Author Topic: CALLING: Board ops doing other things during a show?  (Read 15157 times)

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Sunshine

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CALLING: Board ops doing other things during a show?
« on: Jan 25, 2006, 12:04 am »
Do any of you let your board ops do other things in the booth?  Play computer games, read, text message, do crossword puzzles, listen to music?  I have two board ops who pay no attention right now, and I'm not sure whether I should fight and deal with boredom, or get used to being the only one paying attention.  Help a sister out!

(NOTE:  Edited by Ballet PSM 7/3/06.  Subject line changed to something more descriptive of the topic)
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:34 pm by PSMKay »

Sunshine

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CALLING: Question for all the SMs out there (board ops)
« Reply #1 on: Jan 25, 2006, 12:04 am »
Do any of you let your board ops do other things in the booth?  Play computer games, read, text message, do crossword puzzles, listen to music?  I have two board ops who pay no attention right now, and I'm not sure whether I should fight and deal with boredom, or get used to being the only one paying attention.  Help a sister out!
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:12 pm by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #2 on: Jan 25, 2006, 01:24 am »
How busy are they?

Are you calling?

Provided they are ready to push the button on the go, you are fine.

I have board oped a number of shows. As board op, I often bring a magazine, or even do prep work for another gig.

Accept it. Opping is one of the most boring jobs in some shows.

RuthNY

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #3 on: Jan 25, 2006, 08:47 am »
I've worked for years with an IATSE light board op. and and IATSE sound engineer who regularly spend the entire show sufing the internet, talking on the phone, listening to Steeler football (you should have been with me this past weekend...) and in the case of the board op, writing a very intense political blog.  It took me a long time to get used to it, especially the phones ringing during the show (we are all in separate, but connecting booths with the doors left open) but the bottom line is, are they ready for the "go" and once they hit the button and do they pay attention long enough to make sure the correct cue is running and that it is running correctly?

If your ops are screwing up, yes, it is an issue.  If not, and you are still uncomfortable because of a complicated calling sequence, let them know that once or twice during the show you will need their undivided attention.  Let them know where, let them know why.  Betch'a they'lll be happy to comply!
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
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zac

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #4 on: Jan 25, 2006, 04:32 pm »
Board ops not doing their job...hmmm... My advice is to make it clear to them that if a cue is missed, saying to the producers that "the board op was in the middle of a text message." is not a good excuse. You are putting your job and the integrity of the show at risk the longer you allow them to be unfocused. If they're being paid, find new board ops. If they're not, explain that you really appreciate the time they are volunteering, and you don't want to risk messing up the show. I've had the same problem more than once and this usually works for me. Above all, stay calm and don't let them know you think they might be idiots. Because then they will really shut down. Good luck.

smejs

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #5 on: Jan 25, 2006, 05:40 pm »
I agree with the "is it really affecting the show" aspect.  I have worked on shows with literally 35 minutes between cues.  When it's finally time for the standby, I often say, "Okay, wake up everyone"...and then continue the standby.  That said, the SAME show was one where we had to stop the show twice during the run.  One time because the light board totally dumped in the middle of the performance.  I had a technician onstage at the time playing a character, he said he looked up to the booth and saw the crossword puzzle go flying out of the light board ops hand behind him as he saw my own hand reaching for the page monitor (to turn it off to prevent feedback as I spoke into the God mic).  The board op was still "aware" of what was going on with the show, even while doing the crossword (and though not technically a union house, it was the next closest thing).  Other people, however, I'd not trust.  And if there's one person in particular who's totally enthralled (i.e., this summer when my college student board op was reading the latest Harry Potter), I made sure she put the book down while we were in actual cues.  It depends on the level of the people you're working with and how much it really affects the show.

Erin

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ah the booth conversation
« Reply #6 on: Jan 26, 2006, 01:37 am »
RuthNY, intense political bog .... hmmm, I can guess which theatre you are at.

I have no problems with booth operators doing other things between cues.  As long as it does not effect the show.  I find if you try to ban that sort of thing they get chatty, which I feel is worse.
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hbelden

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #7 on: Jan 26, 2006, 10:53 am »
Agree re: headset chatter.  I've found that the headset culture is led by the SM - if the SM doesn't chatter, the crews don't do much.  And it's always understood that when the SM is in standby or cue mode, all chatter stops mid-syllable.

