Following up on the Theatre Pay Rates thread, I wanted to see how others worked in regards to coming into a space and paying the student technicians to work the show. I myself am a student, and enjoy the occasional payment for doing work at my school. However, I also work a lot of shows out of my school, including some with a local community theatre which rents out local high schools for their shows. I have on two occasions been fortunate enough to have the school just hand over the keys and let me use my own personnel for everything (programming, spots, rigging, etc). I have slowly built up an "elite" team of student techs who I have recruited to work outside shows with me, and these techs are very talented and trustworthy in what they do. However, on two (soon to be three) occasions, I have been forced to work using the student technicians at the school, paying them around minimum wage for the entire time they're there. In every case, however, I have been frustrated to no end by the lack of knowledge these student techs have about what they're doing. I do all these shows for no pay, and so do all of my outside techs when I can use them, so paying someone at all is somewhat annoying. However, I am firmly of the belief that if I am paying someone $10 an hour, I should be getting $10 an hour work out of them. In both case, I have found that the students have VERY little knowledge of their own equipment! The first time we had to pay a student tech to work, they had an Express 48/96 running a fully conventional rig, and I was clearly told that I was NOT to touch the board. Well, when I started the cueing session with the student tech and asked him to bring up a Group, he had no idea what I was talking about. Same response when I asked him to record a cue. Apparently, they do all their shows by recording submasters and fading between those. Needless to say, the cueing session dragged on and on, and I eventually gave up trying to achieve what I wanted and just threw up simple general washes for the show. And I still had to watch him get paid after the run for that work. In the other situation similar to this, I just asked the tech if I could program it and he sat next to me while I programmed and designed the whole show - and yes, he still got paid for that time. Has anyone else ever experienced this problem? And what do you do to resolve it? I would be perfectly happy calling my own people who could run these boards blindfolded and having them work, or even just having me do all the programming, but I am getting really annoyed at having to pay these student techs to do nothing. True, they're only students and not lighting majors, but I should not be paying someone $10 an hour so I can teach them how to record a cue on their own board. Thoughts?