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The Problems

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by Edrick, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well as I'm both a Student and the Technical Director,

    My problem is we don't have an actual Tech Theater or Drama Class, We have Drama club but that's just a single play. I was put incharge of putting together a group of students to run the place and was told we would be paid, but we've never seen pay nor does the school treat us 100% correctly. We have no budget that was given to us or our Head of the Department (Art department / Music department), So any money spent on the theater comes out of our drama budget.

    Although i don't mind doing the work for free as I enjoy it and i've been given pretty much total control ( i can go in there and blast music if I so please during the day)

    The sad thing is once I leave my assistant has to take over and it will probably die off. The school should have an actual class as I've had a bunch of people interested in learning this kind of stuff.
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I agree with you, it's sad. It's also unconscionable that the school would expect a group of untrained students, to "take charge" of a facility such as a theatre.
    I'm betting they don't let a bunch kids run the maintenance and up keep of the football feild or gymnasium, Why would they think a theatre is any less deserving of a professional presence?
     
  3. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well I have enough experience / know how to run the place. So we don't need a professional to come in and do it :p. It would just be nice if

    a) they paid me and my team
    b) they treated us better (like your sports analogy)
    c) they properly set it up

    they wouldn't pay for training on anything and have sat around any chance they can to not do stuff.

    Our seat lighting (saftey issue) STILL is not working, after I've been assured multiple times for multiple months it will be done for this event or that event.

    that's where you run into the problem of not having a pro come in and run the place, for the most part they say they'll do stuff and never do. how ever if it was a paid group running it might be different.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Having read your Hello post let me just disagree with you for a second. Belive it or not I'm not trying to get off on the wrong foot with you I just want you to know that, No you don't. You're a senior in Highschool and have no business being completely incharge a facility such as this. Again I mean no offense to you, your training or crew, you simply do not have the expirience or training or Legal standing to be responsible for other students, Public and paid staff that will be using and attending a space such as that. I started my proffessional career in technical theatre at 15 and even I have to admit that I did not have what it takes at that time to be capable of a task such as you've described.
     
  5. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well in terms of being resonsible for the people / legall responsibility for people in there. That doesn't fall under me, I'm strictly technical, The group comes in or we speak to the group ahead of time they tell us what they need and we tell them what we have and setup for the event. We take care of the lighting, sound, setting up anything special wether it be a projector, special lighting, or a special sound setup. Something goes wrong technically we take care of it.

    So It may not be what is considered full "technical management" we don't take care of paying for stuff or buying stuff ect.. that all goes through the head of the Music / Art Department. The schools responsible for the people in the building, cleanup, repair if anything goes wrong. i also have to make sure everything goes according to plan (the woodshop teacher had decided to support a divider for something they did on one of the flyer rods and was going to leave it down the whole event, even though it was only needed for the first part) so I make sure things like that don't go wrong.

    So in the short version i'm not "completely" incharge of it, again all financial, rental, and big things go through the school. I just make sure everything goes according to plan. Once it's rented out and the people come in that's where i take over.
     
  6. evolutiontheatre

    evolutiontheatre Member

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    i am taking technical theatre in college now, and I have to say that you are lucky to have a high school so well equipped for it. However, I agree with Van in say that you shouldn't be the one in charge. On top of all this, you aren't learning proper procedure, and you're probably picking up bad habits. If the school board was nice enough to give you such a great space, they should give you the professionals to go along with it.

    I'm glad that you are very eager though. It will help if you get in to the industry or go to college with the experience you have.
     
  7. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well I'd hope I'm not picking up any bad practices, nothing I know of yet :p.

    over under for wrapping cables, marking the rigging system to where it should be before we move anything, counter balance, yell heads when dropping a pipe, ect :p

    But I'm sure there's probably something I do wrong.

    i've got my sources too for major stuff if I need any help, I work at the cable studio, we have a drama instructor that has done this stuff before although she doesn't get involved in any of the outside events.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2007
  8. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Welcome.

    Now I hope this doesn't come across as rude, but you don't know if you are learning bad habits until someone who knows better is there to see them and then tell you it's wrong. At that point it is very hard to break those habits.
     
  9. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    No not rude lol, Like I said I'd "hope" I'm not coming across any bad habits. But we all have to learn somehow, the school doesn't want to pay people to come in and run it, they don't want to offer a course in it.

    I'm also working at another local theater to do lighting with them, and when I go off to Boston I'm looking to work at a theater either volunteer, intern, or maybe somewhere paid as a team member.

    Our lighting company down the street "Barizon" I asked if i could get a intern there but since they're more sales there's nothing avalible and the only spot they might have would have been in design but you need experience in that.

