TECHNICAL CREW JOB DESCRIPTIONS
by Dr. Len Radin, ETA State Director of Massachusetts
Your technical job is to costume the show and take care of returning borrowed and rented costumes as well as laundering and putting away the costumes that belong to us. You will need a list of the cast. Measure the cast. Only you and the costume mistress should do this. Learn the correct method of measuring. This is very important. If different people measure in different ways, we will have a lot of problems when the costumes arrive. Discuss with the Director where the costumes will come from. Some will be made, some will be bought, some will be rented and some will be borrowed. Give a list of the following to the Director: names of character, who is playing the character, sizes of character, and where we are getting the costume. Very Important! It is your job to take care of costumes. If they are lost you are responsible for them! Be sure that costumes are locked up after each rehearsal and performance. This job gets difficult during a show and after each performance. It is very important to keep track of all costumes. Everyone will have their own area to keep all the costumes together. After the show, it is up to you to send back all the rented costumes in their original plastic covering and boxers with the original paper slips identifying each costume. It is also up to you to return all borrowed costumes and thank the people that lent them to up by writing a letter. Give the Assistant Director a copy of all the letters you write
or at least show the letter to the A.D. It is also your responsibility to launder or have dry cleaned any costumes which belong to the theatre department.
It is your job to collect and take care of all the props. Make a list of all the props that we will need. This takes a careful reading of the script. After you make your own list, talk to
Director for final approval, additions, or subtractions. Pay attention to all rehearsals to find out what props you will need. Early in rehearsal, give a list of props to the Director
including what props you have collected and what props you have yet to find. Collect all props. Some will be very difficult to find or collect. Be creative and resourceful. Don't hesitate to ask others to help, but it is your responsibility. You are responsible for the props. Be sure that all props are locked away after each rehearsal in the same place. Jealously guard all props. Do not let the actors lose anything. Before each rehearsal and each performance be sure that the props are in their proper place. You are responsible for props during the
performances. If a prop is not available because someone lost it, it is your responsibility. If possible, get extra props to prepare for any lost items. After the play, return all props to their proper owner and write letters of thanks.
Your job is to help make sure that the set is completed in time for opening night. Talk to Director and Set Designer. Do not wait to be told what to do! Be creative and resourceful in building the set. You are responsible for the tools. Do not allow the tools to be left out after
rehearsals. If a tool is lost, you are responsible for it. Lock all tools away after each use. After the play, you are in charge of striking the set. Be sure that nothing is left on the stage after the stage has been cleared. After each rehearsal, check the stage and house to make sure all tools and building supplies are put away and locked. After the play is over, write thank you notes to all the people that helped you.
Your tech job is to write biographies on all cast members for the program. The biographies should be interesting. They should be from one sentence to one paragraph in length. Be sure to write a biography for every cast member plus all adults that have a part in the play. Do not include any "in jokes" that the audience will not understand. Some of the items you may mention include past plays, how the individual feels being part of the cast, what previous show they have done and interesting personal facts. Make each biography different. In past programs, the biographer said that every senior will be "sorely missed next year." This was true but makes for monotonous reading. Give a copy of the biographies to the person in charge of the program. Be sure to approve these biographies with the Director before giving them to the program person. Don't try to write all the biographies at one time. When you get a good idea about someone, just write it down. Good ideas are usually spontaneous. You do not have to write all of the biographies yourself. You are just responsible for getting the job done.
You are responsible for makeup. Your task is to have a makeup area ready with sufficient tables at least two and a half hours before each performance, to have plenty of tissues, baby wipes, chairs, and paper towels available and to keep the makeup material clean, neat, and in order. You are responsible for putting away the make up and for keeping the make up and make up area clean and neat. Be sure during the show that make up is maintained on the actors. Powder shiny faces and correct smudges. Some actors will do part or their entire make up. Know the makeup requirements of this show and be sure that the appropriate makeup is available well in advance of the play. It takes two weeks to ship some make up. Be sure we are well stocked. Only you and the Director will be allowed to use the make up unless permission is given for someone else to use it.
