The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

King/Queen of the Booth Complex

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by Footer, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    1,808
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    (Let it be known that [user]dvsDave[/user] is the King of Controlbooth.com, and is unrelated to this discussion.)

    A person who has the attitude of being the all-encompassing ruler of all things technical theatre, usually found in the High School, and occasionally the College, environment. He/She tends to believe that he is the only person who can correctly perform most tasks. He/She also has a complex for collecting keys, and likes to display them on his belt, as a symbol of his "power."

    In reality, Kings/Queens of the Booth can be detrimental to everyone and every show involved. In a misguided sense of self-preservation, they tend not to teach what they have learned to others, therefore they dry up the knowledge base in a theatre.

    In the world of professional entertainment, Kings/Queens of the Booth will most often find themselves without a Booth in which to reign.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2008
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,067
    Likes Received:
    669
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    This is also known as "big fish in a small pond" syndrome. Just because you are at the top of the food chain where you happen to be does not mean that you are better than everyone.
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,493
    Likes Received:
    2,475
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Listen to Footer my young friends. He speaks the truth. When I was a student teacher there were these two students who called themselves "lighting gods". It turns out the reason they thought they were so "amazing" was they knew the secret of how to record a submaster on an old EDI two scene preset board. They wouldn't tell anyone how to record a sub (hold the record button and press the bump button under the sub you want to use:rolleyes:). They were obnoxious. They didn't really know anything. But boy could they talk and intimidate other technicians. The first thing I did was take half a dozen other students in and show them how to do it to. Then I changed the softpatch and the "lighting gods" suddenly had no idea how to do anything and had to come ask me for help. :twisted:

    If you are in high school and you find yourself thinking "I know more about tech than everyone else". STOP! That attitude is guaranteed to bring you to failure later. You pull that type of attitude once in a professional theater setting and you might never get a job again. Pro's will not accept that attitude.

    I had the privilege of spending an hour with one of the most respected rigging experts in the world the other day (Jay Glerum). He's the guy who literally wrote THE BOOK on rigging. The man travels all over the world certifying that theater's rigging systems are safe for use. If anyone has a right to be conceited about being the best he does. Instead he's a kind generous man who loves to share a good story, to teach, and inspire others to do better. Or take our own CB member Steve Terry, the man is a Vice President at ETC and an industry legend. Why does he spend his time here sharing information with an obnoxious 18 year old from Melbourne, Australia? Isn't he "too important" to hang out with a bunch of students, community theater, church techs, and teachers like us? Of course he is! However, he does it anyway because it's important to him to pass on the knowledge he has to the next generation of theater technicians coming up. What about Ship? Icewolf? Footer? Derek? Van? Me?... Why did dvsDave start this website in the first place? I could go on a long time with a list of people who hang out here who have careers. Sure we learn things from each other, but we get nothing out of the hours we spend helping young technicians here. The truth is by sharing with you we might someday be out of a job. So why do it?

    Truly great technicians lead by example. They inspire by their work ethic. They are calm under under pressure. They take the worst jobs that are dumped on them, eat them for breakfast and can be found sweeping the shop a few minutes later because it needs to be done. Most importantly truly great technicians understand that tech theater is a team sport. When one person learns more and get's better at their job, it makes everyone else on the crew better at their job. Great technicians have no secrets they wouldn't share with someone just coming along trying to learn their job.

    So go ahead and be King/Queen of the Booth if it makes you feel special. But trust me it won't lead to anything special in the end. If you want to be a great technician, cut your attitude, and learn to teach and help others.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2008
    petercav17, Blake, Dsync and 34 others like this.
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,790
    Likes Received:
    1,095
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    Ah the "Self Important Key Jingler" complex, I've seen it many a time.


    These are good words children Listen well.
     
  5. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    I have worked with people like that, and they are not fun. I try not to be like that, although I do like my keys. :)

    And Gafftaper put it quite well!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  6. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Laguna Beach, CA
    Here's something I heard on the radio this morning:

    Sorta helps to put things in perspective...
     
  7. philhaney

    philhaney CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Laguna Beach, CA
    My roommate is fond of saying, "It's a small world. There are only 40 people in theatre and we keep running into each other."

    Nothing gets around faster in the theatre industry than your reputation. ;)
     
  8. garyvp

    garyvp Active Member

    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    19
    Occupation:
    IT Professional
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    I designed and built our booth, and love it, but I do not nest there. We have nine shows and the director, sound and lighting technician are given the booth when they are in production. At best, it is queen for a day. While they are in prod, I encourage them to own the CB an take care of it. I delight in explaining the metering system ...........boy, do they get bored. I wrote the lighting control board manual and still refuse to set up subs and cues; they have to own it.

