What Has Our Production Staff Been Up To? - Dallas Theater Center
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What Has Our Production Staff Been Up To?

Wondering what our production department has been up to while we’ve been sheltering-in-place? Our production staff has been taking classes online, staying up-to-date on technology and enhancing their skill sets so they can come back stronger than ever when we’re able to make theater again! We caught up with our Electrics team: Jessica Drayton, Nicole Iannaccone, Chris Rollins, and Meike Schmidt to see how they were coping with COVID-19.

First off, let’s meet our Lighting Department.

What inspired you to take classes, and what do you hope to get out of them?

In the lighting department we wear many hats such as: Draftsperson, Electrician, Programmer, Light Board Operator, Fixture Maintenance etc. Lighting is continuously evolving! Everyday there is new technology coming out, standards being updated and software improvements. We take these classes to keep up and expand our craft in this fast-paced industry. We hope to each become stronger individually and as a team through various classes. 

What classes are you taking? Through what platform(s)?

We are taking a plethora of professional development classes. For safety, we have all completed the most current OSHA10 online course. This helps reiterate that we work in dangerous environments with heights and high powered electricity. We have to always be present in our daily tasks.

For drafting, we have participated in multiple Vectorworks Spotlight Webinars.

ETC has provided great online courses for programming lighting consoles, system maintenance and DMX theory to name a few. They have their own class portal with videos, written explanations and quizzes. Next we’ll dive into Augmented3D, which will help us better understand and prepare shows before they enter the theater. 

During this time, many companies have waived all their class fees that are typically $100, $200 or more, so those of us quarantined at home can still pursue our craft. We’re entirely grateful to them.

How has the production team stayed together while apart? 

We have been having our typical end of day meetings. Instead of on the loading dock, they’re in the comfort of our own homes via FaceTime.

What is something you try to do every day (or every so often) to stay sane?

“Around my meeting filled days I like to walk my small bear, paint and puzzle” -Nicole Iannaccone, Head of Lighting

“To stay sane I go on lots and lots and lots of walks. According to my tracker thing I spend ~9 hours walking ~23 miles a week. Also lots of physical therapy! Video chatting with people is super helpful. And podcasts. My favorite right now is My Favorite Murder! Call your dad!!!!” -Meike Schmidt, Assistant Head of Lighting

“I keep my sanity by crafting paper roses and hanging out in my silks. (yes they are in my living room and I love it!) I second Meike, My Favorite Murder is an amazing podcast, stay out the forest! I have been able to catch up on a lot of friend time surprisingly through online video games/chats! Also Christmas trees are meant to stay up year round” -Jessica Drayton, Staff Electrician

“I love snacks, food & music!” -Chris Rollins, Staff Electrician