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Our crew is on the very tip of walking

Discussion in 'Safety' started by soundop, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. soundop

    soundop Active Member

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    OK I know i have been venting the last few days, but im streesed to hell. ok, so first of all ive been head of rail for 2 weeks, i stayed till 11oclock on school nights wre i had huge assignments due, to do dry runs BY MYSelF on the rail.
    so i come to rehearsel today, and walk in on the stage manager talking to a newb whos on rail, but claims he done this before. (before i tell the end of that convo) so i decided to see what he knows.
    the first thing i do is walk him over to an out of weght line, and then ask him how A) how to reweght, and B) what is the importance of keeping a line in weght.
    his answears were, well you put the weghts above this plate (which has a ring above it) and this is incorrect, so i have to explain you put in betweenthe two plates,and ofcurse he says why, so i have to explain saffty, and pipe weght to this moron. Now heres his answear to keeping lines in weght- it dosnt matter as long as you can move the line. well i have had it at this point. any one up here who works flys knows the wear out of weghts put on your systems, and how hard it is to replace a rope.
    know i ask him how to fly stuff out, on an in weght line, so he walks over and instead of taking th saffty off he trys to pull down he lock, he relizes it isn woking and he los confused, then relizes his mistake. sohe takes it off and i tell him to watch his spike and what to yell before bringing it in, well guess what he misses spike, forgot to yell "fly 8 coming in" and hits the girl i have a huge crush on right on the head.
    well i have had it and now i go up for the run and th sm tells me that im no longer in charge, since the "newb knows more the me" (i later found out he explained everything i told him to her and said it was my fault for hitting the girl on the head) ok so know im pissed, oh and the thing i heard when i walked in was "ya i dont really like the guy on rail so try to take-over his cues so we dont have to deal with him" so right now it takes three to run the rail, tomorows our last rehearsel before the show, so i know its way to late to bring in a new kid.
    so anyway after rehearsal the sm walks up o me, and just states if you ever crawl behind the cyc during a rehersal again, you will be kicked off crew. heres the kicker there were only 2 people behind the cyc, the ld and the newbie.
    so you guys think i have reason to walk? by the wayi tried to talk to the director and she sid what the sm says goes. so our whole crew is about to walk.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2007
  2. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Just a quick question, is your stage manager a student too?
     
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  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I will be the first to say that it's much easier to read if you spell correctly and organize sentences logically.

    Besides the fact that it was a mess to read, you should always yell out the lineset coming in even if your trainee does not. A lineset smashing someone over the head is not a training experience by any stretch of the term. If the trainee does not call it, you call it. And someone who does not know the principles of counterweight systems (which apparently this person did not) should not be working or even being tested on the rail.
     
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  4. soundop

    soundop Active Member

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    ya, sorry for the mispelling and unorginazation, but this isnt a english club. but i was poed to all hell when i got home, and the lineset was my fault, but i looked away to hear the director say something. the key point to this topic is the stage manager stripped me (who rightfully deserved it) of being head fly master, and gave it to a newb who clamied to know everything about it. i am pretty sure any one would want to kill the sm who madee that choice. and yes the sm is a student.
     
  5. soundop

    soundop Active Member

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    by the way, thanks for letting me vent, better i do it here then at the theater (that would involve dropping a 1 ton bandshell on our sm)
     
  6. soundop

    soundop Active Member

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    by the way 3 of the 6 crew will be walking tomorow, possibly all 6, so all theyl are 2 dumb newbs who will probaly end up kllling every one on the rail
     
  7. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    uh oh... I know what's coming for replies when you talk about a student "walk out".


    Why doesn't your whole crew go and talk to the drama director calmly, and do it calmly don't just say look unless you do this and that we're all walking. Last time I had half a group of people do that becaus they didn't get along with the "popular" people on the team and they felt that they shouldn't be on the team because they were popular. So they ganged up on me and said they were going to walk. I said fine and anyone can be replaced, they took it to mean that they specifically can be replaced.

    Out of those 6 only 2 walked, and the teams been better off since with a lot less "student drama"
     
  8. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    If we're talking about the experienced heads walking, and leaving people on the rail who can't tell the ***** end of a horse from its head, then go straight to whomever is in charge above the SM. I know this kid and SM are both pissing you off, but if someone gets hurt due to inexperience and/or incompetence, it's your job to point it out to the powers that be.

    I agree with Rickblu when he said talk to the drama director or theater manager, or TD calmly, and lay out your concerns and troubles. Back up your reasons why this kid is a danger to those on the deck whenever he unlocks a flyline.

    Fly systems are not something for the inexperienced to eff around with, no matter what the SM might think. I'm sure there's someone who knows you and your reputation better than the SM, who, if a student, would tend to make judegement and personell (sp?) calls based on favortism instead of ability. It's your responsability to point out to the powers that be that this kid is a danger to people if he's on fly.
     
