Author Topic: Girl trying to get her start in the Rock'n'Roll industry  (Read 3496 times)

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Hey- I'm new to the site. I've been doing tech for Theatre for 3 years and am now moving towards tech for Concerts. Rock Concerts. My ultimate goal is to be Stage Managing a tour but i know that i have to do something in the meantime.

most of the people i look up to got started by being loaders. most of the people i look up to are also guys.

i intern at a venue in hollywood. when i try to help bands load and get set up i often get batted off. this is hard especially when i'm just learning. make one mistake and i'm just a stupid little girl. i'm trying to not get discouraged but when i talk to my friends, they say there's only one way for girl's to get into the rock'n'roll industry and it's not by being a loader. it's by getting on their knees if you get my drift.

This site seems to be amped a little more towards theatre. Is there any concert or even touring SM's that can give me some advice on how to get started in the business?


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Re: Girl trying to get her start in the Rock'n'Roll industry
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 12:00 pm »
I'm another chick who worked as a house crew/electrician at a road house before starting to SM.  We did plays, concerts and dance shows, so I got the whole spectrum.
Luckily, I only ran into that attitude a few times. 
My advice on a few things that I found helped:

  • Dress the part.  I always got more respect when I wore black BDUs with a crescent wrench in the pocket, a black tank top, boots, and had my hair tightly braided back.
  • Know your space inside and out.  Be able to answer questions quickly, accurately, intelligently.  And don't wait for them to ask you, 'cause they won't.  If you hear a question, volunteer the information.
  • Always volunteer, period.
  • Always look like you're doing something.
  • Work out and get strong arms.  If someone tries to tell you "you can't handle something, let me get it," look at them blankly, and then cart it off (note: this does not work if you CAN'T handle it, make sure you know your limits).
  • And if someone brings up that knees comment again, have a few good snappy comebacks lately.  "Are you speaking from experience, Missy?" or "Yes, planted firmly on the backs of everyone who got in my way."
  • Learn to ignore snide stupidity and demonstrate excellence.
It's tough, and you have to be tough, but once you win the respect of the rest of the loaders or house crew, you're golden.  I had my master electrician take some guy out back and give him a going over for some nasty comments he tried to make about me.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

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Re: Girl trying to get her start in the Rock'n'Roll industry
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 06:43 am »
Honestly, I love working with female crew members - helps to temper all the testosterone and provide a voice of reason. Some of the best techs I know are female.

To help get you "in there" try and carve yourself out a niche. You can either go for one of the big 4 (rigging, lighting, sound or vision), or even 'the person' to talk to about a particular problem that occurs often. (ie "Oh, you want to do XYZ, stopthekitty is the person to talk to about that.")

To become 'the person' to talk to about the big 4, there really needs to be a gap (so that you are not overshaddowed by someone more experianced), and you need to become really familiar with the goings on in that area. For example, if lighting, know that anything after point x on FOH 1 will not be able to reach the prompt side edges - even though it appears that it should, that patch point 42 is dead, and patch points 46 and 47 have 10A fuses instead of 20 like everything else.  If you have DMX points scattered round the venue, know how they are patched, where the splitters are, what shares those points, do they need loop through connectors when not in use etc.

If it is sound, information like "3kHz is a killer frequency in this room", how everything patches (ie if you have stage to bio runs, breakout boxes arround the room etc)

And finally, don't go down on your knees for anyone remotely tied into your work. Even if it is love at first sight as that will only proove those people right (in their own minds).


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Re: Girl trying to get her start in the Rock'n'Roll industry
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 11:02 pm »
I spent five years at the venue (10,000 seats) in my hometown as a house production staff member, mostly an electrician. This was almost...well, a long time ago. We produced mostly concerts and sporting events and I made it a goal not to be "that girl." Mac and tempest are right...know your s*** and don't let anyone's scuff get you down. Be intelligent, aware and efficient. Don't be afraid to use your knowledge and exude confidence from every pore. (One of my secret dreams was to be a rock-n-roll LD; I got halfway there. In addition to SMing, I LD, but not for rock-n-roll.)

"Haul those trusses up and get 'em up those ramps..." Sigh...I sorta miss haulin' 4-aught through beer and discarded nachos...


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Re: Girl trying to get her start in the Rock'n'Roll industry
« Reply #4 on: Jun 15, 2007, 01:06 pm »
Found this thread a bit late, but oh well.  I had the same issues when I started touring in my early 20's - thankfully I can lift as much or more than an average guy, which is somehow more important to some folks than what I have in my head.   Definitely know your stuff, dress in a 'ready to get down to work' way - girly clothes make it harder to make a better impression.  And don't loose heart - I see women come through my road house on concert tours, and they're respected by their male peers.

The venue that you're interning at - is it an IATSE house?  And what is the nature of your internship?  I'm just checking, most venues have crews that have assigned roles, and its out of place for folks not on that crew to help out.  For example, at my roadhouse, I am perfectly capable (physically) of helping to unload the trucks, but that's a union loader's position, and it would be totally inappropriate for me to even offer to help.  That might be another reason you're being brushed off by some.

Another resource would be .  A good place to pick up on some of the slang, see some of the faces, etc.  Or trying to get into your local IATSE.  Working your way up through a crew is another way to get respect.  And you'd probably end up working on the larger concerts as a new member.  The tail end of the call list for the union only gets called on really big shows where they have to fill out the number of hands, but that wouldn't be bad for you as the rock concerts are what you're looking for.



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Re: Girl trying to get her start in the Rock'n'Roll industry
« Reply #5 on: Jun 15, 2007, 01:09 pm »
Another resource would be .  A good place to pick up on some of the slang, see some of the faces, etc.
Absolutely, if you want hear some good roadie stories and network it's the place to be.
I am proud to be an RFL.
Philip LaDue
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IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ


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Re: Girl trying to get her start in the Rock'n'Roll industry
« Reply #6 on: Jun 30, 2007, 03:20 pm »
Dear Kitty- What venue in Hollywood has interns? I was one of the SM's who freelanced in the late seventies at various Hollwood clubs, such as the Starwood and WhiskeyAGoGo. I also worked part-time for SIR, the backline and sound rental guys. I agree with the previous answers to your post-make yourself a valuable part of the crew-if rolling cases down the ramp and onto the truck is what's needed, that's OK. I currently PSM and ASM concerts here in Connecticut, and I find my floating stage crew to be my right hand-from getting water for the dressing room to plugging in a video camera charger. Good luck, and keep at it-you should learn all the jobs around you. -Dicky