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EpISODE 51 Stage PRODUCTION TECH FEaturing CHRIS KNUTSON

HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips

 

SPECIAL GUEST- Chris Knutson

 

TYPE- Special Topics

 

DURATION- 90:14

 

BUMPER MUSIC- "Break A Leg" (Area 47)

ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe

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DESCRIPTION

Not every musician ends up on stage. One of our goals is to cover, in depth, the many career opportunities that can be available to a musician. In this episode, we will talk to Chris Knutson about how his music tech skills opened the door to a profitable career in stage and film production. This one's for all you music "tekkies" out there!

CHRIS KNUTSON STAGE PRODUCTION TECHNICIAN SOUND MIXER RIGGER

COLLABORATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS

 Alabama Symphony Orchestra

Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center

Alys Stevens Center

Town and Gown Theater

 Holt Audio Visual

IATSE Local 78

CURRENT PROJECTS

Chris Knutson graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Music Technology. After graduation, he immediately began working as a stage hand at the university auditorium. That, along with his tech knowledge, led him to sound mixing and other stage production skills. In turn, this skill set made it easy for him to transition in to the world of film and television.

MUSIC TECHNOLOGY CAREER PATH

ALL ESTIMATED INCOMES ARE BASED ON THE U.S.A. NATIONAL AVERAGES BETWEEN 2013 and 2016

STAGE HAND

 

DUTIES AND EXPECTATIONS

-Cleaning and organizing the stage, back stage

and audience area.

-Transport equipment and supplies throughout

venue area.

-Set up, update and store equipment and systems.

-Design, set up, install and operate lighting and sound systems for live events.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

-No degree is necessary but a back ground in music or theater performance or contract labor will set you apart from the rest.

-A willingness to perform physical duties, such as lifting, carrying, building and climbing.

-In some areas, it may be necessary to join a union.

 

EXPECTED INCOME

Yearly: $21,000 - $72,000

(depending on experience)

ROADIE

 

DUTIES AND EXPECTATIONS

-Driving, loading and unloading vans, trailers and buses.

-Transport equipment and supplies throughout

venue area.

-Acting as security for band members and equipment.

-Tuning, maintaining and keeping track of instruments.

-Set up, update and store equipment and systems.

-Design, set up, install, operate  and breakdown,lighting and sound systems.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

-No degree is necessary but a back ground in music or theater performance or contract labor will set you apart from the rest.

-Technical knowledge of certain instruments.

-A willingness to perform physical duties, such as lifting, carrying, building and climbing.

-In some areas, it may be necessary to join a union.

-Drivers may require special licenses for certain size vehicles.

 

EXPECTED INCOME

Yearly: $30,000 - $60,000

-Moving up to a road manager or coordinator status can raise that average up to $130,000.

FRONT OF HOUSE ENGINEER (A1)

 

DUTIES AND EXPECTATIONS

-Supervise a crew through load in, set up, performance and load out.

-Oversee the monitor engineer, instrument technicians, roadies and assistants.

-Direct the transport of equipment and supplies throughout the venue area.

-Take up the responsibility to achieve optimal sound for the listening audience.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

-No degree is necessary but a firm understanding in the physics of sound, mathematics, and the principles of electronics and voltage will set you aside for

the rest.

-BA in Music Technology recommended.

-One will often climb this ladder by means of apprenticeship to other monitor engineers sound mixers.

 

EXPECTED INCOME

Yearly: $50,000 - $120,000

-The MONITOR ENGINEER, or the assistant to the FRONT OF HOUSE ENGINEER can make between $35,000 and $60,000.

RECORDING STUDIO ENGINEER

 

DUTIES AND EXPECTATIONS

-Oversee the set up and execution of a recording session, from load in to turning in the final mix.

-Select and position the appropriate microphones for each instrument and vocalist.

-If there is no producer, you may need to do a little producing. This mainly involves coaching the musicians towards their highest potential while maintaining an unbiased perspective on the overall product.

-Edit the material. Know how to cut and rearrange wave forms.

-Add effects, such as equalization, reverb, compression and delay to bring out the best in each track. Know when to use effects but know when to leave a good sound alone (when no effects are needed).

-Take up the responsibility to achieve optimal sound for the entirety of the album.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

-No degree is necessary but a firm understanding in the physics of sound, mathematics, and the principles of electronics and voltage will set you aside for the rest.

-One will often climb this ladder by means of apprenticeship or internship with other engineers.

 

EXPECTED INCOME

Yearly: $56,000 average

-The ASSISTANT ENGINEER, can make between $25,000 and $45,000 on average.

LOCATION SOUND ENGINEER

 

DUTIES AND EXPECTATIONS

-Place, and often hide, microphones on actors and in various places on a set.

-Scan your shoot location for clean frequencies for your wireless systems.

-Sync time code and audio waveforms with cameras, either via wireless or by hardwire.

-Strategically, place sound treatment on hard surfaces and in large rooms to cut back on echo.

-Take up the responsibility to achieve optimal sound for the location you're shooting at.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

-No degree is necessary but a firm understanding in the physics of sound, mathematics, and the principles of electronics and voltage will set you aside for the rest.

-BA in Music Technology recommended.

-One will often climb this ladder by means of apprenticeship as an A2 (audio assistant) or as a BOOM OPERATOR.

 

EXPECTED INCOME

Yearly: $62,000 average

-The BOOM OPERATOR and the A2 can make an annual average of up to $47,000.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

-A part of the learning process is "learning how to learn".

 

-By learning the "right questions to ask" you can form relationships and network while learning your trade.

 

-Work in the production world can involve long days,

hard work and, sometimes, climbing very high on trusses. Try to be well rested. Be sure to stretch and stay hydrated. Safety is always first!!

 

-Dress professionally but comfortably. Investing in a good pair of shoes can save you many pains, aches and blisters at the end of a long day.

 

-Be punctual and have a good attitude. These two things will get you further in this business than most. This is because schedules are usually pretty tight and stress levels usually pretty high.

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