Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Work-related stress (for a change!)

I don't normally feel a lot of stress at work. I'm good at what I do, and my job is well-defined (it's observationally true that poorly-defined responsibilities are the root cause of most people's job stress). This week is the exception. The Arts Council's annual kick-off-the-arts-season luncheon, Start With Art, is tomorrow. It's a bit stressful, mostly because there's always technical trauma associated with the event. And it's never (okay, only once) been my fault, and it always makes me look bad. I've already whined about last year, which might be the worst we've had. One year, we had a speaker forget he was wearing a wireless; he insisted we mic him before lunch, and when he got on stage to talk, he never turned it on. He completely forgot he was wearing the mic, and we had to run a completely different mic to the guy on stage during his talk. Another year, I was on a ladder focusing lights during what was supposed to be the keynote rehearsal, because nobody on the house crew knew how to do it (and, it ain't rocket science). But there's always something wrong.

This year, I'm anticipating no additional trauma. We've already had some, but it came during setup. The house crew never got (or never looked at; it's hard to tell which) the stage plot, so they focused the podium lights in the wrong place. They also hung the logo crooked; when we straightened it, it was also out of the light. And there's no good (cheap) way to fix this. Even though the mistakes are theirs, they still need to call in a crew to open the wall to get the lift in (the decorating union), call a separate set-up crew to move the banquet tables out of the way so the lift can get in, and have another guy with a different union (stagehands') focus the lights, then repeat the process in reverse to get the lift out. So I think we're going with a general wash instead of the specials.

The other bit of comedy: they use 8" fresnels with barn doors for their specials. It would be pretty easy to just fly in the electric, tip the barn doors a bit, and fly the electric back out. But this isn't an option, because the electric in question doesn't fly. I asked if it were dead-hung, and their tech said, "if 'dead hung' is another word for 'broken', then yes."

I'm also not happy that Laura's not going to be at the luncheon this year; she'll be at Clowes Hall, kicking off an actual arts season. But I've always enjoyed seeing her during the event, and I'll miss having her there.

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