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Sound Designer

Planning

  1. Obtain script from technical producer and become thoroughly familiar with the play.
  2. Attend production meetings with producer and crew to discuss basic production schedule and deadlines.
  3. Confer with director regarding theme and mood to be conveyed by sound at introduction and throughout the play. Ascertain specific requirements with respect to sound effects, apparent sources of sound as to be conveyed from the stage, and ‘practical’ sources of sound.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the theatre sound console. Key to sound room and console can be obtained from technical producer. Familiarization and a thorough ‘system check’ should be carried out with the technical manager.
  5. Determine as soon as possible any special equipment requirements. Ascertain convenience and economy of rental or loan arrangements. Rental or loan arrangements are an important consideration if this play is being considered for festival.

Working

  1. Obtain a copy of the rehearsal and ‘effects deadline’ schedule.
  2. Attend as many early ‘open’ rehearsals as possible to determine and understand your exact cues.
  3. Position audio speakers behind completed set to ensure appropriate ‘sourcing’ of sound. Install and connect any practical sources or effects and ensure the director and actors know how to work them. (Note: practicals may include radios, phones, doorbells, etc.) Where possible audio should source directly from internal speaker but their actual ‘working’ is controlled by you, on cue, never the actor. Similarly with phones and doorbells: they themselves must ring, controlled remotely by yourself or the stage manager.
  4. Provide sound effects as early on in the rehearsal schedule as practical.
  5. Meet with director as soon as practical and allow him to hear your selections for theme, introduction and special requirements.
  6. Be present and in operation at as many ‘complete run through’ rehearsals as possible. Be prepared to receive notes at the end of every rehearsal.
  7. Be on hand for all production meetings.
  8. Prepare sequential cue sheet with corresponding cues and tape deck ‘computer number’. Note: You may find it most convenient to alternate cues between the tape decks. This is especially convenient when you have tight cues. Alternating between tape decks also makes it more convenient for assistant sound operators.
  9. By first technical rehearsal all cues, sequence and levels must be final and running. Any changes, except levels, should be of the artistic emergency nature. All levels should be set and recorded. Every cue and its level have to be recorded in the event you are unable to attend a performance. For instance if you were abducted by aliens!

Run

  1. Arrive at theatre one hour before run to check sound system before EACH performance. System check must be completed before the ‘house’ is open thirty minutes before curtain.
  2. Set initial cues and levels.
  3. Check communication headsets with lighting person and stage manager.
  4. Begin pre show house music/sound thirty minutes before curtain.
  5. Maintain quiet conversations as audience enters as voices carry through sound booth glass very easily. Do not roll around on booth chairs and don’t talk during the performance.
  6. Be on headset as instructed by stage manager, standing by for curtain. Talk quietly into headset. It has a volume control.
  7. Do not leave sound booth during performance except for intermission or an emergency. The audience will hear you if you walk on catwalk.
  8. Food, drink and smoke are not compatible with electronic equipment. Accidents happen which could result in bad consequences therefore ABSTINENCE is the rule.
  9. Do not allow visitors in the booth while the show is in progress. If someone other than booth crew arrive, refer to stage manager or assistant stage manager.
  10. During the performance, stay on the headset to take any required cues from stage manager and to be immediately aware of problems that arise backstage.
  11. After the play attend to any problems and turn off console. Cover and lock sound console. Ensure sound booth is locked before leaving the theatre. Please close both doors.
  12. Your operating script, cue sheets and numbering sequences are indispensable items – lock them inside the sound console each night.

Strike

  1. After final performance, disconnect main speakers and remove to a safe location. Thoroughly disconnect any practical or special items that you were responsible for.
  2. Remove, label and store recorded tapes used in this production. Tapes are generally stored above the sound console. Clean up sound console and sound booth. Please vacuum and empty garbage.
  3. Be responsible for the return of any rented or borrowed equipment, in the appropriate good condition. In the event of damage consult with the producer.
  4. Help strike the set.
  5. Turn in any bills and/or receipts, any theatre keys and the job description manual to the producer.