There isn’t really a word for it. I’m talking about the transition between procrastination (when the show is in the future and life is getting in the way of all those good intentions of starting earlier), and panic (when possibilities are bounded solely by the available time). That time when it’s definitely time to start making the show happen, but that the actual creative part of the process doesn’t quite want to start within your brain. The time to do all the getting started stuff that doesn’t really advance the design but somehow still needs doing. Time to do those things with a sense of urgency so that the thing that really needs doing is all that’s left.

Today was that day. So the show network was booted for the first time since July and Windows Update did its worst to the Eos box and the SCS laptop. Wysiwyg updated to version 40 on the media centre and desktop and the Eos box updated to 2.6.4. The show being a dance show meant the show spreadsheet was fettled; choreographers, titles, music, timecode start, number of performers, length, and rehearsal video links all collated. Music and SCS files sync’d with the sound designer. Plot desk assembled. Revision control applied and synchronised across all machines. Many many e-mails.

There is a reason days like this happen; it’s because the pieces haven’t yet fallen into place. Everything still depends on everything. The rig plan depends on the choreo requests (yet to arrive) but also on what the budget can afford. The generic budget is the remainder after the specials. But how to spend that depends on what the intended lighting plots have in common in order to get good use from it, and that hasn’t clicked into place yet, and also depends on what’s in the rest of the rig. And what to get for the budget depends on second guessing what hire companies will offer for the budget. Where to start.

Somehow though all the displacement activity helps … pieces of the show start to form in the mind… thoughts wrestle other thoughts and contend for budget and lanterns.

The rig is the obvious place to start. One of the advantages of having lit the previous year’s show in the same venue is that the nuts and bolts “just work”; no worrying about every angle of every last fixture just to cover off frontlight, backlight, sidelight, cyc. Instead it’s a case of what worked and what could be improved. A gripe of previous years was having the sidelight overhead (pipe-ends) – this arising because of the Great Hall’s upstage-downstage masking and lack of booms. This was always annoying because the general cover and the sidelight colours end up at nearly the same angle, so it looks less sculptural, and the cover washes out the sidelight. New plan: hanging booms. Low sidelight for strong colours, general cover from pipe-ends as before. Dancer-colision-proof. Looks a whole lot better in Wysiwyg… now to make it happen.

Sidelight is love-hate. Love looking at it, hate rigging it. And so it proves – a bazillion scaffolding bits are now essential to hire, and there’ll be more to do and fewer lights pre-rigged at the get-in. Monumental faff: masking the show, having entrances, hanging booms. Almost “choose any two”. I think I have a cunning plan.

The basics of the rig are in place; the black box can have coloured light from most angles and the odd bit of breakup. It’s a start but it’s not a show. What’s left is a small pile of profiles which provoked some furtling in the gobo collection. And that’s this week’s challenge – to second guess what’s needed for the show, add known specials, subtract anything expensive from the budget, marry up the leftovers with some ideas that are useable in multiple numbers but that might help each of the 29 numbers look different. The big unknown is any gobo purchases; without these there might be enough to get maybe a pair of wobblies – not a lot but would easily pick off all the over-stage soft specials (centre stage clumps etc). Although there are cheaper/smaller things (Spikie, LEDbeam) that could be used to good effect and might fit the budget – there’d need to be more of them though. And no, the budget hasn’t changed since last year.

It’s a start. Standby “CUTAZZ Elevate”….

One thought on “Hyper-procrastination”

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