ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Down

Author Topic: Dealing with IATSE  (Read 15296 times)

Patrick Moore

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 114
Dealing with IATSE
« on: November 01, 2012, 06:05:11 pm »

I am FOH on a theater performance tour coming up, we're playing mostly large theaters and some small arenas.  All union houses.  I have dealt with IATSE venues before but never as a full time FOH engineer. So I guess I have some very blunt questions. 

1. Stagehands are the only ones allowed to unload our single 53' truck? I am apparently responsible for "calling cases" on load out but not sure entirely what that requires.

2. We are carrying all FOH gear but using house speakers.  Should I avoid interfacing my gear with the venue's gear without a union person?

3.  Who does the actual pulling of the snake to FoH? 

4. Is it out of line say, to ask an audio tech to help program wireless frequencies if the load in is running behind, or I'm needed in another area?  Are union techs allowed to operate my gear?

5.  What are some things to avoid doing that will get me in trouble or on the Venues' shit list?  I am a very competent engineer, but am pretty young so I simply don't want to step on toes or break policy. 



Any other words of advice would be great.  Thanks.

Andrew Broughton

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1562
    • Check Check One Two
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2012, 06:52:29 pm »

A lot depends on the size of the city you're playing. The strictest places are New York, Chicago and Philly. Other places are typically more flexible in what you do and don't do. New York (Broadway) will not allow you to touch anything, Chicago and Philly will want you to let them do things, but you'll be able to place mics and things like that. Introduce yourself to the head audio and discuss what's ok to do in their venue. It's always better that you can give clear instructions and have them do it than to do it yourself, in any IATSE venue. Get everything prepped in a way that's obvious - colour-code and loom cables, label cases DSR, DSL, USR, USL, FOH, etc.

1. Stagehands are the only ones allowed to unload our single 53' truck? I am apparently responsible for "calling cases" on load out but not sure entirely what that requires.
Some cities have IATSE truck loaders, others (like NY and LA) will have Teamsters. They will be the people in the truck. From the truck to the stage will be either pushers or your departmentalized stage hands.
You should memorize your truck pack, and have a drawing of same laminated to the inside rear wall of the truck. Have another copy or two floating around for your reference. Get the gear lined up in the right order at the dock, and then get by the door of the truck, "calling" the pieces as you want them in the truck. Most theaters like to use motors to stack cases, arenas like to use forklifts. Be organized but efficient. The crew will want to load the truck quickly, but take charge and make sure things go in order and at the right speed, not piling up and getting in the way in the truck. A good idea would be to number your cases in the order they pack in the truck. Just a sequential number, then anyone can line them up properly.

Quote
2. We are carrying all FOH gear but using house speakers.  Should I avoid interfacing my gear with the venue's gear without a union person?
There will be a house audio person who will hook you up. You'll need to be set up for Left/Center/Right/Sub/Fills/Program Feed or any sub-set. Most places can take a left/right and create those zones. Good advancing is key there.

Quote
3.  Who does the actual pulling of the snake to FoH?
The IA. Would you really want to do that yourself?

Quote
4. Is it out of line say, to ask an audio tech to help program wireless frequencies if the load in is running behind, or I'm needed in another area?  Are union techs allowed to operate my gear?
They can do anything you ask them. They'll tell you if they don't know how to work the piece.

Quote
5.  What are some things to avoid doing that will get me in trouble or on the Venues' shit list?  I am a very competent engineer, but am pretty young so I simply don't want to step on toes or break policy.
Be polite and organized. Remember people's names. Tell the head what you'll be working on first after unloading. Explain how you want things done clearly. Don't say "Who told you to do that?" Do say "Come see me when you're done and I'll get you going on the next project". Say thank you. Ask the head if you're unsure of what is allowed. Treat people like people and all will be fine. Don't go on stage during "dark stage" time.
Logged
-Andy

"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle..."

http://www.checkcheckonetwo.com
Saving lives through Digital Audio, Programming and Electronics.

Scott Carneval

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 979
    • Cenero Audio Visual
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012, 06:55:12 pm »


4. Is it out of line say, to ask an audio tech to help program wireless frequencies if the load in is running behind, or I'm needed in another area?  Are union techs allowed to operate my gear?


It's out of line to ask an audio tech anything.  You must first ask the foreman, who will then instruct the audio tech.  Not being from a Union town, I didn't have any experience with how they work.  We went on a corporate tour and one of the house-provided wireless mic kits was dropping out.  I determined it to be a bad antenna by swapping the antenna off of a known good unit and resolving the problem.  This was during a show, so I notified the first tech that I saw.  He was a 'projectionist', so he couldn't touch the audio.  He had to go and get (walk, not call) his foreman.  The foreman came and I had to explain all over again what was happening.  He said 'Oh, I'll have to get our A2'.  Great.  A2 comes and I explain AGAIN what is wrong, and his response is 'oh yeah, one of our kits is like that.  We don't have any more antennas, but it should be ok'.  It was a diversity kit, so it worked for the rest of the show, but that is the most absurd way of doing business I have ever seen.
Logged

