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Who is the Tech Director

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by achstechdirector, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I am a Technical Director and YES I know what tech director means but I was wondering what other's thought the responsibilities of a tech director are?

    We are revising our theatre staff and eliminating some staff, while in addition we are redefining roles.


    Please Help
     
  2. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    For our organization, our TD is responsible for everything in the shop. Essentially they take the set designers vision and bring it to life. They do all of the drafting for the carpenters, order shop supplies, supervise shop staff, staff, rigging, and items such as that. He also take on a lot of the special effects items that may be needed in a show, depending on exactly what the effect is.

    In many organizations, the TD also is heavily involved in scheduling, production budgets, and supervising staff in other departments. Since we have a Production Manager (me) I oversee all of the technical staff (including the TD, and do all of the budgeting, hiring, and scheduling. Many organizations often combine these two positions with much success, depending on the size of the company and budget.

    ~Dave
     
  3. Sean

    Sean Active Member

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    What sort of environment are you talking about?


    --Sean
     
  4. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    The okace I interned at was LORT D.

    They had a PM, an APM, and a TD.

    The TD was in charge of the shop, and did some sort of meeting type stuff, but in many respects he didn't interact with/oversee other departments of production.

    More about your work environment would be helpful though.
     
  5. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    SORRY

    My theatre is a high school that is middle size

    my responsibilities include:
    Set Designer
    Lighting Designer
    Sound Designer
    House Manager
    Supervise all crews (other than actors


    I also do alot of the traditional stage manager responsibilities
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Then... why are you "eliminating" some staff, sounds like you need more people, not less.
     
  7. frozenozzie

    frozenozzie Member

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    At my high school, the original role of the TD was to be in charge of anything tech-related, including scheduling, choosing of crew heads, design, etc.

    It's been quite redefined at our sudden lack of a TD in the formal sense, since our previous quit due to various reasons, one of which was his moving. We don't much see out TD anymore, besides on paper and for general supervision in the shop. However, our tech department has taken a hit due to this, so even if it becomes overwhelming at first, I hope you're able to keep track of all of your crews so that doesn't happen at your school as well. Granted, I'm sure you're a much better TD than our previous, so...

    I'm impressed that you manage house as well. It's unfortunate that you much eliminate some staff, but perhaps - if your house system would make it possible - teach a student or two how to run house? It's been working well at my school for awhile, but again, I don't know how your house is run so it may not work.
     
  8. Marius

    Marius Active Member

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    Speaking as a college TD there are generally two species of Technical Director. Out in the 'real world' the TD is in charge of the shop, and makes sure the set gets built, transported(if necessary) and loaded in/out properly. Of course, other duties may or may not be added depending on the situation. In educational theatre, the TD is often responsible for every tech related aspect of the show, in addition to the occasional design requirements, building maintenance, and whatever else the other members of the dept. don't wanna do. About the only area I have made it my policy to give a very wide berth is house management.

    Hope that helps.

    Rick T.
    Eckerd College
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    There are vastly different answers to that question. In the most elite theaters a T.D. is primarily a desk job and he/she is unlikely to ever even touch a piece of wood. It's about working with designers, budgeting productions, making sure the right staffing is hired, solving technical problems, etc... there are many other people who handle the dirty work. As Marius just said, at the other extreme is Educational theater where it is often just about everything technical. In the middle there are a wide variety of other options. Unfortunately, there just is no one answer to your question.

    In your case being a high school student. It means something entirely different. As you are given an amount of responsibility but you have very little real authority. There is an adult staff member who is your supervisor and has the real authority. We've had some discussions in the past about high school student technical directors. While most of us older folks were just as busy as you are now in high school and we fondly remember those days. But the truth is, what you call be a technical director has very little to do with what the position is like in the real world. Some people get a little offended by students calling themselves T.D.'s because in "the real world" it's a position that you work hard for MANY years to reach. It's earned with a lot of hard work and knowledge that would blow you away. I'm 38 and I've been the head tech person at a college for five years but it's only in the last two years that I've really felt comfortable calling myself a T.D. I just didn't feel like I had really earned that title.

    I like suggesting you call yourself a Student T. D. That helps keep the confusion down a bit. Like I said I think everyone on this board has been a high school tech student and when you use the term Student T.D. we know exactly what that means, we know how hard you work and how dedicated you are to serving your school. We've all been there. At the same time it makes it clear what your position is in terms of knowledge and experience.

