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Back in the control booth/scene shop after 25 years

Discussion in 'New Member Board' started by jneveaux, May 19, 2008.

  1. jneveaux

    jneveaux Member

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    Hello. Please be kind while I shake off the cobwebs (we used to use rubber cement) and the dust (some DE-diatomaceous earth?). Jack
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Welcome to the booth Jack. Ask questions, answer them, and you may find that you never want to leave this great community.
     
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  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Welcome Aboard! Hey Technical theatre is just like riding a bicycle, you never forget how, no matter how hard you try you just can't forget. Believe me I've tried several time over the years to forget, it never works, it just keeps pulling me back ......:mrgreen:

    Ask what you want answer what you can.
     
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  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Welcome back Jack. What sort of work are you doing in your return to the theater? What type of theater is it? Are there any questions we can point you in the right direction to get you started?
     
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  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  6. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Welcome, Jack! Nothing wrong with taking a break for awhile. While there have been many, many changes, I think you'll be surprised at how little things have changed on a basic level.

    Scene shop, huh, you're singing my song - I was a foreperson (man, I hate that word) for 13 years and loved the time spent there. There's just something about the smell of pine and sawdust that warms me to my toes.

    Share your knowledge and we'll try to keep up! (I may be bugging you about non-funtioned button light switches)
     
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  7. jneveaux

    jneveaux Member

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    thanks for the replies. actually I left the theatre in 1981 to go to law school. now, after getting 4 kids to and almost all through college, I took a small part in a community theatre show and made the mistake of mentioning my theatre degrees and experience. now I'm getting a chance to answer a lot of questions with the group and may need to lean on some of you for help "refreshing my recollection" as we attorneys sometimes say.
    spent quite a bit of time in a college scene shop working with students and trying to make sure they left with as many fingers as when they came in. did carpentry, metal work and some plastics (foams and sheets). we started making free form sandwich platforms using kraft paper honeycomb cores. also loved the smell of sawn wood (and gelatin glue), but not the smell of rotten casein.
    on the side did lighting design and run with dance troupes and summer theatre.
    Rosco was a fairly new company - at least outside of LA and Century was Century (before Strand).
    tech concepts seem to be coming back to me - like riding a bike - but the bike is more electronic/virtual now.
    for instance, I asked one of the young guys working on our lighting crew, what lighting equipment would he buy next for this theatre, and he said "intelligents". we don't have enough instruments to light the actors across the entire stage, but we could do a rock show. am i too conventional?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2008
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'm right there with you. " Hey we bought 3 VL's..." Um that's great, could we get some lights on the actors now? :rolleyes:
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Explain to him there's no such thing as "intelligent lights". Programmers/BoardOps want obedient lights--we'll provide the intelligence. We highly endorse The Gafftaper Method around here, especially for educational and community theatres. I'm currently on a crusade to convince these theatres (and almost every else) to rent moving lights when they need them, don't buy them.

    Welcome to the booth (I forgot that the last time) and it's nice to have someone else who knows who Century Lighting is/was.
     
  10. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Well, being the one who started ranting so much about conventional lights first that it got turned into a "method" and named after me I would have to say I'm also right there with you. Intelligent toys are great but if you can't cover your basic washes what good are they?

    As far as work in the shop goes, I have the feeling you'll find things have gotten dumbed down a little. The crafty old ways have been replaced by a trip to Home Depot. Unfortunately, many of the crafty old ways produced a better end result and now many don't remember them.

    You've found the right place my friend. Ask your dumb questions and we'll help you out. Meanwhile you can help educate the "youngins" with a little bit of the past. It's a great community so dive right in.
     
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  12. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Welcome to the Booth! I think you will find we are a rather diverse community that love to joke around but do talk about alot of serious tech in the process. As one of them youngins, I love to learn about the old methods. Besides the ones that caused cancer (ok what doesn't?) some of the older methods produced great results, and are, in my opinion, skills that should not be lost. At the very least, knowledge of the older ways makes one thankful for what we have today.
     
