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It really wasn't my fault!

Discussion in 'Safety' started by WestlakeTech, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    :rolleyes:

    So we rent out our main facility often. On this particular "Rental" I was the sound tech for a dance company. Sounds not exactly my favorite Tech aspect, but hey, Rentals are the only time most of us can get paid to do shows so I didn't complain.

    Well, being a dance company, they of course want to make sure that everything goes perfect, so there are two main things to note. 1. They're company director was the SM for the show. 2. They checked with me to make sure every song was in the correct order. Everyday, one of their ladies would give me a CD, I'd put it in the CD player and run the first few seconds of each song. She'd check her list and make sure that all of the tracks were in the right order and never ONCE did she say that any one of them was incorrect.

    Well, we get part way through a show that's going pretty good when I get to look like an idiot thanks to HER mistake. Cue comes for lights and sound to go, so I press play. Well the lights come up and the dancers are just standing around on the stage looking petrified. Then I hear over Com "lights out, that's the wrong song!" So I'm going through the binder their lady gave me asking "is whatever-song the right one". Oh, wait, SM/Director Woman doesn't know the song TITLES!! Just what it's track number is SUPPOSED to be. So I'm frantically trying to check w/her that the next song on my cd is the one she's looking for and she's got ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA! (as it turns out, it was)

    ... and I'd be ok with that, knowing it was their mistake not mine. I just hate all those eyes I felt that entire time, looking back at House Sound thinking and whispering things like "he doesn't know what he's doing" or "how hard is it to use a cd player?" or "oh don't tell me he's a high school student." I just know they all think I slipped up, but it really wasn't my fault.
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
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    Well, as long as you know it's not your fault (if it really isn't), that is what counts. As an operator, it is your job to do what you are told. If the SM says jump, you don't say "how high?", you just jump. If the SM tells you to take a cue that is supposed to be the correct cue you do it, if it is wrong, it isn't your fault. It doesn't matter if everyone else thinks you were wrong, as long as you know that you were not.
     
  3. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I find it helpful if you chant Alex's signiture quote like a mantra after such events . . .
     
  4. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    It could have been worse, they could have handed you cassette tapes with uncertain start points.
     
  5. Sony

    Sony Active Member

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    We don't allow Tapes anymore at MVPAC...in fact we don't even have a tape player we can hook up to the system anymore. It died last year...

    One of the requirements of putting on a show as MVPAC now is everything has to be on CD or some other form of Digital Media like MiniDisc, or iPod. My boss instituted that a couple years ago after one particularly disastrous episode concerning a tape player and mislabeled and mismarked tapes.
     
  6. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    Yeah, I got over it after a while, but I hated the pressure while it was there.

    We have a beastly cassette player, but we never really use it for actual performances.

    I would never run a show off an iPod. I had to try once using iTunes and the computer hooked up to our sound board; it was a nightmare. I had to get a CD burned immediately 'cause it just wasn't cuttin' it for me.
     
  7. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    That would work... except not everyone has a Mac. I've used iTunes on my Windows Vista PC and I was satisfied. Just create a playlist. If you have time, leave all the songs/cues unchecked and then check the ones you are going to play. That way you don't accidentally play a cue. I was impressed because I used Audacity to create the files and iTunes handled everything well. Much better than Windows Media Player.
     
  8. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    We used Audacity too and the program worked fine, I just preferred the CD instead. To each his own, I guess.
     
  9. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I'm gonna cast a vote for using SFX for playback, the new version is pretty snazzy.
     
  10. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    I used to DJ. I found the software MegaSeg, and fell in love with it. I've used it for sound cues and it works great. Unfortunately it costs $250. I used iTunes for one gig, I tried to open the main window by pressing [apple] [1], unfortunately I missed the 1 and hit "q" instead, quitting the program immediately. The thing I really like about Megaseg is that it is really hard to screw up. It asks you before you quit or do anything that will stop the music playback.

    I am not affiliated with megaseg but I'd love to get my $250 back:cool:
     
  11. Gretsch

    Gretsch Member

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    I too have experienced these dreaded dance shows...and I fully sympathize. I like to use cd playback but I bring in my laptop and burn my own show copy so I can make sure all the tracks have even volume and at least 2 seconds of minus time on either side of the track so there is no run over.
     
  12. LordOfTheTechies

    LordOfTheTechies Member

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    Ohh I hate that feeling.When something like that happens at our theatre the director comes out on stage and says "sorry, our sound guy is having a little trouble, I'll get this fixed in a minute." I know how humiliating it is.
     
