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Getting students (12-18) interested in theatre Tech

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by Aaron Clarke, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @taneglaus I'm pleased to see you've made the connection between wearing headsets and the higher forces.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  2. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @lorilights While you're teaching how to find the hot spot, consider teaching them about shadows; things like (During rehearsals NOT performances) turn and look behind themselves to center their body, or head, in the center of their special. Also teach them to be conscious of NOT placing their own shadow on their fellow performers.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard.
     
  3. Aaron Clarke

    Aaron Clarke Active Member

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    So I thought I'd share a little update on the program. Of course we are still in the early stages of a formal year round program but we have made some steps.


    First, I've committed to get at least one student to work with me on any shows I'm part of for the remainder of the season. I've done this on few shows already and it has given me some great insight in the skill set and personalities of the students that exist around the youth program. Also, I'm not sure why, but some of these kids really seem to enjoy working with a sour grouch like me.

    Second on a more formal front. The board has given the green light to a number of changes to their summer camp program. Mainly for me, this means the creation of a 7 day tech camp. Here's the basics:

    -7 days- TH, FR then M-FR. The second week is in conjunction with the "applied theatre" camp where a show is put together in a week and the tech camp students will run all the tech for that.
    -Five main areas of focus- Lights, Sound, Sets, Safety and touching on stage management.
    -Other areas we will touch on but not go in depth- fly (classroom fundamentals, actual fly is restricted to 16 and up), costumes & props.
    -6 students max. open to 8th - 12th grade
    -Focus will be very basic fundamentals along with some basic design concepts and mix in some fin stuff.

    I'm still running around in my head ideas about the schedule and ideas. At this stage of planning I get the stage and auditorium for 2 1/2 days (first Thursday, then Monday, then half a day Tuesday). My thought is to spend the first 3 days doing fun stuff and talking about basics in each area while doing exercises and projects that help build the 2nd week show. The actual design of the 2nd week show will largely be flushed out and done before hand by us counselors but I think covering some basic in how a designer can approach the process is important to we already discussed having a mock production meeting with the directors and I think I'll have an exercise where we read the script as a group and compile ideas.

    I'm pretty sure for at least this first year the students will probably not even know anything basic so covering those not so 'sexy' topics in a fun and creative way is the right step. Then as more students get involved throughout the season I hoping the tech camp can morph more into a group that really does build the show from the ground up and we just touch on basics.

    I've been really excited to see you input so far and if anything comes to mind please let me know. I'm happy to 'borrow' your ideas anytime!


    Edited some serious math issues!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  4. Aaron Clarke

    Aaron Clarke Active Member

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    Maybe I need to go back to grade school. I added the others without going back to check my context... Editing now to maybe make more sense.
     
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  5. Aaron Clarke

    Aaron Clarke Active Member

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    Hello brain trust once again. Some movement on this tpoic- Basically this summer's "tech camp" has been approved with some modifications.

    Here is the basic layout:
    -5 day camp, in parallel with the applied theatre camp (group of students putting a show together in a week)
    -3 days for educational activities (2.5 of those I get the stage!!!). The other 2 will be applying knowledge to put together the show being performed Friday
    -Since I'm the only counselor this year- limit to 8 students grades 7-12
    Note: Days are really only 4.5-5 hours total

    Here is a rough outline I slapped together real quick (can you tell Lighting is really my focus?). I appreciate any input that anyone has to offer, especially maybe just a little more details in the non-lighting fields. Assume off the bat these kids have no exposure to any of these areas.

    In each area I'm thinking a "show and do". Cover the topic and then give them a hands on experiment/task. I do have a teacher who is going to help layout basically lesson plans to help guide me once I'm a little closer to knowing what I want to cover.

    Our lighting equipment is approaching 15-20 years old. ETC Expression 3 and standard outfit of conventional source fours and S4 Parnels. I want to touch on LED and new tech. I'm thinking a couple LED rentals just to show where tech has come. Sound is more modern (5-10 years) with a digital board and our in house sound guy has a pretty good system in place.

