At this time in Adelaide, venues around town are getting themselves ready for the Fringe or Festival invasion. Performers are consulted, equipments cleaned and some lucky soul has to put it all together. The end result has to be able to work for a number of people. Some venues will have many acts on the same night and there is limited time to change over. So everyone needs to compromise. So what can we do to make things easier? Or do we lets the various companies come and do what they like without much venue intervention. Well I doubt the last idea would work, a venue needs to apply some control over what happens in their venue, especially at festival times. Chaos can rule supreme at these busy times and we need to make sure that it all runs nice and smoothly. Making sure that the clients and the audience have a great time.
The venue needs to have ample equipment and expertise on hand to make sure that the shows look good and are technically great. The best idea is to as early as possible to talk and consult with all of the stakeholders and see what they want to happen in regards to the lighting rig, is there any special equipment they require? Then the technical manager get to work with some CAD software like Vectorworks and draws up a standard lighting plan. Once the tech is designed it is time to communicate with the various clients and see if any thing has changed, share a PDF copy for them all to look at. Make sure you have simple diagrams of where the specials etc are focused within the space. A key eelement to reme3mber with fringe style shows is that you are often dealing with people who have limited theatre experience, so you may have to explain a lot of what we take for granted. The real benefit of explaining the simple things is that later on down the track, if these people have continued in the industry, they will have a better understanding of the technical elements that go into a show.
So once the final design has been decided upon, it is time to get it in the air, focused and working. There is were all of your hard work planning pays off. If you do have the time once you have the rig in the air, coloured and focus; take pictures from a central position in the audience of the specials focus. Then forward these to the clients so they have a better understanding of what they are likely to encounter, this can be useful for overseas clients.
Now all you need to do is when try arrive make life easy for them by second guessing their needs. If not possible listen and help them achieve thier goals. You maybe their operator or they may bring one with them. Now these guys may work in a different way to what you are use to. So try and accept this without compromising your intergrity and safety. Sometimes overseas groups will have a taken idea on work safety. You will need to make sure that they do comply to Australian regulations, but in the nicest possible way. Don’t jump down thier throats as soon as they do something wrong. Explain calmly that here we have to do it in a certain way. I have seen technicians berate other technicians from interstate or overseas because they did something wrong, they did not take the time to explain why it could not be done thier way. What we need to do is show the Australian and best way to do it.
Thinking ahead with these types of events and making contingency plans will make the whole process a lot smoother and you will enjoy the process and want to do it again. And best of all the client may want to come back and work in your venue again – thus creating more employment for you.