    I think the point of the original post is germane to a lot technical environments, not just theater - certainly exists in IT. The idea that knowledge is power is BS and for second raters. It is also destructive to the group process. I try to give it away all the time, and that is where the satisfaction is, and that is why I have been successful.
     
  9. len

    len Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,709
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Also known as the Schneider complex.
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    1,808
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
  11. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    246
    Location:
    Fort Wayne IN, USA


    In the follow-up article that tells of the 'rogue sysadmin' named Childs coughing up the passwords, the boss had this to say-


    Newsom said Childs was very good at what he did but had recently "become a bit maniacal".

    "become a bit maniacal". HA!
     
  12. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

    Messages:
    480
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Yeah, I come from the environment where i was king of the booth. I tried my hardest not to be the things mentioned in this thread. When i started out, there was just me and one other kid. After 6 months it was just me. And it stayed that way for 2 years, not because i was trying to hog the power, but there was simply no one that was interested in working tech. I left my high school with 5-6 technicians that i had helped train. Its a really great feeling seeing someone operate the lighting console (granted its an old teatronics 2 scene preset) after i told them how to.

    I see some of the big fish in the small pond syndrome here. There are a few guys that should shut their mouths and open their ears. They haven't grasped the concept that this isn't high school anymore, and that all of us in the class were the best at our high schools. High school is over, this is the real world. I'm waiting for them to get the reality check.
    [/minor_rant]
     
  13. stevefox

    stevefox Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'm kind of like this, unfortunately. But I try to explain how things work to everyone as we go, but 80% of them don't care and just want to get out of a few classes throughought the year, and 10% of them think they know everything about anything and then forget to do stupid stuff (turn on phantom power, ect.). The other 10% is me and the asst. TD.
     
  14. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Ashland - Oregon
    I suppose I am one of the three booth rulers at my high school. It's only because I'm reliable, dedicated, and know what I'm doing though. However, I don't jingle keys and I teach my classmates the things that I know. Especially after my first year of tech and we had to call back techs that had graduated to teach us how to use stuff.

    However, I don't go around saying, "what can I teach you guys today?" If someone wants to learn something they need to come to me and ask first. Truthfully I'm always busy when I'm at the theatre and I can't just drop what I'm doing. But if somebody comes to me wanting to learn how to operate something or how to hang something I usually make time for them.

    The whole key jingling thing is slowly beginning to die for the show at my high school. I was working an outside gig and I had to unlock the "backstage" doors of our black box theatre. So I walked into the mainstage and went up to the stage manager quietly during rehearsal for Company of Wayward Saints and I asked for the keys. Flat out told me no; needless to say I eventually got the keys after staring him down. Had a long talk with him about it the next day. It won't happen again.

    Best way to get rid of the "Key jingler", confront him/her about it. They'll get defensive and mad about it first, but eventually they'll get it. Or they won't and a TD will put him/her back in their place.

    Oh my poor grammar hurts even me... but I'm too lazy to correct myself.
     
  15. deadlygopher

    deadlygopher Member

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    6
    Occupation:
    Automation/Software Developer
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I've been battling this issue for the past year.

    Last year (my Junior year in High School) the head tech was a bit of an interesting character. He'd stolen some keys in middle school and used those keys to borrow/duplicate more keys. He's been in possession of a district grandmaster since his sophomore year. Unfortunately he came in during his freshman year as the only non-senior tech. During his sophomore year he was the only student tech left. Since he's not the most academically-inclined person he literally dedicated every waking hour to the theater.

    I came in during the end of his Junior year (my sophomore). I'd been doing sound for my band and a few friends' bands for years, and I'd been doing various carpentry projects with my dad and uncle for my whole life. I wanted to come in and actually do something. That year I was stage crew on one show.

    The next year I came back ready to actually work. I worked a ton on set construction, and our teacher decided that I should run lights for a show. Unfortunately this other student didn't like that I would be running a show he designed. I was eager to learn at this point and took all the direction I could from him and others. I also asked a lot of questions and did a lot of research.

