Spotlight May 2015

<![CDATA[Spotlight May 2015: Making It Together, IASTE 13, & LED 101!]]> Spotlight May 2015: Making It Together, IASTE 13, & LED 101!
News, Events, Interviews, and More!
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May 2015
A Note from Wu Chen

May: Spring; planting season; May Day celebrations.

2015 has been very busy for us so far, with this May being a bit of a break before things rev up again in June. We’ve got a 3-day Power Distribution and Electricity workshop coming up at CTC, and our Rarig Series returns at the end of June with four excellent workshops. We’ve got a Wardrobe series planned for August, and we’re planning more seminars, roundtables, and panel discussions!

We’re particularly proud of those last ones. Bringing our community together – whether they are production folks, performers, producers, or consumers– is central to our mission and brings us tremendous joy when people want to keep at it! We aren’t pretending to be the solution, but we hope to inspire people to seek their own answers. To that end, we feel that we have made some small impact.

This month in Spotlight we’ve got a Sightlines article from Bill Devins on IATSE Local 13; Carl Atiya Swanson expands on his blog article on paying artists; and Seth Scott gives us am introduction to budget and theater-friendly LED technology. Next month, we’ll continue the Sightlines series and we’re going to talk to Liz Neerland, Technical Director of the Fringe.
Thanks for all your wonderful support this year, and stay tuned for much, much more!

Now go and enjoy the sunshine; we still don’t typically build theatres with retractable roofs.


Wu Chen Khoo
Tech Tools co-founder and Operations Director

Tech Tools Calendar of Events

Covering the basics of electrical knowledge and skill as used by technicians in the entertainment industry.  Registration coming soon!

Visit our Events Calendar for information!

Not seeing something you'd like TTT to offer? Let us know HERE!

Making It Together

Article by Carl Atiya Swanson,
Springboard for the Arts, Creative Exchange, Savage Umbrella, and more...

By now you will have heard that Equity in Los Angeles has decided to change their much-debated 99-seat plan, the structure that allowed small theaters to pay union actors wages at below scale. This was after the Equity members, by a two-thirds majority, voted to keep the plan in place in an advisory vote. As Derek Lee Miller noted on Minnesota Playlist, it was a weird place for a union to be, writing, "We ostensibly have a situation where a union has a choice between representing its members' financial interests or respecting the opinion of its members, which seems to run counter to their financial interests."

The situation in Los Angeles highlights the paradox of living as an artist: we love what we do so much that we want to make a living from it, and yet we love what we do so much so that we'd do it for free.

Now this piece won’t be about Equity or the 99-seat plan, there has been plenty of bandwidth taken up by that conversation on all sides. But I would like to propose some things here that can be done – whether we are Equity members, self-producing artists, contractors or company players – by us and for us as we work to make our creative lives supported and sustainable. 

Read the full article HERE!

Sightlines: IATSE Local 13

An Article by Bill Devins,
IATSE Local 13

In January 1894, fourteen men joined together to form Local 13 of the National Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes. When our neighbors to the north joined in we became the International Alliance. Are you ready for the full name? Take a deep breath:

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians,
Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories, and Canada.

That’s the IA for short.

Monkey Business:
Budget-Friendly LEDs

Article by Seth Scott,
Monkey Wrench Productions

Many of us in the theater world turn-up our noises up at fixtures that contain the word “DJ” in their names.  In the past that may have been the correct response with their flash and trash attitude and sound activated modes. However in recent years many of the DJ companies have started to cater to a new clientele, crossing over into the theater world by adding smooth dimming and broader color ranges. This new sub category is “up lighting.”

Up lighting has become big business for small wedding DJ’s and large scale event companies alike. Because as theater folk know that nothing makes an old dingy barn look better than columns of light on a textured wood wall or makes a boring ball room pop more than some color. Up lighting has opened doors and made the products we’ve been wishing for more affordable and easily accessible.  I’m not going to touch on the army of LED par cans that are out there, but rather on some other more specialized products.  Some great off brands have also been created that many might not know about, so let’s explore some budget and theatrer-friendly LED options.

Read the full article HERE!

Wu Chen Recommends...

I’m deeply interested in history. Often grossly mischaracterized as just a series of facts and recorded events, history is better viewed as a narrative, not unlike a piece of theatre. How that narrative is told and understood is extremely important to everyone, and shapes how people view and interact with the world.

US history is especially interesting to me, and this particular podcast is an excellent survey of the subject, from the civil war to the early 2000s. Professor Jennifer Burns is a professor of US history, with a particular interest in Conservative history (she’s the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right). This lecture series, given at UC Berkeley in 2006, is very good and well worth a listen even if you are a reader in the subject.

You can also get it on iTunes!
Guthrie Technical Director Josh Peklo demystifies the fly system at the Guthrie Theatre.
All the photos used in this publication are copyrighted to Farrington Starnes and used with permission.
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