Author Topic: PEOPLE: Does a stage manager have hire/fire power with sound techs?  (Read 7731 times)

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keypalsman

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During my last performance of Cinderella, I had a huge blowout with my sound techies (they still hate my guts) and it was all because I thought that the sound booth needed to be clean. Our sound booth is a two-level booth. The lower level of the booth is where actors are given mics and checked out, while the upper level of the booth is where all the fun happens. The sound techies believe that the upper booth does not need to be clean during show, only after. Does anyone buy this or do you think that they are just being lazy? Thanks.

EDIT: Removed red glowing text - PSMK
Posted on: April 23, 2008, 08:34:38 AM
I have a problem with my two sound techies. They refuse to listen to me, and take a hint or a nice idea for them to use. They claim that I am the STAGE manager and not the sound manager. During our last show of cinderella they had 14 mics to monitor (easy) but they had to change out at least 15 mic cables (i lost count) and they had terrible feedback, tinny voices, sound effects too late or not even used. The director was standing by me the whole show yelling at me about the sound issues. The sound does not use clearcom because it supposedly "BROKE". WHAT DO I DO?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 02:11 am by PSMKay »

avkid

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #1 on: Apr 23, 2008, 01:13 pm »
Who is their boss?(TD etc...)

They need to be put into their place.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

avkid

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Re: Sound Booth Clean?
« Reply #2 on: Apr 23, 2008, 01:15 pm »
A clean office is a productive office.
I can't stand clutter or disarray for more than a day.

Professionals are organized and clean, tell them that.
Sounds like they need a babysitter.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

smalltimeSM

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #3 on: Apr 23, 2008, 02:52 pm »
Is this HS theatre or a professional venue?  I ask because if it were a professional venue the stage manager has reign over anyone in the venue.  (except those above him/her.  If it is high school, talk to the Aud. Manager or teacher in charge to let them know of the problems they are giving you.  If you lay out all the problems they are giving you, the parent/teacher/whomever in charge will see that these problems are not a direct result of negligence on your part.  (otherwise you look bad for things going wrong)  Hope this helps, and I hope you get this sorted out.

smalltimeSM

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Re: Sound Booth Clean?
« Reply #4 on: Apr 23, 2008, 02:56 pm »
Obviously these "noise boys" don't care about their equipment enough to keep a clean work space.  And I agree that a clean work space is a productive work space.  Not to mention the fact that the gear they use is EXPENSIVE!  If they care at all they should clean the booth or do something else.

keypalsman

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Re: Sound Booth Clean?
« Reply #5 on: Apr 24, 2008, 10:26 am »
Thanks for the thoughts. I will share it with the sound techies. And Yeah the equipment is expensive. It costs $20,000 just for our sound board, and at least an easy $40,000 for the wireless mic system.

J

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Re: Sound Booth Clean?
« Reply #6 on: Apr 24, 2008, 11:03 am »
I think suggesting it is fine, but just a reminder that we as stage managers aren't the head-honcho's.  We don't run the theatre and it is not our place to mandate how another department keeps their areas maintained.

J

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #7 on: Apr 25, 2008, 01:18 am »
I ask because if it were a professional venue the stage manager has reign over anyone in the venue. 

Sorry. I've got to disagree with you on this one, at least from my experience. If I were having problems with my sound tech, I'd talk to him/her about the problems I was having with his/her supervisor present.  Though during shows I'm the one running the show and making the decisions, I do not have reign over everyone in the venue. I have a boss just like he/she has a boss.  This may be different in the venues that you've worked in, but from all of my experience, talking to that person's is your best bet.

Also, be sure to note all the problems in the daily report. That alone might whip them into shape (out of embarrassment) and will also provide documentation of the problem. If the sound has feedback tomorrow, put it on the report. If it has feedback the next day, on the report again. Sooner or later they'll get the hint.

theatreannie

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #8 on: Apr 25, 2008, 11:06 am »
I agree with noting problems in the reports- in as neutral a manner as possible, just reporting the facts. 

avkid

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #9 on: Apr 26, 2008, 02:37 pm »
If the sound has feedback tomorrow, put it on the report. If it has feedback the next day, on the report again. Sooner or later they'll get the hint.
I re-read the original post and found a few things.
Monitoring 14 mics especially of the wireless variety is not what I call easy.
-

Changing 15 cables, (meaning one got replaced twice).
Strike 1

Noticeable feedback in a rehearsed show.
Strike 2

uldLate sound effects happen, because playback devices(cheap or old ones especially) are prone to mess up when least convenient.
Depending on the frequency and reason this could be a strike or not.

ClearCom broken- what kind of sound tech can't use a soldering iron?
Sounds like an excuse not to communicate.
Strike 3

Being rude and disrespectful.
Strike 4

If they can be replaced it needs to be done.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

J

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #10 on: Apr 26, 2008, 03:03 pm »
I agree that the guy seems to have lots of strikes against him.  In my opinion the SM needs to talk with the sound tech's boss about his replacement or his discipline, but this stuff still needs to be listed on the report on a daily basis, and the SM still is not in the position to reprimand or fire the technician.

KMC

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #11 on: Apr 26, 2008, 03:33 pm »
I think we're getting a touch ahead of ourselves here.  Before we talk about firing or discipline (both of which are out of the SM's jurisdiction in most theatres, anyhow) I think we need to get some more information from the original poster. 

Is this an educational setting, amateur (community theatre, etc..) or professional setting?

If this is an educational setting, which it sounds like it is, I don't think "firing" the person is the right solution; one of the key aspects of educational theatre is allowing students to make mistakes, then dissecting mistakes and offering constructive criticism in a structured, positive environment.  Simply "firing" the person is going to offer them little room for growth.

keypalsman, can you give us some more information?
« Last Edit: Apr 26, 2008, 04:26 pm by kmc307 »
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avkid

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #12 on: Apr 26, 2008, 05:09 pm »
I'm not saying to "fire" them, but rather take the person who is the worst out of the authority position.
For instance, swapping the A1 and A2.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

keypalsman

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #13 on: Apr 27, 2008, 05:03 pm »
Yeah it is a high school theatre. The way the chain of power works here is director, stage manager,asm, sound, lights, stagehands, and whoever else. This is because we do not have an actual tech director. Our school district is cheap. So by all means I am in charge of the technical aspect in the theatre. And I really doubt that the sound techies are trying to excel. All they want to do is play in the sound booth where they are "in charge". It is all child's play for them.

J

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Re: Can A Stage Manager Give A Dirty Sound Techie The Boot?
« Reply #14 on: Apr 28, 2008, 10:38 am »
Because it is high school, I would suggest that you leave any discipline to faculty/administration. Furthermore, you should be sure to talk to the faculty as soon as possible.

 

riotous