  13. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    That always sucks!
    That same thing has happened to us twice in the past few months! (Only it was the renters/leadership club students that messed it up)

    First was our veterans day assembly when the leadership students come up tp me and say, "Oh yeah we're finishing up the powerpoint right now so it should be finished before the assembly starts!" Of course it wasn't and they had not only video clips of interviewing staff members who are veterans, but they overlayed a music track. So now the music level is permanently set in the powerpoint and it comes to the interviews and the music keeps going and the volume of the interviews is also permanently set (at about half the music's volume) so you can't understand what the veterans are saying! Since they gave it to us after the assembly started, we couldn't test the sound on the ppt. and it sounded like crap, which of course comes back to me!

    Next, a week or so ago, we had another event and since our main projector system is down, I had to hook up a portable projector and dvd player (that's what the renters said was to be used) from backstage. We were rear-projecting and that is fine; even better video quality than with the main system. However, I couldn't use a dvd player because there were impedence issues and I didn't have the right adapters or a di box to overcome it, so I used our PAC laptop and it worked flawlessly. The audio (somehow) was great. Then, a performer (the renter had hired) comes in 10 minutes before the show with (of all things) a VHS tape! Now I have to run around and hook up a VCR and get the audio to work! I had to plug the laptop audio into the projector and the VCR audio into the projector and from there out to the sound desk. However, I managed to run out of time and not be able to test it. So, long story short, it gets up to video time and...no sound. I run around and eventually we get sound up, but not before the Principal and a Vice Principal come up to another tech and ask about the many video sound issues. (our principal, 3 vice principals, and a counselor were there) Afterward the renter didn't mind and knew that if the performer had just used a DVD everything would have been fine!

    Sorry for such a long rant...had been holding it in too long and this seemed like the right place to drop it!
     
  14. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Oh yeah, at least our director understands not to come out and say that. As our boss (we get a lot of renters) she knows how to act professionally.
    (However, the renters do say this sometimes...)
     
  15. zuixro

    zuixro Active Member

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    I've noticed that a lot of times when "the sound guy is having trouble" it's not the sound guy's fault.

    At the last chapel for the year at my high school this past year, we had a projector with a video, two microphones, a few CD's, and an iPod. Not a huge amount of stuff, about 30 minutes working alone at comfortable pace (we have a gymatorium, all of our equipment is stored in a room, we have to drag it out every time we need it). They come to me 10 minutes before chapel starts and tell me what they need set up. So I scramble to set it up. I grabbed the guy who's iPod it was because he knew a little about sound (read: he knows how to turn the volume up). I sent him to get the cord for it and hook it up. I'm hurrying to set up the projector, get it focussed, hooked up for sound (DI through the floor pocket on stage to the board), didn't get a chance to check the level. The guy setting up the iPod yells at me from across the gym and asks where to plug the ipod in. I tell him to just leave it sitting on the board and I would do it. Chapel starts about 5 minutes late, I don't have time to check any levels, so they are all over the place. The dance teacher hands me a stack of CD's right before we start, with post it's about where each track fades out (don't ask me why she can't cut them herself with audacity or something). I queue up the first track. Hit play. Silence. Check the gain, EQ, fader, plugs, everything is as it should be. I start checking the snake. Everything looks ok. Finally I switched the output from Left out, to Right out on the board and it started working (our space is mono). I figured that the left channel on the board was dead or something. The rest of the dance act goes well considering the circumstances. We get into the part with the iPod. I checked to make sure that it was plugged in. Hit play. Nothing. I start checking everything again. and I realize that it's not plugged into a channel. In fact, it's plugged into the "Insert" for Left main. I plugged it into a channel, and the rest of the show goes on fine. After the show, I asked him what he was thinking, plugging that in there. He said that he didn't know where to plug it in, so he just picked one. I gave him a good speech about not plugging something in if you don't know what it does. He ignored me through the whole thing.

    Now granted, I should have checked everything before I started, but I was in a hurry (and I expect a certain level of intelligence from people that I work with) Anyway, sorry for the long rant.
     
  16. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Event Technicians: Underpaid to do the impossible for the uninformed and unappreciative.
     
  17. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    zuixro, that's kind of like how when I ask one of my techs to go plug the computer into the projector ad they plug it into the monitor out port.
     
  18. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    actually, most people would consider $10/hr for high school students as being paid quite well... :)

    but for the most part, I completely agree.
     
  19. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    We do tend to make more than our peers, but personally I wind up doing lots of preproduction work, so when you average those hours in it is more like $6 an hour.

    Besides due to the major time constraints in most cases we know the venue well and where eveything is and therefore have as good of a chance of pulling it off as a local professional who would be trying to find everything. So maybe they should be paying us more...
     
  20. LightingPenguin

    LightingPenguin Active Member

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    My school uses Ableton Live.

    Nice program. Expensive program. Too bad we cant afford it without the school's help
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009

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