Friday, September 9, 2011

Two of the Most Important Things I've Learned

When I first started doing technical theatre in high school, I ran the light board for the first show that came down the line.  As I was running the show, I had a fear pop into my head: "What if something happens and I can't fix it?"  As I stayed in theatre through the years, I learned a lot about lighting systems and I ran a lot more shows, but I still had an an increasingly more irrational fear, "What if I do something to mess up the show?"  Needless to say things just don't go wrong for no reason, but it is not uncommon to come across situations where something happens that you are not expecting.  There are two things that I have learned in my years of working that have really changed my perspective on running technology for events.

The first thing that I have learned is be prepared but if something goes wrong, don't worry about it.  There are times when things go wrong and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.  This doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare and make sure that everything is working before hand, but if something happens and you can't fix it you just have to go with it because there is really nothing you can do.

The second thing that I learned is if you mess up, don't worry about it.  Lets be honest, everyone messes up sometimes.  Even the best technician will hit the go button too early or will bring a microphone up too late.  If every technician was devastated every time he or she made a mistake, then there wouldn't be any technicians left in the world.  In fact it is not uncommon for me to mess up at least once every time I run lights or sound for an event (and most of the time nobody notices).  If you focus so much on the mistakes that you make and not on the event at hand, you will likely make more mistakes.

How can we train new to not worry about making mistakes, while at the same time helping them to be confident in their ability to do the job?  What is that acceptable range between understandable mistakes and preventable disasters?

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