Crew and the new normal

Kristi R-C

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2016
Location
Wisconsin
Having read reports by the Event Safety Alliance, Performing Arts Center Consortium, and a few other entities, it's become clear the none of them have anything that covers what the crew does loading in, running shows or loading out. So please help me brainstorm some ideas of things that will work to help make shows possible. E.g., employer providing disposable gloves of assorted sizes and kinds; surgical masks and N95 respirators; and hand sanitizer at every entrance.

The thread mic sterilization has that covered well.

What else?
 
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MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
Having read reports by the Event Safety Alliance, Performing Arts Center Consortium, and a few other entities, it's become clear the none of them have anything that covers what the crew does loading in, running shows or loading out. So please help me brainstorm some ideas of things that will work to help make shows possible. E.g., employer providing disposable gloves of assorted sizes and kinds; surgical masks and N95 respirators; and hand sanitizer at every entrance.

The thread mic sterilization has that covered well.

What else?
I think we'd realistically have to look at changing the timeline... so much of our work has become about as much as we can do as fast as we can do it, but I think a more practical approach may actually be the one that a lot of theater's take during the final days of techs segmenting the calendar into shifts. You paint overnight, electrics in the morning, rehearse in the afternoon, scenery in the evening and then you start again tomorrow. It takes a lot of planning and communication, but we can do it because we already do it in a lot of cases. Where this doesn't work is in the "current" model of touring productions. There's no rolling the truck in at 8 am pushing crews for 8 hours on top of each other swinging a wrench in one hand with a donut in the other, taking a nap between curtains and then pushing cases in the rain onto the truck to get them on the road for the next city in the morning. I don't think that can be a reality for some time.
 

Colin

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Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Location
Eastern Massachusetts
You paint overnight, electrics in the morning, rehearse in the afternoon, scenery in the evening and then you start again tomorrow.
And clean between each shift? How to weigh the advantages of fewer people in the room at a time (but always having a crew on) against making time to let droplets fall, exchange the air, clean surfaces and re-stock sanitizer, etc...
 

tdrga

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Location
Central TX
Having read reports by the Event Safety Alliance, Performing Arts Center Consortium, and a few other entities, it's become clear the none of them have anything that covers what the crew does loading in, running shows or loading out. So please help me brainstorm some ideas of things that will work to help make shows possible. E.g., employer providing disposable gloves of assorted sizes and kinds; surgical masks and N95 respirators; and hand sanitizer at every entrance.

The thread mic sterilization has that covered well.

What else?
I'm rethinking my future lighting designs with the following in mind when it comes to load-in and out:
  • Limit or eliminate anything that involves a two-person lift or carry - so no moving lights > 50 lbs.
  • No more than 500 lbs. load per batten - enough that one person can slowly and carefully load on the loading rail. Having two people huffing and puffing next to each other to load a 2000lb arbor is a no-go situation, even with masks.
  • What number of lighting instruments can one person hang and cable on a pipe in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Stick with a rep plot and minimize re-hanging goods.
The whole idea is to eliminate the need for heavy physical work in close proximity to others. There will be push back from people who want it done faster and want to throw more people at the work, but that is actually counterproductive from a health standpoint.

-Todd
 

MNicolai

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Fight Leukemia
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Mar 30, 2008
Location
Sarasota, FL
@trdga, there may be pushback, but shows and venues will need to lower their production costs for the next 1-2 years if they are presenting to 30-50% of their normal crowd sizes. It'll be necessary to make some of those changes regardless to reduce production costs and overhead. I would expect to see more minimalist designs and shows done with stock goods.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
I'm rethinking my future lighting designs with the following in mind when it comes to load-in and out:
  • Limit or eliminate anything that involves a two-person lift or carry - so no moving lights > 50 lbs.
Or potentially more usefully. Hang a rep plot with movers and then be clear about contact before and after to better facilitate the usefulness of that plot for potentially 6 months to a year. I don't know about anybody else but the tour booking agents we've been working with ARE currently booking and scheduling tours (because its their job to do that and be hopeful that this will happen) but are telling us that all the indicators are there won't be broadway tours, really at any level for at least a year. Tours need to sell out a theatre, who's going to pay 20k or more for the larger tours to sell a house of 200. Theatres aren't going to make a profit off of that and the tours aren't going to make enough money off of that. Not to mention the aspect of cross community spread as tours hit various cities across the country. Even if we get open and can seat 300 (of our 900) there is no way its financially viable. The estimates we have for our theatre with a current layout where we feel we could be safe and seat the population with well coordinated ushering and all that, we'd still be looking at a 10-15k loss on every broadway show.

