Big Fish

January 29, 2014
From a show report I wrote last spring.  All names have been changed for obvious reasons.  I was the venue tech.  The lx board was new to me, and I was told not to worry as there would just be basic cueing and a couple of specials per act.


Day 3.  The morning went well although busy, hung a cyc, hung the projector, hung 7 specials, added 4 shins, used two of River’s shins with their permission (but they will have to be refocussed for each show), started patching…… W. was most helpful.  I actually got a lunch break. And then. AND THEN the group said, “ok so we have to get a move on, it’s 3 pm, as we have 80 lighting cues to build for our show tonight… with lots and lots of effects.”


“Oh yes, we have two very complicated chase sequences to build, and they have to be on submasters so that –”

“We don’t have any submasters… there’s no sidecar, it’s just the main module.  Was this in your tech information?”

“Well, they have to be on subs!”  The group was getting agitated.


“Well, we can’t build the show in channels! ARGH!”

And it went downhill from there. W. built two effects then had to leave. Then I had to get L. in to find out why the effects were in a cue when they shouldn’t be – and found they’d been programmed onto a nonexistant sub. The submaster conversation started again between the group and L.

“We need these effects on subs!”

L. replied, in his quiet, understated manner, “That will be most difficult, as we do not have any subs. ”  Then he left to go do his own tech.

The group started getting REALLY uptight and barked at me, “Can you do this? Or not?”

“No,” I said, “I can’t. But I’ll try to find you someone who can….”  and dragged G. from the lobby into the lx chair and left him there for the afternoon. Then I told the TD that I was done, and to please have me replaced.

I would like to emphasize that it is not my habit to quit gigs halfway through. In fact I can’t remember the last time I did that.  Well, there was that time in London, Ontario…. But the whole event has been, frankly, a real pain in the rear. River was pushing it, the readings and variety shows got it precisely right, but now this? With more to come?

I was very worried I would be put in a position where I would not be able to do what the client wanted before I took this gig. Also I was worried that such an effects-heavy, snap-to-it show would be in real trouble if something went wrong as I certainly do not have the skill, and no longer have much confidence left, to be able to fix it.  Yes I know it’s programmed now…. nonetheless…

Of course as it turned out I was unable to be replaced due to lack of qualified personnel.  The main client pleaded with me to stay and said that G. would sit in the house tonight for the first run and if there is an issue he will fix it. After conferring with the TD, I said I would see how the show went and make a decision at that time. Also it would impact the shows already up and running if I were to go. So I’m finishing the run.

Anyway the show itself went fine and the only hitch was that I forgot to tell the SM about the preshow speech – normally G. would be doing this but he was programming all afternoon, so we went over the prescribed one hour running time, otherwise no other problems.