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Author Topic: Advice sought  (Read 1680 times)

Timothy John Balser

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Advice sought
« on: January 13, 2019, 12:29:51 pm »

Hi all,
My name is Tim Balser, and together with my co-partner, who happens to be my rockstar girlfriend and best friend forever, Lauren give presentations on our lives living with autism, Asperger's Syndrome, bipolar and anxiety/mental health disorders in the same brain. We are starting our new "touring season" in the middle of February and want to know what the consensus is regarding either hiring a crew or buying our own equipment to tour around our home state of Connecticut, and eventually nationally and further down the line, around the world. We use a lot of theatre, music both original and already recorded, live musicians and MP3's and audience interactivity plus personal stories, humor, tragedy etc. to teach what we go through literally every second of each day. Our first show of the new year 2019 is February 7. We tend to perform  at unconventional places like human service agency offices, hospitals, our college (We also attend college), supported housing programs, other schools, church/synagogue/temple/mosque fellowship halls or sanctuaries, public  libraries and more. Any advice would be gladly appreciated! :) Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 12:31:54 pm by Timothy John Balser »
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2019, 12:45:34 pm »

What advice do you seek?
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Mal Brown

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2019, 12:57:41 pm »

If your question is buy vs hire.  I say hire...  buy comes with a learning curve and potentially a crew position for someone to setup and run.  What you are doing is essentially what we call ‘talking head’ support.

In my area, 2500 miles to the west, $150 to $500 depending on complexity, video or not, performance length, distance, load in/out  or logistical complications, audience size as a determination of the amount of gear.

Basically, we allow you to focus on what you do and not on becoming a sound /video tech
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 01:04:15 pm by Mal Brown »
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2019, 01:11:38 pm »

Normally I’d vote to hire as well, though if your idea of “touring” means to play the local hospitals and libraries, I don’t think you’ll be able to find competent help willing to commit to the level you need for the paycheck that’s usually associated with those venues, much less provide a full-up system for you to use.  Do you have a business plan?
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2019, 06:17:55 pm »

It seems like you have a wide variety of venues you expect to utilize.
A small portable PA appropriate for the offices and libraries won't cut it in the larger spaces.
Dragging around a large PA if most of your events are in smaller rooms would be a pain.
It doesn't seem there is a single answer, so it might make sense to have a small pa you carry with you and hire out for the larger events.
You could own all the mics and wireless devices to keep that consistent.
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David Allred

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2019, 06:46:21 pm »

Based on some replies of others, I would ask if this is a labor or love or a money making venture?
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2019, 07:21:09 pm »

What's your budget?
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 02:52:44 pm »

I would work out how your show is scripted, eg sound cues, playback and live players.  Can you handle this yourself, or does it need a third party if you are taking part?

Once you’ve answered this question, do you have a budget to pay someone?  If not, you will be either reliant on an in house tech or you need to simplify your show.

What can you tour with, what do you need.  If you need a wide range of kit, you have to hire, if a couple of speakers on poles, two 58’s and a small mixer you can plug your computer into, perhaps that is worth buying.  If you are playing to 50 people in a meeting room, hire might just not be viable, 600 people in a hall or auditorium will likely mean quite expensive kit and enough of it.

Everything in audio is easily broken down into what, where, when and how much.
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 04:21:48 pm »

I'll jump in and say buy something small.  Something that will cover your small gigs.  Something that you can travel with.  Something that you don't have to go out and find/hire each time you want it.  Something that you can be completely familiar with.
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2019, 03:28:52 am »

I think Lyle is right on it.  Paying $200 a show to hire 2 mics and a pair of sticks on speakers is silly.  10 shows and you will have easily paid for it.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2019, 10:19:22 am »

Many of the places you'll be presenting will have some kind of portable or installed sound system available.  What they will not have is a competent operator or the exact wireless microphones you'll likely need, and possibly lack a mixer or playback device (CD player, etc).

I suggest that you concentrate on 2 things:  first the presentation itself; you need to have your own microphones (I suggest an "ear set" mic for each you, leaving your hands free to things besides holding a mic), a little mixer of some kind, and whatever device you desire to play back the recordings.  The second thing needs to be a compact speaker system that you can physically manage (lots of choices, but better speakers are the key to easier use of wireless mics, trust me).

You'll always need your mics and playback no matter where you go.  You'll need the speaker system for those places that don't have something suitable available.  If you're presenting in spaces that are larger than your system can handle and in which there is no existing system, have your local sponsor hire in what is needed as part of your appearance contract.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2019, 07:04:23 pm »

Hire vs own.  Well, if you decide to purchase everything on your own, 100% of the costs of the gear, labor and any maintenance of that gear are on you.  You're now responsible for hiring the staff, ordering replacement parts, etc, etc.  If this is not a full time tour, where you can pay someone a full time wage, hiring reliable staff is going to be a nightmare that you're not going to want to deal with.

If you work with a production company, or multiple production companies, then all you'll need to do is tell them what you want and when and where you want it. Now it's on them to source the gear and staff to make it work.  If a company isn't working out for you, then you find another one.

When you hire a production company that also does other jobs, that means that the expenses of gear and back end work can get spread across multiple clients vs you having to fend for yourself.  When your tour ends, the production company then continues on doing jobs for other customers to recoup the gear costs.  If you buy it on your own and your tour ends early, now you're still on the hook for the gear.  Resale value of used tour gear tends to be very disappointing.

Now, if you're working with multiple production companies, sometimes there are particular pieces of gear that are important to you that can't be rented. ie, if you like a particular type of microphone, maybe buy that so that no matter the production company, your mic is always the same.  If you can keep the amount of stuff that you bring along in the size of carry-on luggage, you can more easily travel across the country vs if you've got to get a truckload of stuff a 30 hour drive away in 12 hours.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2019, 05:01:09 am »

As everybody has said above. Buy a small system for when you only need to cover a small space. There are plenty of solutions out there are many price points, find one that fits what you need.

A note on presentation. Paragraphs make it much easier to read what you are trying to say and you can split up different ideas.
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Re: Advice sought
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2019, 05:01:09 am »


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