Andrew Broughton

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1562
    • Check Check One Two
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2012, 07:08:16 pm »

It's out of line to ask an audio tech anything.
Not true.
You can ask anyone anything. Whether or not you get what you want depends on what you're asking and who you're asking it to. You asked the wrong person. As I said, get to know who the head of audio is, and try to use him as your "go-to guy". I always try to find out where they will be during the show in case I need something.
Quote
but that is the most absurd way of doing business I have ever seen.
Saying things like that is not something that will help the situation. True or not.
Logged
-Andy

"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle..."

http://www.checkcheckonetwo.com
Saving lives through Digital Audio, Programming and Electronics.

Tim McCulloch

  • SR Forums
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20454
  • Wichita, Kansas USA
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2012, 07:12:48 pm »

It's out of line to ask an audio tech anything.  You must first ask the foreman, who will then instruct the audio tech.  Not being from a Union town, I didn't have any experience with how they work.  We went on a corporate tour and one of the house-provided wireless mic kits was dropping out.  I determined it to be a bad antenna by swapping the antenna off of a known good unit and resolving the problem.  This was during a show, so I notified the first tech that I saw.  He was a 'projectionist', so he couldn't touch the audio.  He had to go and get (walk, not call) his foreman.  The foreman came and I had to explain all over again what was happening.  He said 'Oh, I'll have to get our A2'.  Great.  A2 comes and I explain AGAIN what is wrong, and his response is 'oh yeah, one of our kits is like that.  We don't have any more antennas, but it should be ok'.  It was a diversity kit, so it worked for the rest of the show, but that is the most absurd way of doing business I have ever seen.

Your experience in one venue, in one city is not indicative of how things are done elsewhere.  The contracts between employers/venues and each Local can be (and frequently are) very different from one another for reasons that are probably not obvious to those on the outside.

In reality, I wouldn't expect the projectionist to know much about the house radio mics.  He was correct in referring your issue to his head carpenter or call steward, who has supervisory authority over all stage hands on the call.

If you think ignoring hierarchy is a smart way of doing things, you've obviously never been in the Army or worked in an anal-retentive corporate environment.
Logged
"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

brian maddox

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2251
  • HeyYahWon! ttsss! ttsss!
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 07:53:19 pm »

i spent my career in DC and because of proximity got to do quite a few shows in NYC and philly.  so....

what andrew said.  :)

couple other thoughts.

Also, if you're doing fairly major cities and doing fairly large venues, you're gonna usually be working with some very competent people.  House gigs at the larger venues are typically highly sought after and as such can be very competitive.  you'll run across the occasional 'nephew' situation, but for the most part you're gonna deal with some very sharp folks.

remember, the house guy knows the house, and you know the act.  listen to what he says about the house, and tell him what he needs to know about the act, and you'll have a great day.  proceed to tell him everything that is wrong with his house, or system, or neglect to mention to him that the Lead Narrator has a habit of spitting all over the House mic, and you're gonna have a bad day.

Did i mention VERY clear labeling on everything?

numbering the cases in pack order is a great idea as well.

frankly, anything that can remove words from the instructions you must give is a good idea.  the more words in your instructions, the greater the chance that something gets lost along the way.  'line the cases up in numerical order and i'll meet you at the truck' works way better than 'first we do the cadillac trucks, and then the 400 boxes and the RF rack, then the console drive rack and then...'  you get the idea.

when the crew is on break, you're on break.  take a break.

as Andrew said, if you're not sure what is allowed in a venue, ask.  It shows respect for the rules of the hall and tends to help win far more points than being afraid to do anything, or conversely blundering around like a toddler.  Treat your house guys with respect and thank them for their hard work and you'll do fine.  remember, if you're young in this biz, chances are VERY good you're gonna see most of them again, so make a good first impression and you'll have a much easier time from then on.

frankly, i envy you the adventure.

have fun.  good luck!!!
Logged
"It feels wrong to be in the audience.  And it's too peopley!" - Steve Smith

brian maddox
bdmaudio@gmail.com

'...do not trifle with the affairs of dragons...

       ....for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup...'

drew gandy

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 263
  • Chicago and burbs
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2012, 07:57:13 pm »

Treat people like people and all will be fine.

I've found that the definition of "treat people like people" is not a universal constant.  It means different things to different people.  But I agree with the sentiment. 

I would suggest that most union people are "let's get this done" kind of guys.  If you are a contemplative person prone to analyze and think things through for a while before acting, you're going to need to put on your brute force face and just make things happen whether you feel it's timely or "reasonable" to do it the way that things are being handed to you or not.  Of course, touring kind of bends you in this direction anyway.   If you're a "let's get this done" kind of person anyway, nevermind.  Just know your place and all will be fine.  The other posters have pretty much covered the details.   

