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Scene Shop Structures:

Commercial, Regional, Educational

A Technical Production
Commission Session

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Overview
• Responsibilities of Scene Shops
• Typical Regional Operation
• Typical Commercial Operation
• Applying the Commercial Structure to an
Educational Environment

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Panel Bios
• Jean Burch
• Shannon Nickerson
• Joel Krause
• David Boevers

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Panel Bios
• Jean Burch
– Project Manager, Chicago Scenic Studios
– MFA from University of Missouri – Kansas
City
• Shannon Nickerson
• Joel Krause
• David Boevers

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Panel Bios
• Jean Burch
• Shannon Nickerson
– Technical Director of the Kirk Douglas
Theatre, Center Theatre Group
– MFA Technical Director 2006, Carnegie
Mellon
• Joel Krause
• David Boevers

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Panel Bios
• Jean Burch
• Shannon Nickerson
• Joel Krause
– 3rd Year Grad PM, Carnegie Mellon
– Associate PM, Williamstown Theatre Festival
– Currently Seeking Employment
• David Boevers

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Panel Bios
• Jean Burch
• Shannon Nickerson
• Joel Krause
• David Boevers
– Technical Director, Carnegie Mellon
– Technical Production Commission Project
Leader for Commercial Theatre Outreach

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Scene Shop Responsibilities
• Bidding/Budgeting
• Technical Design/Engineering
• Scheduling
• Materials Research/Purchasing
• Technical Drawings
• Prototyping/Samples
• Troubleshooting
• Interdepartmental Communication
• Crew Supervision
• Crew Training
• Building & Installing Scenery
• Time and Money Tracking
• Quality Control
• Safe & Secure

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Disclaimer…

IT DEPENDS

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
“Egalitarian” Regional
Production
Manager

Costume
Technical Paint Prop Master Sound
Sound
Shop Master
Director Charge Master Electrician Master
Manager

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
More “Traditional” Regional
Production
Manager

Costume
Technical Master Sound
Shop
Director Electrician Manager Master

Paint Prop
Charge Master

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Scene Shop Staff
• Technical Director
• Assistant Technical Director
• Master Carpenter
• Carpenter(/Welder/Rigger/Stitcher)
• Handlers/Traffic/Runner

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
TD/ATD/Master Carpenter
Technical Director Technical Technical
Director Director

Assistant Technical Director ATD


ATD
Master
Master Carpenter Carpenter Master Carpenter

Carpenters Carpenters Carpenters

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
“Typical” Task Breakdown
• Bidding/Budgeting
• Technical Design/Engineering

Technical Director
Scheduling
• Materials Research/Purchasing
• Interdepartmental Communication
• Technical Drawings
• Time and Money Tracking Assistant Technical
• Prototyping/Samples

Director
Troubleshooting
• Crew Supervision
• Crew Training
• Building & Installing Scenery
• Quality Control Master Carpenter
• Safe & Secure

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Advantages - Regional
• Defined structure & roles
• Clear lines of communication
• Dedicated personnel
• Production “esteem”
• What people tend to expect

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Questions?
• If nobody asks anything it won’t be a very
long session 

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Commercial Shop Production
• Owner
• Account Executive
• Estimator
• Production Manager
• Project Manager
• Purchasing Agent
• Technical Department Heads
• Drafter
• Job Lead
• Shop Personnel

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
The Client Factor
• Working with a client vs. working with your
designer
• Facilitation vs. Design
• Owner

• Being a client of an outside shop

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Some Department Heads
• Carpentry
• Metals
• Paints
• LX
• Automation
• Rigging
• Soft Goods
• Rentals
• Traffic

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Typical Commercial Relationships
Owner

Account Exec(s) Production Manager

Estimator(s) Project Manager(s) Department Heads Drafter(s) Purchasing Agent

Job Leads

Shop Personnel

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Task Breakdown
(Estimating, Drafting, and Purchasing Rolled into Project Management for Clarity)

• Bidding/Budgeting
• Materials Research/Purchasing

Project Manager
Technical Drawings
• Technical Design/Engineering
• Interdepartmental Communication
• Time and Money Tracking
• Scheduling
• Prototyping/Samples Job Lead
• Troubleshooting
• Crew Supervision
• Building & Installing Scenery
• Quality Control
• Crew Training Department Head
• Safe & Secure

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
OR – Really It Depends
• Bidding/Budgeting
• Materials Research/Purchasing

Project Manager
Technical Drawings
• Technical Design/Engineering
• Interdepartmental Communication
• Time and Money Tracking
• Scheduling
• Prototyping/Samples Job Lead
• Troubleshooting
• Crew Supervision
• Building & Installing Scenery
• Quality Control
• Crew Training Department Head
• Safe & Secure

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Advantages - Commercial
• More Resources
• Flexibility
• Scalability
• Specialization
• Distribution of Responsibility

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Questions?
• Making any kind of sense?

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Applying Commercial Structure to
Educational Theatre

• Schools typically use a Regional Model

• Could a school operate with a Commercial


Model?

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Historic Problems
• Not enough bodies – gaps
• Very long project commitments
• Problematic assignment overlaps
• Projects without support
• Just plain boring assignments
• Crew time not best work time
• Too much crew time – not enough project
experience
• “Lone Wolf” Technical Directors

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Goals
• Less Crew Weeks
• Less Busy Work
• Shorter Project Commitments
• Better Projects
• Better Collaborators
• Putting the right resource in the right place
at the right time

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Structural Changes
• Change from TD/ATD/Master Carp to
Project Manager and Job Leads
• Change assignments from projects to
calendar weeks (crew heads and crew
members)
• Establish daily scheduling meeting

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
“Crazy Scheme” Schedule

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Task Breakdown
• In practice often left to the students and often
varies by personality and ability
• In theory should be:
– Anything that happens on paper should be the Project
Manager
– Anything spanning projects or departments should be
the Project Manager
– Building and installing scenery should be the Job
Lead

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Advantages - Successes
• Less Crew Weeks – maybe not
• Less Busy Work - yes
• Shorter Project Commitments – yes and no
• Better Projects - yes
• Better Collaborators - yes
• Putting the right resource in the right place at the
right time - yes

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Advantages - Successes
• Nobody has to take on a project unsupported
• We’re able to take on additional projects on the
fly
• We’re much more able to integrate non-Drama
students into production
• Generally, faculty are very up to date on
productions

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Unintended Consequences –
Negative (Things to Fix)
• Resume killer
• “Non-scheme” people have difficulty
figuring out who they should be talking to
• Reduced investment in the production by
technical direction students
• When it goes bad, it goes really bad

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Unintended Consequences -
Positive
• Really good new assignment for
Production Management students
• Formed a company of sorts

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Future Plans
• Address the unintended negative effects
• Refine distribution of tasks
• Find a way to alternate between Regional
Model and Commercial Model
• Migrate the shop structure to other
departments (paint, LX)

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Questions/Discussion

• So, any thoughts?

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Contact Information
• David Boevers
dboevers@cmu.edu

• Plug for my website:


http://cmuptm.blogspot.com
Great source for entertainment industry news

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Thank You

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational
Scene Shop Structures:
Commercial, Regional, Educational

A Technical Production
Commission Session

Scene Shop Structures:


commercial, regional, educational

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