  9. soundop

    soundop Active Member

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    we went to the director, she said wat the sm says goes, and the whole crew is uncomfortable with the guy up their
     
  10. mbenonis

    mbenonis Wireless Guy Administrator Premium Member

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    Because of the nature of the fly system, I would make it known to school administration that the department is allowing untrained and inexperienced stagehands operate equipment that is extremely dangerous. You may have to play up the safety concern, but that usually gets attention in administrative circles. Be sure to avoid mentioning any personnel issues to administrators - they don't care about that sort of thing, and it makes you look as bad as the PSM and the director by mentioning it.

    It is very unfortunate that the PSM is acting immature, and even more unfortunate that the director of the program is unwilling to discuss the issue. After working in a collegiate atmosphere where such behavior would never be tolerated, I've grown very intolerant of situations like the one you've described. If people can't act professionally, they have no business putting on a production in my opinion.
     
  11. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Given the litigious nature of people, I would make sure to WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN and send it or e-mail or fax whatever to someone who is outside the loop, such as the principal, etc. Make sure that everyone knows there's a personality problem BEFORE something serious happens, and that you are trying to resolve everything safely, but meeting with some resistance.

    Walking off a show never solved anything. I saw a guy do it once on a corporate one-off and he hasn't worked for that company since. I hear he's struggling because word has gotten around that he's difficult to work with. Obviously, I don't know the whole story of WHY he walked off the job, but now he has a reputation for doing that and so other companies are hesitant about bringing him in.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    First off this is once again why High School theaters need an adult on staff who runs the theater and trains/leads the crew.

    Former High School teacher here, and I don't advocate walking out in the middle of a performance... learning to get along with jerks and morons is an important job skill you need to learn. On the other hand, I do advocate walking out if the situation is dangerous... and it sounds like you may be getting to that point. You don't realize this but it's already dangerous having you a "trained" high student run a fly system without a trained adult's supervision. I've talked about this before but... there is a theater a few miles from the college we rent for shows. It has taken months of negotiation to reach the point that they are going to allow us to use a college student to run their fly system during our shows. THAT is how it works in the real world. In the real world, you don't just allow anybody who has a half hour training to run a line set. When people screw up a fly system people die. The girl who was hit in your theater is lucky VERY lucky.

    As others have said I would take the entire group who are going to walk together and write down SPECIFIC reasons you want to walk. .. not "the sm is a #!%#"... instead try "The S.M is allowing someone who has no idea what they are doing to run the fly system. It's dangerous for everyone on stage as we have already seen when he hit a student last week. We believe it is unsafe to work on stage if that untrained person is in charge of flying things."

    If you don't get any support from the teacher. Take it to the administration. But realize that by going over the drama teacher's head you may be done working in the theater for good. So weigh that choice carefully. Always stress safety and proper theater procedure. If your complaints are about annoying people you will get nowhere. Again working with difficult people is a job skill you need to learn, but working with dangerous people is not.
     
  13. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I missed one of soundop's posts, but hear me out on this one.

    I'm an advocate for communication. Just as design meetings are necessary on a regular basis before the show goes up, meeting with you S.M. are also necessary. Talk to your SM, ask her(him?) in a calm tone of voice, and with composure what she has heard of the rail crew. Let her know that you are the most qualified for the job, and even if she doesn't like you, or she likes the "newb" better, it is her job to put the most qualified, and therefore safest person on the line (lineset? My theater doesn't have a fly system!!!). Remind her the "newb" has no chance in hell of learning the cues on time, and that she shouldn't be surprised when Act I Scene 7 is missing its flat. Be calm and composed, yet be clear and make all your points. If this doesn't go well. Take the same story to the drama teacher. Say: "I've talked with the SM, and she fails to see the current safety concerns."

    By the way! Don't forget to remind her the newb already beamed one girl in the head!
     
  14. astrotechie

    astrotechie Member

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    Well maybe because those 6 felt uncomfortable with the "popular ppl" which were unexpirenced to do a job and screw up and not have a good feed back. And reality check, nobody can get replaced. Also it hasnt been better off since they are gone since they were a help to me, maybe not you, but to me yes. Since they have been gone i have been doing the work of 6 ppl at once, and guess what, if they were there, i could get the work done better and faster.

    Soundpop, talk to the SM or TD or Drama director, calmly, and explain what side you are coming from. And walking out before a show isn't logical.

    That reminds of the idiots that try to load wieghts on the flys at my hs and are like what do you mean. And they are cant be trusted with a singal piece of equip unless it is a bucket with all the items put in it and tell them to carry it. "Reminder: People are idiots, when idiot people and equipment collide, you have diaster." That has been my expirence
     
  15. taylorjacobs

    taylorjacobs Member

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    I am SOOO TIRED of hearing undeserving brats talk about walking out on shows. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. THIS IS THEATRE...and not everyone gets along, but thats okay, because you are creating magic onstage...and thats what the goal is.Life is not always perfect...believe it or not you don't always get to work with great people, but what makes a great technician is someone who can get the job done no matter what obstacles or personalities lie in the way. You are not turning your back on one person you are turning you back on the whole cast and crew. This may be something that you don't plan on continuing in college of professionally but outside of high school, theatre relies on contacts..and if this was a professional gig you wouldn't be working in that town the rest of your life.
    As a former teacher of mine always used to tell me
    Fake it til you make it.
     
