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TD helping out

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by anonymous381, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    Is it appropriate to have the TD in the booth actually physically helping out with the controls like fading mics and dimmers or are they better just hanging around relaying clearcom info?

    In the past it's been just the two tech guys in the back for lights and sound but this year we grew to a crew of 6, 2 for lights and sound, 2 trainees, 1 on the spots on the roof and 1 TD in the booth (we must have adult supervision this year)
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Define TD. Personally, with my kids I turn the show over to them for the run. I don't like running shows and I don't think I should be running shows. That being said, the next show it looks like I will be calling because of time constraints in the space. I don't feel comfortable handing a student the show not because I don't think they can do it, but I don't feel it will be a good learning environment for them and could turn them off to other shows in the future.
     
  3. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I think the "appropriatness" of the TD being there is already answered in your original post: He is there in a supervisory capacity. That being said, I think that students learn more if they are actually performing all the duties of the board ops. I would imagine that if the TD was actually stepping in and manipulating the controls, then something was either going horribly wrong (or about to), or he was taking advantage of a learning opportunity ("Watch how you can get a bit more gain if I peel this frequency off" kinda thing)
     
  4. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    As a TD I try to stay out of everyone's way during the actual show. Ideally I should be in the audience watching the show from an audience perspective, taking notes, and informing techs of mistakes or issues I saw during the show. Unless its an emergency, I should never go into the booth and interfere with the stage manager or techs.

    For fun, near the end of the run, I like to sit backtage in the flies and watch the well-oiled machine do its magic.
     
  5. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    See the problems I tend to run into running the old analog 32 channel mixer is trying to fade in 12 mics at the same time like when the peeps start singing.

    Thanks for ya input!
     
  6. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

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    It's better for them to be supervising. Personally, for the past few gigs I've done our TD has decided he's going to stand over me and try to light design during the little shows we work. It's more stressful for everyone if he's there doing your job. And how are you, or anyone else for that matter, going to learn if he's doing it anyways?

    In the experiences that I've had, when the TD comes up into the booth and tries telling us what to do and standing over our shoulders in the middle of a gig, it's really hard to focus and everyone gets stressed out and cranky. I don't know how your theatre works though, maybe your TD is cool...
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    If I am up in the booth for a show or backstage for a show I am there to make sure things go smoothly. If things don't go well, I am the one who has to deal with it from my boss. I am not there because I think my students are idiots, I am there to make sure they know what needs to happen next, at least for smaller events. Don't take it as an insult if someone is watching over you. You are at a place in your career where you need that. Think of it as a safety net. You won't have that safety net for too much longer. Use it while you can.
     
  8. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

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    Oh, I'm not insulted by him being in the booth at all. It used to be that he would just chill and make sure that everything was going okay and he'd fill out time-cards and stuff. We would talk about what needs to happen for the show beforehand and I would write it down, all would be well. Nowadays, he'll stand over people and without warning or telling us what he's doing, just move sliders. Or he won't tell anyone what's going on, even if he's asked, until we're running the gig. The really funny thing is that he'll move subsliders on the light board that don't have anything programmed into them and be like, "oh, that's much better!" even if I tell him there's nothing in it. It's simply gotten to the point where he's rude to everyone and therefore everyone is uncomfortable.

    If he knew how to run any of the sound or lights equipment, then I might qualify him as a safety net. Unfortunately he doesn't.

    I'm not trying to be all rawr rawr rawr at you sir, but I don't want you to think that I'm just an ungrateful know it all teenager. And I definitely don't think that all TD's think they're superior to everyone else. But here, that's a genuine problem where our TD is crossing a line with everyone actually. There has been a string of things he has done to get on everyone's nerves. I've got my fingers crossed that it'll get better for kids next year though.
     
  9. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    Our TD seems pretty chill so I was originally thinking I could get help by telling her what was going on and telling her what needs to be done when like "hit that mute button when he runs off stage" kinda thing. Plus with me leaving this year theres really no one in our school that knows the system down pat, heck I still don't even know it and I've been working it for 4 years! So I guess teaching someone how to use it to a degree wouldn't be a bad idea. Plus the fact that shes brand new voids the cockiness factor :grin:
     
  10. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    That's where groups and/or VCA's come in handy.

    And was that a pun? :lol:
     
  11. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Questions like this come up from time to time around here. The short answer is remember you are a student and someone else has the actual responsibility for the production, facility, and equipment. If the T.D./Director/Drama teacher isn't comfortable leaving you alone doing your task, that's his or her choice. In some situations there may be a school rule that says they must be right there. Here at the college I teach at, even though I have trained students in their 20's running shows, there always has to be a staff technician on duty.

