A Blast From the Past

So, I was reviewing some old files on my computer and came across a document entitled, “The Techie Gospel.” I was quickly reminded of my days on the Stage Crew at Middle Township Performing Arts Center (MTPAC). My time spent at MTPAC were truly, life-changing. We hear those words, “Life Changing” more often than we probably actually mean. Is every life-changing situation, truly life-changing? I can say that based on my current career path, and my fourteen years of experience since then, my brief time at MTPAC was exactly that.

I’ll be forever grateful to GEMR (Grand Exalted Mystic Ruler) who selfless taught each of us the ways of the techie. I’ll remember remember the time I ripped the act curtain trying to bring the shell in. Or on another occasion, the winches were so botched, the pipe was at close to a 45 degree angle. But who could forget that on one of my first days, I mistakenly referred to one of the electrics as a “light pole.” While it may seems like a small mistake or merely semantics, be sure to never ever confused the two. Ever.

The last several weeks have been a trip down memory lane. In two days, I meet up with a friend from high school. Greg and I haven’t met or seen each other since high school, and here, he almost bought a house a mile from me a few years ago. Even looking back on the last fourteen years since high school, I have just this thought, “Am I really that old? Did I ever think I would actually reach the age of 31? As a slightly less mature, high school senior, where did I think I’d be by this time in my life?” Eh, who knows. Here’s the slightly modified Techie Gospel and a set of Proverbs for your enjoyment.

The Techie Gospel – revised.

We hold this truth to be self evident: all Techies are created superior.

In the beginning there was the Stage, and the Stage was without lights or sets, and darkness was on the faces of the actors. And the Technical Director (hereinafter referred to as the TD) said, “Let there be lights!” and the Techies worked and wired, and there were lights. Spotlights and specials, areas and backlighting – yea, lights of all shapes, sizes, and hues. And the TD saw the lights, that they were well aimed and focused, gelled according to the scene, and no more was there darkness on the faces of the actors. And it was good. And the evening and the morning were the First Day.

And the TD looked upon the actors and saw that although they walked in light, they did walk upon a bare stage, and had no place to be, and the TD was moved to pity. And the TD said, “Let there be a Set!” and the Techies scrambled and worked, and there was a set, with platforms, wagons, stairs, and furniture of various types and sizes, each according to the need. And the actors did walk within the set, and did have a place to be. And the TD saw the set, that it was good, and the evening and the morning were the Second Day.

And the TD saw the actors, that although they did have a place to be, they did look like fools, for the waved their hands, clutched at open air, and struck each other with nothing. And in his heart, the TD was moved to pity. And the TD said, “Let there be Props!” and the Techies worked feverishly and did buy and build, and there were props. And they were good, and the evening and the morning were the Third Day.

And the Costumer looked upon the actors, and saw that they did go forth in blue jeans and the Costumer knew that this would not due. And the Costumer said, “Let there be Costumes!” and the Techies did cut and sew and shape, and there were costumes, each sized to the actor, according to the play, and keeping in with the role. And no more did the actors go forth in blue jeans, and the Costumer saw the costumes, that they were good, and the evening and the morning were the Fourth Day.

And the TD watched the play, and saw that the actors did wait in silence, and was moved to pity. And the TD said, “Let there be Sound!” and the Techies worked and taped, and there were sounds, each according to its place and cue, all at the proper levels. And the TD heard the sounds, that they were good, and the evening and the morning were the Fifth Day.

And lo, all these works were completed in five days, thus allowing for many an hour of partying and relaxing before the appointed time of thy performance.

Proverbs

Behold, my son here is wisdom. Pay heed to these words, and in the days of thy play, in the hours of thy performing, thou shalt not be caught short. For truly, it is said, pay heed to the errors of others and you shall not make them yourself, and again, as we have been told from on old, to thine own self be true.

1. Give not unto the actor his props before his time, for as surely as the sun does rise in the East and set in the West, he will lose or break them.

2. When told the placement of props by the Director, write not these things in ink upon they script for as surely as the winds blow, so shall he change his mind.

3. Speak not in large words to actors, for they are slow of thought and are easily confused.

4. Speak not in the language of the Techie to actors, for they are uninitiated, and will not perceive they meaning.

5. Tap not the head of a nail to drive it, but strike it firmly with thy strength.

6. Keep holy the first performance, for afterwards you shall party.

7. Keep holy the last performance, for afterwards you shall party.

8. Remember always that the TD is never wrong. If appears that he is, then you obviously misunderstood him the first time.

9. Leave not the area of the stage during the play to go and talk with the actors, for as surely as you do, you will be in danger of missing your cue and being summarily executed or worse.

10. Beware of the actors during scenes, for they are not like unto you and are blind in the dark.

11. Beware of actors when flying in walls, for they will stand and watch and get crushed.

12. Take not thy cues before their time, but wait for the proper moment to do so.

13. Take pity on the actors, for in their roles they are as children, and must be led with gentle kindness. Thus, endeavor to speak softly and not in anger.

14. Listen carefully to the instructions of the Director as to how he wants things done – then do it the right way. In the days of thy work, he will see thy wisdom, give himself the credit, and rejoice.

15. And above all, get carried away not with the glow-tape, or thy stage will be like unto an airport.

Almost Two Years in the Making

In the next several weeks, I’ll have been in my current role for two years. As Director of Technology & Communications, I oversee and take care of a lot of stuff that I never thought I’d know jack about. Branding. Communication. Culture-making. Story-telling. Identity. I never really considered myself to be an artist. I never thought I’d strive to become a Photoshop champion. But, alas, all of the above I am, I’ve learned, and I, now, strive to be.

Below is actually the last blog entry I wrote. It’s dated Nov 30, 2009. It caused me to wonder, am I any better than I was two years ago? As a person? As an artist? As a technician? It remains to be seen and reflected upon.

–From Previous Blog Site. Dated November 30, 2009.

This has got to be at least my third attempt at keeping up with a personal blog. Every time I start one, I have a lot of motivation and excitement. My mind fills with the potential that a personal blog could have. But it doesn’t take long for my excitement and motivation to slump off and I am left with a blogsite that is neither up-to-date or interesting.

But, as I consider the journey of a Director of Technology and Communications, a blog seems rather appropriate. Being the first to start on this journey at Grace Point, I consider this opportunity to be both a blessing and a challenge. To be part of something new and uncharted (at least, at GP), it really exciting.

The challenging part is that I hold no degree in Communications, Marketing, or Advertising. My “professional” training is that of being an educator (at least that is what the piece paper on my wall says). My experience is that of Technical Theater. In the area of Communications and Marketing, I guess I have enrolled in the school of hard knocks. Here’s to studying hard, late nights, and many performance-based assessments!