Washington, DC is for Stagehands (Who are teachable, motivated, and have a good attitude)

dc image.jpg

Are you looking for work as a stagehand or event technician and you’re new to the Washington, DC area? Whether you’re a seasoned technician or you’re brand new to the industry, the Washington, DC area is the place for you.

Hopefully, you’re already networking and asking around for work. If not, connect with me and I’ll help you out.

Below are 3 organizations I regularly work with where you can get your foot in the door. Assuming that you have the following qualifications:

  • You’re motivated
  • You have a positive attitude
  • You’re teachable

As a production manager and crew chief, I will take someone with the above 3 super powers above a jerk expert tech 9 times out of 10. The production industry is a service industry and many people forget that. If you’re reading this, don’t forget.

Of course most everyone wants to know the following – How much am I getting paid, do I get benefits, and how much work is there.

PAY – There are varying pay rates and some do W2 and some contract you as a 1099 contractor. Know the differences. If you don’t know what your rate is or the terms under which you’re working – ASK! An ignorant tech is short changing themselves.

BENEFITS – Nada unless you’re a W2 employee and even then you should ask what’s available.

SCHEDULE – Feast or famine. There are NOT full-time opportunities unless you’re really good and have some special skills that are in demand. Even then, if no one knows about your super powers, you’re not going to get the regular work. I recommend being personable as a starter. After a few weeks with a particular company, ask questions about advancement opportunities or regular employment.

IATSE Local 22iatse22.jpgThe “union” contracts with area venues and companies, providing good wages and opportunities for health insurance and even pension credits. For the beginner, there are plenty of opportunities to get your foot in the door and for the experienced technician, the Local is always looking for good hands. The Local also puts you in touch with area scenic and lighting companies so there’s a launchpad opportunity there.

Summit Event ProductionSummit Event production companySmall lighting company specializing in pop-up events in the area. They’re a W2 employer and utilize semi-qualified to fully-qualified persons for their events happening all around the District.

Design Foundrydesignfoundryimage.jpgA growing events company that specializes in making events look great. They’re always looking for folks and if you know how to use tools and have an eye for displays looking nice, check them out.

There are plenty more opportunities in the DC area but I chose to highlight these 3. If you are looking for more opportunities, connect with me and I can point you in the right direction based on your skill sets.

Author’s Note: I freelance as a stagehand, production manager, crew chief, and general audio visual (GAV) technician. I’ve been involved with productions for over 20 years and have worked in several different aspects of the industry (opera, theatre, corporate events, festivals, and private events) and in different localities ranging from Edinburgh, Scotland to Lebanon, New Hampshire to Denver, Colorado. My experience – while broad – is representative of my OWN experiences and I learn something new every day. Hopefully this helps.

2 Comments

  1. Hello Jeremiah,
    My name is Omar Toppin & I’m new to this industry after deciding to make a career change. I’ve worked as a PC Technician upgrading laptops and setting up conference rooms for executive meetings. I am a relentless worker and quick learner hoping to get my 1st opportunity in this industry.

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