    I did think of one bad habbit, the gelling of the lights. It was a quick sloppy job to get it done. It doesn't effect the lights but, for example on our bank lights that go accross stage weren't cut to exact size and we used a cheap paper cutter to cut them so they're different sizes they fit but you'll see excess sticking out in quite a few of them. Alot of the frames were bent from when the company put the frames into the light so that wasn't good either.

    In the future though we're going to do a better job. First time gelling.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  10. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I assume that you mean Barbizon. If Barbizon is just down the street, you're lucky. See if one of their folks would be able to donate a day of their time to come over and walk you through questions that you may have as well as give you some pointers on the system. And if they installed the system, all the better. If not, they should be able to give you some general pointers on the system anyways.
     
  11. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Yes missed the b key there. I had to go down there the other day and they were excited to do business with us, they wanted to get the contract to do our theater but were outbid by the lowest bidder (it shows), so they said they'd be more than happy to help us. We're actually going in to get free training on our WYSIWYG System since the company abandoned us that installed the system.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    You are doing the best you can with what you've got. There are a lot of young "T.D.'s" around here who have basically been abandoned by their schools. I think I speak for all of us older folks around here when we say we really feel bad that you aren't getting good mentoring and training from someone who knows their theater. It's sad that you even think of yourself as a T.D. You need a grumpy old guy like Van bossing you around so that you can really learn something. That's a big part of the reason I spend so much of my time posting.

    Again, not to insult you, but buddy you don't know everything. I guarantee you've got bad habits that you don't know about. They may be subtle but there are things you should be taught that you just aren't getting.

    One example, the fact that you are being expected to properly run a fly system with no supervision is a nightmare to the real riggers around here. I teach at a college. When we rent out the big community proscenium theater down the street for a show, I am not allowed to touch the fly system. My students are not allowed to touch the fly system. We have to pay their in house crew to run a simple drop in and out. Why, because anything to do with a fly system is THAT dangerous. If anything goes wrong and they aren't running the fly system the lawsuit would be enormous. That is what it's like in the real world. If you make a mistake, people can die. The fact that some high school students (no matter how responsible you are) are given a crash course and left to fend for themselves is nuts.

    One last thing. Attitude is everything in theater. If you want work, don't EVERY say you know everything. The first one out the door is the guy who thinks he knows it all. The good pros... the people who do get work are always looking to learn more, get new ideas, and expand their own horizons. I don't know you and I'm not saying this is true about you, but you are in a situation that could very easily set you up to think you know everything. Be careful about that, it's a dangerous habit that leads to injuries and leads to sitting home making no money. So the answer to every question is always... "I have a way that I do that, but how would you do it?"
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  13. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I know i don't know anything and I'm not a expert at this, it's a learning experience. We've been trained on how to run the rigging system not that we do much except fly it in for drops and counter balance it. We know what to hang and what not to hang, how to counter balance, and all that. But again we don't know everything about it. But we know enough 'to be dangerous' as the saying goes.

    I'm actually sitting here in the theater right now typing this as we're setting up for an event. We'll we've already setup now it's just a matter of waiting.

    Now when we call someone a Stage Manager in our drama production they still are called a stage manager even though they haven't been in the industry for years. Same with me I'm the Technical Director here, but I know perfectly well I don't know it all and I don't expect when I go out and try to get a job in this field that i'd beable to be a technical director right when I get out there.

    I understand it's not an Insult persay but still, it annoys me a bit when people judge you on your age. I ran a webhosting company a few years back and i was perfectly capable of doing it if not more capable then some of the people out there. Now obviosly you run into legal problems, taxes, contracts, ect... But i was still capable of doing it, I'm "capable" of doing it. I'm just not experiences as all of you :)

    So even though it's not meant as an insult I ask that I'm not judged based on my age so when I make posts don't think we'll he's still in highschool thus he doesn't know what I'm talking about. Not that it would happen here, but it does happen on many message forums. So if i make a mistake don't get pissed just correct me :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Please don't get our intentions wrong. It's not that we are judging you or saying that your opinion is less important than someone else. The point also isn't that you or any of the other young people around here can't be experts. I've taught High School and I have had really good students working with me who I respected greatly. I had two sound techs who knew way more about sound than I do and a stage manager who was able to handle the organization of the job and calling of the show much better than I taught her.

    The problem is that, like many others here in the booth, you have been placed in a situation where far more is expected of you than should be. Where far more responsibility is given to you than should be. Where you are given no proper teaching or guidance. We (the older folks in the booth) look at the situation and cringe because we know the dangers. It's not your age, I would never put one of my college students in as deep as you are, heck a 30 year old who has only had a few hours of training here and there shouldn't be running a theater either. Its just too much responsibility without the proper support and training. You simply shouldn't be placed in a situation of complete responsibility where you can kill yourself or someone else without a lot of training and experience first. And you know yourself, there are a 1000 ways to die in the theater.