Publicity - Poster Distribution
Your job is to be sure we get the posters in time and to hang the posters up. Give a written report to the Director listing sixty+ places you will hang the posters. Every poster should be hung two weeks before opening night. Please do not waste any. These posters are very
expensive and took a great deal of effort to make. It is your responsibility to see that they are hung up and do not get thrown out or kept by cast members until the play is over. Please guard them jealously! There should be at least one poster in every school, one in each supermarket, fast food restaurant, gas station, and store. Also take them to businesses and factories. Please do not just give the posters to store owners. They may just throw them out. Offer to hang them up. Bring plenty of scotch tape and tacks with you. Bring a friend. All posters must be hung up. Don't hesitate to get help, but only if you are absolutely sure that the people you give posters to will hang them up. In the past, many expensive posters ended up in the trunks of cars of well-meaning people that forgot to hang them.
Your job is to keep the stage spotless and safe. This is an extremely important job. In the past there have been some injuries that have resulted from articles being left on the floor of the stage. A clean stage is particularly important for dancers. It is your job to insure that you
come to rehearsals early and clear the stage not only of large objects that do not belong, but sweep the stage clean of any smaller particles as well. The stage has to be swept for each rehearsal. It is your job not only to clear the stage, but to clear off stage as well. If materials build up off stage right and left, then it will not be safe for the actors in the dark. You know that you have done a good job if you can walk on and off stage right and left in the dark and not bump into anything except the wall. Also very important. Check the state daily to make sure that our stage and set is not being abused on days that we do not have class. Protect the stage!
It is your job to keep the house clean and safe. The house is the part of the theater where the seats are located. We have to leave the house clean after each rehearsal. If you are not going to be present after a certain rehearsal, be sure someone else will clean up for you. You are not a janitor. It is not necessary to sweep away every last piece of dirt. It is necessary to remove all objects such as cans, pizza boxes, books and particularly building supplies and tools. You should not have to be told what to do after each rehearsal. There should be nothing in the house that does not belong there.
Your job is to insure that the play runs like it is supposed to. During the actual performances, the Stage manager becomes the Director. It is up to the stage manager to be sure everything is in place before the show. Make lists of everything that should be ready for each performance. This includes but is not limited to costumes, props, makeup, etc., During the shows, the stage manager tells the technical director when to start the show, makes sure that the actors are quiet back stage and that they are in position for their entrances for each scene. Before the show, the stage manager "manages" the rehearsals. This means keeping track of where the cast members are, making sure that cast members know when they are to show up, and keeping people that are not rehearsing quiet or out of the auditorium. Follow-up with the actors in regard to upcoming rehearsals. Do not assume that actors have read the schedule. If for any reason, an actor is not available for rehearsal, let the Director know in advance. Placing large sheets of paper backstage with the acts and scenes listed in large writing with the actors in those scenes will help keep the show running smoothly. During the show, check, double check, and triple check all cast, crew, and material to make sure that nothing can go wrong. Another task of the stage manager is to attempt to deal with problems between team members.
The stage manager is a diplomat that tries to prevent personal problem from affecting the show. If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask far in advance. Do not wait for the last minute to solve a problem. You are in charge of the stage crew. Be sure that they are mentioned in the program. Get their names early so that they can be entered in the program. Your busiest time is usually during the intermission and before the play. During these times, you should be checking your lists to be sure all people, props, and tech jobs are ready to perform. You are my representative when I am not in the building. Keep in close contact with me. Let me know about what is happening. This may include problems with cast members, problems with the performance space, opportunity for promoting our plays, events that may interfere with rehearsals etc. You are my extra eyes and ears that are constantly looking for developing problems and ways to make my job easier. You are my personal secretary and assistant. Your job was created to help me be as organized as possible. It is important to stay near me or at least be in sight as much as possible so I can give you notes. Here are some things you can do to make my job easier:
Always be the first student in the theater for rehearsals. Turn the stage lights on if they are not on.
