Do You Scream at Stagehands? STOP IT!



Hiya, Entertainment Industry!

I got a really interesting email last night from a local stagehand at a large concert venue in Colorado that would prefer that the venue and city in which he works be redacted, so I have done that.  But you have GOT to read the email below, it’s absolutely disgusting.  I hope you see it the same as I do.  Who the fuck do you think you are yelling at stagehands?

Jim, hi.  Love the site, we here at [redacted] in Colorado read you a lot.  Next time you’re out this way, let me know so we can get you in here and get some better pics of the venue.  I don’t want to speak for all of the guys here, but I know that we all feel the same about this.  Do me a favor and don’t post my name and don’t post that I work at [redacted].  Thanks.

I have a really important question to ask, maybe you can give us some insight on why most of the crews that come through here feel it’s the right thing to do to scream at us all day.  Most of us here are people who are just as good at the jobs we do as the tours that come through here.  Why do you think they think it’s the right thing to do to yell at us to get us to do what they need done?  I went into the Army back in the 1970s and did two tours in Vietnam.  Every very good lieutenant that I served under was the kind of man that could motivate the men without raising his voice, and every time we had to go out on patrol with a squad leader who was a screamer was more times that not a really scary time because no one wanted to help the screamer.  Don’t the people out there driving the tours understand this logic?  To us, it seems like nobody gives a shit about the crew of the day.  We hump cases, we put trusses together, we take care of what they need because it’s our job.  We’re great at our job.  All we want is that people would treat us like we were humans and not a gaggle of stupid people who need their instructions shouted at us.

I’m just an old hippy who used to love my job but it’s hard to get new people to come to the local after they see how we’re treated.  Nobody wants to work somewhere with shitty tour crew yelling all day long.  Any normal person would be just as bitter if they had to put up with this bullshit all day every day.

Keep doing what you do, you give us some sane time before and after the yelling.



I suppose the first thing I should say is that I’m sorry this is happening.  I have done my share of shows worldwide, and I don’t believe in yelling at the crew.  I believe that the best way to get the crew to do any and everything that you need done is to show up in the morning bright eyed, bushy-tailed, and with donuts and coffee.  It’s true that I get a lot of shit for that (especially the coffee and donuts part) but if I have to work with guys I don’t know and I know a hard day’s coming for the locals that day, it’s part of my job for the success of the show that they believe in the show that they’re assembling.  It’s not a secret that people will work hard for you if you make them feel like human beings.  It amazes me that people decide to take the douchebag route on their local tours.  I know many people who lead crews on tour, and it’s my pleasure to say that a lot of those people are really great guys and ladies who believe the same way I do.

Are you a screamer on tour?

The first thing I want to know is WHAT is it that gives you the right to screw up the attitudes for the shows that come after you?  Who the hell do you think you are that you can treat people this way?  I know that one thing you’re doing is making a reputation for yourself that assures that your career will be short-lived, because team leaders do NOT want to hire someone who creates a work stoppage in the middle of a busy show day.  Touring is hard enough as it is without you making all of the locals hate touring personnel without getting to know us.  I know a good handful of really unbelievably great programmers and LDs who don’t work because of their attitude — one of them is an awesome cook at a restaurant in Dallas, and another is an insurance adjuster in southern Illinois.  Is this the career path you’d rather have?  Something outside of the industry you love?  If you keep yelling, it’s coming.  I’ll definitely help you exit my industry if you feel that you need to screw up the harmonious and often very rewarding work that the rest of us call a career.

