Ten steps to please your tech
28 March 2018
James Dawson, Chris Armistead and Ciara Shrager and many other members of the Technical Team want you to help them to help you
1. Know what you want
If you have a clear idea of how you want your show to look and sound, we can make it a reality. No one knows this show better than you, and being clear about your vision and what you want us to create means that everyone is going to be happy.
2. Communicate with us
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know all the weird techie words for things! To make things work for everyone, we need to talk about the tech. That doesn’t have to be a terrifying thing. We also speak English as well as Techie Speak and we can work together to make beautiful things happen. You never know, you might even learn the language along the way.
3. Be patient
Tech rehearsals are tedious beasts. From your perspective, they might feel disjointed and messy. The time that you’re sat down waiting for things to happen and repeating things over and over again is the time where we’re working our hardest to make things happen. Remember, you and your cast have had weeks to perfect your parts of this show, we have one day to put together, fix and perfect all of the lighting, sound and set. It’s horrible but tech really can make or break a show, and everyone prefers it when it’s the former.
4. Bundle your music files
Nothing in this world will pain us more than when you spend the first hour of a tech trying to find sound files buried in emails or google drives. If you come into a get in or tech day with a memory stick with all of your files already on it, you will make our day.
5. Trust us
We’re all making it up as we go along in this world but if we’re the technician on your show, it’s probably because we know what to do. Don’t doubt us. Whether or not we immediately know how to do something, or have to ask someone, or google it, we can always be relied upon to make your show the best it can possibly be.
6. Be adventurous
Think big! Do you want 100 sheep in your opera? Say so! We love hearing your wildest dreams; they push us to try things we might never have thought of. Theatre can do some incredible things and being part of creating those is what we are all here for.
7. Be realistic
We’re pretty good, but we can’t move mountains. There are a lot of things we can’t do, especially at short notice. We can’t conjure up a river to run through your set, or organise the entire thing to be set on fire at the end of every performance (unless you speak to us a very long time in advance). As much as we want to experiment and make everything look cool, the magic of theatre has its limits.
8. Involve us
We work in this industry for a reason. Sometimes we join the production at a late stage in the process but we would like to feel a part of the team. This goes for creative decisions – we might have a few fun ideas that you haven’t thought of – but also for socialising. If the cast are going out for lunch, ask us along. We spend a lot of time in the dark, and sometimes it’s nice to get out and see what all the fuss is about this daylight nonsense.
9. A Good Schedule
A nicely laid out timetable is up there with a neatly organised cupboard in terms of stage management porn, but it’s also genuinely useful. It might not be possible to stick to it, but knowing where you need to be is key. Included in that is being realistic about when you can be in the venue. We’ve been in the venue since before you arrived, we’ll be shutting it down after you left, and as much as we’d like to give you all the time you want there’s only so much we can do. We appreciate your understanding.
Whether or not we drink, going to the pub after work is the scientifically proven best way to unwind after a difficult day. We know you’re going to be going, and you know we are going to be going. We’ve just spent hours together, it’s probably been an intense and long day in an intense and long week. Having a change of setting and a pint means that we have the chance to talk over any problems that have appeared, and find a better and more creative solution. Techies are people too, and contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually live in the venue. If we can all get along, it makes everything so much easier!
Photo credit: Aenne Pallasca