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What to do when waiting for a show to start

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by brozeph20, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. brozeph20

    brozeph20 Member

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    I think there might be another similar thread, but I can't seem to find it.
    What do you do in that hour to thirty minute stretch between when the house opens until the show starts?
     
  2. AndyPandy

    AndyPandy Member

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    Usually hanging around by the desks, generally making sure nothing gets lifted. If the sound op is about, then I'll go and make some tea/coffee. Then perhaps a quick check to see nothings tripped/blown without me noticing.

    Perhaps assist with any last minute checking of radio mics too, depending on circumstances.
     
  3. hhslights

    hhslights Member

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    When I have that much time before a show starts I always double check all my cues to make sure they were not deleted. I make sure everything is in order for the performance. Usually there is a lot of time still left to kill and if there is nothing left to do concerning the performance I like to play a good game of Euchre or any other card game for that matter. I always keep a deck of cards at my lighting desk. But only if I have nothing else to do to better the upcoming performance.
     
  4. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
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    We sit around in the green room playing cards or board games or just chilling.
     
  5. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    I'm usually kibitzing with the rest of my crew backstage, or reading a book.
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I've heard there's a website, specifically for theatre technicians, that serves to occupy all of one's free time.;)
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I check cues, stay on headset to make sure nothing comes up preshow backstage electrics-wise, make sure that no one tries to use the internet on the show control computer that runs sound and sometimes MIDI (this has come so close to having very bad consequences before), and surfing the internet on my laptop which is next to the console.
     
  8. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    It depends. Sometimes I'll poke around online or watch anime in my office with a few other members of the crew. Other times I play hacky sack with the crew. Then there are those times when I'm scrambling to figure out why something isn't working before the show starts.
     
  9. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    We had a pre-show meeting in the shop, backstage (save one person in the lobby). Yes, every night. And each person, at each meeting, said something he/she could improve on. (and other people said their would-be-wise Confuscious words of wisdom.) Takes a while, but...

    Hey, the show's not gonna start without us, right?
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I note nobody mentioned just plain taking the time to read another section of a text book which might be useful in improving your career or understanding of it. Or was that implied while running the light board or under a clip light back stage during the show. Also note people that sleep, work on gear or even knit. Know of one person with a huge LCD TV screen on the lid to his road box.. suspect he and the crew tends to watch movies.
     
  11. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    I like the TV idea. I always check everything, if I arrive with an hour and a half to spare everything gets checked, if the house isn't open I might run through the show while flicking though a script. During shows if I see something I need to change I make a note of it & edit it in preview if possible or if not then then any time I have. I check all my notes to see if I have done everything I need to fix up and I fill up my drink bottle, I'm usually the first to put on a headset, I do suffer from sweaty ear during the show sometimes though, I would very much like a water cooled headset. Especially since the ones I use the most can't be used on either ear, you can't turn the mic round.

    One time I was doing a show in a gym and had a few hours to kill between rehearsals. No Wifi. The spots were on top of a piece of scaffold and we had put curtains around the scaffold to make it look slightly neater. After the lighting crew realized it created a rather neat little fort inside. Into the fort we moved the console, screens, power & dmx. Set up a few cameras on top, and a TV inside, and the show was run without seeing the stage, from my awesome cubby house. It took the visual guy about 10 minutes to trace the DMX back to try and find where I was hiding. I ran the show from in there, with 4 cameras on different angles hooked into the TV so I could see what was happening.

    Forts are awesome.
    Nick
     
  12. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    At an hour before the show, we BEGIN to set out the set pieces for opening, and arrange backstage for set and everything. More often than not, house is 5-10 minutes late to open, but it's "tradition"

    In the occurrences that we get the set done before doors, the whole tech crew tends to solicit center stage.(Much to the dismay of our director)
     
  13. brozeph20

    brozeph20 Member

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    For our school productions we normally hang out backstage until about five minutes before. But for larger community productions and groups we are normally stuck in the booth looking for a low-mess game that can be played with only a few people. Any suggestions?
     
  14. aminorking

    aminorking Member

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    Plot the show :)
     
  15. thatactorguy

    thatactorguy Active Member

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    Very cool :) I got tired of the speaker-for-a-monitor setup that we had, so I went online and bought one of those $79.95 X10 cameras that kept popping up on my screen. Found an old tv and hooked up the system in the greenroom. Doesn't quite cover the whole stage, the graphics wash out if the light is too intense somewhere, but the built-in mic is pretty good. Only problem with it is that the actors will sometimes get TOO into watching the show and miss their cue, lol...

    After almost ten years, though, it still works very well, save for some signal interference every now and again :)
     
  16. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Still note that nobody is spending free time in reading to master their trade or doing homework and that's worrysome. This much less if on the clock fixing stuff off stage.

    Got a "semi-pro" person today saying he needed to re-tap some 5/8" truss bolts today, what threading were they in finding the proper die? What you don't already know in handling these things on a almost daily basis??? Often a question for me at least of I didn't get training as much as I now provide, I had to figure it out or educate myself to get where I got. This meant personal study into my fields of becoming a professional at.

