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Australian Connections

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by Hughesie, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    I had a thought tonight, i have hardly any theatre connections, in Australia. except for this wonderful site, which has been a huge help through many productions.

    but i was wondering if anyone knew of some people i could talk to about getting into community theatre and the like, you see i have a lot of experience in the area of sound but i am unable to really get anywhere due to the lack of qualification, i tried out for one amateur theatre company, but they said no thanks. im not looking for money, im just looking for work and experience, i love nothing more than helping make magic and acts come alive on the stage. so if anyone knows of someone to speak to who might be able to help me, that would be great

    PM me or just email me
     
  2. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Are you looking for something close to your home, or are you okay with moving around your state, or around your country, or switching countries (and learning the imperial system of measurement?
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Nice shot Charc...

    Hey Hughsie, I can't help you directly as my connections are a little weak on your continent, but let me tell you what I tell young folks here.

    First off you have to be in an area where there is more than one theater. So as I advised Mischa in another thread, if you're in a really small town you may need to move to the big city. If you are in a city with several small community theaters and some professional ones, you've got everything you need to get experience.

    Second you've got to get to know the people at your community theater and show them you are useful. Going in and saying "Hi I want to run sound", probably isn't going to help. You have to become a part of their operation first. The best way to do that is to volunteer to help out with whatever they need. That might be sweeping the floor, applying base coats of paint, driving screws. Your goal is to show them you are a good hardworking tech, you are reliable, you deal well with pressure, and you know what you are doing.

    Eventually you will get to know the people who are in charge of sound, offer to help out. This is the transition phase in your plan. You've proven to others you are a good tech, now you want to prove that to the sound guy.

    Finally, here's the magic trick. If you are lucky they will decide they can use you in sound at the theater you are working at. But Maybe they won't. However the trick is the head sound guy and those other techs, know other people in your area. You show them you are skilled and hard working. Eventually a phone call will come and someone will say, we need a sound operator can you recommend someone. As a college tech director I get these calls 2 or 3 times a year. The key is getting yourself in the door any way you can and working your way up from within.

    This trick works for a lot of things by the way. The T.D. for the largest theater in about a 1000 mile radius started out as an over hire carpenter he worked his way up through the shop and now is the T.D.
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Getting names is one thing, and yes name dropping can sometimes get you in the door. After you hit the door, you got about 5 min to make it or break it. Ask anyone who has ever been out on a road show, you know who the idiots are before you get the truck unloaded. Same goes for just about anything. You have to prove that you can do it, no matter who you know. Having a degree is just one more thing that helps you get in the door. Hopefully the degree gave you enough training and knowhow so that you dont look like an idiot.
     
  5. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    yeah, i am in an area that has a few theatre's around, but i tried to get in and just talk i think the question i asked was, im looking to get some more experiance in theatre and backstage, their responsce was, no were fine. i thought it was rather a rude email actually.

    currently im not really prepared to move around, victoria is about the limit of it currently
     
  6. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    yeah, it's so simple i would learn it in a flash:p
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Well, first you have to add more then just "I want to get more experience". Send them a resume that is well crafted and lists all of your specific skills. Then tell them you will be willing to work for free. If you sound like a random high school student asking to help, odds are they will say no, if you approach a bit more professionally, you might be able to get somewhere with them. Even better, call the production manager or someone like that and see if they cant do anything for ya. Community theatres are usually pretty easy to get into.
     
  8. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    with the email i attached a version of my resume, and my email tag line also has my resume site in it

    www.alexhughes.bravehost.com/resume.html

    which outlines my skills and experiance
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    One thing to establish is the type of theater you are contacting. Here there are three types of theaters:

    1) Professional theaters with union crew... they probably wouldn't even take the time to respond to your e-mail offer of help. Everyone who works there must be a union member. Their union contracts make it so that you couldn't volunteer there... you would be doing work for free that a union member should be paid for.

    2)Semi-Professional theaters. These places are in between the big union houses and small community theaters. They have a big budget and hire lots of good people but they don't have union only contracts. It can be difficult to get into a place like this, but if you meet the right person it's possible that you could hang out there a little.

    3) Community Theaters. This is what you are looking for. These are small mostly volunteer run theaters. They have very small budgets and are always eager to have someone willing to work for free. The one near my house has the following policy for new crew... "If you see the red pickup truck by the loading dock stop in and we'll put you to work". These places tend to have sort of funky theaters but there are a lot of really skilled people who work in these places who are happy to teach an eager volunteer. It's a great place to start.

