Updated: Feb 18
(Please note: this is by no means a comprehensive guide, moreso just random pieces of advice and stories from yours truly)
So, here it is. The much awaited look into my head. As you guys probably already know, a few years ago, I pretty much quit acting altogether to pursue the technical side of theater. A lot of people have asked me my reasoning on this, and my best answer is that I simply tried tech out and liked it more. It’s not that I don’t enjoy acting, as I had a blast performing on stage. I have so much respect for the people that do that all the time (I could never.) tech is such a rush, sneaking around backstage knowing that, if you do your job correctly, no one will ever see you.
Being a Techie (especially run crew) is NOT for everyone. It’s very physically draining, I’d say as much and maybe more than acting. It’s constantly running things around such as props, set pieces, etc. and using your mind at the same time (what scene are we on? Who moves what? Are the actors OK? What are they supposed to do? What am I supposed to do?) It takes a lot out of you, and it feels amazing. Now, the techie LIFE is not for everyone. Rehearsals are a lot more intense, and to be brutally honest, you don’t get as much recognition, and a lot of people aren’t OK with that (no disrespect, I get it).
Now, the things I’m specifying about techie-ness have been in reference to doing tech at SRM. Working at school is a whole different ball game. At Trietsch, us techies are very VERY lucky to have the wonderful Cain’s and Sears’ family to construct our sets for us. At FMHS, we have way too many students at hand to just use parents. So, at school, a lot of work is focused on the set. We do have work going on in every department, but set is our biggest. With SRM, we have a much smaller student body, so naturally we have a smaller tech crew. All my love goes out to my set dads and moms.
Being a techie is super stressful, and there’s a few reasons why.
Reason 1: it almost always comes down to the last minute. It happens everywhere, but especially at school. As I’m writing this, there are currently 10 days til we open, and our set isn’t painted, and it's half built. And I feel that it’s part of the thrill for some people, but it is DEFINITELY not for others. I have seen techies both thrive and break down (sometimes at the same time ;) in tech week.
And reason 2: we are a huge part of the show. Now, that’s not saying that the acting isn’t a big part of the show because they are literally the backbone of the show, but, quite literally, no one would see the show without us.
Ooo boy here we go, the one thing that gives all techies the nervous sweats.
Tech/Dress Rehearsal Week.
To give you some exposition if you aren’t a theater kid (which if you aren’t a theater kid, hey! What’s up? You should consider doing a show with us! It’s an awesome experience), tech week and dress rehearsal week are the two weeks before show dates where the main focus is merging the technical aspects and the acting aspects of a show together… it sucks. And it's not like the certain theater group makes it suck. Tech week is always an experience. If you’re a techie, expect to be there at least 2 hours after Call is over. And expect at least one 12 hour day.
Here’s just a few tips that I’ve learned doing tech over the years:
1. Be Calm At All Times. The actors look at you for support. If you freak out, then the actors see that and panic as well, and at the end of the day, everyone’s unhappy and the shows energy is gone, and nobody wants that.
2. Be Alert. Now, this might be a given, but for some people, its something they need to keep in their heads. because with shows, some stress. and stress can cause a lack of focus and a lack of focus can cause CATASTROPHE.
Now, I realize what you might be thinking at this point; “Wow Daniel, if you like being a techie, then why are you complaining so much?” And the answer is, all these things that I’ve talked about, are really little things. The kind of things that you know that you’re signing up for when you do. Being a techie, you meet so many amazing people, and you get to see what so many people think about when they see a stage show; what happens behind the set, behind the costumes, the other half of theatre.