sit well with me in the end in selling my wild oats for improving the place. Instead I did more than my pay grade in fixing stuff and or pricing out what I saw as my five year punch list for improvement to it. Following this and years later, I don't really have a supervisor. I work on the stuff handed to me, than if handed the project hand it off to my assistants in going onto the next project to work on if not inspect lamps, always busy. This be it reading some article from PLSN in keeping up with say some new lamp I need the specifications to in perspectively getting to looking at a catalog in getting a minds eye for some other way to do stuff. Or if waiting for something and needing a change, just fixing gear in being refreshing.


    Always busy in a seven or ten year backlog of stuff to work on beyond current or future projects. Not sitting well with the book, I hope it don't with a real tech person as opposed to someone there for pay, bring a stack of stuff to fix up to your booth while not busy otherwise.
     
  8. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

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    Ugh... I recently dropped the tech class out of my tech schedule so that I could find a real job, and somehow got called in a week or so before the show was going into preview. The LD handed me a plot with about 80 dots on it, which represented instruments. I had never seen the script before, and when I said, "Do you want a fresnel here, or a S4?" he said, "oh... you decide." Then I had to cut twenty lights because we didn't have enough circuits.

    When he asked me at the very last minute if we could set up ground cycs up against the wood set and I told him that not only would it be a fire hazard, but the kitchen set would be in the way, he went and asked an older tech I had brought with me, who also told him no. When he asked me how a cue looked during wet tech and I said terrible, he would say, "oh what do you know?"

    After he left, just as rehearsal started, I would stay everyday and focus as I needed to after getting permission from the director. One day, the stage manager came to me and said, "when will you guys be done with lights?" and I replied, "Oh, I don't know, given that our Carpenter works 7 hours in the day and we can't focus, you guys start rehearsing at 2, and our LD won't come in for night calls (if he can't work well at night, nobody can), I would say, about 2 weeks into the show." She was clearly upset and I further explained that I have been pleading for night calls with him. The Director overheard, called the Producer who called the LD who came in the next day and called us names and yelled and crap, he at one point said, "Nobody else needs to know what's going on because I'm the boss, I'm in charge." By the way, he's also our TD.

    I got my mom to come in and supervise us at night, because there has to be an adult present with all of us underage hooligans. Our LD never showed to a night call. But he was pissed for some reason that we were getting work done at night...

    When I asked him for a wet tech the next day, with the actors present, he said "No. We'll cue the rest of the lights tomorrow and if we need to we'll have extra techs stand in for actors. We're just going to do a dry tech." I tried to explain to him that it doesn't work that way. Basically what happened was the SM and I went to the Director and the actors to get a wet tech the next day. At that point we were three days away from preview. We got a wet tech and things went fine after that, except the lights looked like crap. It made me cringe, it made the older lighting techs who have already graduated cringe, it made our Fall LD cringe, it even made our Producer cringe.

    A couple days later, the LD/TD monster thing told me that if I wouldn't have come in to do lights, he would have PAID my boyfriend to do it! I almost killed him... again. And I never got paid for it either.

    Dry techs are dumb, especially when you're what, three days away from preview and you haven't even had a run through? Cue to Cue's are also somewhat of a pain if you're doing lights because there could be stuff in between where you're like, "Well that's not enough light" or "that looks a little funky." And then you have to deal with crying Stage Managers and people who don't know how to do their job. Oh, how I wish I could sit around for six hours reading a book and getting paid. How I wish I could've gotten paid for that particular job even. That's 100+ hours of my life I won't get back, or have beaten several videogames with. But I guess we can't all have what we want... Pleh... :(

    That's kind of the moral of my story... When you feel like your job sucks, think of my story and you'll be like, no SUNSHINE DANCE TIME!!! At least, I hope so. Sorry for the long rant.

    I can't wait to work with professionals... And there's a sleepy kitty on my lap so I must away.
     
  9. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    And got paid, which is the important part.

    I recall building tradeshow booths overseas, working under serious deadlines with little to no sleep (you all can relate, eh?), pushing to get done and grab some zzzzzz's. The last day of many tradeshows have a tendency to be rather quiet, and I would remind myself that this was averaging the 'sweat per hour' to an acceptable level. :clap:

    Now, reading in the booth is VERY cool. Especially if it's something YOU want to read...
     
  10. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Good post. But if I am reading it correctly (your writing style is a little hard to follow for me) remember I am just the LD. No tie to the theater and I certainly don't do tech work anymore.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  11. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and now I cant get a crew to do focus notes until the day of preview.

    *lol*

    What a waste of a tech week.

    Mike
     
  12. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    Interesting thread.. but need help with terms.

