Saturday, August 2, 2008

Artist's Insurance

Okay, so. Even if you're a carpenter, an electrician or a seamstress, you're probably also working on the creative aspects of things, right? And chances are you're freelancing or working some job with no benefits other than the sigh of satisfaction after an annoying co-worker is proven wrong about something or leaves for the day.

If you're an artist and have no health insurance, here are a couple of options:

Fractured Atlas- Plans from $128.14/mo to $338.81/mo, individual. The more expensive plans include dental/vision care.

Freelancer's Union- Plans from $130.37/mo to $382.63/mo for an individual. Optional dental and vision cost extra.

Healthy NY-Does not provide support for mental health issues like ADD or depression. Does not cover dental or vision.

At a later date, I'll update this list and provide some pros and cons of joining each group, but for now, I'm having a lazy Saturday. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 1, 2008

There are no words.

From eBay


Vintage 8" stage light is in fair condition. Item has some surface rust and paint peeling/chipping. Includes C-clamp and ceramic receptical w/original electrical cord. Sold As-Is for parts.

Techie Product of the Week

Because you needed another thing to attach to your belt:


Seriously. How often do you bring a giant coffee to work, only to be up on an A-Frame for the next two hours? How lovely would it be to bring your coffee up to the grid with you, and keep it hot? How much saner will the theatre be when all the overhires are properly caffeinated? It's an investment in safety, really.

Purchase one HERE.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Toothpaste For Dinner


Theatre-Related Movies (Good Ones)

Cradle Will RockPhotobucket

Waiting for Guffman

That's about it. Why is that?

Send me your theatre disasters!

Did you just drop a unit from the grid? Lodge a fuck-nut in your eyeball? Cut off your own torso with a bandsaw? Send me your hilariously disastrous pictures, and I'll post them here!


So I foraged the dark corners of the internet for some good jokes to share with y'all, and I've come up shorthanded, because websites with techie jokes are generally run by high-schoolers with rat-tails, acne and bad phrase t-shirts. I am convinced that we're not ALL that dorky. Some of us even drink beer and swear from time to time. Some of us don't talk about gaff tape and dimmer racks in social situations. This blog is for those people.

If you have:

A. A gross, scraggly ponytail
B. A shirt that says "I do what the voices in my head tell me to"
C. A large collection of stone-washed jeans
D. A concave ribcage paired with a hairy, convex belly
E. Several pairs of work boots with "war wounds"
F. A million funny stories about that time on tour with the Nutcracker
G. No stomach for alcohol other than Mike's Hard Lemonade/Hard Apple Cider
H. A room in your mom's basement
I. A secret (or non-) stash of D&D paraphernalia
J. A contempt for anyone who doesn't do your exact job
K. A penchant for quoting Monty Python, Borat, or any Kevin Smith movie incessantly
L. An excessive love of musical theatre
M. Anything that could feasibly be considered a mullet
N. Only Rammstein, Soul Coughing, System of a Down and Creed on your iPod

-then please go away. Thanks.


Anyway, I leave you with a joke my friend Dan once told me:

Q: How many performance artists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: I don't know, I didn't go, either.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Non-techie's Guide to Technical Theatre

An old post from my other blog that I felt was fitting:

It's come to my attention in my many years of theatre that most performers (and many directors) aren't very well-versed in technical theatre. Which is fine. No, actually, it's not really. I've seen many an argument between lighting designer and choreographer, stage manager and actor, et cetera et cetera. In almost every instance, the argument never would have begun if the non-technician could take the time to learn some basics rules:

1. The fast/good/cheap rule. You can have something fast and good, but it won't be cheap. It can be cheap and fast, but it won't be good. It can be cheap and good, but it won't be fast.

2. Technicians are considered skilled labor.
Most of those folks with all the gadgets and cargo pants around you went through a decent amount of school and/or training to get where they are, and they probably know a lot more than you about those amps, or those lights hanging over your head. They have a very physically demanding job, and they don't particularly enjoy being up on top of a ladder 30 feet high while you argue with your lighting designer for ten minutes. So treat them respectfully, and let them do their jobs with minimal fuss.

