Experience and Extrapolation part 1
by, 05-14-2010 at 09:30 AM (650 Views)
As the Sound Chief NCOIC of Marine Band San Diego it was my job to continually train/retrain myself as well as to train all new Marines on my crew. We had several big dang whiteboards that we would utilize. I would give out a reinforcement scenario and then the first board listed all the gear, cables, power center, etc that was needed. This board also gave specific assignments to members of the crew-FOH, MON, amps, mic's, main snake, gig LIAISON, etc. Some folks obviously might have more than one job. Also, anyone who completed their assigned task was to immediately throw in on one of the others that was not completed-but regardless of rank (within reason!) to follow the direction of the assigned person.
The other whiteboard was a mock sketch of the stage/FOH setup itself and the power drop whether a gennie or direct from the power lines. On this sketch was all the snake routing, amp positions, board positions, everything.
Then we practiced setting it up. We did it outside of course when possible and inside if not. The one allowance we made was to not include the stage itself except for one dry run prior to big critical engagements. The whole band threw in on that so it wasn't strictly speaking a Sound obligation.
All this was timed (tear down too) and graded for accuracy and presentation. Appearance was of course paramount for any Marine Corps presentation but it also kept folks from tripping over wires and stands and speaker stacks. Maybe it was anal retentive but it worked! Tarps definitely were staged very similar to what Hawk described in a recent thread and then weighted down behind the speaker stacks and amp cases to retain the neat appearance.
It got to where we could set up a large gig in under 40 minutes which I still feel was very good. Every member of the sound crew kept a pocket notebook where they copied the sketches and assignments with dates and times. The idea was that everyone knew everyone else's job AND everyone had a history of the gigs. During the mock ups, a different Marine was tasked with the initial sketch/setup. They were expected to look in their notebook and extrapolate FROM those experiences and notes and project that onto the new job. Then everyone else on the crew got to make suggestions and comments.
This was a fabulous way to learn. Think, sketch, try.