Good luck and have a nice time on the road.  It can be way fun. 
Logged
Remember, you can talk yourself into (or out of) anything.  That's how the human brain works...

Tim McCulloch

  • SR Forums
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20454
  • Wichita, Kansas USA
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2012, 08:03:03 pm »

I am FOH on a theater performance tour coming up, we're playing mostly large theaters and some small arenas.  All union houses.  I have dealt with IATSE venues before but never as a full time FOH engineer. So I guess I have some very blunt questions. 

1. Stagehands are the only ones allowed to unload our single 53' truck? I am apparently responsible for "calling cases" on load out but not sure entirely what that requires.

Truck loaders, whether IATSE or Teamsters, are the ones who work inside the truck.  They do not work outside the truck.  You can usually be in the truck directing the pack, giving special handling instructions, etc.  Tell your loaders how you want load straps (pull through the ratchet or unhooked from the E-track), when they stack stuff tell them "wheels to the sky/driver side/passenger side/back/front".

Quote
2. We are carrying all FOH gear but using house speakers.  Should I avoid interfacing my gear with the venue's gear without a union person?

Yes, you should have the Local hand connect your signal lines to whatever jacks or input panels may exist in the house.  Never connect anything of yours to anything of the venues.  Why?  That what the stage hands are there for.

Quote
3.  Who does the actual pulling of the snake to FoH?

Let the stage hands do it.  That's what they are there for.

Quote
4. Is it out of line say, to ask an audio tech to help program wireless frequencies if the load in is running behind, or I'm needed in another area?  Are union techs allowed to operate my gear?

Nope, ask away.  Chances are fairly good that the local A1 on your call can do rudimentary frequency programming/synching without any direction, but be prepared to give directions.  Yes, local stage hands in your department are allowed to operate your gear.

Quote
5.  What are some things to avoid doing that will get me in trouble or on the Venues' shit list?  I am a very competent engineer, but am pretty young so I simply don't want to step on toes or break policy.

Working on stage without stagehands will get you immediately on the venue and Local's shit list.  You can walk in, take a look around... but don't open doors, flip switches, plug in things, or go wandering around.  See below.

Quote
Any other words of advice would be great.  Thanks.

Stage hands work in craft departments:  carpentry (anything like risers, curtains, drops, set pieces, wagons), electrics (lights, power tie-in for other departments), properties (band gear, back line, orchestra pit setup of music stands/lights/chairs, backstage water/coffee break stuff, set dressing, actor props, pre-show stage mop), and audio (which includes non-scenic video like conductor camera, stage manager video monitors/backstage cameras, etc).  Wardrobe/hair/makeup is a separate Local in many jurisdictions.  Riggers only do rigging, truck loaders don't work outside of the truck. 

You should advance your show with the venue's technical director, and ask him/her about the local labor call (who makes it, what any contracted minimums (number of workers, hours, etc) are, and if someone other than the local Head Carpenter runs the call.  Note that performances are usually treated differently from move in/set up and move out in terms of rate and period.  Get the name and phone number of the Local's Business Agent or venue representative, call and ask about policies regarding work breaks, meal schedules, whether or not the theater goes "dark" when on break (that means the stage power is turned off), how strictly they work in departments, etc.  And don't do any work on stage while the hands are on break or away from the stage; that will get you on the shit list.

Remember that stage hands are there to help you put on your show in THEIR room.  Putting on shows is what they do for a living.  Come in with courtesy and respect, and don't take anything for granted.  It's always appropriate to ask questions.  Meet the call steward or head carpenter (as appropriate) and direct questions to him/her.  Generally they will refer you to the department head if the questions aren't about carpentry.... "House sound inputs? Let me introduce you to your A1..."  Dead case storage is usually a question for the carpenter.

Above all, have some fun.

Tim McCulloch, Secretary-Treasurer
IATSE Local 190
Wichita KS
Logged
"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Jens Palm Bacher

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 317
    • Lydfabrikken
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2012, 08:33:07 pm »

Truck loaders, whether IATSE or Teamsters, are the ones who work inside the truck.  They do not work outside the truck.
Every time colleagues in Denmark bitch about strange union rules and lazy locals I tell them how it works in the US. Most do not believe me.
Logged

Jim Roach

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 30
Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 08:51:45 pm »

It's always better that you can give clear instructions and have them do it than to do it yourself, in any IATSE venue. Get everything prepped in a way that's obvious - colour-code and loom cables, label cases DSR, DSL, USR, USL, FOH, etc.

Plenty of great info here already. I'm a union stagehand A1/rigger and a touring Monitor Engineer. Just because I know how to do your job doesn't mean I know how you do your job. Find the simplest most direct way to tell your local crew how to do what you need. Make sure things are clear and correctly labeled.

Shoot me a PM and let me know where and when you'll be in Philly, who knows, I might be your local A1.

--
Jim
Logged

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Dealing with IATSE
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2012, 08:51:45 pm »


Pages: [1] 2 3 4   Go Up
 



Page created in 0.036 seconds with 22 queries.