December, 2018 Issue

From the Chair...




Membership Meeting Minutes
Treasurer's Report
Annual Conference and Stage Expo
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


Costume Design Position- UMD


Samantha Phillippi Joins JTH Lighting Alliance
Productions Around the Region
Student and Early Career Scholarships to attend National Conference



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

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From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd     I find myself thinking a lot about storage lately.  It started a few weeks ago when I was getting all of the Christmas decorations out of the garage and the basement.  They are all in various plastic bins labeled “Christmas”.  I don’t exactly know what is in each bin, but at least I know which bins have decorations in them.  Unlike the bin on the shelf nearby that is labeled “kids clothing, age 5 -10” but seems to contain Legos and a few random Transformers.
    I particularly hate storing and retrieving Christmas lights.  They are always tangled.  A tightly wound lump of green wires and lights.  No matter how much care they are put away with in the spring, they always get tangled the following winter.  Evidence of this can be seen on my Facebook page, featuring a short video of my daughter helping me put the lights out a few weeks ago.
    The last couple weeks have been busy for me.  We closed a production of Woyzeck last weekend and have a dance concert this weekend.  As I stood in the storage room looking for one more DMX cable to finish an upstage boom, I started thinking about how we store our stuff.  We have two small rooms for lighting storage.  They are packed full, but generally tidy.  Pegs on the walls for various cables, a pipe structure for lighting instruments, top hats and barn doors on shelves, cut gels in a file cabinet. 
    On a side note - I know there are a few cardboard boxes and plastic bins in those storage rooms in which my students just put random stuff they don’t feel like sorting.  Sort of the equivalent of cleaning your room by putting everything under the bed.  Someday I will open those and just let myself be surprised by the lost treasures within.  But, I digress…
    Many of you have similar storage rooms in your facilities.  I’ve seen a lot of them over the years as I have visited different spaces in the region.  My thinking about storage has evolved into thoughts about portability of equipment vs storing it in a room.  If I have to cable an electric, I go to the storage room, grab an armload of cables in various lengths and take them back to the stage.  If I wind up short - say by one 5’ cable – I now have to walk back to the storage room to get it.  And no, I am NOT going to use a 25’ cable and just coil it up on the electric.
    So what’s the best way to make cables portable?  To move them from your storage room to your stage?  Or move them between your black box and your main stage?  And not just electrical cable.  I want my top hats, gel frames, dmx cables, gobos, sidearms, etc. to be portable
    Over the summer, we do 4 shows here at our space in Brookings then move them 60 miles away to another space and run them all again.  So I’m pretty good at figuring out how to make things portable.  Sound is easy – it’s all in rack cases.  We also move a couple dozen lighting instruments to supplement the inventory at our out of town space.  For many years we just stacked them carefully with packing blankets between.  We recently built a couple of these: They work quite well.  We are actually going to build more to store units on and move them around the building.
    But what about all the other stuff?  Cables and frames and tophats?  I’ve been doing a bit of searching for a portable storage solution there as well.  I found these: Those are great, but a bit more than I need. And definitely over my budget.  Also geared toward film rather than theatre.  Another good example can be found in an issue of this very newsletter from a few years ago: am thinking of commissioning Brian to build me a few of these.
    So here’s what I need from all of you.  How do you make your lighting gear portable?  Do you have a great design for a rolling cart or rack that works for you?  How do you get stuff from your storage room out to the stage?  I want to see it.  Post pictures to our NBS Facebook page.  I need your help creating my portable storage solution.

**** Bonus problem: I would also love to build a portable dance boom position that I can move between the stage and the dance rehearsal studio.  Yes, I know there is one in Technical Design Solutions for the Theatre, but I am interested in seeing what folks from our region might have come up with.

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