By: Nathan Mackinnon
I had the privilege to join the Production Crew a few weeks back. Run by Mr. Hume, this club has completed some of the craziest tasks around Craig Kielburger Secondary School; assemblies, concerts, commencement, you name it. They are the technical wizards of CKSS, unseen by most. Until now. I have successfully infiltrated this elite crew and have seen first hand their preparation for an event. The event in question, the Winter Concert, is filled with joyous holiday spirit. Over one hundred students are promised to entertain with wondrous music and singing. It will be a wonderful time for the whole family – as long as nothing goes wrong. Someone sitting down and watching the performance would never consider this as an option. The production crew doesn’t own this luxury, they are in charge of anything with a cable running to it. Since the concert itself is so massive and complex, a rehearsal was planned to smooth out any errors before the real show. This was my first shot to see the crew in action and let me say, I was profoundly impressed.
It all started three hours before the actual rehearsal. The calm before the impending hurricane. Five grizzled students and the one rookie sit in a semi-circle around a whiteboard. Projected onto the board is a map, a gameplan of the event. I played my fair share of dodgeball games in our gym, but seeing a bird’s eye view was weirdly cool. Throughout the map of the gym lay various different coloured lines and blocks, symbolizing the mic and speaker placements. Speakers are also called monitors, so I have been told, I am gonna call them that so no techies get angry at me. The monitors need to be placed in areas that do not affect the mics, but everything needs to be located close enough to a power source. Different power sources carry different levels of energy, which is also crucial in planning. Too much on one power source could result in a small disaster. All these issues are debated by these five students, while I watched in sudden awe of my fellow classmates. Terms I have never heard of were launched into the air, sounding like a foreign language. I know that the debate is settled only when silence hits the air.
They moved like light, running in a million different directions. A turn of my head and a door is launched open. Out pour cables longer than my seventeen years on this planet and monitors larger than my enormous head. At that moment in time, I understood why I was chosen to help. I am the labour. One monitor after the other I placed in the gym, which is seemingly empty. After all the monitors are placed, the mics and their stands need to be added. Midway through plugging all the proper cables in, one of the gym doors are opened and in pour tons of people. Tuba players and choir members alike start to get into their places, laughing and testing out their instruments. All the while the grizzled veterans of the production crew race against the clock to get everything ready. After finally plugging everything in, I had hoped the job was done. I was deeply mistaken; life is never that easy.
A sound board, which looks like an alien invention, is modified and played with to find the correct channels. They tried to teach me how it all worked, but, once again, it sounded like another language to me. All this, for a rehearsal. Most people never realize how much work goes on behind the scenes, or how crazy it is to set everything up for someone else. So the next time you see anyone in a black t – shirt with “Production Crew” written on it, say thanks! They’re the ones who solve the unsolvable.