Author Topic: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation  (Read 5940 times)

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GalFriday

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Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« on: Jan 01, 2013, 01:48 am »
So - I am seeing this on more and more resumes. I wonder what it really means. Does this mean you have pulled a curtain? Pushed a button? Can you set limits? Rig a curtain? Do you understand dynamic loads? How about encoders?

Here is why I wonder. A very long time ago I found myself in an automation heavy position where I was running an automation board as a stage manager because I had technical skills on my resume and could talk a good line. I took that job and learned a lot. It opened up a whole new area to me but I certainly did not expect that coming into it.

I am working on a project that combines stage management and automation and it has me looking at resumes...and I would be very interested in how you all interpret this part of your resume. What experience are you seeing in SM's....especially those just out of school (which is where I see this listed the most).

And...to open up a bigger discussion. How much automation are you finding in your work. I wonder if this is stronger in the college environment and a few big cities and national tours. Budgets are being cut. Is that cutting your automated pieces?

Do you like automation in your shows? Do you feel it limits you? It was once said...in a chat on this site....that automation can keep you from "breathing a show". I still feel I can breath an automation heavy show but I have experience on both sides of the headset and I think that gives me a different perspective...I know many stage managers that are not happy with these shows. I know others that just can not wrap around it. The stage manager who says...."I will just keep calling cues and automation let me know when you catch up"....actual quote...SMH

Anyway, I am really interested to hear some opinions. 

Automation? Love it/ Hate it....Standby....GO
"Now the best way to learn the theater, always, is to be a stage manager" - Stephen Sondheim

Maggie K

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #1 on: Jan 01, 2013, 04:02 am »
I think it really depends on the show and how it's used.  I've been in some spaces where it is a necessity.  North Shore Music Theatre for example.  The stage is in the round and the aisles are too narrow for most set pieces to travel safely.  They have a center lift and a vom that bring set pieces to the stage.  However, the folks there know how to put these to best use, so it looks good and is well integrated.  Audiences there are also fairly accustomed to seeing it.  I'm sure there are other similar theatres.

I would argue against using automation for 2 reasons.  If it is something that is more easily achieved in other ways, it seems better to put the time and money into something else.  Secondly, if there isn't someone trained on hand to run, maintain, and fix it.

As for putting it on a resume.  I would like to know if there are any standards for that.  Normally, if someone puts something on their resume I assume they are fairly knowledgeable about it.  I'm interested to see how this develops in the next few years.
I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost - it's there and then it's gone. -Maggie Smith

MatthewShiner

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #2 on: Jan 01, 2013, 11:34 am »
I have worked in top tier regional theaters where I started seeing both mechanism scenery and automation - sometimes over the top levels of automation (one show had 14 points of automation).  I think at the end of the day, if it serves the show, then it's a good idea.  It's a pain in the butt to tech, problem solve and program - and when it works, it's can be great.

A lot of automation is dictated by the design of the show, but sometimes I have hit pinch points in the show where I can't do a scene change as designed or envisioned, and the answer is either add more crew or automate . . . and often it comes down to cost - to automated doors can be cheaper then crew over a long haul.

My question is on SM resume, I am not sure what rigging and automation means.  Does this mean you do rigging?  Rigging is such a highly specialized skill set.  Also, automation - I would be confused as well - does that mean pushed a button?  Does that mean you program?  Does that mean you built the system?  I am just not sure what that means on SM resume.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

GalFriday

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #3 on: Jan 01, 2013, 01:15 pm »

My question is on SM resume, I am not sure what rigging and automation means.  Does this mean you do rigging?  Rigging is such a highly specialized skill set.  Also, automation - I would be confused as well - does that mean pushed a button?  Does that mean you program?  Does that mean you built the system?  I am just not sure what that means on SM resume.

This is what peaked my interest. I am now seeing it on a lot of resumes and I am not sure what it means. I agree it is a pretty specific skill set. Maybe it means they have experience calling these items. I know when I put automation on my resume it means I have tested and installed full automation systems with over 25 axes of motion (one was 143 axis of motion but that may have been a bit over the top). I have programmed and called cues on a system of similar size. I have done this for top companies...but I definitely straddle the technical/artistic line and I do not think I am at all the best case study. On a side note we are having problems with Automation resumes as well..."Basic Automation skills" covers a whole lot of territory.

Does anyone out there use this on their resume and what are you hoping to represent?
"Now the best way to learn the theater, always, is to be a stage manager" - Stephen Sondheim

LizzG

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #4 on: Jan 01, 2013, 02:35 pm »
This is a good topic!  I've been looking for a way to indicate my experience/knowledge about automation as a SM without implying that I myself can run/program automation (actually, in an emergency, I could run the automation board on this particular show - just out of interest I've had our auto guy show me how, but that's aside the point). 

At this point, I haven't put anything about automation onto my resume because I don't want to make people assume the wrong thing, but I feel like a lot of the resumes we see with automation on them mean SMing a show with automation rather than technical knowledge.

