Rules on Cans

mhowson

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2008
Hey,

I'm new here so some introduction could be helpful. I'm Mark, and I'm going to be SMing an event for our school in a few weeks. It's the first time I've SM'd alone (previously we've been in professional theatres and I've kinda 'half-SM'd' before) - but this time I'm not only completely SM-ing, I've also got to train a bunch of people who've never touched a board anymore - wonderful.

I just wanted your input on what you'd say the top 10 rules for cans are, so I can make a nice sheet, things like 'Don't say Go instead say [...]' and so on... your input is much appreciated.

Thanks!

Mark
 

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Location
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Welcome, mhowson. For a "Dirty Dozen" list, see the glossary entry Headset "Etiquette". One of our most important rules here is Use the seach feature first, before asking a question. Of course, we make exceptions all the time for New Members, and have a place just for them to introduce themselves.
 

mhowson

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2008
Derek:

Hey, yep, I tried a search for 'Cans', should have considered 'Headset'

Avkid:

Many thanks! Actually posed the same question on that forum too!
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
The main rules I follow are...

Proper cue calling. Ex. Light Cue 10 -- GO.
Not "Go Lights" or "Go Cue 10 -- um... Now. Wait. Yeah Now. GO!"

Turn off the mic before adjusting the headset or taking it off.

Don't eat or chew gum.

Keep the conversation show-related.

No talking during Stand-By's.

Stay off the call button unless you really need to talk to someone.

Keep the belt pack (if applicable) clipped on to your belt or waist band.

Do not comment about anyone's performance in the show, good or bad.

Let me elaborate on that last one a little bit more. When I was in high school we had an annual event called Fillies Follies, where our drill team would have a big end of year production with dancing such as tap, modern, jazz, etc. It was usually pretty elaborate and needed a full tech week with at least one light board op/designer (usually me), 1 sound board op (sometimes a second for handling CD's), 2 followspots, and 2 stage managers (SM and ASM). For the event there were about 50 "Fillies" as our school referred to our drill team, and they had full use of the dressing rooms for doing their many costume changes. One night apparently one of our spot ops said "man would you look at the t!ts on her". Well little did he know that what is said on headset comes through a clear-com speaker in the dressing rooms unless you go in there and turn the volume down. However I think the girls wanted the volume turned up so they could hear what was going on and what was up next, etc... Plus I think they were somewhat entertained by our at times randomness, and at one time commented that it was like a radio show. Well they didn't like spot op's comment too much and I think you can pretty much guess what happened after that. Let's just say we had to train a new house left spot operator.

It was one of those things that you may not think much of, and when you think you know the people listening in, it's actually quite innocent. I mean come on, you have 50 girls dancing around stage in leotards!!! In HIGH SCHOOL! But always treat the headset as if the most important person in the building is listening in on your conversations.
 
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Marius

Active Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2007
Location
Tampa, FL
Yeah, if you don't know for sure who can hear you, always assume the wrong people can. Once during an elementary school dance recital I commented that one of the cardboard records that were hanging over the stage was blocking one of the dancer's head. By the time the telephone game got it to her she was in tears because someone had said that her head was as big as one of the records. (fortunately I was the boss, so I gave myself a stern talking to and that was the end of it ;) ) When in doubt, say nothing.
 

porkchop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Location
Vegas
...Do not comment about anyone's performance in the show, good or bad...
I need to tape that (translated into spanish) in big bold letters on all of my follow spots. My hour and a half show has something like 100-125 follow spot cues we are almost always in stand-by and it can be a very hard show to do well. In the US I had some follow spot ops that were poor but knew not to say anything until they had time. In the Dominican there was so much talking back and forth about the ops missing their cues that they would miss there stand-by's cause they couldn't hear the translator over the chatter. Made me very very angry, still trying to figure out a way to disable the mics in my ops headsets.
 

Saunier

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Location
Van Wert, Ohio
One thing I would recommend when calling cues is to give a LONG STAND BY then give the person(s) a STANDBY right before the cue then GO on whatever cue. That becomes useful for people on flying in backdrops so they have time to get to the next pipe
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
One thing I would recommend when calling cues is to give a LONG STAND BY then give the person(s) a STANDBY right before the cue then GO on whatever cue. That becomes useful for people on flying in backdrops so they have time to get to the next pipe

I knew a stage manager who would give a Warning cue about a page away from the cue (more or less depending on the pace of the show) and then a Standby when the actual cue was about to happen. Warning meant get ready, and Standby meant have your finger near the go button (for lights). You wouldn't want it on the button or you run the risk of Inadvertent Cue Execution, or "ICE". I just made that last part up.
 

ishboo

Active Member
Joined
May 6, 2008
Location
Centerville, Ohio
ICE.. haha I love it, I'm going to have to start using it, it'll be a thing (with all due credit to you of course)
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
You have my permission, sir