| A Note from Wu Chen |
Our out-of-town friend listened in, nodding sagely as I gracefully turned down the gig. My schedule, I said, was just too tight and it would be irresponsible for me to cram in another show. Please keep me in mind for the future; I would love to work with you someday.
Then our friend gaped, aghast, as I proceeded to suggest several alternatives they should call. "All excellent designers and technicians," I declared.
After I rang off, our friend demanded to know if I was being honest about wanting to work with them again. "Absolutely," I said. They do good work, pay well, and are good folk (the oft-repeated mantra of Good Project, Good Compensation, Good People: Pick 2).
“Then why,” our friend thundered, “did you just give the gig away?”
Apparently, this commonly accepted practice of recommending and gig-sharing that we have here is, uh, not the norm in other parts of the country.
It’s a good practice, and I stand by it very firmly. I could throw out the usual bevy of check-the-box phrases, but the simple reality is that it is gracious, polite and good business. Sure, I might not ever get called again by that company (I did, actually), but I’m going to get other calls when someone else suggests me in turn. Also, if the employer is someone who doesn’t care about treating people well, do you really want to work for them?
Admittedly, this is a tremendous oversimplification of the matter. The system works because largely we all participate in it, and we use peer pressure on those who don’t. If I were the only person doing it, I might eventually be able to make a difference, but only by persuading others to join me.
This month’s Spotlight is all about practice, evaluating, and taking chances, and working with those most important yet overlooked of resources: other people.
In Sightlines this month, Marcus Dilliard presents a different journey into lighting design from last month’s Mike Wangen, as well as some important thoughts on people, chances, and connections. Andrea M. Gross digs into that other triptych we all learn as a mantra: Good/Fast/Cheap: Pick 2. Her thoughts, from the point of view of a costume designer, are fascinating and deeply informative for anyone looking to better evaluate their process and choices. Lastly, Monkey Wrench Productions gives us some insight into that inevitable technology that’s dividing photographers and all designers: LEDs. (except Sound Designers)
Dig in, and let’s all take a moment to think about how we’ve done things in the past and why. It never hurts to check in with that other important, oft overlooked resource: you.
Wu Chen Khoo
Tech Tools co-founder and Operations Director