TH 4399
Theatre: Special Projects
Technical Director
2 cr.

Scott Boyle

Office: MPAC 152
Phone: 218-726-8320

Job Description:

The Technical Director oversees the engineering and construction of all scenic elements.  Working in collaboration with the Scenic Designer, the TD ensures the set will be completed on time and under budget.

Design Period:
- You should familiarize yourself with the script in the same way as a designer.  It is much easier to collaborate about a show if you really understand it.

- Realize you are a member of the Production Team and your thoughts are just as valuable as anyone else’s.  A good idea is a good idea regardless of where it comes from.

- You will hear all kinds of crazy things as ideas get thrown around.  Don’t freak out! Don’t squash ideas out of hand. Wait to see what develops.  Ideas get mentioned and dismissed all of the time.

- Theoretical is just that.  You cannot commit to an idea without it being fleshed out on paper in the form of scaled drawings.  Once you have an idea of the scope of what is being asked, then you will have something to work with.

- As the design approaches finalization, research any effect or building style you are not sure how to create.  It is better to do it at this point so you can speak effectively about the potential process.

Pre-Production Period:
Work diligently to create an accurate budget estimate.  Realize prices of materials change from week to week. Don’t get suckered in by sale prices. Create estimates based off of everyday prices and add contingencies.

- Be an active collaborator.  Don’t say “no” without reasons or alternatives.  You are looking for the win/win scenario. Don’t be a pushover, but don’t be a brick wall either.

- Research alternative building methods or materials where needed.  Realize special building materials may be out of the budget’s reach.

- Create a drawing schedule regardless if you are drafting the show yourself or with an ATD.  It will help organize your thoughts.

- Go over the drawings with the MC and/or the staff ATD.  Have an idea of a build schedule and work out the details on a blank calendar.

- Work with the Faculty TD and/or ATD for the purchase and delivery of materials.  Some items are better bought in small batches because of either storage space or the nature of the material.  Buy in bulk and have delivered to the shop whenever possible.

Build Period:
Check in with the shop every day to see if the build is on schedule or if there are any problems.

- Maintain an accurate account of money spent on materials.

- The shop should build the scenery, but if there is something particularly tricky the TD may take on the project themselves.  Just make sure you are not taking away another person’s opportunity to learn and grow.

- Read the rehearsal reports and respond appropriately as needed.

- Maintain the build flow chart and double check that what it says has been built really has.

- Coordinate projects and help supervise work calls

- Develop a line set schedule (if applicable).

- Develop a load-in schedule and be on hand to supervise the load in whenever possible.

Technical Rehearsals/Dress Rehearsals/Performances:
Ensure the space is safe and ready for rehearsal.  This can include but is not limited to checking for running lights, the backstage area is clean and free from extra stuff, railing are adequate and secure, all flying pieces are spiked and in proper position.

- Attend all Technical and Dress Rehearsals.  Try to sit in the proximity of the scenic designer so you can collaborate on notes.

- Work with Stage Management to train the running crew about moving the scenery or running the line sets. Monitor the shifts and help make them as efficient as possible

- Read all Performance reports and act on notes in a timely manner.  Coordinate with the shop to ensure fixes are done.

Strike and Post-Production:
Develop a strike plan which lists the order of the strike, what is kept, what is scrapped and a crew assignment of who will do what.

- Supervise the strike as it happens.  Help out where possible, but don’t get sucked into too many tasks where you can lose sight of the bigger picture.

- Make sure the shop and theater are as clean or cleaner than it was when the show loaded in.

Final grade will be determined by the Faculty Supervisor after consulting necessary production team members with regards to how well the duties listed above were executed.  If areas for improvement are noted, you will receive a written explanation with what was observed and suggestions for improvement. If position is repeated at higher course levels (i.e. 3399 and/or 4399) closer scrutiny will be paid on improving performance in areas noted before as well as overall job performance.

Timelines, Due Dates, Shop Time Responsibilities:
During the course of the design and production of the show, the department expect to be available for questions, to help with projects or to lead crews as deemed appropriate. Working with the professor of record, the student is to a set schedule which sets aside time for design/prep work (studio or planning time), weekly meeting with their advisor, and time set in their area’s shop.  It is also expected the student tries to adhere to the schedule of due dates so as to not delay the production by affecting others’ job responsibilities.

Key Dates:

Strike - date:_________________________ time:_______________________________

Tech-Dress - dates:_____________________________________________

Load-in Date:___________________________________

Build Begins:_____________________________________

Final Design Due:__________________________________

Prelim Design Due:_________________________________

Prep/Shop time: (6hr/wk min + Daily check-ins): ______________________________________

Weekly Meeting time: (½ hr) _________________________________


By signing below, I am acknowledging my advisor and I have discussed the dates and responsibilities of my production role and I agree to maintain these dates to the best of my ability.  I also acknowledge if for whatever reason I need to change my schedule because of either work of school schedules, I will contact my advisor and work to find a mutually agreeable solution.  I further acknowledge that keeping the dates and schedules agreed upon and meeting the other deadlines will be used as an assessment tool to determine my final grade.

Student Signature:__________________________________________________Date:______________

Advisor Signature:___________________________________________________Date:_____________