I have recently been assigned to be a mainstage TD in a Conservatory theater program. Do you have any sage advice?
Hardwareman was last seen heading into an all-day faculty meeting with only a stack of square paper. In his absence, we put this together:
- Run everything by your advisor, that’s why you have one.
- If you want a tool that you can’t find in the tool room, ask the shop supervisor, he will want to buy it.
- You can’t buy your crew beer on the show budget. But you can buy them bagels and coffee.
- When Kevin said that steel was lighter, he was right.
- The ME is a quiet lighting designer, you will probably step on her toes. You should watch for her feet, but in the end, it is her job to say “ow, get off” when you do.
- The overhire carpenter isn’t necessarily any more skilled than a sophomore with a work ethic.
- Put in your requests for specific crew as soon as the list is available.
- Every crew has some smart actors, find them, they’re your ace in the hole.
- Do NOT overthink on the shop floor. Build what you drew. At least then you can track back the problems.
- Your designer will always question your estimate. Only give them a summary sheet.
- Publish your lineset schedule early.
- Paints will always be behind. Don’t be the cause of it.
- Talk to your PM. If you don’t, they will think you are hiding something. And then you have to have nightly meetings. No one wants that. Not even the Production Manager, they have to stay at school later.
- Your designer’s advisor just might become your favorite person.
- Have your own workspace away from others on the same show.
- Be the good cop.
- When David suggests something, it is not a suggestion.
- Your labor numbers will get doubled. Deal with it. Then you’ll have time for pre-rig, dry-fit and getting stuff back from paints.
- Build during build, install during install, do notes during tech, catch up on homework during the run of the show.
- Remember, its just a school play.