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  16. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts exactly.
     
  17. soundop

    soundop Active Member

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    well, we got the matruity probem sloved (i found a couple videos, edited it them together and showed them to the newb) and today was much better, and hers the stage managers excuse "you missed a rehearsel" well, she knew i had to miss it to see my great grandpa (95 years old) so just because he was there for one rehearsel, afterive been there for every thing else and spilled blood (waste of blood) he gets fly manager. i cleard things up with him, and he even agreed that the sms reasoning was b*******, but we have to suckit up. bu he straghtnd out to day (of course i sat off half the to cool down and keep from accidently undoing an out of weght electric nd beaming her) but the situations cooled down, thanks for lettin me rant.
     
  18. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Without going into this again or too far, since this topic isn't about this. There was only two people that left and only one was actually part of the group, the other was just there. So you're not doing the work of 6 people on stage. You also have 2 other people that work with you but you need to give them a chance. But again this is a discussion for another place and another time.
     
  19. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you got your situation rectafied (sp? right word?). But, I feel like I should add some things for those in the future who read this. I agree whole heartedly with taylorjacobs. My high school didn't have a true fly system. The first show I ran in a different venue with a fly system was a completely new experience (I admit, i confused fly cues with light cues). Anyway, on to the point.

    Walking out is bad. In this situation, I don't think it's the right thing, and I'm not sure my earlier post made that clear. I agree with taylor (may I call you taylor?), communication is the key. I'm not saying this is the case with soundop, but I have read threads where people b**** and moan about not being head whatever because the SM decided someone else should do it. Been there, done that. It does help to vent every now and then, but only venting, not whining, and yes, there is a difference.

    In the real world, you're not always going to get the position/job you want. In this situation, whilst I wouldn't call it whining, talking is the right way to go. From the OP, it looked like the SM had completely shut herself off to reason (I see it happen all the time; take a philosophy course with conservatives). If that's the case, and safety's a big concern, such as someone who is "head flyman" not knowing anything about it and bringing a lineset (hope that's the right word for it) on someone's head, that flyman is now a risk to everyone on the deck, and so is everyone on the rail for that matter, since their leader has no concern for safety. When those two situations happen, then the need to go over the SM's head is apparant. In this situation, safety was a real concern, and people could have been seriously injured. Even then, it's the responsibility of those in the know to stay and make sure things are done safely, even if they aren't head of whatever crew (audio, light, fly, running, etc.) The few shows I've worked professionally (well, in a venue other than my high school, and since I've graduated) the first thing is NOT the show must go on. The first concern is safety. If you see something unsafe, even if you're not sure, point it out to someone IMMEDIATELY. IF safety is met, then the show goes on, not vice versa. That seemed to be the situation here.

    Now, if you're sacked from being head whatever, that's a different story. There's not much you can do there, and I've seen lots of people get sacked who thought they were the most qualified for the postion. Usually they had a tremendious self-inflated ego, and actually knew jack s&!^. If you get sacked because of favortism, then talking to the SM's the only route you can take. If safety is concerned, then go to the SM and/or higher powers.

    This is one of those topics for me. I've drilled it into every crew I've been in carge of; our first priority is to make sure no one gets hurt doing this. Our second priority is to put on a fantastic and flawless show. Our third priority is to have fun. I've seen far to many situations that have ended badly because people ignore safety. I go rock climbing, and I've seen people injured because they're in too much of a hurry. They don't double check their knots, and they don't always put protection in when they should. What should be a small fall turns into a long one with a crash into the rock face afterwards. DON'T IGNORE SAFETY! It's your job to point out something not safe. This is one of those situations where apologizing later for being wrong is better than someone using said unsafe device and being injured. Ok, so that's not the exact proverb, but I blanked out halfway through. If you're not sure about something, point it out, then go find someone who does know.

    Sorry for the hijack there, but I felt I had to say that. Anyway, carry on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2007
  20. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Well........ I think the use of "underserving brats" is a bit harsh but I do agree with the rest of the sentiment. To paraphrase our former Secretary of Defence < spelled the for the Aussies> "You go theatre with the crew you have, not the crew you want." In Highschool and College you don't always get the "best" crews you get the best crews availible. I've often said that a college degree doesn't prove you know more than somebody else, it proves your able to put up with 4 years of B.S. to prove you know what you know. Walking out on a show is an absolutly positively horrible nasty last resort thing to do. Besides it's much more fun to stick around, and kill the SM with kindness, and drive her insane trying to figure out what your'e up to.
    This is a bad situation and a reason that we have TD's and Production managers in the real world. This is NOT a decision that an SM makes, the SM can discuss a personel problem with a TD or PM and work to resolve the situation, but they do not have the authority to make a replacement on a crew, period. An SM could throw a crew memeber out of the theatre, if they showed up drunk or were massively derelict in thier duties, but to remove a crew member from a crew? No that decision is made by someone in charge of production concerns. So I sympathize with your situation but I cannot condone a decision to "walk out" I understand from you latest post that your situation is resolving itself, but I hope this post is one others will read in the future when reviewing this thread.
     

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