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concert techs

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Misha, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Misha

    Misha Member

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    are they that much different from theatre techs?

    i just got back from Warped Tour and i had a blast...and im thinking about going more into the music part of tech and i am really curious as to how to do that...its something completly new for me...

    any bit of advice would be more then helpful...
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Getting a degree MIGHT help... but the music world is a different animal. Most people that go into music work their way up, especially if you want to go into sound. Lighting you can make the "cross-over" fairly easy. Keep in mind that with any large concert there are only about 10-20 tech oriented people traveling with the show, the rest are hired local (the way you know they are local is because they get those cool little local crew shirts that they all hold dear and if you get any paint on them they get a bit ticked... not like i would have done that today or anything...). The first step is to go to school if you can and get a degree (if mommy and daddy will pay for it, TAKE IT). Next, either start working for a local shop or start working at a local club. Also, start working IA gigs. Through these venues you will begin to get to know people, and slowly you will work your way up to getting out on a tour. Then you start working your way up through the tour circuit. These jobs are 10% skill and 90% who you know and who likes you.

    Its a bit easier on the theatre side of things because degrees count for more, but its still who you know that gets you the gigs.
     
  3. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    www.roadie.net

    WARNING: Since this is a website FOR roadies BY roadies, there is no parental guidance. If your sensibilities are easily ruffled, just forget about it and go get that office job.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I posted this story in another thread recently but here it goes in short form. Back when I was teaching high school one of my tech students called a local club in order to get a tour it was basically just a rental rave location. She went down and the guy told her she could come hang out with the crew for a couple shows. In less than 6 months she was working for the guy full time doing gigs both at the club and in other clubs. From there she got a job with a larger sound house and the next summer she was doing sound at summer concert festivals and fairs. The year after that she went on tour with Metalica for a while. The only training she had was one year of me... and audio is not my strength. The key to her success was dumb luck, hard work, and not being afraid to talk to people.

    Whether you go for the theater or concert world, get the education if you can afford it, but at the same time don't count on it to get you the job. Dumb luck and who you know is far more important than the degree on your wall. Get out and work as much as possible. Rental places, sound houses, community theater, theater supply stores, volunteer to help for nothing... just get to know people.
     
  5. sound_nerd

    sound_nerd Active Member

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    Start small, be humble. A big attitude and too much pushing to get to the top will get you nowhere.
    Find some shops near you that supply gear/techs for concerts, and work your way up. Sure, you'll be coiling cable or washing video screens, or painting speakers for a while, but eventually you'll work your way up the ladder. You'll get a few small gigs here and there, maybe they'll let you LD or mix some tiny gigs for a while, and after some time you'll get to chief the big shows, and run the board in the big venues.
    I've been with the shop I'm at for two years, and I've been working my way up that ladder (slightly different than the corporate ladder). It's a bit of a process, but other than that the only way to really get into it is dumb luck.
    Oh, and try not to step on any toes or bad mouth anyone else in the industry. It's a very very small world.

    Shop jobs are great to get contacts, you might end up getting a nice house gig because of someone you met while working for a shop, or people will start recommending you for certain shows. It's all about who you meet, and it's 98% first impressions.
     
  6. Misha

    Misha Member

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    what do you mean by shop gigs? cus i live in such a small town that i dont even know if i have one...there hasnt been a concert near where i live in years


    so what city would be the best to go to...and schools...what would be good for sound specilization?
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Shop gig, a company that has a large inventory of gear that supplies all equipment for a concert, such as... http://www.clearwing.com/, http://www.upstaging.com/, http://www.4wall.com/, http://sites.prg.com/web/flash/, just to name a few. Usually there are separate shops for audio and lighting, sometime there is not. As far as sound schools, do a search, there are dozens and dozens on threads on that. Odds are you will have to go to at least a large city that has a few large venues to find any type of audio shop.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2007
  8. SAWYeR

