Friday, August 13, 2010

Aug. 1 meeting: Let's Talk Tech

Here are notes from the most recent DanceATL meeting on August 1. Thanks to Joe Futural for leading the discussion, Blake Beckham for performing and Mack Headrick for letting us into the back space at 7 Stages! Thanks to Rose Caudle for helping type up my messy notes. And of course, thanks everyone who made it out. Please feel free to comment if the notes are missing some things we talked about, or if you've had more thoughts since the meeting, please share them!

Welcome by Claire Horn
Performance by Blake Beckham from her upcoming Sept. 11 “American Muscle” at Eyedrum.
Joseph Futral presenting:
•    Joe introduces himself and his background with many dance and theater companies.
•    he wants Atlanta to be a force in national and international dance
•    production values-anything not the dancers front of house, stage, curtains etc.-anything distracting
•    safety of performers is the main priority
•    everyone is involved not just production director
•    not consistent production values he's see in Atlanta--NYC has good production values even in smaller or more “underground” venues-clean stage, all you see is deliberate/are choices made as part of the artistic product
•    The art is the most important-don’t want distractions, the product is the whole experience/take home for audience
•    dancers should let someone know if they’re having trouble seeing/moving etc.
o    e.g. if someone can’t see to get off the stage it’ll take longer between sections, which can also be distracting--don’t want too long blackouts
•    Hyperaware of all on stage—then make choices
•    If you’re one of 10 groups on festival program so it’s not you plot, can be hard to explain “what’s next?” to designer
•    Need to convey the moments in piece that need change in mood
o    for efficiency-can’t do too much detail
o    up and down lights=clean and professional
•    Nena Gilreath-they give tech dir. a cd with all cuts on it and cues are known to dancers, if high or low production values, efficiency and simplicity are important
•    Bare minimums-start there-if you only have 8 lights which colors? warm or cool, what mood?
•    working over time with the same tech staff helps understand piece
•    Joe realized once his lights were doing what dancers are already doing so he didn’t need as much, simplicity is key
•    Can give cues thru music – track times
•    Lighting designer should get to know the work-music given 1st  then come to rehearsal, the choreographer should expect it when hiring the designer
•    It will look arbitrary if was designed without input or time spent with the piece
•    We should as a community have higher expectations of production design
•    be intentional about the production work with same people over time-relationship
•    people afraid to ask for it because less money
•    give DVD of older versions if you have them, so they can become familiar that way too
•    artists don‘t feel empowered time and money make it hard to have high expectations
•    hopefully lighting designers are artists too
•    People leave-how many independent lighting designers live here?
•    danceATL should have a listing of tech staff online
•    Theatre different than dance—only somewhat different, one aspect that is different for e.g.--legs are an afterthought in theatre-because there’s a set, but they’re the only scenery in dance more important to look clean
•    Tom Skelton-he could spend a couple hours talking to a director and not talk about the art itself at all, but he will know they can work together
•    Malina Rodriguez-Joe compliments her, says we should hire her if she’s available
•    always losing people and expectations are also low, how collectively move forward to gain momentum-know resources
•    page on Dance ATL website also that lists various resources we all have: who has Marley for rent? Who has masking? Costumes? Etc.
•    Hold each other accountable too, some are willing to take standards so far as to say we won’t dance without marley
•    Exposure vs. Quality (again this trade off comes up) if they can’t tell the difference between what parts of your art can adapt? 
•    Do you want to work with them if they can’t respect your needs for a space? Though needs are different depending on the piece and can be adapted
•    If can adapt, specs for spaces also online take advantage in ATL-venues are scarce any space can be a theater vibe of a space-make disappear or use it, flooring resources, lights rental etc.
•    Nena- outdoor stage at ballethnic-cultural cul de sac, costumes and masking/curtains
•    Keif--Help ourselves first-donate to each other
•    Nena-turn hands to power instead of cups who’ll take care of it? Volunteers with training (parents), debriefings after shows, put wishlist out
•    lead by example-when you as director fix something out of place etc., it lets people know it’s important. This is about the art because people don’t pay attention when there are things to distract them.
•    Joe: You can’t assume venues know what they are doing.You can't assume the venues know what YOU are doing, either.
•    Expectations again and responsibility
•    Quality control team through Dance ATL?
•    Volunteers to go watch a rehearsal and comment on anything they see that needs to be corrected?Head out to dress or whatever to look for nit-picky things-volunteer list accessibility issues are safety issues
•    Dance ATL create a guide for general needs that can go to schools etc. to let them know what they need to provide
•    Basic considerations of light and sound who has performed in each space. Discuss with community, how was it?
•    Discussions on FB page perhaps? reviews of venues
•    relationship to technical director-need to have someone who knows that’s their role, not just light design and stage managing, also safety and scheduling etc.
•    Meetings to learn how to do? Or be volunteer at a show backstage to learn the ins and outs. Welcome at Ballethnic’s Cultural cul de sac and ATL ballet-upcoming shows. Contact Nena or Aly.
•    Malina as advisor?

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