    I want to cover the fly system mainly from a safety stand point and to start developing a better sense of safe practices. We have one so I feel it important to get the word out. The theatre board has a restriction of 17 and older on the fly and loading gallery so we will only be looking and not using the fly system in the course. I plan to build a mini model like the ones I've seen posted on here.
     

    Attached Files:

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  6. Silicon_Knight

    Silicon_Knight Active Member

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    It looks like you've got a great start on this program and it should be very good.

    Other subjects/sections to consider:

    Lighting:
    - Follow-spots (if your theater is equipped)
    - Throw vs Brightness vs beam angle (maybe this is buried in the Types of Light section?)
    - DMX vs audio cabling (especially if your DMX system uses 3-pin XLR connectors, assuming that you're using DMX for lighting control)
    - DMX bus splitting and termination (and maybe wireless DMX?)

    Audio - This could get complicated depending on whether you're wanting to cover audio in general, or just your venue, but some additional ideas are:
    - PAs vs Monitors
    - Condenser vs Dynamic mics
    - Lapel/Halo vs headset/earset mics
    - Mic plots/handoffs
    - Proper mic placement on actors
    - (mic hiding techniques?)

    Stage:
    - Spiking set pieces
    - Coordination of scene changes (especially if flying scenery)
    - Stage maps for each scene (if applicable)

    Running a show:
    - You may want to cover some of the common roles in the theater, like: Stage Manager/ASM, Director/AD, Producer, Tech Manager, Stagehand, Sound/Light Board operator, etc.
    - Backstage Comms usage and etiquette, cue calling, etc.
    - Cue Sheet examples for SM, ASM, MixerOp, LightOp, Follow-Spot, etc.
    - Major events for Tech: Load-in/Build, Dry-Tech vs Wet-Tech/Cue-to-cue, Strike, etc.

    For LED lights, you can pick-up some pretty cheap ones on eBay if you're just looking to teach the concept and are not terribly concerned about precise color matching or actual brightness/throw.
     
  7. Aaron Clarke

    Aaron Clarke Active Member

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    Love the suggestions!

    Sound is probably my weakness- I haven't worked sound in 15+ years- it was an analog world and I really knew nothing then let alone now. I think, at least this first year keeping things relevant to our space is best and focusing on the "must know" to run a show is going to be the limits. Everything you have on that list are definite adds for sure in sound.

    I love the running a show section and am shocked I didn't think of it. I think I'm adding pretty much all of this!
     
  8. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    You might want to stay away from the cheap eBay lights for an instructional summer camp, seeing as the chance of them having a proper UL certification (or equivalent) is next to nil.

    Aside from the hazards of the fixtures themselves, you're now implying that it's totally fine to use these kinds of units, without any precautions.

    Alternatively, cheap fixtures would make a good lesson in troubleshooting, though dismantling and repairing would be outside the time and scope of your camp.

    I must say, I love the concept.
     
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  9. Aaron Clarke

    Aaron Clarke Active Member

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    Oh I want to add the plan is to buy and give each student a copy of "Technical theatre for non-technical people". Of all the books I've read this still feels to me to be the simplest high level coverage of most theatre tech.
     
  10. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    Personally, my vote would be for the backstage handbook. ;)
     
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  11. Aaron Clarke

    Aaron Clarke Active Member

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    I have a friend that may lend me some ETC colorsource fixtures if he's not using them at the time. In general I'm all about quality and doing things proper and want to instill that from the very beginning in every aspect. To many corners get cut in the organization and one day it will bite them in the rear.
     
  12. theatrewireless

    theatrewireless Jim @RC4Wireless #LiveLifeUnthethered

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    Let us know if we can help you with the wireless DMX part of the program. We routinely do non-infomercial seminars with supporting documents and power-point slides. Every year we do one or two days with IATSE 728 in L.A., the Design and Production Department at UNCSA, Super Saturday for High School kids in NYC, and more. let me know if you'd like to have a look at our content. We can loan you demo equipment as well.

    Jim
    RC4
     
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