My first tech job at the high school was for the Junior's fashion show fundraiser. Since it was a fashion show, and there were many models coming up and down the runway, I got the job of catwalk spotlight right. My best friend Colin was working catwalk spotlight left, so we got to be SPOT BUDDIES.
I got to call someone my spot buddy. Pretty cool.
Hold the phone- most of you think that catwalk means the runway that the models strut up and down on. The catwalk is actually this tiny little strip up in the ceiling of the theatre. There are two completely vertical ladders on either end of the auditorium that lead up to the catwalk, and once you're up there, it's basically this long narrow pathway with lights, spotlights, chords, headsets, and all sorts of fun stuff. There are two spotlights up in the catwalk, one right and one left. That's basically all you need to know.
Pros and Cons of Spotlight Operator for the fashion show....
- I felt very important.
- (Well that's because I kind of was important... I mean, I'm lighting up a person. So that's pretty cool.)
- I finally learned how to use the spotlight.
- It feels like you can control the SUN. When I turn on my spotlight, I'm always like, "...and then god said, let there be light!!"
- A few of us were talking over headset during the show. I remember, many of the models weren't even strutting. They were just kinda strolling out, and then awkwardly strolling their way back behind the curtain. We were cheering them on from the catwalk, like "WORK IT! GET YOUR HIPS INTO IT!"
- Not gonna lie here... the show itself wasn't great. (At all.)
- Transporting stuff in and out of the catwalk is a nightmare, at least, in my experience. I tried bringing my phone, a water bottle, and some string to play with, but my black techie pants didn't have any pockets. So, I had to go up the ladder to the catwalk with my bra overloaded with junk. I'm just glad that no one saw me in my black low-cut shirt with a water bottle and string sticking out of my cleavage, on the verge of falling out. (I know. I'm classy.)
|This is taken from the catwalk. There's a little opening with a wire net thing, so we don't fall into the audience, and to our deaths. It's a little hard to see, but that giant black thing with the levers is the spotlight. Welcome to the catwalk... now imagine being in that kind of a space in pitch darkness during a show. :) |
For the Musical this year, Legally Blonde, I was assigned to be one of several mic dressers. As far as I'm concerned, everyone who wants to eventually end up having a big, important technical role in a show has to start at the bottom of technical backstage jobs, which I consider to be mic dressing.
I don't even know where to begin, so I'll just stay in my little comfort zone here and just keep going with these pros and cons lists.
- You have to deal with actors.
- It's a fairly quick job, so once everyone has a mic on, all you have to do is keep track of mic changes. You also have to be ready to go backstage with mic tape or band-aids if someone's mic is falling off. During the rest of the show, it's actually very laid back.
- 98% of the time, Alexis, the head mic dresser, brings you food and cocoa.
- We get to yell at actors if they take off their own mic at the end of a show. (Unless they're one of those cool actors who we trust, and knows how to do it properly.)
- You have to deal with actors.
To expand on the above, dealing with actors can be a good thing and a bad thing. It's mostly a bad thing though.
Some actors are really nice and respectful, and don't care that you have to drop a mic down their shirt and tuck it in their pocket, or clip it to their bra. Some actors just talk casually to their other actor friends while they're both getting mics on, like they're at a salon or something. (That actually isn't a bad thing, because they're just letting us do our job.)
However, some actors forget to come get their mic on, and we end up hunting them down. Some actors forget when to come backstage to get their mic taken off (if there's a mic change in the show.) And then we end up hunting them down. Some actors get awkward when we're taping the mic to their face. Some actors get really awkward when I'm clipping a mic to their bra.
"I got it; I can do it by myself."
*struggles with mic, and can't get the clip right*
"That's what I'm here for."
- You don't really get to see the show. You can hear the show perfectly fine from backstage, but you don't get to see it.
- No one seems to have that much respect for us, except for those few cool actors I mentioned above.
- You have to go through this conversation too many times:
"Oh, sorry, I can't... I have to work on the musical."
"You're in the musical?!?!"
"Well.. I'm not in it, I work backstage for it..."
"Oh, cool. What do you do?"
"...I'm a mic dresser."