To be fair, we’ve all had local crews who haven’t been worth the paper their badges are printed on, and those days do suck.  I’ve had Labor-Ready crews that barely had the skill to not be selling crack out behind the venue, and I’ve had non-Union riggers who dropped cell phones and sets of keys from the grid.  Those are rough days.  But even in those situations, it does you NO JUSTICE to scream at people.  When you’re out on a B or C market tour, you should expect to have these things happen — just recently in February 2013 in Los Angeles, I had a Union stagehand at the Event Live LA show tell me “I’m not pushing those fucking towers, one fell on my buddy and messed up his back for life.”  It was fine with me, all I needed to do was go tell his Freeman foreman that the guy wouldn’t do his job and I got someone else on the crew that would push those towers out to the truck.  I didn’t need to yell.  Sometimes you just get a hand who wants to be a jerk on the jobsite because of whatever reason there is — but just as many times as that’s happened, I’ve been able to smile at somebody who wanted to be a Summer’s Eve in at crew call, tell a few jokes, and get that man or woman to get on board with the work that needed to be done that day.  It’s amazing what can be done when you inject a bit of happiness and compassion into people’s daily existence.  If that doesn’t work, you always have the crew chief to help them get motivated, or to get someone who wants to work on your crew.

All of this is just as applicable to stage hands, too — if every day that you work is another day in hell, maybe you should get yourself into another line of work.  We’ve all got more to do in the short amount of hours in the day without having to put up with your shit attitude.  Seriously.  The large majority of us treat you all with the utmost respect and admiration because you make our days easier.  There’s no reason to act like a jerk when we’re only trying to do OUR jobs, too.

Industry pros, ask yourself:
“Do I think it’s OK to scream at my local crews in order to get the work done?”

If your answer is anything other than NO, maybe you ought to look into working with another industry’s people.  We don’t want you in our business.  You screw it up for every one of us every single time you take your personal problems out on a local stagehand.  I know the service industry is hiring, it might be a good idea to lose your God complex and see how it feels to be in service for a while.  That’s more of a humbling experience than death.

As for the talent?  Well…  as long as they keep paying, karma will sort that out on its own.



High End Systems has released a series of training videos for the new Hog 4!



From a press release at High End Systems:

Following the extremely successful HOG4 launch and due to incredibly high demand, High End Systems is today releasing a series of Hog4 training videos.

In tandem with the large number of worldwide training classes undertaken both by High End Systems and it’s extensive distributor network, the initial 12 videos will allow everyone to learn how to use a Hog.

The videos have been split into easy to watch segments meaning that beginners as well as experienced users will benefit from them. They are also in a logical order allowing for the user to move from one element of the Hog software to another with ease. The 12 videos means that users who only need to look at a specific area of the console may do this with ease.

“The addition of these videos to our already extensive training program is testament to our commitment to offer education at multiple levels” says Jeff Pelzl, VP, Technical and Marketing Services “and we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to Hog training.”

“We realized that not everyone is able to attend training classes and also that users want the ability to brush up on certain areas of the platform’ says Chris Ferrante, Director of Product Management “so we partnered with Colin Wood of Pre Production Services and now have a brilliant suite of training videos”

These videos can be seen at the following location:

As well as launching this suite of videos, High End Systems has recently launched version 1.2 for the Hog4 platform adding a host of new features including Command Keys, which continues the aggressive release schedule embarked upon on the platform’s launch.


The videos:

Lesson 1:  Starting a New Show

Lesson 2: Default Layout of a New Show

Lesson 3: An Introduction to Patching

Lesson 4: Basic Programming

Lesson 5: Cue Playback

Lesson 6: Using Palettes

Lesson 7: Basic Cue Timing and Editing

Lesson 8: Tracking

Lesson 9: User Kinds

Lesson 10: Command Keys

Lesson 11: Multi-Console Setup

Lesson 12: Configuring Art-Net

I hope to see more of these from MORE console manufacturers in the near future!!!

Pissed Off Paul Anka Rants on His Crew and Band in the Mid-1980s After A Bad Show


Ready for something awesome?

“Do any of your checks bounce? Do you all get full value on your money? I want full value on your f*cking services. You have three days to get it together.”

You know what, if the guys were screwing up and I was paying the checks, I would probably feel the same way. Here’s Paul Anka reading his crew and band the riot act after a bad show in the 1980’s. You have to listen to this video and watch the images associated, this video has pretty funny images associated as Paul goes batshit angry.

