silent and with a purpose

Van

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A while back I posted in a thread about an exercise I did with students to teach them how to move “silently and with purpose”. I’ve gotten a ton of e-mails asking about the exercise. I thought I’d post what I could about it.
Step one, I’d simply setup some spike marks around the stage, for a mic stand, a stool and a music stand. Step two, I get all the kids out in the house and talk about what we were going to learn. Then I’d start doing the setup. Of course the first time I did it, I’d rush on with the stool practically run to the spike slam the stool down, run offstage, grab the mic stand, throw it down close ti it spike, then grab the music stand run on throw it in the same area. I’d really ham it up. Oh and I’d be sure to look back three or four times as I was walking off as if I was checking to make sure everything was in it’s right place. By this time the kids were usually laughing like crazy, and the point I was making about excessive movement was usually made. Then I’d ask for suggestions on how to do it better.
The kids would usually have quite a few good ones, like bringing on more than one piece at a time. Of course this would turn into me trying to carry everything at once then proceeding to drop, knock over and trip on everything. After a couple more times with them refining what I was doing I’d do it right moving quietly, quickly without hurrying, setting everything in it’s place, then leaving the stage. After I’d done it right, I’d have the kids start doing the setup. It was really great to have the kids critique each other, it was great to see peer pressure being used for good. By the time we were done the kids were trying to out do each other to see who could look the most “professional”. Sometimes I’d come in and find the kids practicing to see if they could finish faster or be more efficient than everyone else. The big thing for me was to teach them to fight the natural urge to “run” they’d always want to break stride, jog to place, then jog off the stage. Once you instill the idea that they have plenty of time to get things done, the urge to run seems to go away. Once you impress them with the visual impact that an efficient stage hand can make they really try hard to look and act as professionally as possible.
As far as exercises I’d give kids music stands, mic stands and chairs, everyone else would sit in a circle the “it” would have to pick-up and set down all the items without us hearing them. I’d usually have a radio or some music playing in the background, not loud, just enough to give some cover noise. The kids loved it, It was a game and they learned some skills at the same time. This might not be the “answer” everyone was looking for but I know it worked for me. I hope it works for you ! And please know, for all you teachers out there, I have the utmost respect for what you do. Training Technical theatre kids can be a challenge at best. You get the rebels, the know-it-alls, the geeks, and the tech heads, and you get to turn them into technicians. I salute you. :mrgreen:
 

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Why does this feel a bit like a scene in Waynes World II?....

But looks like a fun activity for some people on a rainy (or showless) day.
 
Thankyou very much for that Van.

I am also trying to instill the need for professionality into my trainee techies - and I have results - but it's the older ones who fight and disagree etc.
 

gafftaper

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Thanks Van, Sounds like a great exercise.
 

Van

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Thankyou very much for that Van.

I am also trying to instill the need for professionality into my trainee techies - and I have results - but it's the older ones who fight and disagree etc.
You guys are more than welcome. Phantom you might try playing the peer presure card some more. If the older kids see the younger getting better gigs, or perhaps they see how they look next to the younger ones it might help motivate them some more. Then again motivating teenagers can be incredibly difficult. < no offense to the responsible youngster on here, by being here I think you demonstrate your commitment and maturity.> One of the kids that I thought I was going to have the most difficulty with wound up being my best technician. I put him in charge of the other stagehands and told him he had all the tools neccessary, and that I and the rest of the camp, were counting on him to deliver a good talent show. I'll never forget him walking onstage three days later after one of the acts finished their tech rehearsal and saying, " Thank you very much, Now get off my stage !"
 
One of the older ones is on this forum :twisted:
 

harry1989

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Remember you "argue and fight" as much as the rest of us :p ...I'd say me and you are the two most responsible ones on the crew.
 
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I do not! And if you keep saying things like that I'll fire you so there! :grin:
 

Van

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harry1989

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I do not! And if you keep saying things like that I'll fire you so there! :grin:

Nah he doesn't argue...he threatens to fire us...LOL
 

Chris15

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Guys, could you do us all a favour and have your domestics off board? :p The rest of the world does not want to read about it. Use the PM function or email or MSN or whatever else, just so long as I don't have to read it... please. No offence whatsoever intended though...
 

saxman0317

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I just did this this year (and regretfully i must say in a fit of rage and frustration on a hell show the night before opening). I brought in a few people that i know that knew nothing about technical theater if it bite them in the butt. Didnt tell the stage hands about it, except us in the house knew about it. Anytime that the people in house noticed something that not only caught their eye, but made them follow it, we made them redo the set change. After a few scenes, they relized what was going on and snapped into no more bs mode. Havent had any more problems since then. Granted it is one of those bad ways to do something, but after months of trying stuff to no avail, i cracked and became the mean guy...but it worked! Now if only i could get the rigging crew to move breaks quietly...
 

Van

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Now if only i could get the rigging crew to move breaks quietly...


OMG My biggest pet peave. You wanna see Van Jump up and down and rip his hair out ? Just drop the keeper ring on the fly rail so it makes that little tinkle sound ! ARGH! I hate that !!!!
 

gafftaper

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Nah he doesn't argue...he threatens to fire us...LOL

You can't fire students... slaves must be sold.

OMG My biggest pet peave. You wanna see Van Jump up and down and rip his hair out ? Just drop the keeper ring on the fly rail so it makes that little tinkle sound ! ARGH! I hate that !!!!

I love how it's JUST BARELY loud enough to hear from the house. The truth is the civilians in the house probably won't even notice but it drives the techs CRAZY.
 
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saxman0317

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You can't fire students... slaves must be sold.
I love how it's JUST BARELY loud enough to hear from the house. The truth is the civilians in the house probably won't even notice but it drives the techs CRAZY.

Even worse is when its a show your not working yourself, but you go anyways to support your crew and you know that theres all rookies in the back and you hear it..:rolleyes:
 

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