Labor Shortage

mrtrudeau23

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Dec 29, 2008
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Chicago, IL
You've got a very good point here. We've all worked with the kid who came out of college, but still didn't know how to plug in a cable, "because that's not what designers do". There are too many programs out there that don't recognize the value in teaching and learning all levels of this business, and who completely ignore the fact that it is a business. I definitely had some serious blind spots when I came out of college, but at least I came out equipped to learn it, and with experience actually putting shows together.

I'd love to see more of the major programs offering associates degrees focused on technology and stagecraft. The engineering college I went to was going through a very similar process with engineering, and refocusing all the programs to have "technology" associate's degrees focused on the physical work of engineering. It was even a huge breath of fresh air for the engineering side, as those students got a lot more experience seeing how things were actually done, instead of just on paper/in CAD.
Agreed. My program focused on developing a portfolio so you could get into grad school. Grad school and New York were really the only things that were pushed on any of us, design/tech and performance. Not once did I hear that Chicago was an option for theater in college despite it being just a 4 hour drive away from campus. I had to learn about the Chicago theater scene at an internship after college. I probably would never have moved here if not for that internship and the people I met there. The opportunities I had in college to design and learn the install/construction side of theater were great, but after graduating, I wished we had learned about other directions we could have taken our careers besides going directly to grad school or moving to NYC to try and make it work.
 
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Starr T.

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I didn't get into the field thru the college door, but have worked on several campuses & with many grads. Frankly it feels rather unfair and misleading that their programs are not more realistic about working in the industry! Everyone pays their dues by starting in some lower role than they may be aiming for, to hopefully learn the ropes in that venue, or prove themselves. It frustrates me to also hear profs talk trash about equipment, that is not top of the line; like its trash you'll never have to work with. Well, how many folks here still work/ed in venues or for performing groups who only have old gear & can't yet afford upgrades? Its our job to work with what they got & make it work sometimes; are they teaching that? So, if colleges are just taking kids money & selling pipe dreams without real substance, they deserve to close. Leaving my soap box now...: }
 

TimMc

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Feb 15, 2017
If we only train "designers" then we have nobody who understands how to make the physical and real-time things work. The idea that every tech theater major needs to be a designer does a great disservice to both the students and our industry.

Just sayin'.....

edit ps: Most theater education needs to be burned to the ground so we can start over. That's the nicest way I can say this.
 
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mrtrudeau23

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Dec 29, 2008
Location
Chicago, IL
If we only train "designers" then we have nobody who understands how to make make the physical and real-time things work. The idea that every tech theater major needs to be a designer does a great disservice to both the students and our industry.

Just sayin'.....

edit ps: Most theater education needs to be burned to the ground so we can start over. That's the nicest way I can say this.
So true with many things. Basic maintenance on anything is rarely taught. Either you send it out to be fixed, or you buy new. There is very little, "Hey, let's crack it open and see if we can fix it ourselves" these days. Or at least it feels that way.

It frustrates me to also hear profs talk trash about equipment, that is not top of the line; like its trash you'll never have to work with. Well, how many folks here still work/ed in venues or for performing groups who only have old gear & can't yet afford upgrades? Its our job to work with what they got & make it work sometimes; are they teaching that? So, if colleges are just taking kids money & selling pipe dreams without real substance, they deserve to close. Leaving my soap box now...: }
We're still operating with Altmans (mostly the brown axial ones), Colortran 5/30s (which sometimes look as good as a S4 if you can bench it right), and PAR 64s from the 80s in our mainstage spaces. While these fixtures are slowly starting to be replaced, especially with the difficulty of getting PAR lamps, they still get used in almost every show. 2 years ago we finally gave away all our radial Altmans, spare frames and extra parts that had been taking up (a lot of) space under our fixture storage racks to various groups and individuals. I think 95% of that equipment went to groups that intended to continue using them.
 

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What Rigger?

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Aug 24, 2006
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I didn't get into the field thru the college door, but have worked on several campuses & with many grads. Frankly it feels rather unfair and misleading that their programs are not more realistic about working in the industry! Everyone pays their dues by starting in some lower role than they may be aiming for, to hopefully learn the ropes in that venue, or prove themselves. It frustrates me to also hear profs talk trash about equipment, that is not top of the line; like its trash you'll never have to work with. Well, how many folks here still work/ed in venues or for performing groups who only have old gear & can't yet afford upgrades? Its our job to work with what they got & make it work sometimes; are they teaching that? So, if colleges are just taking kids money & selling pipe dreams without real substance, they deserve to close. Leaving my soap box now...: }
You're describing any university that has lost track of its job. It seems more than we think have done just that. I've dealt with dozens of new hires in the last 10 years that didn't know how to load a truck, or hump feeder cable, because "I'm a designer....I'm a programmer....where's my chair?" is their default. On top of that, fault lies in our (now former) hiring manager who was more concerned with your Boy Scout rank, and whether or not you currently attended his mega-church (or might be persuaded to do so). We went through a couple of years of a number of Eagle Scouts, who ironically could not tie a bowline, with no tolerance for prevailing conditions on any given day.

The job of the university is not to train anyone for a career. The job of the university is to train people how to discern what is true. If you come out at a level to make money (at anything), that's a bonus.
 

ship

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Had a discussion with my #1 laid off assistant at a remote storage building today. Asked him in grabbing some lamps he wanted before trash, while purging thousands of dollars of lamps so as to make space for gear I stored just fine "Approved of the design for my area" in the main shop, than had to move in making "open area" space in my department and all others more so at the shop again. I didn't ask for or need in efficiency detrement. Purge #3 so as to make space I did not ask for and will hamper productivity. Spent thousands of dollars in going plastic bins also in removing all cardboard boxes in purge #2. Than got thrown under the buss in doing so in spending that money. Long story

So many parts of this reply deleted in pissed but keeping on topic.

My prime assistant, I need him, he is me in as smart and able but younger. He as my Wife won't come back to work at 32 hours per week and some less than 40 hour weeks given he is on unemployment. My Wife has to care for the kid now in school, but by 2PM have to be ready to receive her from shorter school hours. Not much help in after school day care not active. My assistant complies with this for primary care giver to child. Work offers show Pay and cash day rates in seperate and not complicating the un-employment system. We also both noted that before this..... we were on the every other year pay raise thing, and we got stuck with pandmic without. Me in salary that 70% pay without that raise. Others, the Wife and #2 laid off. Not cost effetive to leave un-employment.... I went fishing today. Good in general policies, but needs some tweaking in I need him back to the shop and he wants that also.
 
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