USITT Show Report

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Here we go USITT 2024! I'll be posting my thoughts and experiences here. If you are at USITT 2024 too, please feel free to chime in and add your experiences here. You can also ask me questions and I'll see what I can do to get your question answered.
 
New products announced opening night:

Masterfx Prodigy Pro

High End Systems "Ministar" moving light. $3,200 msrp.
https://www.etcconnect.com/ministar/?LangType=1033

Shure "Wave Tool" software. A wide variety of new troubleshooting tools with Dante integration. https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/software/wavetool

Chauvet Maverick Silens 1X Profile.
A new smaller version of the Silens.
https://www.chauvetprofessional.com/products/maverick-silens-1x-profile/

Thank you for the update, Gafftaper!

As a public service announcement, Apollo will provide custom and stock metal, BW glass and full color glass gobos for both the HES Ministar as well as the Chauvet Maverick Silens fixtures.

Looking forward to more USITT updates!
 
Sorry about being late getting back to this. It was an insane week. Having USITT in your home town is exhausting! My company paid for me to go so I was busy taking classes the whole week. Then I had CB friends in town to catch up with. I was able to get about 25 of my students free Expo hall passes so I was giving tours to them every day and introducing specific students to some of you in order to give them career ideas. Then there was the usual hanging out with friends during the conference. All while trying to not completely abandon my family at home. So, it took a week to recover, but here I am back with my notes.

It was a very busy conference, I heard around 8,000 people attended.

The conference sessions were great. Here is a sample of some of the classes I attended:

Safety in academic:
That's where I work weirdly it's often a challenge to get funding to get things repaired and do things the safe way. What I walked away with was I need a written policy about safety when working alone that I NEED TO FOLLOW myself. Also I need to stress with students the importance of reporting all minor injuries and near misses. Near misses can indicate a safety hazzard that needs to be fixed.

Stopping the show:
Led by a college production manager and a Broadway SM who called Spiderman... Yeah THAT Spiderman.
There where were a couple of great takeaways:
-Be ready to stop the show. You need to be prepared and yet be flexible. Have emergency action plans. Have a script of what you say in the very first moment to stop the show. Don't bring the lights up to full immediately. Take a short moment to assess the situation before you bring the lights up. Once you bring the lights up the audience will wander off and it's much harder to restart.
-There are two reasons to stop the show: Safety and Story telling. Is it dangerous to continue? Can you still tell the story?
-Don't forget to have a restart process. We focus on stopping but how do you restart?
Playing with Fire:
A session with the propmaster for Cirque du Soleil "O" talking about building props you can light on fire and the safety procedures. This session was completely impractical to what I do, but man was it fun!

Digitized prompt scripts:
Reasons: There are many accessibility options available when you digitize. If you have bad handwriting it makes your notes usable by others. Remove all the original production notes and replace them with the notes from your production. For scenes with a lot of cues in a tight space you can redo spacing to make plenty of room for your notes.

They recommended the following software:
“Good notes”- This was their favorite
Stage Write”
“Noteability”
“Cuelist"
and of course you can always use Word. It's not great but it works.


The Expo hall had around 200 Exhibitors and 50 Universities. Booths were smaller than they were before Covid as is the trend. But there were still cool booths from Chauvet, ETC, Robe, Elation, and others.

The coolest things I saw:
-ETC's new Colorsource PAR Jr. It weighs 6 pounds! So amazingly light weight and it's got some decent kick to it! They said it is about the same brightness as a Desire D40 PAR. Not as bright as a standard Colorsource PAR but very impressive for such a small package.

-Chauvet is coming out with a baby Silens: The Maverik Silens 1X. Most of the same silent goodness but in a smaller 200 Watt package (the original is a 560 Watt). Designed for smaller spaces with shorter throws. This could be a real winner for small live theater venues.

See you all in Columbus March 5-8, 2025!! Seriously, YOU should go! There are amazing things for everyone at USITT from the most basic beginner to career pros. I am always amazed at how much my brain gets stimulated and excited about doing what we do just by attending. If you are in high school and serious about a career in tech, a trip to USITT as a junior would be fantastic as you can talk to around 50 universities about their tech programs. If you are in your college or early in your career you should be there to learn, to network, and to talk to potential future employers. There were a lot of cruise ships and theme parks there recruiting hard for new employees. If you've been around the block a while like me, you should be there to share with the next generation and also to get your brain thinking again. It's easy to get complacent and do things that aren't safe. It's easy to get set in your ways and not think about trying new things. USITT will get you thinking about things again.
 
See you all in Columbus March 5-8, 2025!! Seriously, YOU should go! There are amazing things for everyone at USITT from the most basic beginner to career pros. I am always amazed at how much my brain gets stimulated and excited about doing what we do just by attending. If you are in high school and serious about a career in tech, a trip to USITT as a junior would be fantastic as you can talk to around 50 universities about their tech programs. If you are in your college or early in your career you should be there to learn, to network, and to talk to potential future employers. There were a lot of cruise ships and theme parks there recruiting hard for new employees. If you've been around the block a while like me, you should be there to share with the next generation and also to get your brain thinking again. It's easy to get complacent and do things that aren't safe. It's easy to get set in your ways and not think about trying new things. USITT will get you thinking about things again.

Columbus should be a pretty big show. Its right in the center of mot of the theatre schools in the country from the northeast to all of the midwest schools. I'm still not sure how USITT hasn't been in the northeast since 1991... and hasn't been in NYC since 1985.

It needs to go back to Wichita. A 100,000 sq ft expo hall directly connected to a 4 venue PAC.... hard to come up with a more perfect place for USITT.
 
Columbus should be a pretty big show. Its right in the center of mot of the theatre schools in the country from the northeast to all of the midwest schools. I'm still not sure how USITT hasn't been in the northeast since 1991... and hasn't been in NYC since 1985.

It needs to go back to Wichita. A 100,000 sq ft expo hall directly connected to a 4 venue PAC.... hard to come up with a more perfect place for USITT.
Yeah it really needs to move around more. To me it should only be in the same time zone once every four years. Within that rotation it should move north to south as well.
St Louis in 2017 and 2023. Baltimore in 2022 and 2027. Not great.
 
Columbus should be a pretty big show. Its right in the center of mot of the theatre schools in the country from the northeast to all of the midwest schools. I'm still not sure how USITT hasn't been in the northeast since 1991... and hasn't been in NYC since 1985.

It needs to go back to Wichita. A 100,000 sq ft expo hall directly connected to a 4 venue PAC.... hard to come up with a more perfect place for USITT.
And that PAC hasn't had a damn thing done to improve it (other than a new roof, currently under installation) since you were there (last major fix was replacing dimming systems, that might have happened just before/after your time). It's also now managed by ASM Global instead of the City.
 
And that PAC hasn't had a damn thing done to improve it (other than a new roof, currently under installation) since you were there (last major fix was replacing dimming systems, that might have happened just before/after your time). It's also now managed by ASM Global instead of the City.
That is too bad. Ya, when I was there it was still the strand dimming and they were chucking CD80 packs on the electric bridges. Its always amazed me how cool of a venue CII is and what all it could do. If it wasn't for MTW I'm not even sure it would still be open. ASM also has the arena too right?
 
That is too bad. Ya, when I was there it was still the strand dimming and they were chucking CD80 packs on the electric bridges. Its always amazed me how cool of a venue CII is and what all it could do. If it wasn't for MTW I'm not even sure it would still be open. ASM also has the arena too right?
The county arena downtown and manage/program the Orpheum Theater (which today got a city grant to fund part of the stagehouse renovation and auditorium restoration, will be closed for about a year once they get things moving).

Had to make that a PM...

;)
 
Columbus? All right! Only a 3.5 hour drive!
 
The Expo hall had around 200 Exhibitors and 50 Universities. Booths were smaller than they were before Covid as is the trend. But there were still cool booths from Chauvet, ETC, Robe, Elation, and others.
As I a vendor I actually like the smaller booths. I feel it makes the vendors be more specific about what they are showing and get more creative about how to show it off.

Columbus should be a pretty big show. Its right in the center of mot of the theatre schools in the country from the northeast to all of the midwest schools. I'm still not sure how USITT hasn't been in the northeast since 1991... and hasn't been in NYC since 1985.

It needs to go back to Wichita. A 100,000 sq ft expo hall directly connected to a 4 venue PAC.... hard to come up with a more perfect place for USITT.

We always prefer when the show is in the middle of the country. Even if the reported attendance numbers are similar the quantity and quality of the attendees feels better when in the middle of the country. It also helps with the overall cost for vendors; shipping, labor, food, and hotels are all usually less expensive.
 
I loved that time it was in Milwaukee. :pray:
 
Stopping the show:
Led by a college production manager and a Broadway SM who called Spiderman... Yeah THAT Spiderman.
There where were a couple of great takeaways:
-Be ready to stop the show. You need to be prepared and yet be flexible. Have emergency action plans. Have a script of what you say in the very first moment to stop the show. Don't bring the lights up to full immediately. Take a short moment to assess the situation before you bring the lights up. Once you bring the lights up the audience will wander off and it's much harder to restart.
-There are two reasons to stop the show: Safety and Story telling. Is it dangerous to continue? Can you still tell the story?
-Don't forget to have a restart process. We focus on stopping but how do you restart?

This was one of my favorite sessions. A lot of great information provided and definitely some things to think about.
 

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