3. Your costumes are your costumes.
There is no point in arguing with the designer. If you need something hemmed, or tore something, sure- bring it up, get it fixed. But if you feel that your costume is ugly or somehow unflattering, can it. It is not your decision to make, unless you are the director or designer.

4. Cue-to-cues suck, but we need you to remain silent during them. The quieter you are, the quicker we all go home.

5. If you have a projector (or many) in your show, it can be a large projection on the back wall, but your performers will be projected on as well. If you hang the projector closer, it will be a smaller picture, but you'll get less shadows in the projection. If you don't want to deal with the issue of shadows at all, talk with the tech director about renting a rear-projection screen.

6. "That annoying sound" is probably the dimmer racks or the ventilation system. Either way, there's not much to be done about it. Mention it, but don't expect it to disappear.

7. If the theatre is too cold, tell someone. But don't expect it to warm up instantly. It is probably a large, cavernous space with an ancient system. So.

8. When you are using a microphone, do not rub it against yourself, do not chew gum, and do not set the mic down violently on a surface. The audience will hear all of these things, and they are all painful in different ways.

9. Sound check is not rehearsal time.

10. We don't know if it's sold out. Check with the box office.

11. You had (hopefully) a production meeting before your technical rehearsals. If anything has changed regarding your tech needs, you should have called the tech director in advance. If you didn't, no added time/lighting instruments/scenery/staff for you. Not negotiable.

12. No, you can't drill into our walls. You're in our space for a week. The next show comes in two days later. Everyone wants to drill holes in the wall. No.

13. If you want to fly people, hire a professional rigger with certification and get some extra insurance. You can't necessarily ask a theatre's crew to be comfortable doing it for you.

14. Lighting is tricky, and takes time. Many theatres use older equipment, and don't have the option to do crazy things like changing colors and rotating patterns and things. You can have those things, but they cost money. And if you want them, see #11.

15. If you are a director and you have no stage manager, you ARE the stage manager. Sad but true.

16. Do you really need that follow-spot? Think about it, because it will require either an extra person or more work for your board op. And follow-spots are usually a bit shaky. So if it doesn't add much to your show, nix it.

17. We know you're stressed out. We will try to disregard statements made in panic, but if you're abusive, you'll create an uncomfortable working environment for everyone. And theatre is a small world.

18. You can't have a triangular spot of light without a triangle gobo or an expensive gadget of some sort. A Source Four (the standard lighting instrument of today) has four shutters. These four shutters can create squares, paralellograms and other four-sided shapes.

19. Use your first time in the theatre or on the set to get a feel for where things are and what's potentially dangerous. Your stage manager should take you through all of this, but if not, look closely at things. Flats can fall down, you could bump into boom lights in the dark, or trip over cords. Make sure you bring up any safety issues to the theatre staff. We don't want you to get hurt (usually).

20. We're not assholes (usually). If we're telling you "no", there's probably a good reason. Ask us the reason, and we'll tell you. Argue it if you must. But really try to understand what we're telling you.

21. Please- if you spill beer or wine on stage, either clean it up yourself or tell someone about it. Nobody likes to clean up week-old spills at strike.

22. Campfire/dressing room rule. Leave everything in better condition than you found it. Whatever comes in with you also should leave with you.

23.I've always been a big fan of the first day the director shows up on set and sees the set after the technical staff has put in hours and hours of labor, sacrificed sleep, relationship status, and general health and usually, 9 times out of 10, the first comment out of their mouth is, "Oh, is that how it's going to look?"
No jackass, we just decided to put this up to see what you'd think.

24.Here’s one: If you are going to use a headset to communicate with your crew, there are two basic rules to remember. First, don’t yell. Do you yell basic instructions on a telephone? Well, you shouldn’t. Second, if you are not directly communicating to someone over the headset, PLEASE turn the talk button off. Yes, it is amazingly convenient to leave the talk button on while you flip through your magic sheets and sort out your ideas aloud. But if that button is on when you remove your headset or take some inane personal phone call, that is some unforgivable shit right there.