    As I always say to new posters. Answer questions when you can and ask them when you don't know. You'll notice I jump in and offer advice on some topics and start new threads asking questions about things I'm not sure about. We all do. Even the big man Ship himself started a thread recently asking for some advice.

    So really it isn't an insult to you and it isn't disrespect because you are young. Most of us had really great times doing tech in High School and look back at those days fondly. If anything it's the fact that we were high school techs too and realize now how little we knew back then that makes us worried. The negativity you receive is much more focused at the incompetence of the school and district who should no better, and the fear that someone might get injured. So please keep posting and keep asking questions. You are a valued member of this community and we want nothing more than for you to succeed and have a great career is a technician.
     
  15. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I actually got in just about an hour ago, and we brought up the matter of getting paid for these events that run after school. Yes ontop of doing tech team, we were approved to get paid for it via the school. How ever naturally we hadn't seen the pay. So we talked to one of our State reps who was here tonight. so we may be getting paid.

    I did however confirm the projector we were suppose to have, that a whole system is installed for they replaced the spot with a camera so we cant put one in.

    Also the other option the school had was either we do it or let the janitors in to run all events. i've walked in there 3 times after they've had the janitors do an assembly and they just throw everything around and leave the rack on. Well we complained and well lets just say he's no longer employeed at our school.
     
  16. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Wow You got a guy fired because he's a janitor and not a Trained technician? Cool.
     
  17. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    No, There was numerous problems with the janitor. Normally a very nice person but ever since moving into the new school he would fly off the handel. The janitorial staff didn't like him as he caused nothing but problems including with us. So we complained and shortly there after he was gone. So the complaints from us were the top of it.

    But the point is rather than the school having janitors run the system they have a group of people that have atleast gotten some training, and I've had previous experience plus the training. So that goes far more than having a janitor come in and screw up the system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  18. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your administration is lacking.

    As awesome as it seems to be in control of a high school tech program, you have to remember that you're not in charge. The administration is. And, however you bake it, you're always a layer below the janitors. You're a student, they're an employee. Get used to it. This is the realization that I came to, and luckily I didn't piss them off too much, we just stayed out of eachothers' way. Sure you can get a guy fired, but where does that put you in your relationship with the rest of the janitors? You may say "bah, they're just janitors. They have to do what the administration says." Well, they've got alot of keys, they probably clean your theater, and they are employees. It's really good to have them on your side and to not piss them off. I found this out the easy way once, by working with them and not against them, and then found it out the hard way again when one of the janitors got really unhappy that I had so much control over the theater space I wasn't ordering him around, and had nothing to do with his job at all, but he just didn't like the fact that I had a bunch of keys that no other students had and I also was receiving a budget. You've gotta find a good balance, because if you screw it up, it'll screw you over.

    EDIT: But if you were not the main cause of his dismissal from the staff, then make sure that you keep this balance that I'm talking about and try not to become to overbearing on anybody - the administration, the janitors, and even your own crew. This is a lesson that I learned the easy way and the hard way (a little bit of both), and I will never make the mistake again. It just doesn't help you at all to antagonize anyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2007
  19. Edrick

    Edrick Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well luckily I'm in the position where I get along with pretty much litterly everyone in the school. I work with the administration, staff, and janitors. Our janitors except the one that left treat us excelent and work with us and have had nothing but good comments about me and my team.

    They actually ask if we'll be at the events to run them and get us stuff when we need it, and we try our best to keep the place clean for them. We've run into almost 0 problems with the school in terms of stepping on people and causing bad feedback. I've got connections with Administration and the Heads of the city. so they all know me and what i do.

    The rumor around the city is I own / run Woburn High i've had a few teachers joke around with me about it.
     
  20. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Sounds remarkably familiar. I heard it all the time before I graduated. And even on Speech Night, the deputy principal, when presenting me with an award for essentially school service said I could be called Mr. <<School Name>>. That and I got a nice crystal trophy as a thankyou at graduation.

    I know the situation you are in, except you have a real space. Keeping on the right side of people is a really good thing. Cleaners are good - they'll open a door for you in many cases. Maintenance staff are also good - for similar reasons and because they stand a better chance of getting things what are broke fixed. As well as whoever else you can. It may work to your advantage some day, not to mention it means that no one questioned me if I was out of class or what not, they knew I was doing something essential.

    Just make sure you stay safe, I think that is what I and others are trying to make clear, but this message can get clouded...
     

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