    What is "dry tech", "wet tech" and "preview"? Thanks.
     
  13. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Check out our fabulous Glossary! (look for the yellow words with the dashed underlining) (ok, Dry Tech was the one in there... that's changed now)

    Dry Tech: This is the first technical rehearsal for the entire crew with all technical elements. There are no actors. Each set change and cue is done in order. Often there are long pauses while lights are adjusted, set changes are choreographed, sound levels set, etc...

    Wet Tech: Following Technical rehearsals for the entire crew with all the technical elements, with actors. The entire show is done and the tech changes are practiced with actors.

    Preview: (Not entirely sure on this one, I'm going by our definitions. I'd be willing to stand corrected!)
    1. Dress rehearsal with a few audience members present to observe and comment on the show.

    2. Dress rehearsal for press to come in and review the show before opening night.

    3. Dress rehearsal for the photo call.
     
  14. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    These are the ones I go by...

    Dry tech: Lieperjb is right on. But it is a complete waste of time for lighting (IMHO).

    Wet tech: We never use this term down there. Typically this is just the second technical rehearsal.

    Preview:
    This can be done in a variety of ways...

    Closed preview full tech - Just a final tech rehearsal, but with the designers no longer changing placement and timing of cues, only levels, designers are still in the house on headset.

    Invited preview full tech - A few invited audience memebers attend, again, designers are still on headsets in the house adjusting cues, but not placement or timing.

    Open Preview full tech - Open to any who wish to attend, again with designers working in the house.

    Closed/Invited/Open preview special tech - Same as above but designers are in the house taking notes instead of on headset.

    Sold preview - Audiences paying to see the preview. This is NEVER a working tech. At the most the designers are in the booth taking notes.

    At least that is what we say around here.

    Mike
     
  15. Teber

    Teber Member

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    I wont forget sitting there during a dry-tech run and a whole fly fell and was rendered unusable during a production of kiss me kate. Spent 9 hours the next day rebuilding it.
    Remember for actors - Learn Your lines, dont trip over the furniture, and watch for falling flys... good times... good times
     
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    When i come in to design a show, i try to rough in some cues while they do a run through. Then i have a dry tech with the director and clean up my rough cues, and create all of my focus palletes (i do shows with lots of movers). Then i am able to go scene by scene, Actors come back, few tweaks here and there and all is well. I hate trying to tweak a scene and have 50 actors just waiting on ME. I perfer a few crew sitting around during a dry tech while i tweak.
     
  17. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    No one should ever wait on the LD (no one waits on me, even when I am tweaking during a run through, I just talk to the board op on the headset while he adjusts). That being said, how do you adjust light cues without all the actors on stage? To me that seems totally pointless to try and set levels without all the actors present. In fact my roughed in cues are usually just a front wash at full or some color at full or something like that until I can get ahold of actors.

    But no one ever waits on me, when the SM calls the cue it goes and I can go back into blind more and change if I need to, or take a note and adjust the level later (although I hate doing this) or if it is early enough in the process I tell the board op not to take the cue, and the actors keep going then once the adjustment is made, the board op takes the cue. But rehearsals never stop on my account, and I do all my tweaking during rehearsal.

    Now, setting pallettes, etc to me is part of focus and needs to be done on focus day. Setting levels on movers, colors, etc is part of tech and is done on rehearsal days.

    Again, if it works for you that is awesome. I can't set levels without actors present and moving and doing their lines and interacting. But as my old professor used to say "there are many ways to Mecca, this one works for me."

    Mike
     
  18. gpotr

    gpotr Member

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    We're about to do Wizard of OZ everything thats not nailed down flies. smoke, fog, co2, pyro about 500 lqs each actor has 6 quickchanges yeah i'll blow 5 hours at a paper tech
    Greg
     
  19. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    With that many scene changes and costume changes, plus FX that is totally worth it. Additionally if you have a moving light rig (not a rig of moving lights, but a lighting rig that moves) then that is worth it.

    Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for paper tech, but to sit around and look at an empty stage to "set lighting levels" or to sit there while the SM writes cues in a book, is a complete waste of people's time.

    Mike
     
  20. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    I always have to write cues with out actors on stage. Sometimes I have a crew member sitting on stage so I can tell how it looks. But most of the time I'm by myself. Its not the ideal way, but its the only way I can do it. If I'm designing for a rental show, I normally only have a week from first time I see the show to opening night. I designed the REP plot, so I know what I can and can't do, and I only have to focus specials. It's not unusual for me to be in the space till 2 or 3 AM writing cues Tuesday night. I also run the board for the shows so I am always changing cues, even during the last show :rolleyes:

    Its fun being the Lighting supervisor, LD, ME, Board op, and rigger ;)
     

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