    The next show rolled around, and I was selected to do light design. This was a student-directed show, and I happened to be good friends with the director. I designed my plot and hung almost all of it myself. After rehearsal the day before tech, the head tech came in. He was furious that I was getting credit for light design. I had left a few fresnels in the same place as the house plot because that was the only logical way to light an area of the stage. He yelled and screamed for almost ten minutes and threatened to steal the light board. I just sat there and waited for him to stop. When he did, I reminded him that we'd locked the light board to the table and that the teacher had the only set of keys (basically the only key the head tech didn't have). He ran up to the booth, unplugged the board and took the power cable. Being one of those nerdy kids I always carry an edison-IEC cable around in my backpack because I nearly always need one for something. I plugged it in and continued my focus session.

    The next show rolled around. I was doing sound design, and had to come up with a surround sound system. I designed it, ran it by the teacher and installed it. This wonderfully friendly head tech (TD on this show) came in that night and disassembled it. After this point he basically was never around. I ended up running most of the construction process (except when he occasionally returned and made us disassemble things and redo them.) He wasn't there for the tech rehearsal or any dress rehearsals. He never even watched the show. He never really did his job as TD. He yelled at me when I didn't do his job, and he yelled at me when I did.

    Now he's gone and I'm the head tech. I think I've learned something from this whole experience. Although I had a rather painful year full of shouting matches and anger, I've gotten a better perspective on theater politics. As head tech, I have a great example of what not to be. Hopefully I'm doing better.
     
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    82
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    Uh, i am the head tech at our shop, maybe because i am part owner, BUT I HATE CARRYING KEYS. IT TAKES ME 5 FRIGGIN MINUTES TO DIG THROUGH ALL OF THEM TO UNLOCK MY HOUSE.

    Any who.........
     
  17. GreyWyvern

    GreyWyvern Apollo Staff

    Messages:
    743
    Likes Received:
    296
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, IN
    I can relate to all of this. I was the "king of the booth" at my high school years ago, but not because I wanted to be. I was just the only one that was interested and knew anything about how any of it worked. And that was only because I taught myself about it all. I was a freshman and the new theatre/choir director at the school asked me if I knew anything about the equipment and how to run it. I said I think so and went to the booth to see what was there. I did my research and spent as much time as i could just playing with it and learning how it worked. I was determined to not let anybody down, so even though I knew pretty much nothing, I said yes. However, I should have said no. Like others have said many times, if you aren't totally sure about something, ask for help. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. It is much better to ask for help than to act like you're the king and then do something stupid, wrong, or even dangerous.

    Although it was what I did, I would not recommend telling anyone you know more than you do. I got lucky because no one was there to prove me wrong. If you say you know how to do something you don't, you will likely be asked to do it at some point. Then when you mess something up and/or it comes out that you really don't know, you have proven yourself to be not trustworthy. Then you likely won't be asked any at all other than maybe to hold the door open. However, if when asked, you say that you don't know or aren't sure and ask to be shown, you are immediately putting yourself in a better position. Honesty and a proven eagerness to learn will go a very long way.

    I was eventually able to train one other person to help me out. I always had the problem of there not being enough interest in the techie stuff. [size=-2]There was never a shortage of divas though![/size] If anyone ever even looks like they might be slightly interested, offer to get them involved and teach them what you can. It never hurts to try.
     
  18. EHubbard92

    EHubbard92 Member

    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Saginaw
    We have that here. The problem is he's one of our coordinators. It's insane. We lost both of our tech coordinators at the end of last year so we had an election and since I wasn't running for the spot it was only X, Y, Z and A. Out of those four the people that deserved it most were X and Y (the only problem was both of them only knew sound) Y was only in theatre for about two months before the election and he didn't know lights or sound, just construction and only sort of. A knew sound but not lights.

    [on a side note, this is also part of the major problem here; only two people know lights and I'm the one who knows them best and I still don't really know everything I should]

    Y and A won and since then Y has gotten very arrogant and he gets to where he won't let anyone touch the light or sound boards (especially aggravating when you're trying to teach a brand new light crew) and if someone (even X) tried to start a new construction project he would freak out and say we didn't know what we were doing.

    Very irritating.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2008
  19. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    1,303
    Likes Received:
    149
    Location:
    Southern California
    Even in the professional theatre world we have our "key jinglers" with the king/queen of the booth complex. We have one down in Pageantland. His view of job security was to make sure that no one else knew how to do his job. He no longer works in the Production Department, having been booted to Operations shortly before I was hired. Now he does facilities maintenance instead of working on the show.
     
  20. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,170
    Likes Received:
    40
    Occupation:
    Freelance Lighting Programmer/grandMA Trainer
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Tim, your sounding a bit disgruntled there, don't go "roadie" on us.

    Roadie, the entertainment industry's version of postal:rolleyes:
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice