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What do you do with techs that don't show up?

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by photoatdv, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Okay there is this other student LD/ tech at my school who handles everything as unprofessionally as possible EXCEPT when he wants something. He's the same one from LD vs. OP (he totally hijacked my show that he was op for.). Now he bailed on a show that he was supposed to be ME. Not only did that mean myself and the technical director put in rediculous hours, but the show suffered. I was LD, but I was so busy fixing broken plugs, bad lamps, and finding extension cords that I barely had time to design. Literally, half my design was not done until during/after final dress!

    He has bailed on every strike in the last year or so because of 'family emergencies'. He will also miraculously forget how to do things (like open the curtain) if he doesn't want to do it and force me to do it. Every time this type stuff happens, he lies to the directors and gets out of whatever trouble he's in over the stunts. How do I handle him? He keeps wrecking shows with this stupid stuff and makes me look bad. (Guess what, the director didn't care that I had been at school til almost 11pm the night before and was trying to do 2 peoples job when the cues weren't done in dress.)
     
  2. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I gather you're a student? There's not much you can do, other than talk to your director. Make sure you do it when you're not in production, so it comes across as solving problems and not complaining mid show. See where this thread goes and show it to an adult?

    It sounds like you might need some clear definitions of work. If he's doing a job where he's supposed to open the curtain, then it's part of his job and he shouldn't be able to pawn it off.

    My policy is that once a person flakes out on a show, they don't take leadership positions in future productions until they demonstrate reliability in a lower position for a future show. Same policy for actors.

    As for strike - if you bail from my strike for a 'family emergency,' it better be accompanied by an adult speaking with me. Skipping out on strike guarantees that an individual won't do another show with me, unless there's a very good reason. Skip out more than once for supposed issues and we're done. Everyone has legitimate issues, but those issues seldom happen the last night of a show.
     
  3. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    His excuses for missing strike that I can remember have been:
    1. My girlfriend wants to go to the cast party, so I have to leave.
    2. My mom called and I think something's wrong, so I have to leave
    3. I have the SATs tomorrow (we said he could leave as soon as we finished pulling the rented stuff from the flies b/c we needed 2 people on deck and 2 on the loading dock and he was our 4th crew member, but he left anyway)

    As far as the curtain thing, we were working on a dance show with a pro LD and both of us wanted to get a chance to watch him one of the nights. So we decided (with teacher and TD approval), that I'd SM 1st dress and 1st show and he'd SM 2nd dress and 2nd show. Well the 2nd dress was canceled, and when we got to 2nd show, he claimed he needed me as a flyman because he wasn't comfortable with the cues (open curtain when the director tells you, close it when she tells you!). Of course everyone fell for it...
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Thread moved to Education forum.

    Echoing what [user]Sayen[/user] said: In the professional world, we have a "No call/No show" policy. First offense results in a written warning. Second offense results in separation from the company. Period.
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If this person does survive to make it in to the professional entertainment industry, or even to do tech in any respectable college-level tech program, none of that will be allowed. Just about the only exception allowed for missing strike where I go to school is going to the hospital or death in the family. Same goes for light rigs. No social plans, no tests the next day, no big papers that you procrastinated till the end, it's a job, you need to show up for it, the rigs and strikes for the whole year are on the calendar before you even get your class syllabus calendars.
     
  6. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    As a student, your only recourse is to bring up your grievances with your instructor(s). I would definitely recommend doing so since it sounds as if some of your complaints resulted in potentially dangerous situations (strike reference). Be aware that some of your issues with this other tech may not be seen your way (especially the instance as flyman where there can be justification for this person not being in that position). If you choose to bring up grievances, you must be willing to accept the decision of your instructor(s).

    I agree that this can be frustrating. In the real world, you might end up dealing with this type of person, maybe even as an administator (yes, I have found them in the "professional" world), so this actually can be a good experience for you. It is highly unlikely that this person will ever achieve great things, and if you learn how to work with them, you can.
     
  7. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    As a high school tech, I understand pretty much what you're going through. While no one here is quite that bad, there are some people who this reminds me of. The advice I'd give is to take a leadership position in the lighting (or general stage management, as it may be) and basically take the higher road. If you have the authority, start delegating out jobs to underclassmen and such to help them learn. If he insists that you aren't giving him anything to do, then assign him a respectable job that corresponds with his skill. Just make sure that he, you, your instructor, the local paper, hell everyone within 50 miles knows that HE was assigned that job. So when it doesn't get done, or isn't at an acceptable level, everyone knows exactly who is to blame for the error.

    Let me point out that as someone in a leadership position, you generally want to shield those working under your authority. For example, I will almost always accept responsibility for any errors caused by the lighting department, since I view that as an indication that I did not train them well enough for that task. I will talk to them in private of course, but I don't spread the word that a specific person made a glaring error. In this case, however, I think a bit of this would be helpful. He will quickly learn that if he wants to earn the praise and respect of his instructors, fellow crewmembers, and friends, he will need to do those tasks assigned to him. .

    Of course, all this is based on an assumption that you hold a position of responsibility in your theatre. If the two of you share a leadership position, or if your instructors hold your department on a tight leash, then this might not work out for you. But if you just ignore all the politics and gossip and trash-talking and work to the best of your ability, your instructors will eventually notice and will reward you for it.
     
    photoatdv and (deleted member) like this.
  8. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I can only think of the Office... SHUN! un-shun! re-shun!!!

    Definitely take it up with your director(s). If they don't do anything, then when something happens, you can point it out that their inaction led to the problem.

    Something else that you could do is clearly post a sheet (or better yet, get your director(s) to do this) of the duties assigned to each person and each position. Then when something needs to be done, you can point to the posted sheet. Sounds slightly dumb, yes, but so is pretending not to know how to open the curtain.
     
  9. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    I think I will use the idea of posting some sort of assignment sheet. We are technically both the same level (we're both student-professionals), though on most shows I am in the senior position for the show.

    I can't really complain about him leaving us on that strike because we were both hired for the show and it would definately NOT go over too well that the crew isn't doing their job with the director from that show. While it is something legitamate to bring up with the admin we report to, that would be a bad idea because A. the teacher had left before this happened and they wouldn't much like 2 students and 2 outside techs there without a teacher and B. I doubt that they'd particularly like the fact that we were on the loading gallery (there isn't any rule about students being up there that I know about, but generally only the student-professionals are allowed up there because we've been trained by the pros that come in on how to reweight properly).
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    A loading dock is where freight is inserted/removed from trucks. A loading gallery (or loading bridge) is where counterweights are placed on/removed from arbors.

    The term "student-professional" is oxymoronic. A professional is one who supports himself and dependents with income solely derived from his chosen profession.
     
  11. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Sorry about that-- I know that! Stupid me :(. Don't know where the term student-professional came from, but its been there longer than me... Our real title changes too often to remember and is alway really long.
     
  12. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    If I ever have to cancel, I always find somebody reliable to cover for me before talking to my TD.

    We have to strike or make up the time (by doing some mundane task around the theater for three hours - like moving all the vertically stacked flats in the storage area, sweeping behind them, and then putting them back). If we don't do either, we don't work on any other shows.

    Not showing up generally results in being fired. Either that, or the person won't ever be placed in a trusted position again.


    Anecdote: a tech didn't show up one time, and half an hour before the show the TD called his cell. A police officer answered and said that the tech was, at the moment, under arrest and couldn't talk.
     

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