Author Topic: PEOPLE: Cures for bad habits of board ops?  (Read 3113 times)

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jenk

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PEOPLE: Cures for bad habits of board ops?
« on: Dec 06, 2004, 01:00 am »
OK, I'm going through a strange (or maybe not so strange) problem. I have two sound board ops who are sharing the run of an extremely sound critical show. They each have a different terrible reaction when things go wrong. One of them will immediately rip off his headset and try desperately to fix the problem, of course not able to listen to me instruct him on what I want to do next, nor tell me the status of the problem; the other starts talking nonstop about what is going on and what he is doing, so that I have to shut him up to call other cues or try to tell him what I want him to do. Each of these ops (good ops, on every other show I've had them on) has caused what could have been a well-managed hiccup to turn into a show-damaging disaster on this run. I have spoken rationally to them, I have tried humor to ease their pressure while reminding them of the need for perfect sound on this show, I have asked them if they'd rather be replaced if this show is too stressful for them, I have tried fining them for these habits, nothing has worked. The smallest thing doesn't go as planned and they instinctively cut themselves off from me. And I'm not even scary! Does anyone have any other suggestions, stories?
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:13 pm by PSMKay »

Didaskalos

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Cures for bad habits of board ops?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 07, 2004, 11:28 pm »
You need to assess whether they can handle the rigors of the show, as well as whether or not you can break someon else in at short notice.  Your first obligation is of course to the show so if they truly can't handle it, you may need to look at it honestly and replace them.  However, you don't want to alienate people with whom you may want to or have to work with again in the future.  Tact is critical.  Remember that if a person has been given a job to do for which they are not sufficiently skilled or trained, that is a managerial oversight.  Whether you keep them or not, though you need to make sure that they feel supported and not condemned.  

If you plan to keep them on the job, you need to make sure that they have every technical support (charts, prep sheets for cues--whatever) that you can afford them.  Are there ways to streamline what they have to do?  Are the expectations placed on them reasonable given the factors of time, equipment, etc?  You need to ask first whether you have done all that you should to facilitate them.

The tantrums are self-indulgent, to be sure, but are probably the only way they know to handle the embarrassment of having screwed up.  If they are teachable, then they will warm to your leadership if they feel that you are behind them and trying to help them improve.  If they can't find the humility to improve, then you have a hard decision to make, I'm afraid.
Do it right the first time;  do it right every time.

jenk

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Cures for bad habits of board ops?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 08, 2004, 10:36 pm »
Thanks for your clarity. I have been thinking along the same lines. I actually do have someone warming up in the dugout just in case- of course, it's not the kind of show that someone can just walk into. These two are folks I have worked with for years with no problems- that's why it will be so difficult to replace them if I need to. I am still hoping that there is something else I can do or tell them that will not only keep them doing this show, but improve their skills (running and coping) overall. Hence, this desperate call for inspiration! I have a curtain with one of them in 25 minutes. Wish me luck....

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