If I felt that crew chatter/entertainment was distracting ME from doing my job (maintaining the show, ready for emergencies, calling cues) I'd ask the crew's help in eliminating that distraction.  But otherwise, as long as they're on headset and can always do their job, let them do what they want.
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giabow

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #8 on: Jan 26, 2006, 11:34 am »
I agree with the others; I don't mind my board ops doing other things as long as the show doesn't suffer.  Right now, my light board op is 14 and a freshman in high school (intern.)  She does homework during the show, but is always ready for the next cue.

I've done other things during the show as a board op.  I ran light board for the French Play in college.  The first act was an hour and a half with two light cues (beginning and end.)  I don't speak French.  I got a lot of studying done during that show.

ORTaurean

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #9 on: Jan 26, 2006, 02:19 pm »
I had a board op/ASM who was reading lots of homework between cues.  She was always ready but I was nervous.  I discussed with her that I would give her warns and standbys so that I knew she was ready.  She always repeated "standing by" for me so that I knew we were in sync, if I didn't hear her response, I could make sure she was listening.

Alleviated my fear of mistakes and we worked it out together.
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amylee

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #10 on: Jan 26, 2006, 03:23 pm »
my agreement to what's been said already seems redundant, but i would like to re-emphasize the reassuring effect of a verbal response from the ops. Right now, i'm working a production where i am completely separated from the light/sound board op PLUS there are several intervals between cues which practially need calendars to time.

I often preface "standby" cues with a "wakeup" as well, and all is good.
amy lee
:)  :(

Mac Calder

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #11 on: Jan 26, 2006, 07:02 pm »
It is a worrying trend I have noticed in AU - a lot of ops do not respond to standbys. It REALLY irks me. As I have said many a time before, I dont just SM, I am capable in almost any position within the theatre (about the only pos I have not been in is Producer) and I know both sides of the cans. There are certain things I always do which I notice does not happen in many places:

Confirm s/b's
Confirm completion of long que sequences.
Perform "Off Cans" and "On Cans" messages

There was a show I was on as SM, where the lighting op was replaced by a cast member for 15 minutes or so so that he could run to the dome position and spot a sequence. We timed it, and for him to make it in time, the actor had to run to the bio box, they had to change right away, and he had to crawl as fast as he could to FOH1 dome position. We worked it out so that I could cue them visually, but twice, a cue was missed because I did not get a "LX Off cans for 10, going to visual" as I would have expected because he was not in the habbit of performing off cans notices. They were damn important cues too. In the end I think we grabbed the dome cans and gave them to the actor, who placed them on as they ran to the bio box, quick lead change and then he jacked himself in at the dome position.

This LX op played tetris if you were wondering, and the sound op read cookbooks.

johnmurdock

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Re: Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #12 on: Jan 27, 2006, 08:45 pm »
Quote from: "Sunshine"
Do any of you let your board ops do other things in the booth?  Play computer games, read, text message, do crossword puzzles, listen to music?  I have two board ops who pay no attention right now, and I'm not sure whether I should fight and deal with boredom, or get used to being the only one paying attention.  Help a sister out!



Hmm... not a shocker but being in University theatre right now, i have the same problem but usually it is doing homework instead.  Just let them know that as long as it does not hinder the show, and that maintaining the show is your job and you are to make sure they are doing thiers.

Mac Calder

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Re: verbal responses
« Reply #13 on: Jan 27, 2006, 10:23 pm »
I find the opposite. I have asked (repeatedly) a number of ops. They basically blow me off. The ocasional one will respond with a 'standing by' after asking them. I think I need to start training myself some board ops from scratch. Then send them out into the world. Never taken on an intern in a field other than stage management.

Mac Calder

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Question for all the SMs out there
« Reply #14 on: Jan 28, 2006, 02:56 pm »
Far too often I am the only managerial person with the exception of the producer who only cares about the money. Even profesional shows. I have worked out a new tactic though. I am going to start bugging them about it before each cue.

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