Kaleigh.Knights

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #5 on: Jan 01, 2013, 10:10 pm »
I know next to nothing about automation. But, I have done some standard theatrical rigging. My boss/TD/production manager has approved of my wording as "working knowledge of X". It shows that I don't know enough of the rigging/html/etc to have a mastery, but that I can work my way through whatever it is to get the job done.
To be a good stage manager you need to have the soul of an artist, the mind of a director, the eye of a designer, the joy of being an actor...
and the ability to manage them all.

ejsmith3130

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #6 on: Jan 01, 2013, 11:00 pm »
People thinking they can do rigging has always made me really wary... I worked at a Casino doing large scale concerts, and the riggers were always specially trained contracted employees from the outside. As far as I am aware there are special certifications in rigging, yes?

They would post a picture at every work call of improper rigging they had seen somewhere under the caption "Just because it worked once doesn't mean it's right".

The chance of disaster really scares me, and I don't think I would ever even insinuate that I knew anything about rigging without a certification.

babens

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #7 on: Jan 02, 2013, 12:45 am »
I think if you want to indicate that you've called/run a show that involves automation the best thing to do would be to mention it in your cover letter where you can then actually elaborate on your experience and avoid confusion.

PSMKay

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #8 on: Jan 02, 2013, 01:35 am »
One would think that the phrasing and level of detail would depend on the nature of the position, no? If the individual is applying for a position where automation is obviously required, then an expanded section discussing types of automation and levels of comfort would be de rigeur. OTOH if you're applying to SM "The Music Man" in the Whoville Baptist Church and Community Center then perhaps that particular line item is meant to be impressive more than functional, and can just be dropped gently into the "Special Skills" section.


Mac Calder

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #9 on: Jan 02, 2013, 03:33 am »
In Australia - if I saw "Basic Rigging" - I would assume hanging lights, banners and cloths. If I saw "Basic Rigger" I would the assume they are a card carrying rigger (I like employing SMs who are qualified riggers - they tend to call out people performing dodgey practices).

Basic Automation - I would assume they have operated (but not programed) a show with some level of automation and perhaps know how to perform basic troubleshooting tasks like taking a quick look at limit switches to make sure they have not jammed etc. It is also hard to tell whether they are talking "global" automation - show control systems tying audio, video, lighting, scenic automation etc or whether they are talking solely about scenic automation, where they might recall some presets, manually run some hoists etc.

As Health and Safety will start to see hemp and counterweight lines replaced with hoists, Automation is going to become more and more important. With most hoist control systems being highly proprietary, correctly representing your knowledge will become very important - just like we look at what desks a lighting programmer can use, very soon employers will start looking for a house stage manager who knows and understands "Stage Technologies eChamelion" or "Fischer Technical Navigator" or what ever system they have installed.

I am all for automation - I have done shows using automation that would be impossible to perform using CW or Hemp - and just because it is computerised and will perform the cues the same time after time, any decent automation system has the ability to control how fast cues are executed - most are a bit like the pitch bend wheel on a keyboard - in the middle it runs at normal speed - but the operator can then "bend" it up or down to fit with the show.
« Last Edit: Jan 02, 2013, 03:36 am by Mac Calder »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #10 on: Jan 02, 2013, 09:09 am »
Quote
Does anyone out there use this on their resume and what are you hoping to represent?

I have dropped any sort of notion of "special skills" off my resume, but I do put in my cover letter I have called shows with up to 14 points of automation . . . again, it may be a more cover letter worthy info.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

cprted

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #11 on: Jan 02, 2013, 05:51 pm »
People thinking they can do rigging has always made me really wary... I worked at a Casino doing large scale concerts, and the riggers were always specially trained contracted employees from the outside. As far as I am aware there are special certifications in rigging, yes?
That is the problem with rigging is that other than ETCP, there really isn't a rigging certification.  Anyone can hang a shingle outside their door and say, "rigger for hire."  It all comes down to experience and reputation.

Like others here, I honestly would have no idea what to think if I saw "basic rigging" on a resume.  When hiring riggers, if they ever use the words "should," "I think," or "probably," you need to find someone else.  ;)

Jessie_K

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #12 on: Jan 03, 2013, 09:31 am »
I have listed Automation Programming [basic] on my resume under Special Skills because I have programmed flying automated scenery (6 axes).

Additionally, in my cover letter I go into detail about the work I have done as a stage manager for shows with automated scenery, lifts, and flying/ acrobatic aerial aspects. (about 100 axes)

I love automation when it works well.  It can do things that people simply cannot.  However, when it doesn't work right, fixes are slower and way less organic.

babens

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Re: Special Skill: Basic Rigging and Automation
« Reply #13 on: Jan 04, 2013, 02:33 am »
I have listed Automation Programming [basic] on my resume under Special Skills because I have programmed flying automated scenery (6 axes).

Even the way you listed it is a step up from just putting "Basic Automation" as it gives the person looking at your resume some idea of what your skill set actually might be.

 

riotous