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Prepping New Crew Members

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by willbb123, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    Ok heres the deal, we have a really big show coming up next Thursday. In the rider they request 8 crew members. They ask for Lighting, Sound, Stage Manager, Wardrobe, and some stage hands. We have a very small crew (4 people), so we had to find people just for this show. We have people that we normally call for this, but we still needed two more people. So I called to of my college friends and they are going to help.

    Now what I am starting to worry about is they have never worked in theater before. They will be here for load-in/out and possibly be a stage hand for the show. There will not be time before load-in to train them. So I need to think of some things that I could teach them over lunch (or in a email depending on there schedules).

    So some of the things I've thought of so far are;

    --
    Load in/out
    >Take it slow, and do it safely - yes we have a deadline but safety is our first priority.
    >3 people on each road case that comes up the ramp. One behind on the ramp pushing, 2 on ether side steering. Especially important for large, heavy, and/or over sized cases that have to be [cant remember term] (turned so only two wheels are on the ramp).
    >One person on top of the ramp to receive the case and push it to its location on stage (directed by a road crew member).
    >For cases with riders, One hand on case, other on the rider (another case sitting on top)

    Set-up
    >This show is a rental, we are here to help the road crew.
    >Crews have certain ways of doing stuff. If you think of a better way of doing it, talk to a House Crew member.
    >Safety is the first priority, if you see anything that is a hazard report it to a house crew member.

    If the fly system is being used,
    >There are commands that they fly rail operators will yell out.
    >>Lineset # coming in - a batten (pipe spanning the entire width of the stage) will be coming down from the grid. Who ever is in charge of the stage will look to see if the area is clear and respond "thank you". Then the lineset will start descending. When this is happening look up and make sure that you are not going to walk underneath the batten.
    >>Lineset # going out - same procedure as above, except the batten is on the deck and going up.
    >>Loading weight batten # - Most of the time we can not clear the stage while loading weight. Always listen for commands from the loading rail.
    >>>Lineset # loaded - The lieset is loaded and it is save to return to work.
    >>>Heads! - Something has been dropped from the fly rail. Move as far away from the flyrail, and the batten as possible.
    >>>Run Away! This means that for some reason they do not have control of the lineset. This requires your immediate action. If you are donwnstage, move quickly into the pit. If you are upstage, move out the yellow door (or loading door if open), or move into the dressing room.

    During the run
    >You may be required to help with the run. Most likely a member of there crew will run you through anything that you need to do.

    This is a professional theater, please be respectful and professional. Some crews are fine with swearing, some are not. Please keep swearing to a minimum.

    --
    Now if you could help me and add anything that you think would be useful. Also if you have a better way of wording things.

    Thanks
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Stage Directions. Teach stage direction. Very important.

    If you have 4 people that know what they are doing, 2 that kind of do, and 2 that don't have a clue I think you should be OK. I assume this is a bus and truck show, so you are there for muscle and to get them into the space. Most road crews are used to working with people that don't know what they are doing. You should be ok.

    Can't tell you how many calls I have worked, 100+ people, and 30-40 have never walked into a theatre or arena before. You'll survive, they did. Just keep your eye on the new people.
     
  3. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    I guess the biggest think im worried about is safety. Thats why i put so much time into the ramp, and the fly system. I will also add things they need to bring (work gloves, c-wrench so on)
    Because they are my friends I dont wanna just trough them in blind. Also if they do something it makes me look bad for recommending them.
     
  4. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Off hand, I'd say one of the more important things you can teach them is basic terminology and stage directions. Once they understand the language of theatre, at least enough to decipher basic instructions, things should go much smoother.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Western Rover likes this.
  6. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Basically what everyone else said. Stage Directions are a must. On the tours I've worked, the first hour or so is spent getting road cases off the trucks and onto the stage. The road guys usually just stand there and look at the case and call out "Downstage Right" or "Upstage Center" and you go there. Also, I'd say that assigning them to work with another person will make things go pretty well. For most of the tasks you'll be doing, there will probably be more than one person doing it, so just try to make sure that a new person stays with an experienced person.

    One other thing you should mention is that you are being hired "from the neck down". The show has been extensively planned and teched out before this, and they don't need or want your suggestions. Even if you have something really good, they probably can't make it happen. The last thing you want is a local crewmember following the head carp around giving him all sorts of suggestions for how he can better brace this piece, or how to rig it better, or things like that.
     
  7. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I believe that you need to teach them safety and basic terminology. The nature of this job (as for as I can understand) is for manual labor so they should be fine but keep a close eye on them
     
  8. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    So the show is now over and went great! My friend was the only one new to theater. I took him to lunch a few days before and explained the safety stuff and the "hired from neck down". He did alot better then I thought he would. Luckily he didn't need to stay for the show (just back for load out). The rest of the crew was from the local University's theater program, and were amazingly helpful. One girl stayed on stage and caught the cases as they came off the ramp. The other girl was down in the Alley helping us take the cases out of the truck, to the ground, then up our ramp. She was very helpful, I really want her on our regular running crew. Someone who knows what they are doing, isn't afraid of getting their hands dirty, AND enjoys what they are doing, is really hard to find around here.
     
  9. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    ....and anywhere else for that matter.....
     
  10. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Yes they are hard to come by.....

    I suspect I will be having a conversation with my crew this afternoon about professionalism and responsibility. We have a work (setup) call this afternoon for a show on Tuesday and both of my assistants have asked if they REALLY have to be there. Since one of them is technical director-in-training for this show (I've been the groups technical director for 3 years but I'm graduating come May, so now I'm trying to train replacements). My TD in training is far more interested in who she is the boss of than what needs to get done for the show... I will admit I went through that stage a couple of years ago, so I'm not too upset.
     
  11. RaChelle C

    RaChelle C Member

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    Hey all,
    I have a question.

    I am pretty new to stage managing dance performance myself i have done it for over a year now but I have a friend is about to call her first show (success) but she is downing herself and I have been keeping her spirits lifted but its not working all too well. Have any solid advice for new comers that i could pass along to her?
     

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