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Drama in the Tech Department!?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by bobbyt2012, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. bobbyt2012

    bobbyt2012 Member

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    I am a freshman at my high school this year and I have worked about 10 different performances at my local auditorium running the soundboard/ setting up mics and moniters. I have ran 5 plays including one for the high school when I was still in middle school.
    Recently, I was asked to run the sound for the middle school play, and instinctively I said that I would. I have been going to rehearsals and running music cues and taking notes about pack mic ons and offs.
    Today I found out that all they want me to do is run the sound cues, and they are going to have some other freshman who has never done it before do the 24+ Pack mics, 3 PCCs, and 6 Hanging mics on an Allen and Heath GL2800. This angers me greatly because thats what I though that they wanted me to do. Does it make much sense to put the person with experience at a job that requires very little skill and can be done with very little preparation?
    Another thing that makes me angry is that since he doesn't have a clue what he is doing, I will have to set everything up for him. Basically do all of his B*#ch work. I don't have a problem training someone, but why am I training a replacement that will graduate the same year as me?
    Any thoughts or opinions on this matter? Can anyone make sense of it? What should I do? I will not quit, but I might complain.
     
  2. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    Well, since you already have the "what to do about it" figured out, I'll help you answer your real question: "why".

    A couple of things to ponder/find out:

    Do the people in charge of the play feel that the other person is more qualified than you? And, conversely, do the people in charge of the play feel that you aren't qualified enough for the position you assumed you were filling?

    I think that once you get those two things answered (from the horse's mouth, so-to-speak) you will have your answer.

    THEN you can ask them to expound on their choice (why they gave "Techie X" the higher position and not me). Just because you feel someone is less qualified for a position does not necessarily make them so. It seems to me as if you have not made it clear to the people in charge of the play that you have more experience than the other individual. Make your case respectively and respect their decision.


    Effective communication is this: getting your point across clearly so that the whoever you are communicating to UNDERSTANDS YOUR MESSAGE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE. That is the point-of-failure for communication.
     
    bobbyt2012 and (deleted member) like this.
  3. bobbyt2012

    bobbyt2012 Member

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    I have worked 5 productions with these 2 directors. I was confident that they knew my level of experience. I know the other kid, not well, an he has been in a play or two but he has never had any experience with anything tech related. I think he did curtains as well one year. I suppose I will ask them to reconsider. or even consider having him do sound cues. The equipment that is being used is mine, not the soundboard, but the laptop that runs the sound cues.
    These directors always seem to come up with a way to get me ticked off. I don't plan on working anymore middle school plays unless they pay me because I might as well work on the high school plays that actually matter.
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Moving this thread to the Punching Bag, as it actually has little to do with audio.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Sorry, I had to quote that just for personal reasons.

    First things first, your in a school, your their to learn, so are the other people. If you were one of my students, and I knew you knew sound, and I had a show coming up that "didn't matter" (or had a low production value), I would take you, put you on audio with someone that did not know anything, and tell you to teach the other person how to do it. The only way others can learn is by doing, period. You have the knowledge, pass it on. What you should do it go learn something from someone else that knows it. This is how the world works. You are not being punished by being put on this job. You are getting an opportunity to teach, USE IT.

    This is a field that we are constantly learning in, I learn new stuff from my students every day (not always the best knowledge, but knowledge none the less). Show this person how to run a console, how to set up a monitor, that type of thing. Don't do it all for them, but be there to catch them when they fall, because they will fall.

    Now, my famous reality check.

    You are not the only one that can do this. People before you and people after you can do the exact same thing. Don't be afraid that you are going to get replaced if you teach others. It is your responsibility to make sure others know what they are doing. Just because someone has not done it before does not mean they don't know how.

    You are currently in the position that you have a count of how many shows you have done X on. You will know what you are really doing after you loose count. Before then, you don't know everything there is to know. You still have things to learn.

    I don't want to see you get frustrated by this, but as an educator, it is my job to teach everyone. I try to rotate people out on things all the time. Now, I do "build up" students over time. Meaning I will start them at the low rung of a dept. and take them through it show by show until they have done every job. At that point, I will put them in a supervisory roll and let them teach the people coming up below them. After they do the supervisor thing, I move them to another dept. and it starts all over.

    Take a breather, relax. There will be more shows. You don't have to be behind the board all the time. It will all be fine.
     
  6. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

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    As a person that was once in the exact same position as you are in. Everything will turn out alright. I originally was interested in sound until i had to train someone else how to do it. After they watched me for a little while, i gave them the ropes and was put on the other side of the booth behind the lighting console. I was nearby in case something bad happened, and i was gaining experience running the lights. Some things did happen, but it was in this experience i realized how much fun lighting was. Lo and behold, here i am in college majoring in lighting design, and in a few short years i will be going into it full time.

