There's something about putting on a show

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 7:34 PM | comments: 0

Diana and I were talking the other day, finding something we surprisingly had in common about our previous careers in theater and TV. Neither one of us spent a lot of time in a performance capacity in our jobs, but with her as a stage manager and me directing a lot of live production, the fact is that we were essential to making our respective shows happen. There was a pretty serious high associated with that.

I won't speak to her experience, but her calling a show reminds me a lot of directing, so I totally get the rush that's involved with the gig. I did a lot of public meetings, which were totally uninteresting most of the time, but several times a month I had talking heads shows, and winter was filled with what I called "PBS orchestra concerts" at the high school, and my favorite thing, basketball games.

The games felt really rock-and-roll, because I had all of the gear in anvil cases. I was particularly proud of the racks, which were super clean in terms of all the internal cabling. Everything was cut to length and labeled. The two racks had an umbilical cord in between, connected by breakout panels. The cameras traveled in an obnoxiously padded trunk, and I had an ever bigger one to chuck in the tripods and camera cables. I loved the process of setting up before a game, running cables and stuff.

The funny thing is, I generally had volunteers operating the cameras for me, usually high school kids, but they did a pretty good job. We weren't shooting in HD in those days, so we could get away with a little bit of soft focus. I was always particularly impressed with the kids who could use the shoulder camera down on the floor, and not bitch about how much it weighed. My commentators were my one employee and a teacher (the latter of which eventually got busted for propositioning a student, eww).

Alas, while those were good times, the pay was terrible, and the hours made it a bit of a lifestyle job. I don't think I could do it now. I know Diana feels similarly, in that even a part-time commitment would be rough on family life. Right now she only works one or two nights a week as an usher, and that actually works out pretty well as far as not interfering with home life.


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