The Tech and the Responsibility
By: Tony Hansen
I strongly believe that there is a responsibility both of the tech and to the tech that is often overlooked within the church. The tech is as much a member of the worship team as any other person involved in the service. In some ways, they are even more so, because they have to be "on" from the moment the service starts until it ends. They don't get a break.
Any production is a team effort. If you are going to be involved, you must give it all the effort it deserves and respect everyone involved for their part. No matter how small your role is, if you don't give your all, it is an insult to those who are. When an audience gives of their time to attend a service, they are respecting you enough to sit quietly and listen. You must have something proper to present.
Alternately, everyone involved must be brought on board in a timely manner and given the necessary information to do their jobs. In a professional environment, the production team often exists long before the particular details are in place and is integral to the development of the production. They are not brought in at the end and handed their jobs.
10 Rules of and for the Tech
1. The tech is a member of the overall team and will carry such responsibility and respect accordingly.
This means coming in early and checking all of the gear and focusing on the task at hand. This also means being brought in early and being a part of the entire production process.
2. All necessary resources will be given to the tech in a proper and timely manner with respect for the job at hand.
Avoid unreasonable last-minute changes, unless it is truly an emergency or the tech feels they can handle it. Don't make something into an emergency that isn't.
3. The tech will stay informed, and be informed of all pertinent manners of the service.
Once a service is cued, it can be exceedingly difficult to change the order without good cause and time for adjustment. Very few changes will not affect the tech team, so keep them involved. Once the doors are open, the service is locked. Handle what is given to you.
4. The tech will rehearse and prepare their role accordingly.
Proper time and focus should be given to the task at hand so all contingencies have been addressed and considered, and a comfort level has been reached. Don't show up five minutes before the service and turn on the board. I require my team to arrive at least one hour before service to check everything.
5. When a mistake is made, the tech will MOVE ON!
It is human nature that we all make mistakes, but as I tell my team, pick up the shattered pieces of your life and move on. If you hang up on a mistake during the event, it will snowball into more mistakes. Get a grip and go forward; you can de-brief afterwards. If a tech makes a mistake, they know it. Let them be.
6. When a mistake is made, the tech will MOVE ON! (Part 2)
Oftentimes the audience doesn't realize that you have made a mistake until you correct it. Don't distract them and they won't notice you. If you run the wrong light cue for example, it may be ugly, but they will accept it until you correct it.
7. The team will keep requests reasonable.
Undue strain is often caused by excessive requests that are beyond the scope of the event or budget. If the tech can't do it, find another way. If the church budget can't afford it, find another way. Anything is possible, but the resources need to exist.
8. The team will watch the time.
It takes time to do anything, and the tech may not have it. Cues and tracks do not just appear; they need creation time. No, you can't just push a button. Plan technology; plan enough time to do all that needs to be done and then some.
9. The team will cherish and trust the tech.
They often stay many hours to make things right and can make things go very wrong. Give them thanks and what they need to do their job.
10. The tech will earn your respect.
As a tech, you will need to provide the proper attitude and skills to handle an increasingly difficult job. Don't think of yourself as the extra person running the sound or lights and you won't be thought of that way. You are as much a member of the service as anyone on stage.
Tony Hansen is the system sales/training representative and lead lighting designer for Techni-Lux Inc., www.techni-lux.com.