    So the question is, is the theater world down under similar? Is there something like our Community theaters in your community?
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Just a few notes about your resume, im not going to say everything, but this is a start. Put awards last unless you have something thats named after a guy in brooklyn or his friends in other countrys. Also, go big or go home. List your newest/best show first. People read resumes top to bottom, if the first thing they see is a middle school show, they aren't going to get to the bottom. Also, clean up your skills a bit. You don't need to put you can throw weight, that is assumed with the fly system operation (if you can operate a flysytem and you don't know how to throw weight, you should not be operating it). Try to pull everything out of context of your high school, example... instead of training junior crew, simply saying "training crew in _____" would suffice.
     
  11. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Hi: From Adelaide. I don't know Melbourne but there is a site called Theatre Australia
    www.theatre.asn.au
    which has a lot of stuff on it. There is a really friendly puppeteer called Na who lives in Melbourne.
    I have to say that showing up in person does a lot more in Australia than sending e-mails. Pity you don't live in Adelaide. I have quite a few jobs on and really need a ladder monkey to focus and rig for me. Sometimes for money sometimes not.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    So Logos is the theater situation there similar to the U.S. as I described above with smaller volunteer run community theaters always eager for help?
     
  13. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    yeah eager for help, right,

    one phonecall asking whether they needed any help, as a stage hand. so sorry we have enough "un qualifieds" she said

    and an email to another company fostered a responce of we will keep your resume but don't get your hopes up
     
  14. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    yeah, damm i would really love to help you, but slight amount of distance between us :(
     
  15. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    I don't know the Sydney scene well but ... we have the top end, commercial theatre, not so much Union dominated but nonetheless tough to break into. Along side of that is something I don't think you have, the Govt subsidised theatre, surviving because of huge funding subsidies from Government. equally difficult to break into. The music world is a little easier to get into provided you are prepared to work your arse off. There are also the convention centres and casinos, nothing like Vegas but still pretty good. In the theatre world it's who you know.
    Then we have what is called the Fringe scene in Sydney and Melbourne, which almost doesn't exist here in Adelaide semi pro well pro really but very few full timers.
    In general the larger theatres tend to be run by boards of management who produce very little and act mainly as receiving houses. The producers put the shows together and put them into the theatres. The smaller places hire out some of the time and put shows together when they can afford it and then they bring staff in.
    We also have quite a big amateur world where a guy like me can earn part of a living and can occasionally pay guys like Alex while they learn. I also do school shows and small scale production of my own as well as pro shows when they are available. I teach a bit too.
    You gotta remember we have a population of 21 million only in a space not a lot smaller than mainland USA. Something called the tyranny of distance locks in to kill small and medium scale touring, only the biggies can afford to tour.
    Our state capital cities tend to be a couple of days apart with no towns of any real size between them. Except on the east coast from Brisbane down to Sydney and a bit further.
    I am not complaining you can earn a living here if you work hard and after fifteen years in the UK pro scene like it says below I am semi retired. I would probably die of boredom if I retired completely.
    So ... it's different but the same.
    I tell you what though, from what I've read here your schools and colleges largely have ours beaten hands down for facilities and equipment.
    Now I've said all this people are probably going to jump all over me.
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Our big professional houses do get some federal/state/county/city art commission grants. But we don't have theater run entirely by government funding. It's a mix of government funding and rich people in the community who pay the bills at the big places. With probably more than 80% of the money coming from rich people and corporations.

    I'm really spoiled here because within about a 25 mile radius there are close to 100 theater operations from huge professional houses to small fringe theaters in someone's house. The opportunities to be involved in theater are vast here. Most won't pay you more than gas money... but it's easy to find a theater who needs you.
     
  17. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Here in Adelaide which is comparatively small we have the Festival Centre 3 theatres one of which is rarely used, Government run and paid for. They also run another theatre in town called Her Majesties, named after Queen Victoria not our current monarch, which is also underused. We then have two other biggish theatres in the city centre one of which is owned and run by the calisthenics society and rarely hosts theatre. In the City there is then something called the Bakehouse which is a co-op run black box.
    There is one decent theatre outside the city centre and a couple of theatres in college areas and community centres but they are largely designed as multi purpose and therefore crap for everything.
    There are two more converted church halls in close which are pretty good. Then it's scout halls and other stuff. Somebody recently started converting an IMAX cinema to a live performance space but I think thats mostly going to be music and so on.
    Like I said small town.
     
  18. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    damm i wish i had that,
     
  19. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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  20. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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