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Picking Battles

Discussion in 'Safety' started by MikeJM, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. MikeJM

    MikeJM Member

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    Location:
    Rochester Hills,MI
    This topic is not made for venting, I am just announcing a epiphany I recently had. People have always told me, and I have always told myself to pick my battles as far as technical theatre or concert etc... There are always crew members that you will have problems with and there will always be people who think they know what they are doing and want to be in control. I recently started a new show at my high school, a Variety Show. Most of the lighting and sound techniques, ideas had never been tried before or never have succeeded. Jeff (The_Guest) was of big help during this show and had a part in majority of the planning of this show and it never would have went on without him; the rest is history. Anyway, we were running a bare bone crew and has minimal pre production time but still had high expectations. There were no immediate technical failures during the show, and the audience seemed not to be disappointed but when the show came to an end that night I felt extremely sick to my stomach and I had thought I had failed miserably.

    There are a long list of reasons that I could list for why the show was a failure and all of the things I had done wrong but the biggest was I didn't pick my battles.

    With such little time, and a small crew I learned far too late that I shouldn't be concerned with every small detail, and I should of delegated more jobs out to people. It far easier to go back later and touch up everything than try to do most of it yourself, and find yourself scrambling for time and not acomplishing much.

    I wasted alot of my time during sound checks dealing with inmature band members and picking fights that were pointless, and also assisting crew members with jobs that they really could have done with no help from me.

    Just pick your battles everybody, safe yourselves headaches.
     
  2. __WWW__

    __WWW__ Member

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    our culture show turned out really bad tech wise too.. but it really wasnt our fault, people changed stuff around at the last min, then the projector wasnt working, and people didnt give their cds to the sound tech. it turnedout alright in the end, but to the techs it seemed to be a disaster!
     
  3. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    I have that problem a lot. I feel like I need to do it, because if I don't, its not going to get done correctly. I've been trying to relax more. Also, keep in mind that you see things that no one else does.

    for instance, I saw Fiddler on the Roof on broadway (and didn't like it, I thought it was a bad performance. Anyway, there were a lot of tech things that I saw and hated. There were these things hanging right in the middle of the follow spot through, so in the middle of the follow spot beam there was a shadow. It was over-miced and there were sounds of mic's being bumped into and being dropped (from backstage, i assume). At the end there was a follow spot in the back that jumped up and back down again.

    I was talking to everyone I saw it with after show, and no one noticed any of these things. The most they noticed was that it "seemed a little loud" but they didn't see 3/4 of what I was talking about.

    Since we do this everyday, we see that the hot spot is here and not there, and that there is a small shadow there, or that it took a few extra seconds to cue up the song. However, the audience doesn't notice these things.
     
  4. sallyj

    sallyj Member

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    MikeJM,
    Did you receive any negative feedback about the show, or do you feel like it was a failure because it did not go smoothly from the tech side? Regardless, it seems like you learned something from the experience, and that is a positive thing. When you do it again, and you will, perhaps you won't make the same mistakes. You have some wisdom now. On the down side you will make some new mistakes! 8O It is part of the learning process, and all of us do it on every show. The trick is to learn from it but not to let it get to you. Also, picking your battles is difficult, especially when they are up in your face. It is hard to step back and think: Is this battle really worth it? Regardless of who is right or who just gets their way, is there something more important to be doing now? I struggle with that daily, it seems.

    SJM
     
  5. MikeJM

    MikeJM Member

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    I did not recieve any negative feedback from the show, it was just a complete failure to myself, my T.D. and some other crew members. It had never been tried at my school so no matter what it was a step foward. I moved here this year from a different high school, so I had a lot of high expectations coming into the show, and I just sort of forgot about the basics.

    I felt bad about the show, because I knew I could of done better, and that I came from better, but to everyone else it was an acomplishment, I just don't like to settle for that, there are always room for improvement.

    I also suggest making notes of shows like our experimental variety show and make a list of things that worked and didn't worked, also any ideas, comments, and anything that you should try the next time, as time goes on, the show becomes so much more fuzzier, if only I posted this 3 months ago.
     
  6. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Well, there's always room for improvement, and you can always do things better. It sounds like your just being to hard on yourself.

    I'm sure we can all think of ways we could have made our last show better, I know I can (to much front light, everyone looked flat, I needed more from my side booms). But thats the entire point of this, you do enough shows and make enough mistakes and you figure out what works.
     
  7. DMXtools

    DMXtools Active Member

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    Location:
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    Doing sound for local-band shows, I'm often battling poor room accoustics... and often come away from a show thinking "that sounded like s***!" even as people tell me what a great job I'm doing. It's normal to be self-critical... and actually a good thing. When you start believing you're perfect and stop trying to improve, it's time to look for another line of work. It's just important to turn the self-criticism into a drive to keep improving.

    John
     

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