Author Topic: "Techie" vs. "Technician"  (Read 5878 times)

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"Techie" vs. "Technician"
« on: Nov 04, 2006, 06:36 pm »
I have often heard derogatory comments made towards those who refer to themselves as "techies," generally made by highly experienced theatre folk who believe that the term degrades the art.  To these discerning folk, the true name for the career is "technician," while a "techie" is a mere hobbyist.  Once upon a time, I engaged in these debates, and generally leaned towards the side of the technicians, but as time has gone by, I have come to realize that both types of individuals exist in all areas of theatre, whether you are in the professional leagues, high school, or somewhere in between. 

As a Stage Manager, the trick is to recognize which you are working with, and plan accordingly.  After all, it is one of the most common sources of abrasion within production teams when a technician meets head on with a techie, even if the debate never actually gets down to semantic terms.  Here, I've tried to map out the differences for you, so that you can more quickly erase the borderlines and work with each kind of personality in the best way possible.

The Techie

The Technician
Is highly aware of the limited budgets that restrict theatrical endeavors.Is more concerned with most effectively presenting the artistic concepts of the designers than in saving on costs.
Can fix any technical element quickly, with some combination of string, gaffers tape, and a multitool.Carries a multitool as a badge of honor, but understands that the proper tools can fix an element more thoroughly, and can use those tools to do so.
Has become well versed in "seat of the pants" implementation.Has learned to be able to make a plan of action to complete a project, and follow through on it.
Is the life of the party.Sits in the back of the room and drinks beer.
Is in the business because he or she loves it.Has realized that there's more than enjoyment to be gained--there's also money.
Has a cooperative attitude and will pitch in for any area that needs help.While cooperative, understands that each person on a production is hired to perform a specific task, and keeps out of the way of others to let them do their jobs, while performing their own to the fullest.
Will gladly go on for an actor that goes down.Believes that acting and tech do not mix.
Either possesses a BA in Theatre from a Liberal Arts College, or is a hobbyist who picked it up along the way and really enjoyed high school drama club.  Would attend a masters program in directing.Has learned theatre through a series of apprenticeships and internships, or conservatory style training, or is neutral on the values of higher education.  Might attend a masters program in technical theatre, but doesn't necessarily see the value.
Tends to get involved in romantic relationships with others on the production.Avoids getting involved with coworkers at all costs.
Will use duct tape to hold things down if there is no other option.Does not consider duct tape to be an option.  Ever.
Holds in depth discussions about David Mamet, Stephen Sondheim, John Leguizamo, or Eve Ensler.Holds in depth discussions about Intelligent Lighting, SAG, Football, and Lara Croft.
Sees the stage manager as the director's sidekick.Sees the stage manager as the main source of information.
Pulls an all nighter in order to get the floor painted when the stage is not in use.Paints the separate panels of the floor in the shop and then installs them quickly during a dinner break.
Will get out over the house in the bo'sun's chair, but will spend most of their time up there talking very loudly so that everyone knows that they're up there, and will complain about how freaky it was for the rest of the week.Gets out in the bo'sun's chair, fixes the dratted instrument, and comes back down.  End of story.
You will need to shush him or her backstage.You will need to remind him or her to acknowledge your standbys, as they believe that such nonsense is wasteful headset chatter.
Actors generally get along well with techies, but may consider them to be frustrated actors, and lose respect.Actors will fear the technicians, as they rarely intermingle and speak different lingos.  However, the actor will respect the technician for their knowledge, and treat the scenic elements with more consideration because of this fear.
Consistently reinforces your opinion that you are the smartest person in the world, especially when it comes to professional theatre.Consistently reminds you of how much you still have to learn about professional theatre.
Can become a technician with some encouragement.Every technician started out as a techie at one point or another--they can do it again.
Can be a highly valuable member of your crew.Can be a highly valuable member of your crew.