    My advice is to show the person how good of a job you can do, earn their respect and maybe you'll be left alone on the next show... and maybe not.

    It could also be that the booth is where this person feels comfortable hanging out during a show. I can't stand sitting in the house. I'm always either backstage or in the booth.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009
  12. dsm

    dsm Member

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    The op should be opping. If there's something the op could be doing better, and the TD knows how to improve, they can tell the OP. Just reaching over and changing something is rude and can get in the way. Only if the op is really screwing up, and the TD is fixing it (like the OP killed the lights, and can't find the master).

    As requires the staff techs around: Every theatre I've been to requires 1+ theatre techs around, to do varying amounts of stuff. Usually the theatre tech doesn't do anything, just hangs around in case something breaks.
     
  13. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    pun not intended :) what's a VCA?
     
  14. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Apologies for the slight hijack.

    Nolhay, a VCA is similar to a subgroup, but no audio passes through it. Think of it as a remote control for a channel fader. Say I have 20 wireless mics for the chorus, and after four or five rehearsals, finally get the individual levels set to my (or designer's) liking. If the chorus is too loud for a certain number, rather than pull all those faders down and mess up my balance, I can use one fader to remotely control all those individual channels, and still keep the levels balanced as they are.

    And since no audio passes through a VCA, there's no extra gain stage, which means one less place for clipping. Nearly every big show is mixed on VCA's rather than the channel faders.

    And now back to your regularly scheduled CB thread.
     
  15. rcopley

    rcopley Member

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    I have helped with different productions and I find it interesting just how different the shows are ran. I was Assistant TD for one show and had gotten used to how the TD wanted the crew to be ran. There the TD essentially acted very hands on, essentially as another hand in the booth, however at another production, the show was run completely differently.
    The style I like best is somewhere in between; assist the booth with cues during rehearsals, even if that means showing someone with less experience, or who just made a stupid mistake how to correct it, so during a show you should never have to touch any of the controls. But as a Sound/Light operator I know how it can feel having some watching over your shoulder, waiting for a mistake to be made.
     
  16. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Here is my take on this. In a high school setting, where the goal is education and safety I can understand a staff TD supervising in the booth. This allows the TD to help the SM, and board ops if needed, and supervise the performance in general. However, student TDs, unless they are running the show, probably shouldn't be in the booth. Why? Because, I hate to say it, but most high school tech people, especially upperclassmen, suffer from "big fish in a small pond" syndrome. A student TD is more likely to comment, try to advise, or even just jump in because they think the op is doing something wrong. This would be detrimental to the op learning something. It just comes from the fact that most (not all) 15-18 year-olds just don't have the experience to be effective teachers.

    In a college setting, I think that you would find it very rare that the TD would be in the booth for a show (unless the TD is running the show). Usually, in the college setting, the TD's job has nothing to do with the programming or running of lights, sound, or stage management. Also, as with many positions, the TDs job is usually done at opening night unless scenery or props need to be repaired or replaced.

    In the pro world, it is usually pretty similar to college. Unless the TD is running the show, you won't find them near the booth. One would hope that in the professional world you are hiring ops and SMs that know what they are doing and don't need to be supervised.

    Also, not every theatre is the same, not every school is the same. So, what I have said above is a generalization, and not done everywhere. Also not that my use of op refers to operators as opposed to "original poster."
     
  17. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    I don't have the time to read all of the other posts, but I'll say this: if you NEED an extra person helping out with sound, it's perfectly fine; go for it. If you don't, then you're probably just putting too many cooks in the kitchen....
     
  18. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I don't think that a TD should interfere UNLESS it becomes a safety issue or the show is falling apart. I sometimes will step in at dress rehearsals and sponsor nights to show them how to do something an easier way (i.e. VCA's) or if they are doing something wrong. During the show, I'm in the booth,but rarely interfere with operation.
     
  19. Mather2010

    Mather2010 Member

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    In my theater, the TD is walking back and forth from the sound booth to the light booth. I am a backstage person, so I don't see much of what he actually does up there, but I know that he isn't the one that runs anything. Granted this is a high school that I am talking about, but I don't think that the TD should run the console.
     
  20. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    I'm usually in the booth during shows. I try not to run anything, especially since I'm graduating and these students need to learn. I only intercede in the running of a show when something goes wrong and when people start panicking. I also do the more advanced troubleshooting. I rarely run board for a show, usually only when a there are budget problems are the show's level of complexity is greater than what the younger techs have been taught or are willing to take on.
     

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