    Moral of the story... just because you think that you like sound the best, take some time away from it and do some other things. Im glad that i did. Even if your interests do not change, your experience in other areas will prove valuable when there is a show that needs to be done and they need someone to run follow spot. Make yourself as versatile as possible and you will go far.
     
  7. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Everything I was going to say [USER]Footer[/USER] already said. And to think, I was going to post without reading the replies. It's really hard to give up something that you love to do in lieu of letting someone else do it, but it has to be done. Also, instead of doing the work for him, show him how do to it. Then you will be teaching and also you will feel more involved. Don't try to pull rank.

    Also, something that Footer didn't say- if the show goes bad because of sound don't say I told you so. Don't say "I could have done better." No one likes the guy who says I told you so. Instead, help the new person out by making sure they are comfortable with what they are doing.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Couple of things;
    First off, I understand being upset over feeling you are being replaced without reason or cause, but the only way to understand why is to ask and ask the people who know, the directors, not everybody else on the crew.
    Second thing, and this is putting it really bluntly, Get over yourself! Believe me the Directors are not coming "up with ways to tick you off", you are getting ticked off at things the directors do. There is a HUGE difference between the two.
    And lastly, not to be the touchy feely Drama teacher, 'cause I'm not, All the shows matter. Somebodies baby is in every show you work on. Somebody in every cast is living out their life long dream of performing. Someone in every audience is changed because of their experience. When you forget this, you become a "button pusher", and can be replaced by a monkey.

    Alright steppin' off the Crotchety ol' Man soapbox now.
     
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  9. timeblazer

    timeblazer Member

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    Hey, I had to deal with similar feelings earlier this year -- I'm about to graduate and there are people who are wanting to learn and need to be taught the skills I supply to my university. I spent my career between high school and college (4 years) fighting to ensure that what ever demand I had created for my skills by continuously learning was always increasing as opposed to demand for my skills decreasing.

    In an educational environment, realizing that as you gain skills and experience you become an educator yourself is paramount. As I made a conscious effort to become an unpretentious mentor for the younger students in my program last year, I noticed three things:

    First, there is a feeling of giving back that began to bring me even greater utility (worth) from my work than previously.

    Second, those professors that saw me mentoring peers and still getting my hands dirty too began to throw projects at me. I had to start turning down projects.

    Third, I noticed that by not being so competitive about my positions, my professors began to approach me as fellow outside of class -- I earned their respect.

    All in all, enjoy the opportunity to teach and enjoy the experience of helping someone else achieve their goals too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008
  10. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

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    If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted, and/or move on to other things, and/or bigger things.....


    And I second [user]Van[/user]'s comment. It took me a lot of years to realize that other cars on the highway were not trying to be mean or rude to me. They were just driving along, doing their thing. I was interpreting their moves as hostile toward me. I was letting them tick me off.

    There is still the occasional genius that really does cut me off. But now I figure most folks are crusing along having a good time doing their thing, and if it gets in my way of me doing my thing it's incumbent upon me to (politely) go around, or otherwise handle the situation... ;)

    (I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but you know what they say about 20-20 hindsight.....)
     
  11. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Something I learned when I was a student is that the single best way to learn about a given subject is to try to teach it to someone else. By training this other, less qualified student how to do your job, you will be forced to think about something that is routine for you. This will enable you to learn more of the craft than you now know. This is an opportunity for you, not a punishment.

    Also, try to remember that there is a down side to being "irreplaceable". You lose a great deal of freedom if you're the only person who can do a given job. If you're the only person in the theatre who can run a sound board, then that is the only job you will ever be given. This will hurt you in the long run, limiting your employment prospects as you move forward in your career.

    Learn all you can about everything you can. Work hard and try not to complain too much as this too will hurt you in the long run.
     
  12. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

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    I agree 100% with cdub260. Personally, i like teaching other people things about the theater. It is a great feeling seeing the person's facial expression change when something finally clicks in their head and they understand what you are talking about.

    Teaching gives me a very rewarding feeling, it also helps with leadership skills too. When your instructors see that you can help someone and teach them what to do, it will win you major points. They may even bump you up a step or two.
     
  13. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I actually like teaching others. Now I don't give my huge design projects to trainees, but a lot of times I let them take the harder position on small shows. Most of the time when I get a blackbox show I am free to crew it however I like since that teacher knows that I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. I have heard that I will be getting a blackbox show in Nov. I actually plan on having a trainee and a junior crew tech run it and I'll just TD.

    Now auditorium is another story as you've all heard. Now I've got to go make the pie pan gobos for next tuesday's concert. I have the go ahead from the director-- now we just have to hope the auditorum manager STAYS AWAY AND/OR LETS THE ACTUAL DIRECTOR HANDLE THE SHOW.
     
