Author Topic: ELECTRICS: LX Plotting structure  (Read 3645 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

ChaCha

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 245
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://www.performinglineswa.org.au
  • Affiliations: Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
  • Experience: Former SM
ELECTRICS: LX Plotting structure
« on: Jan 07, 2007, 10:00 am »
 So my current show goes into the theatre for an extended tech week from wednesday. The LD only just came on board yesterday and will have seen one run through, maybe two before plotting. So he has persuaded the director to call all the cast (14) for all the plotting (14 hours though not all on one day) so we can do a slort of "slow tech" / plot and he can see each bit as he plots it. The director originally wanted to work like that with the original LD but i talked them out of it, as lots of the cast are under 18 and will get really tired, plus its circus based  so you cant really run things over and over anyway plus - and am I alone in this? - It's a horrible way to work for the stage manager and crew. Sure, what LD wouldn't like to have  real bodies to work on, but why doesn't it matter that the stage manager cant be at the desk getting cues AND onstage getting all the revised blocking/keeping track of cast/trying to organise teching of scene changes....
plus the venue staff are gonna hate it. Its a big venue they won't be used to such a chaotic approach.

We will have a tech as well, but without the LD who has another committment that morning...

As they say -Not Ideal!
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:04 am by PSMKay »
ChaCha

hbelden

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 412
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA
  • Experience: Professional
Re: LX Plotting structure
« Reply #1 on: Jan 07, 2007, 11:34 am »
I actually prefer working this way, if the LD is professional and works quickly.  You and your crew have time to plan ahead for the next thing you're going to do, and you build everything once.  The wardrobe crew has time to work out quick changes with the actors backstage, props don't get pre-set in front of boom lights, spike marks are actually visible in the scene change light, you don't have to go back and adjust things because one element throws all the others off.  Have the cast mark through the tough physical stuff - the LD can make adjustments to that during run throughs - but otherwise make them go through everything.

If your theatre is making the choice to do this against your wishes, the only thing you can do is make the best of it, re-framing your attitude into "what can I do?" instead of "now I can't do that."

It's totally within your job to push the LD along.  You make sure the rest of the company is set up for the next transition, or whatever, and then you go on headset and say "Alex, how are you doing?" and a minute later you say "Alex, are you ready to try this?" and a minute later you say "Alex, I'd like to try and get into the next scene before we break in 15" or whatever. 

You also get on the god mic every time the stage action stops and tell everyone what you stopped for.  There have been several times when I've checked in with the costume people or whatever and been told, "oh, are you waiting for me? I've BEEN ready".

CRAZY that your LD "has another commitment" during some tech hours.  Kick, scream, and wail for an assistant LD or someone who can make adjustments during that time. 

The house crew and acting company will take their cues from you.  If you hate the process, they will too.  If you are enthusiastic, they'll do their job without complaining.
--
Heath Belden

"I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right." - Sondheim
--

ljh007

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 340
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: SMA
Re: LX Plotting structure
« Reply #2 on: Jan 07, 2007, 11:46 am »
In many situations where the actors are union (ie, would need to be paid for the hours they spend at the theatre during lighting work), theatres bring in volunteer "light walkers" who just move around the stage in the places the actors would be while the LD, SM, and director do their lighting plot. It is very tedious for the light walkers because they are totally passive and don't know where they're going or what they're doing - they just walk left when you tell them to walk left. But if you can find nice, patient people who are excited about being onstage under lights (however un-glamorous the situation), it can be a pretty painless way to get lighting work done. In this situation, you can get your basic lighting done without tiring the actors, and the LD can refine lighting for specific moments with the real actors during tech rehearsals.

Do be sure to warn the light walkers that they should not wear black or white, and make sure they know that they could be standing on their feet for hours at a time. In these tech sessions, by the way, the PSM is usually at the ready to talk through the blocking with the light walker, but you sit next to the director (who decides what scenes to move to) and the LD (who talks through calling the cues with you) so that you don't need to actually be on the stage. We usually give the light walkers a couple of comp tickets and a big thank you.

loebtmc

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 1564
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, SAG, AFTRA, SMA
  • Current Gig: Caroling, caroling now we go — and looking for my next gig!
  • Experience: Professional
Re: LX Plotting structure
« Reply #3 on: Jan 07, 2007, 02:26 pm »
(side note) - your "light walkers" -  the bodies on stage are invaluable for dry tech - and I always ask them (and the ASM, who by then will usually know the show and be on stage with them) to wear colors in the show palate - that's their last day before blacks so it's a lovely break anyway.

(several theater companies have special names for these folks - obscure one-word references that are fun but no one else knows what they stand for - if I can remember any of the more interesting ones I will post)




Mac Calder

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 966
  • Gender: Male
  • Plan for the future, live for the now
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Live Performance Australia / Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance
  • Current Gig: Technical Director
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: LX Plotting structure
« Reply #4 on: Jan 07, 2007, 02:47 pm »
It is certainly not ideal.

From an LD perspective, I always prefer to have the true cast present - I find I get much better results that way and I can plot a show in an hour or two, however it is unrealistic really to expect the show to be run in it's entirety, at a much reduced pace.

How an LD can do a decent plot without knowing how the show is being mounted, I will never know. There is no way you can plot from a script - because chances are the LD will interperet the show differently from the director (so all plotting until the LD understands the directors vision is basically just "ideas" and in no way able to predict the final lighting plot)

This long drawn out process will probably produce the better results for the LD, however I worry about the breaks in between sessions that you indicated may occur. What can end up happening is the entire feel of the show can change between sessions. Maybe see if it is possible to do a much shortened run through with cast doing rough, "concept" plots, then solidify with people who get paid to stand arround and do nothing (instead of acting).

ChaCha

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 245
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://www.performinglineswa.org.au
  • Affiliations: Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: LX Plotting structure
« Reply #5 on: Jan 10, 2007, 10:15 am »
hi All

Thanks all for your comments. Much of what you all said was a useful reminder -especially the various comments that basically all said 'reframe your attitude and it will all seem much more possible and brighter"! I think I was cross infected by the overanxious managers/creatives I am working with here, who were completely freaking out about the scheduling issues which led to plotting with cast, etc. Plus one of the worst rehearsal experiences I had early in my career was in a similar situation and i was obviously having flashbacks... Anyway, it was so nice to be HEARD and taken seriously, so thanks again.

ChaCha
ChaCha

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
7 Replies
4747 Views
Last post May 14, 2008, 10:41 am
by ChaCha
9 Replies
4577 Views
Last post Nov 02, 2009, 12:19 pm
by loebtmc
3 Replies
1454 Views
Last post Jul 06, 2014, 10:35 am
by Branden

riotous