Always have a pen a paper for you to write notes and extra for me.
Always know where you can get a flashlight.
This includes things that I remember we have to get done. It also includes organizing the play in any way you can think of. You should always have a class list with phone numbers with you. You are my eyes and ears when I am not in the building. If anything happens that would be good for me to know about, call me at home. This might include developing problems that I can correct before it gets serious. It also may include letting me know what is happening in school. Check on the theater when I‘m not in the building. Make sure that no one is harming any of our materials.
You are the person in charge of program ads. You should encourage as many people as possible to help you sell ads. Contact the person in charge of the Booster Club and ask
for help in selling ads. Parents may want to include ads of their own to wish their children success in the play. As you collect money for ads, put the copy of the ad in an envelope
clearly marked with the name and address of the person that bought the ad. Give the sealed envelope to the Director. Do not leave the money in your locker. You are responsible for this money. In the past, money was lost or stolen.
Your job is to keep the storage areas clean and neat. Throw out any dried up cans of paint. Be sure that the doors are always locked except during rehearsals. The doors may be left open during rehearsals so people will not have to constantly ask the key. Be absolutely sure that before you leave each rehearsal that the storage areas are locked.
Your job is to write letters. Here are some of the letters that you should be writing:
Thank-you letters to all adults that help us with the play. This includes parents, teachers, and other volunteers. We depend on volunteers. A thank-you letter may be important to the person receiving it.
A letter of apology when inevitable problems occur. Print up stationery for yourself. I will give you a blank with your name on it and you can copy it.
Public Relations Director
Your job is to get articles in the newspapers and to publicize in any other ways you can think of. It is up to you to get an audience! Set up appointments with local news reporters to interview us and to take photos. Be polite, you are representing the play. At the same time, don’t take no for an answer. Place notices at school such as daily notices and articles in the school paper. Send news releases to all papers and radio stations at various points during the rehearsal process. Do not wait to the end and just send in one notice announcing the play. A press release could include who was accepted for the parts. By the opening of the play, there should be articles with photos of the play in the newspapers. There should also be creative ways that you have publicized the play in the school and other school in the school system. Try to schedule an interview for the Director with a reporter from the newspaper. Before the opening of the play, write thank you notes to everyone that helped you, particularly the reporters that placed articles and photos in the newspapers.
Your job is to protect our sound equipment. Please don’t just take the equipment out and ignore it. It is your job to protect it even during a rehearsal. Recruit two other people to help you. After the play is over, you are responsible for making sure that all equipment is safe.
Assistant Stage Manager
Your job is to keep this play from disrupting the surrounding areas in any way. You are not responsible for anything inside the theater. That job belongs to someone else. You are only responsible for the area outside the theater (auditorium.) The following would come under your job description:
It is your job to check that no one is "trashing" the corridors or other parts of the building.
There is no reason for cast or crew members or parents to be in parts of the schools other than the main corridor.
Be sure that we leave the building in better condition that we found it in. You are not a janitor. You do, however, have to be sure that before you leave the building after every rehearsal and performance, that nothing is out of place such as cans on the floor and materials that we use.
During rehearsals, you are responsible for making sure that all cast
members are in the Theater and not in other parts of the school unless they have permission from the Director.
Your job is to also to take attendance for each rehearsal and each performance. It is up to
you to note who is not present. In one sense, you have the most important job of all. If people are not at the rehearsal, we cannot practice adequately. It is up to you to make sure everyone is there. If it is absolutely impossible for someone to be in rehearsal, the Director must know about it before the rehearsal or class. Since I am rarely in the building, it is up to you to let me know. Make a neat call-sheet with everyone's name as well as a personal attendance chart for yourself. It is your job to check off cast members as they show up for the
performance and to remind them to sign in on the call-sheet. Be sure you always have a list of phone numbers with you.