  14. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    As a future teacher, I have had a couple classes in how the mind learns.

    When you learn something from a lecture, you remember 5-10 percent.

    By adding senses you add about 5-10% for each sense to the total above (audio, visual, touch [writing]...)

    When you learn by discovery, (teaching yourself by trial and error) you remember 60-75%.

    When you teach, you remember 95% of what you taught.
     
  15. jerekb

    jerekb Member

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    I feel your pain bobbyt2012 I work twice as hard, I know twice as much, I care 10 times more than anyone in our program. And I know I put in at least 4 times more hours than anyone. even if there not logged! I even sneak in to work for god sakes! I've sacreficeed everything (social life, family time, friends, school work, grades, literally sacreficesed every normal teenage activity to do tech work) to learn as much as I can about Tech! And yet look whos in the booth the two F***ing seniors! They are there only because they are seniors! I do all the work I set all the lights and guess who's listed as the LD on the program... not me! all he does is sit there and press Go for the cues I set! ok well thats Me venting and rambling. I hope things are different in college (i'm a junior) I just so pissed cause this means I only get one year at the board before I go off to college. I understand we're there to learn and all but its still upsetting ya know. Deep down though I'm just happy I have the opportunity to be there and do what I do I really could careless whos at the board because the real action is before the show the stuff that I do. And I know who really did the work and thats all that counts. But if somebody asks if I'm the LD my response is "Hell Yes!"
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    As a former High School, now college teacher, I have to agree 100% with Footer on this. Go to the directors and ask why they have the other guy mixing. You definitely shouldn't be doing all his setup for him, you should be teaching him how to do it and then working together as a team to get the sound setup done. Tech theater is a team sport. Your work is much easier and more importantly the show will be better if you and the other guy can work together as equal teammates. I'm a strong believer in student mentorship being the best way model for school tech theater programs.
     
  17. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    I know exactly how frustrating this can be. I won't give my rants of stories, but trust me, I know how annoying this is.

    Me, personally, wouldn't do his set up for him. If he's so qualified to run the board, he can do all the set up too!

    Suggest that he runs cues and you run the mix, and teach him as you go!
    I'm a very qualified and well known sound engineer, and I'm being forced to run audio cues for the play at school (hs).

    I'm just going to sit there and take it, when I clearly know more than the sound op herself. She'll be gone, and for two years, the 56 channel mackie will be mine! Will I train others in? Maybe.

    Talk to the directors as to WHY you "were replaced" (though I doubt this was anybodies intentions).

    Like I said, don't set up his stuff, at least make him do some of it.
     
  18. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Please listen to the advice of those who have been in the business a while. Even your peers who have just moved on from HS have attested to understanding you feelings, but act rationally, not emotionally. If you do not like the way that things are being handled while you are a volunteer, you most certainly won't like it when being paid. Money doesn't make it better, just more complicated. I admire that you aren't planning on quitting just because you don't like the way things are going, but you definitely have the opportunity to become a better tech. Communication is the key. Making assumptions about motives will not help you and can actually damage your reputation depending on the situation. If you choose not to continue helping out with their productions, that is your perogative, you might free up enough time for other opportunities. If you like doing it as much as you say, then it is up to you to make it work for you. When you get out into the realm of professional productions, you will find that you often will not be working in the position that you desire, but each position is vital to the production (or it wouldn't be there). Trust me on this one. If you let this eat you up now, I doubt that this is the career for you.
     
  19. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I think your in the same boat as he is, I would suggest you take some of our advice and not continue on the path you currently are. Guys, its education, everyone starts not knowing anything, its your job to fix that problem. Don't be stubborn, help out, it won't kill you. Also, lets face it, you learn very little from shadowing someone. You learn a lot by doing it with the person telling you what to do and WHY you are doing it.

    You are hurting more then helping with the "If they won't let me do it, I won't tell anyone else how to do it" mantra. People don't want to work with those type of people. Playing "King of the Booth" will get you overthrone, and you will be overthrown by the peons under you when they stop working for you.
     
  20. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    In my theater the quickest way to find yourself sweeping the floor of the shop and sorting the bucket of used screws is to have the "king of the booth" attitude. If you think you don't need the team, I'll make sure you find out very quickly that the team doesn't need you. There is no place for territorial fighting in theater. If there is work to be done then EVERY gets in and does it. Sitting around on your butt because "it's not my job" is the fastest way to get yourself fired in the real world. Furthermore, who you know and what impression you make on them is the key to getting work in this career. If you get a reputation for being territorial and unwilling to help, you'll find very quickly that you don't get hired.
     

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