May, 2016 Issue

From the Chair...




Interim Scene Shop Foreman- SDSU
Stage Jobs Pro


NBS FALL CONFERENCE- Mark your calendar
NBS Bylaws Changes Coming in the Fall
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


FALL PROTECTION Training Event- August 25 & 26
AVOLITES training & Hog/Arkoas/Capture Training @ Monkey Wrench
Mike Steskal Joins JTH Lighting Alliance
Productions Around the Region
Student Scholarships to attend National Conference


ETC Lighting Console




• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

Next Issue

From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd     First, let me say how excited I am to be the section chair.  Todd set a pretty high bar, and I will do my best to keep up all the great things the Northern Boundary Section has become known for.  I also want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement for me to take on this role.
    For those that have not met me, maybe a brief biography is in order.  I’m a professor of theatre at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD.  I teach lighting, sound and scenic design, stagecraft, intro to theatre and theatre history.  During the summer, I’m the production manager for Prairie Repertory Theatre.  I have two kids, one in 6th grade and one in 11th grade – both of whom have been coming to help out in the theatres I have worked in since they were able to walk and sit long enough to watch a rehearsal.
    As I am writing this, it is graduation day here at SDSU.  The town is full of parents, grandparents and other family coming to see their college graduate walk across the stage.  There are lots of cookouts and get-togethers going on at houses, parks and restaurants.  It’s a really exciting day marking the end of one phase of life and the beginning of a new one for the graduates.  It’s exciting and kind of terrifying at the same time.  I’m actually going to be going to a graduation party for some theatre students a bit later today.  I find myself thinking back to when I graduated, and what advice the current 44 year old theatre professor would give the 22 year old graduate.
    First, I would tell myself to NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.  You meet new people on every show you work on.  Exchange contact information, social networking contacts, etc.  Keep in touch with people.  You never know when your paths will cross again or when the person you worked with on a show a couple years ago will suddenly be looking for a (insert your specialty here) because the one that was doing the show they are working on just quit.  Having said that, ALWAYS do your best work and treat people well.  You will find that theatre is a very small world and a bad reputation will haunt you.  A reputation as a team player, a creative designer, a problem solver, and a nice person will move you ahead more than you can imagine.
    Second, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  Use the contacts you made to ask about cities you are planning on moving to.  Ask about theatres, companies, or schools that you are applying to.  Who is hiring right now? Have people had good experiences working there?  Do they pay what they say they will or do they expect you to work long hours for little money?  Do they treat their employees well?  What part of the city should I live in?  While paying the bills is important, personal happiness and satisfaction is important too.  Use the advice of your friends and colleagues to make educated choices as you move forward in your career.
    Third, take care of yourself and your future.  Many graduates are eligible to stay on their parents’ insurance until their mid-twenties.  Political views aside, the Affordable Care Act made it easier and less costly in many cases to get insurance.  Theatres can be dangerous places.  A fall off a ladder can lead to a broken arm or leg.  If you are a free-lancer, a sudden illness can keep you out of the market for a week or two.  Looking after your personal health and well being is crucial to succeeding in the long run.  While it adds additional cost, supplemental insurance can help pay bills if that broken arm is preventing you from hanging lights, building scenery or running a sewing machine.  It can be worth looking into.
    On a similar theme, it is never too early to start an IRA or other retirement plan.  A few dollars a month put in when you are in your twenties adds up to a considerable sum when you reach retirement age.  You will have a lot of bills in the coming months after graduation – rent, utilities, insurance, and the dreaded student loans.  But try to save what you can for retirement.  It may seem a long way off now, but the time goes by quickly.
    Last, but certainly not least, NEVER stop learning.  The current catch phrase is being a ‘lifelong learner’. The average person changes jobs or careers numerous times in their working life.  Someday you may find yourself in a job you never imagined doing.  Keeping up with what is happening in the industry and keeping current on standards, best practices and technology will pay off for you and keep you marketable for years to come.  Challenge yourself to learn something new or try a new technique with every show or project you take on.  Learn from others you work with.  Share your ideas with them as well.  Things change quickly- don’t let yourself fall behind.
    Let me close by congratulating all of those students in the Northern Boundary Section that are graduating.  All the new BS, BA, BFA, and MFA students should be proud of what you have accomplished.  I am sure any of the old timers in the section will tell you that you will have quite an adventure ahead as you begin your careers.  So congratulations to the graduates, and I hope everyone has a great summer! [ ]