I spouted off in email (upon request) about calling a Masquerade, so I'll also copy it here. I'm not nearly as expert as several other TFians?, so please feel free to change this as needed. -- David H. Silber
Joel Lord made some comments here and I have incorporated them into the flow of the text, rather than leaving them as comments.
Things to do Before the Convention
- Find out who we'll be working with: (Yes, some of these may not be assigned until the last minute. That's a bad practice IMO, but we'll do what we can in advance.)
- Masquerade Director
- Master of Ceremonies
- Judges' Clerk
- Green Room Manager
- Chief Ninja
- Lighting Designer
- Lightboard Operator
- Followspot Operator(s)
- Sound Designer
- Sound Engineer
- Tape/CD Wrangler
- Get copies of the registration and tech forms from the Masquerade director and familiarize yourself with what information is presented and where it is to be found on the forms.
- Read through the information provided to the costumers. There is likely something on the Arisia web site and publicity fliers, plus the costumers are (generally?) (sometimes?) (always?) given a full set of rules when they register.
- Find out from the Masquerade Director how much time has been allocated for rehearsal.
- Make sure that the contestants are encouraged to bring their costumes and major props to the rehearsal.
- Request from the Judges' Clerk that you be provided with the list of awards as soon as the Judges are done, so that we can be more prepared for the award ceremony. Keep asking every time you see the Clerk from when you get to con right up through the end of the awards being presented. You may actually get it.* Find out or specify what colors the stage lights and followspots will have in them. (Talk with the Lighting Designer.)
- Find out from the Sound Designer what formats of media we support and make sure the Masquerade Director is provided with this information.
Things to do before the Masquerade at the Convention
- Spend time at the Masquerade Registration table. It's easier to make sure that the information collected from entrants is complete if you're there to help them fill out the forms. Generally, we're asking them for information they may simply not know or understand. Be ready to translate from tech-speak into English (or Costumer would be even better than English!)
- Review the information provided by each entry to make sure it makes sense and makes sense to you. This sets you up to be more prepared at the rehearsal.
- Find out from the Masquerade Director how and where the contestants will be queued up to go on stage. How much time does it take for an entrant to go from the Green Room to the stage? Generally, this runs without work from us, but it likely pays to know what is going on there.
Preparing for the Rehearsal
- Expect to find a work table at which you and the Master of Ceremonies can spread out paperwork and see the stage. There should be a voice of god microphone and a ClearCom? station. From this vantage point, you will run the rehearsal. The microphone will be shared between you and the Master of Ceremonies. The ClearCom? will allow you to communicate with the tech crew.
- In an ideal world, we would get the run-time crew in place a bit before the rehearsal and spend some time running coordination exercises. For example:
- Make sound, lights, & followspots come on and off at the same time.
- Get multiple followspots to come on at the same time, with the same size beam, superimposed on each-other.
- Get the followspot operators to follow moving targets together.
- Get all run-time folk used to your voice and the way you work, so that there is no confusion during the rehearsal or show.
- Note that the room is yours for the duration of the rehearsal just as much as it is yours during the actual show. If anything needs to be changed, simply request that it be done. (E.g. get help with setting up work tables, or silence the idle people if their talk is interfering with the operation.)
Run the rehearsal.
- Plan for twice as much rehearsal time per entry as Larry uses. (I think that means we need ten minutes per entry.) (Larry has been doing this for a long time.) Make sure that the Masquerade Director knows how much time you want, so that sie can schedule the contestants accordingly.
- Review the information provided by each entry to make sure it makes sense and makes sense to you. One thing to note is which entries will be named after the presentation, so that you are not waiting for that to move forward with the tech cues.
- Have the entry run through its choreography, so that you and the run-time crew knows what to expect from each entry. In particular, have the Followspot Operator(s) practice hitting any difficult target or oddball handoffs of which person is being tracked by which followspot.
- If the costumers have costumes, swatches, or props with them, make sure that your Lighting person gets a good look at them to make sure that the light we put on them enhances rather than interferes with the desired effect. Particularly hard is lighting a costume which itself contains light sources.
- Listen to the audio provided. Make sure that the Tape/CD Wrangler will be able to start the sound at the proper place.
- Make sure that you will be able to cue every run-time position from your notes.
Things to do During the Masquerade
Run the show.
- Take each entry in sequence, and follow the cues and notes that you made during the rehearsal.
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