25. Oh, also: It’s rarely a good idea to use everything listed in a theater’s inventory. Yes, it’s there, technically, but there’s always going to be something wrong with the last couple pieces of equipment. The last ellipsoidal is going to be dim, and the last monitor is going to have an annoying hum; deal with it, or learn to be more economical in implementing your design.

Weekly Job Alert

Gigs, paid and upaid, culled from various internet resources, updated throughout the week, newest gigs first. All in NYC unless otherwise specified:

Sound Board Op, Aug 7th-24th, no pay

LIGHTING, SET, SOUND, COSTUME and MULTIMEDIA DESIGNERS , Aug 11- Oct 1st, $150 stipend. Stage Manager: $200 stipend

Carpenter, interior design, full time

ASM, Aug 19th - Sept 2nd, $250 stipend

Operations Asst., part time, $10/hour

TD, National Tour, Sept 08-May 09, $750 base + per diem, MA

Part-time Shop Technician, Parsons, Paid

SM Needed for Musical, $250 stipend

Research Asst/Production Coordinator, Television, Full-time Paid

Props Coordinator, August11th-Sept 29th, $150/Day

Women's Project Box Office Mgr, $17/hr, Seasonal

Rosco Tech Support/Sales, Full time, Stamford CT, Paid

Marketing/Admin Asst/Intern, full-time, $150 weekly

Admin Internships at Roundabout Theatre- hourly compensation

Fashion Show PA, unpaid

Venue Coordinator, Brooklyn, Paid

Production Asst. Barrow Street- Unpaid

SM, AD, Sound, Lights for 4-week run, possible delayed compensation

TD, July 31st to September 1, 2008 $500/wk

Tech Theatre Instructor, Education, Stockton CA

TD, Stamford CT TOUR, Paid

Production Manager, PSM and Props Designer for NYMF show, $500

Designers/Directors for St. John's University "Urinetown", paid

Board Op, 8/5-8/15, stipend

Asst. Prof of Set Design, Stony Brook LI

Stage Directors, Stage Managers, Costume Designers, Lighting Designers and Scenic Designers, no pay

Sound, Lights Sunday August 10th through Tuesday August 12th, no pay

Light Board Op July 31st, no pay

Paid SM, Fringe NYC

Shop Manager, Brooklyn, Full-time

Sound tech, $175 stipend, Now through August 10

Facilities Manager, Full time

SM, $500, August 2nd in Long Island City (1 stop into Queens on the N/W train) and Bushwick (6 stops into Brooklyn on the L train) and will perform Wednesday-Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons September 3-21

Monday, July 28, 2008

Incident of the Week


A friend told me a story not too long ago about a very, shall we say, "portly" man who had to hang some Source Fours from a Genie- we'll call this man "Albert Einstein".
This 300-pound nuclear physicist (mind you, the Genie was rated for no more than 300) decided that rather than go up and down to get instruments, or haul them up on a rope from the grid, he would side-arm all of them to his basket. Not surprisingly, when he finished attaching all ten units and hopped in, the Genie would not move. It was at this point that he had the brillz idea to jump, thus allowing the Genie to ascend a little bit with each moment that he became air-borne. Einstein made it nearly all the way up to the grid doing this, but his lift tipped over quickly, and he found himself leaning, with his side-arms stuck into the wall.
Said genius then pulled himself back to a vertical position, and continued his shift as though nothing had happened.

Welcome, techies!

Hey there folks- I've just created this as a space for general theatre nerdiness and discussion. Topics will include recent technical theatre news, personal observations on production life, and a liberal dose of schadenfreude. Please email me with any submissions/pictures at karen [AT] karenwalcott [dot] com!



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The Genie Police:

Max Weight 300 Lbs

Max Weight 300 Lbs

About Me

My photo
New York, New York, United States
Tired. Caffeinated. Quietly evil.

I'm a theatre technician, living and working in NYC. Also an aspiring costumer, makeup artist, playwright and dilettante.
I like to rant about things, I swear like a person who swears a lot, and I work too much. Other than that, my time is spent at home with the puppy or in Chelsea bars with friends and co-workers.