There is a time and place for people who are just coming into the industry.
Those people are referred to as newbies, rookies, nfgs, and donkeys. That last term seems discriminatory but is really my own homage to Shrek. I mean no offense. The fact is that all of these people just cutting their teeth for the first time in the entertainment industry, do need to pay their dues. Suck it up. Accept the term given to you and prove your worth. Follow these tips and you’ll be better off as a stagehand.
Pay Your Dues
This isn’t to suggest that you need to pay your money dues but is a reference to you spending some time learning from others around you. You shouldn’t expect the respect that goes with someone who has been working in the industry for 20 years without first having spent some time in the industry.
Don’t drive a road case into your coworker’s heels. Keep your head on a swivel and don’t be a hero. It takes 2 (if not more) to lift a road case or moving light so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
It’s tough to ask for guidance but if you don’t know how to do something – ask. Myself and the road crew would rather have you ask how to do something than assume that you know what’s going on and have you hurt someone or do the task wrong.
Go to where the work is going to be. You can hear the instructions and be that person that just stands there waiting for instructions but you’ll shine if you simply shadow the road guy. Don’t worry. He or she will tell you if you’re clinging but they’ll be happy that they have an assistant or go-to person with the local crew.
Have a good attitude
Smile and be the person that doesn’t gripe. I can’t tell you how many road shows I’ve worked where the road crew is pissed off about the crew they just had at the last stop, had a bad meal, is being poorly paid, etc etc. Sporting a smile and being willing to do whatever they ask for goes a long ways.
Hope that helps.
For more informative insights on this topic, check out Kimberly Faye Greenburg’s post titled, 7 Lessons Learned from Working Backstage
I welcome your comments and suggestions.