    As for job descriptions...
    When I was teaching high school I worked very hard to distribute the jobs as much as possible. In my opinion it's not good for the program or for you to have one student in charge of so many jobs. You should be trying out a wide variety of theater disciplines in high school (maybe you'll find you like running sound a lot more than designing sets, you should learn all the positions and have a chance to try them all out). I also built a mentorship system where every Jr. and Sr. had a Freshman or Sophomore working with them to learn their job. I didn't have a Student T.D. I had a team of four students who were my most trusted and skilled technicians. They met together with me and we broke down tasks into their various specialty areas and had teams handle the work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
  10. Marius

    Marius Active Member

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    What a great idea. If I ever get any tech students(the tech side of our department was decimated a few years ago, and I'm only just starting to rebuild it) I'm going to try that. :)
     
  11. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Some very good ideas... too bad I feel like our TD doesn't really have the whole education side of educational theatre down... but perhaps there is something I can take away from this post and discuss and modify for next year.
     
  12. forbiddenpluto

    forbiddenpluto Member

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    It's a work in progress at my theatre. We technically have 2 drama teachers. I am the TD and she is... well, she's supposed to be the main acting teacher. Right now I'm teaching Stagecraft 1 and Adv. Stagecraft (which thanks to the last teacher is really like Stagecraft 1.2) as well as Acting 1. As TD my responsibilities pretty much incorporate everything in the theatre that is not related to acting. All technical crews report to me. I'm also expected to do all ordering/budgeting for the theatre.

    I still find it kind of funny as my main training lies in Acting/Directing. However, unlike alot of teachers, I'm making sure I quickly become trained in all of my short comings. It's been an insane first year, but next year will run like clockwork.
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Not to brag but they hired two drama teachers in two years after I left and the second teacher complimented me on how professional his tech students were and how much they knew from what they had learned in their year with me. I am convinced it wasn't due to anything special I was teaching, it was because of the structure of my tech program. Students learn far more from students than adults.

    As for how I started it. I got a group of students in my tech class, got to know them a little bit and chose four that I thought had: a) something special about them b) I could stand working with them. I then threw them into the fire and jumped in with them. Putting them in charge of things that were over their heads and working side by side with them to get through. After a year we had a great relationship and they bought the team/mentorship concept. Then I let them go and gave them others to train. By year three I had multiple levels of mentorship going on with my most senior students supervising teams of other students.

    Another powerful motivator... keys. Now odds are like me you can't give out keys to the building. But there are always cabinets that need padlocks right? I put padlocks on the tool cabinet, the ladder, the access door to the catwalks, etc... Everything that needs to be opened at the start of tech class and secured afterward. It was AMAZING how powerful of a motivation it was for my students to reach the point that they were trusted with their own set of keys. Some students begged to get keys. Others worked hard and dropped hints about how it would be easier to work if they had keys too. You want a student to take ownership of the shop. Give him/her a key to the tool cabinet and have him make sure things get put back in their proper place and do a quick inventory at the end of a work session. It was unbelievable how powerful that was to build a sense of pride and ownership in OUR theater.
     
  14. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Keys... Hmm, interesting comment, Gaff. I can't say I'd disagree. It does make the work easier. It does carry with it a certain connotation for students as well.

    Gaff should have been a psychology major, he analyzed everything in his H.S..
     
  15. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Obviously it won't work for everyone... part of it I know is my personality and leadership/teaching style. But I think the basic strategy of a team mentorship approach is much better for the students than the typical program where only one or two students know everything. The more typical setup means on student gets a lot of information, but it also means that a lot of other students aren't learning as much. It also increases the likelihood that "the chosen one" will get a big fat ego... which isn't good for long term employment in the real world.

    By the way Charc, the Teen aged mind, personality, and world are not nearly as complex as you would like to think they are. After nearly 20 years working with young people, give me two minutes conversation with a high school student and I can figure out what makes them tick. Maybe I should go into psych... hmm... nah, I would have to give up the Seachangers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2008
  16. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I disagree.
     
  17. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Psychology 101, I can get a decent read on an honest person in less than 5 minutes.
     
  18. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    A decent read, but Gaff is saying that he can figure out what makes someone tick in two minutes. Besides, I'd like to think I'm multilayered. No one thing makes me tick, Gaff can't "figure it out" in two minutes. A decent read is a different thing altogether.
     
  19. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Like an Onion ? or a Parfait?
    You know not everybody likes onions..............:twisted:
     
  20. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Spherical, like an onion; with varying consistencies, like a parfait.
     

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