    SAWYeR Active Member

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    While a theatre show might get a few weeks, even a month for load in, concerts usually only get a day or two, even a few hours only. This includes setup of Trussing/rigging, hanging lights, cabling, programming, rehearsal, etc. Basically, concert tech is much more fast-paced than theatre, often because the bands are traveling and need to get from one state to the next in a very short amount of time. This requires talented technicians who know what they are doing because, as mentioned earlier, there may only be 10 or so dedicated traveling techs w/ the show. But it's worth it. I'm looking into it my self as one of my career choices.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Woa... the only shows that take a month or more to tech (load in should never take more then a few days enless there is some crazy amount of automation going on) are the large broadway shows. There are plenty of touring theatre shows out there that do one night stands nearly every night. There is a large differance in running a music show and a theatre show. Theatre can not be fudged, the producer wants the same show no matter what, a concert can be reactive. If an entire parbar on the US truss going out, its not a show stopper. Most large tours do have their tech time in a venue somewhere. There is a great video on pink floyds pulse tour that shows the entire rig set up in an old blimp hanger at an airforce base. Every show techs at some point.
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    So Misha, "Nanoose Bay" near Nanaimo huh? Yeah you don't have to many options there and Victoria isn't going to be much help either. Vancouver's got a lot going on in the film industry and is certainly going to have it's share of small to medium size sound places, but I doubt you are going to find a lot of big time opportunities there. If you headed down here to Seattle, where I'm at, or further south to into Oregon (where our buddy Van's at) you will find a lot of theater opportunities and some better sound opportunities but you still will find your options limited. As for staying in Canada, my guess is that Toronto is your best bet.

    The flip side of that is that if you want to alter your dream a bit and focus on theater or TV/film your options are great without moving too far from home. It's hard to beat the number of theaters and opportunities for starting out here in the Pacific Northwest. And the opportunities for TV and Film are huge in this area... some would say better than California.
     
  11. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Thus the expression...."Close enough for Rock and Roll"
     
  12. sound_nerd

    sound_nerd Active Member

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    Toronto is a good bet for lots of work. Right know there's not enough techs for all the work that's available. Most of us are doing 60-70 hour weeks for most of the summer, you take the work when you can get it because there's a severe dead season around here.
    If you're into audio and want a school in Toronto, Metal Works Institute is a good bet. (this is coming from my lampy point of view, so ask around first).
     
  13. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I did some touring where the artist played in 10K - 15K venues. The light crew was me and the programmer, and he didn't do a thing beyond mark the points. Sound crew was typically a FOH, a monitor, and a stage hand. Maybe 2. The bulk of the work was done by the locals.

    To the original question: You need to find a shop that does tour support. Go to epdweb.com and ask for the 2007 production directory. That will help you narrow down the closest places that do what you're interested in. Chance are you'll have to relocate if you want to get into concert touring.
     
  14. Misha

    Misha Member

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    yeah i figured i would have to get out of this town eventually....
    thanks for that advice guys!
     
  15. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    There are also numerous threads on live sound careers over at the ProSoundWeb LAB and LAB Lounge forums, http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/. It greatly depends on what role you want to work towards, for some roles relevant education and training are highly recommended, but getting 'hands on' experience is useful no matter what direction you go.
     
  16. nelakluwos

    nelakluwos Member

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    As for schools, Full Sail in Orlando / Winter Park, FL has what you're looking for if you want to do concert gigs or go on tour. The degree is called Show Production and Touring, check it out it's pretty awesome. They cover all aspects of sound, lighting, and video. I be an alumnus in about a week so if you have any questions just pm.
     
  17. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Before the debate begins yet again, just do a search on full sail so we don't have to go through all of that yet again.
     
  18. Misha

    Misha Member

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    i did a search for a school in canada and only one really stood out (metalworks) and i really dont want to go to the states...i got nothing agaist it...but i just dont think i can afford to go there :(
     
  19. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Misha

    Please feel free to email me. I would love to talk to you about schools in Canada.

    JH

    [email protected]
     
  20. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Exchange rates are becoming more favorable.
    $1 Can. is worth $.94 US
     

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