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  13. jneveaux

    jneveaux Member

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    Char5lie: Real gels! Did anyone ever ask you to take them to the sink and wash them? That used to be a favorite "dirty trick" to play on a newbie. Community theatre is fun, but I have to relearn to keep things in perspective. Seeing how some things are done raises the hair on the back of my neck.
    Derek: I have read the Gafftaper's 'tribe on Intelligents and agree. So long as anyone will listen, I'll be preaching that the "company" needs to improve overall illumination first and worry about special effects later at least for most "theatre". If we get more into "show business" then it may be more appropriate to focus on "shock and awe".
    Thanks again for the comments.
     
  14. jneveaux

    jneveaux Member

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    ...greenia?: Don't romanticize the "old days" too much. There are so many new materials and tools to work with now that I'm jealous of you who work in the theatre for a living/vocation now. Maybe the greatest advantage of the "old ways" is that they were cheaper. If there is a need to find a more economical solution now, revisiting some old stagecraft or electrics methods might expand the possibilities. That is certain to be a need in most community and amateur theatre.
    I like your signature block quote: "... know the rules..." I also teach business law part time and it is important in that venue too. In theatre as in law, knowledge of the rules provides security and predictability, so that you can deal with new situations. It is also true, in theatre (especially on safety issues) that "ignorance of the [rules] is no excuse."
     
  15. jneveaux

    jneveaux Member

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    Gafftaper: I understand what you are saying about the "old ways" (sounds like we're talking about a fantasy realm). Last summer, I had a young lighting tech come to me and ask where he could get a powerful video projector to use to shine a silhouette-like image on a drop. He wanted to use all this power to project what was essentially a toned shadow. I started to tell him how to make a Linnebach slide that would do the same thing and his eyes glazed over. It would have worked even better than his an expensive digital projector, but he couldn't see that.
    As far as the shop goes, I am still out of touch with what the commercial shops are doing for the most part, although I recently toured the Guthrie shop and got an eyeful of what the did for Peer Gynt (a stage that rolled like waves!) and visited one of my old haunts (the Minnesota Opera shop) and saw that they still do many things the same way. I had also forgotten that in the amateur field, you still have many [volunteer] carpenters over-building scenery like it was residential stick construction using 2xs as if they were dealing with the UBC and huge deadloads. I'm trying to find a copy of the old Gillette stagecraft textbook that I used and taught from, so I can find the basic tenets of stagecraft that he espoused: temporary, lightweight, economical.... I don't really remember what all they were, but I know they ran contrary to the redundancies and worse case scenarios of commercial construction (hurricane force winds, 100 year floods, etc.) Scenery needs to be built safely, but using different criteria.
     
  16. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    First thing, yes I know it's confusing but me and gafftaper are in fact seperate people, gafftaper being on the west coast, and me being in the midwest. If you get confused, our avatars tell us apart. His is black gaff, and mine is green. People have taken to calling us "the gaff brothers".

    Now, don't worry about me romanticizing the old days. Believe me, every time I focus a Source 4 I'm happy for these days. And watching LED technology has been both exciting while keeping me in suspense for the next developement. However, I will say, in the low budgets world on educational, especially high school theatre, people could really benefit from knowing some of the older and cost effective ways, as exemplified by your story of the Linnebach projector. Of course, when you can, it's always a joy to see what theatre magic the new products will let you make. Basically, I like to learn about the old things so I'm not one of those snotty nosed new kids who don't know how good they have it. I've just always had an interest in history, and while my passion for theatre outweight history as a career path, it's only natural for me to find an outlet for that interest.
     
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  17. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Is $2.98 in your budget? Link to book at Amazon. I quote from my 1972 edition here often.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2014
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  18. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    They're trying to develop powered flying gaffers tape.:lol: [user]gafftaper[/user] is Orville and [user]gafftapegreenia[/user] is Wilbur.
     
  20. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Welcome to this semi controlled chaos we like to call Controlbooth...

    Knowing those two, wouldn't they just keep using gaff until they got to a suitably load rated point in the sky and suspend it from that? Pendulum style:twisted:
     

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