We're starting to put in place a guide for union workers coming in and out for work calls but the reality of it is that we're trying to figure out how to do this without even bringing in all of our department heads because we need to keep the crew to the bare minimum and our contract allows us to do that. I suspect most of this coming year will be myself as ATD and the TD running everything ourselves and most of it will be streamed or recorded (as applicable and allowable).
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Having read reports by the Event Safety Alliance, Performing Arts Center Consortium, and a few other entities, it's become clear the none of them have anything that covers what the crew does loading in, running shows or loading out. So please help me brainstorm some ideas of things that will work to help make shows possible. E.g., employer providing disposable gloves of assorted sizes and kinds; surgical masks and N95 respirators; and hand sanitizer at every entrance.

The thread mic sterilization has that covered well.

What else?
My friends over at www.practicalshow.tech have had a couple of webinars that deal with being an A2 - mostly broadcast work or high end corporates - and one of bullet points each time has been "somebody's gotta pay" for the extra hours (likely overtime hours) if equipment is to be sanitized, if PPE is to be worn/changed consistently, whatever happens that takes more time than our prior work flow. On some events I can see an additional local A2 just to deal with cleaning and re-packing intercom packs and headsets, IFB and wireless mics, announcer panels, anything that is handled or worn by talent or other crew.

Local crew (arena, theaters) is a whole other problem. As of today the CDC is saying surface-based infections are lower in prevalence that was thought before but handwashing and sanitizers will be important, masks as per your state or local health authorities, etc. There are a couple of good descriptions of how much virus is exhaled, relatively speaking, between simply talking, singing, shouting, coughing, sneezing and in a nutshell, the more velocity, the more virus. Building stages will be close contact, lots of huffing and puffing. Team lifting heavy moving lights or pulling up the bottom box of a line array so the tour tech can pin it, hands straining to pull bundles of LX cables across truss, truck loading... all are likely to present a greater opportunity for transmission than a couple of techs in a booth, whispering cues into comms.

Finally, who's on first? The venue needs standards for its employees, the IATSE will need their own for non-contract employers, production companies will need standards for their employees... so in a conflict, who has top vote? Just things to think about.
 

Nic

Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2019
Location
St. Cloud, Minnesota
I’ll go ahead and weigh in on this as someone who deals with this every day...with the caveat that I’m not a medical professional.

My day job is in healthcare security. Our current daily procedures involve a screening for every member of staff when they enter the building (questions about new/worsening symptoms, temperature check). The staff member is given a different sticker each day to put on their ID badge to show they’ve been screened. Then, each person is required to wear a simple procedure mask (not an N95) for the duration of their shift. N95s are reserved specifically for those staff members who are working directly with a known or suspected COVID patient. A special emphasis has been placed on hand hygiene, though we should be doing that already.

So I guess my suggestion is basically what’s described above for both company and perhaps patrons as well. Keep areas clean, social distance when practical. The bottom line is, as with any workplace hazard, you can only control it, you cannot eliminate it. Use common sense but don’t expect you can make your facility 100% safe unless you’re willing to shut down forever.
 
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Footer

Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
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Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Finally, who's on first? The venue needs standards for its employees, the IATSE will need their own for non-contract employers, production companies will need standards for their employees... so in a conflict, who has top vote? Just things to think about.
That is my issue too. I'm going to lookout for the well being of my crew. The TM coming in is going to care less about us and care about themselves. So, everyone will be suspect of everyone. If its a tour coming from a hot spot... do we let them in? Contact tracing goes out the window in this business. Am I going to be getting in daily arguments with guitar techs that I can barely get to not light up incense to now wear a mask all day?

Personally, I think most of this discussion is moot. I don't think any 1k cap and above will get to open till we have a vaccine or this thing has gotten snubbed out.

Is there anyone out there who actually thinks their venue will open in the next 6 months?

I think what we need to be doing is calling your congress critter and get them to extend unemployment and start working on an industry bailout.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Is there anyone out there who actually thinks their venue will open in the next 6 months?
We're 901 so right on that line. At the moment we are looking like we'll be able to, but our broadway season likely is getting cancelled. The tours are all still technically on, but I suspect that will change. We see everything from symphony and opera to high school shows and that variety is helping us actually manage to find some events that could work. We have a dance company coming in to at least record their show for parents in a couple weeks.

We've also got a seating chart that seats about 300 people safely spaced and that we feel that we could maintain with careful ushering and clear guidelines. We've already partitioned off parts of our lobby to keep people spaced and the health inspector is coming in sometime this week to determine if this satisfies the city/county. so we'll find out.