    Today asked by a carpenter by Union trade to special order another countersink for wood drill bit for the countersink. Hmm, it's a normal drill bit normally used for say a #6 and that would be 3/32" drill bit - didn't you already know this? This amongst stuff like nobody taught me about the differences between a MSR 700SA lamp and a HMI 700w/D4/75 lamp, had to learn that on my own. Why is it not also appropriate especially for those using the lamps to also know the difference?

    Nobody also taught me how to run power to a Gladiator follow spot off a generator, much less never ran one before. Got a call today from someone with much more field experience than I, much less I have never worked on a Glad. before but in same lamp have worked on Lycian 1290's in under power issues before back when I did shows.

    He was getting about 196V from an optimum 208V power and was not able to maintin the arc. Yep, that's what I or Lycian would confirm as a problem in not enough power by way of past experience. How to power them up? Was given a generator to power up the lighting rig and it was at about 123V on stage and only given a 300' foot run to the follow spots, about 196V there given 10/3 cable. Yup.. that sounds about right in not sustaining the arc. He was also given some buck boost transformers designed for powering up Euro gear with 208v power so as to help but they were showing 223v in power which could also be problematic for the lamp and ballast for what it wants to see unless able to switch the ballast for 230v power or auto sensing in power supply.

    Sorry, not on the show nor using the lights so I have not read the manual on the fixtures as to how to deal with it. Did forward him to someone more experienced with the fixtures and space he was in - this in him having done it before.

    Further recommendations, given 123V on stage he could not go up in voltage further safely - a generator is adjustable. On the other hand given voltage drop, he could request some larger gauge cable to be delivered locally so as to get back to 208v between legs without voltage drop as much a factor. What... you never considered this before the show in planning for it given the long run to the spots?

    He could also lower the voltage to the stage say down to 117v and there by with the use of the buck boost transformers 300' away on 10/3 wire lower their output to something closer to 208v.

    That was the best plan, or switch if not auto sensing ballasts, switch the voltage to 230v imput for the ballasts in better at times to be a bit lower than if way over rated voltage possibly blowing lamp and ballast as opposed to lamp dousing during the show when way over voltage.

    In the end he powered up the lights with buck boost transformer at way over the expected voltage and they stayed struck for a long time and that's how he will do the show. Will no doubt hear later how well that worked or if the lamps or ballasts failed during the show as the lesser op options I would try. Could be fine assuming fixture technology but possibly not work so well if not melting down the 10/3 feeder cable.

    Overall concept on the other hand... While I have some experience with voltage drop and running a 2Kw Xenon lamp under it... that's about the extent of it in the field for me beyond personal reading the person on site should also have read and know.

    This much less him taking the time to read the manual on all fixtures he is using and or understanding voltage drop theory even as a basic sense of it in what's the amperage of what I'm using and would 300' away be a problem for 10/3 cable at near enough that amperage?

    Books, school, experience but over that, just taking time to read a manual and or text book when given free time to master your field. That is the point. I was not doing the show, why ask me and why didn't you know?

    New text books on lighting out every few months.. lots of time to read and study all of them and still have time to study the older ones or a manual on a fixture about to be used. Master one's field, it's professionalism and one's job one is paid in part for in bein an expert on staff above someone off the street that want's your job.
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    First off this isn't the time to be running checks. You should have them all done a half hour before curtain. The half hour is there for you to fix things if you have a problem.

    Personally:
    If it's a big show I'm supervising student crews. Often there is some sort of chaos I'm having to attend to. However if all is well and the crew is prepared, I setup the laptop and hang out here. Other times I'm running sound or video for a lecture. In that case I'm hanging out on CB from house open to turn on the works the audience is gone.

    Now to anonymously throw one of my CB friends under the bus:
    Someone around here has a very cool job at a major high budget show with ten performances a week. He hangs out here on CB after the house opens, in the break between shows, and there's a 20 minute or so stretch in the middle of the show where he has very little to do SO... :rolleyes:
     
  18. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    And it's quite often found that it takes up more than their free time... or so I've heard :)

    Depending on the show (typically during our yearly musical) we have a dance party before the show to get pumped up for it. Sometimes we do the Time Warp, sometimes we just blast techno and rave it out.

    Sometimes I'm shooing all of my technicians into their positions, and sometimes I'm trying to fix something extremely last minute or other times, we'll do something funky for the preshow announcement like pre-record it and do something to it to make the audience laugh.

    What is most often though? A run to the gas station across the street to get goodies :)
     
  19. edmedmoped

    edmedmoped Active Member

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    Location:
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    If I'm followspotting, I sit in my dark corner, making sure everything's going well, talking to people on the cans and maybe going on facebook on my phone (which I turn off before the show obviously!)

    If I'm at the desk, we play a game involving the faders called Frog or something. I forgot how to play...

    EDMEDIT: If I'm backstage, which I am in rehearsals sometimes, to help out, I like to go up to the gantry where the dimmers are. You have a nice view up there, along with the occasional puff from the smoke machine and the loud hum of the dimmers :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  20. zuixro

    zuixro Active Member

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    I almost always have my laptop with me, I turn the brightness all the way down and sometimes use this mac app "rgGamma" to turn it blue (cuts down the intensity a lot). I check my RSS reader, email, read ControlBooth. I also have a notebook that I sketch ideas in, and a blue-gelled-off-brand-Littlite, so I can use it during the show if I have a long standby.
     
    erosing and (deleted member) like this.

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