The Technical Director is responsible for purchasing construction materials, supervising the building of scenery, transporting set pieces from the shop to the theatre stage, mounting the scenery onstage, overseeing the work of the scenic crews during rehearsals and performances, and maintaining the shop’s equipment and supplies. To order the materials and build the scenery the technical director reads scale plans supplied by the scenic designer. These drawings may have to be supplemented with plates that the technical director draws that show the construction details and techniques that will be used to build the scenery. (Based on the description in J. Michael Gillette’s Theatrical Design and Production, 6th ed.)
- Meet with the departmental technical director so that you fully understand the rules, regulations, and protocol to follow during the build of your show. This is an important step to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Meet with the departmental technical director to receive and discuss designer drawings, budget information, and any other special considerations that your show or the shop may need.
- You must attend all production meetings. During these meetings you will discuss the progress of the build as a whole and the show budget. Meet with the departmental technical director before every meeting to discuss progress and challenges.
- Attend the design presentation, as this will give you an idea of what the designer is trying to create and help you when you start to think about the construction.
- Work through the drawings and create a scenic component break down. At this point you should complete a structural analysis of all set pieces.
- After you have isolated the components of the show begin to think about their construction and the materials that you will need. Compile a list of all materials.
- Meet with the departmental technical director to discuss these choices and the desired format of the cost-out. At this point you will receive a list of preferred vendors.
- Contact vendors and get current prices on all materials needed. Complete cost out.
- Meet with the departmental technical director to discuss cost out, and then schedule a time to meet with the scenic designer to discuss cost out.
- If the set is over budget, the scenic designer and departmental technical director will discuss with you ways to cut the cost of the show or other materials that will be cheaper. Once the set is under budget and meets the approval of both the scenic designer and departmental technical director you will be given permission to proceed.
- Submit all material orders to the departmental technical director including delivery dates and any other specifics that you may have.
- Verify the quantity and quality of all material shipments received.
- Meet with the departmental technical director, paint charge, and props master and discuss a build schedule. This schedule will include scenery or properties start, finish, paint, and complete dates. This only includes properties that will need shop assistants in accomplishing. It is important that all shops are on the same page and continue to communicate as things often get behind and sometimes can get ahead.
- Create working drawings for each scenic component specifying the way you would like it constructed. Meet with the departmental technical director to discuss all working drawings before they go to the shop for construction. The construction drawings must have the departmental technical director’s approval before anyone will begin to construct them. Construction drawings should be clear and communicate all information to correctly build each unit.
- Be at the shop on time every workday to answer questions that arise. Clearly walk through the workday with the departmental technical director. It is their responsibility to distribute daily tasks, as they are there all day to ensure the timely construction of your show, and your schedule may not allow you to do the same. Coordinate with other scenic production team members as needed.
- Coordinate with all production team members to discuss potential challenges associated with the build and load-in. Remember that unlike many other theaters, the Valborg and I.G. Greer are used as classrooms and rehearsal spaces each day, and as such the theaters and scene shop must be “hardware-proof” at the end of each workday.
- Build and load in. Remember to remain flexible, as things will come up, and do not get frustrated.
- Once primary construction is finished and the show is loaded in, concentrate on set dressing and detail work.
- Attend crew watch night (usually the Thursday before the first tech rehearsal) to perform a walk-through with stage management and the cast. During this walk–through you will give them the “cans and can nots” of the set. Be specific and point out everything they should watch for.
- Attend all tech rehearsals. Every night before call, work through the additions and deletions with the stag manager, so that they can inform the cast.
- Take specific and detailed notes during tech rehearsals. Sit near the scenic designer or meet with them afterwards to get their notes as well.
- At the end of each tech rehearsal there will be a production meeting to discuss the needs of every department. This will allow the production team to gauge the schedule for the next workday. Record the schedule that is decided.
- After this meeting, meet with the scenic designer and departmental technical director to verify notes and then prioritize. Remember all actor impedance and safety notes must go to the top of the list. Ensure that they are organized in a way that you can take care of the designer’s priorities as well.
- Discuss the next workday with the departmental technical director, and email or leave a typed list of your notes with them. Take time to discuss every note in detail so that it may be accomplished during the limited workday. Be specific.
- Once the build is complete, meet with the departmental technical director to discuss strike. Decide what will be saved and what will be thrown away, along with specific storage needs.
- Meet with production team members to create a strike schedule that will allow for everyone’s needs. Depending on the production calendar you may need to include members of the next production as well.
- Supervise the strike of the set. Strike is complete once the departmental technical director approves the space.
Online application for this position.