From Wikipedia:

Sometime in the mid-1980s, Anka was secretly recorded while launching a tirade against his crew and band members, berating them for unprofessional behavior in the show they had just played. (Asked about it on the interview program Fresh Air, he referred to the person who did the recording as a “snake we later fired.”) The recording became widely known after being uploaded to the Internet, and a number of quotes from it have since become famous, including “The guys get shirts,” “Don’t make a maniac out of me,” and “Slice like a fucking hammer.” Some of the quotes were reproduced verbatim by Al Pacino’s character in the 2007 film Ocean’s Thirteen.

This is too awesome not to put myself right there in the room like a fly on the wall.

Here’s Paul Anka pitching a bitch:

Pink Floyd’s Lighting Designer, Arthur Max, Has A Bad Day on Headset – in 1973


It’s the day before Independence Day off here in the USA.

There is nothing you’re doing right now that can’t wait for 11 minutes while you watch Arthur Max at the office while working a 1973 Pink Floyd show in Detroit — the venue ruled that Pink Floyd had to use the Union spot ops from the venue instead of the Pink Floyd crew, and with some animation, this is one of the best things you’ll see today!  Thanks to Cliff Port, a fan filmmaker that really got a good belly laugh out of me today!

You know who Arthur Max is, right?  He’s a production designer and artist who does a ton of movies now, but lit Floyd back in the day along with working for Bill Graham at the Filmore East.  From IMDB:

A native New Yorker who worked as a Stage Lighting Designer in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the music industry, and then, after studying architecture in England and Italy, went on to do several architectural design projects in London. He entered British film as an assistant to several British Production Designers in the mid-1980s. First for Stuart Craig on Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and Cal (both 1984) and then for Ashetton Gorton on Revolution (1985). His Production Design career began withTV commercials during the years 1985-1995 for many different Directors, including Ridley Scott and David Fincher, with whom he would go on to collaborate on feature films.

This is so awesome, I think I may just watch it again.

HUGE thanks to Simone Kay’s YouTube channel!

Hump Day Lighting Porn – Catalyst and DL3 Demo Room Footage from 2010 at High End Systems!

Having downtime has allowed me to dig up gigabytes and schmigabytes of video content that I’ve either A) got sidetracked during and never got to finish, B) decided for some reason that I needed to prioritize something else, or C) completely forgot about having altogether!  I found some really fun stuff last night while searching through content — a demo from 2010 at High End Systems of the Axon media server and DL3 digital lights!

I hope you enjoy it!  Please excuse my giggling at one point for a few seconds, I was having a frigging blast!  Thanks a lot, Richard!

Check out some High End Systems lighting demo porn from 2010!  From the Vimeo Channel:

Lighting Porn! High End Systems – Catalyst Media Server Demo, 2010, Austin, Texas from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

or if you prefer YouTube:

PHISH! New Video Clips of the Hampton Coliseum Reunion Shows from March 2009


I started digging my way through the 2 terabytes or so of uncut, backlogged video I have to process.  Behind every folder is something I have forgotten that I filmed, and I am uncovering some really fun stuff!

Here’s a handful of clips from when Greggity and I flew the famous mockingbird from Columbus, OH to Hampton, VA for the Phish reunion shows on March 6-8, 2009.  The clips I had sitting in a folder were, in order:

Army of One
Down with Disease JAM
Tweezer Reprise

Enjoy! Also check out Greg and I chatting with Chris Kuroda, Phish’s lighting designer, during the Hampton 2009 run, all four parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Ready?  Get your coffee, have a seat, and rock out!

PHISH! 2009 Hampton Coliseum Reunion Shows from! from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Kennedy Center Honors – Heart Plays Stairway to Heaven, Robert Plant Tears Up, Faces Get Rocked


Here’s something outstanding for your Wednesday morning, and there’s even some excellent lighting!  This actually happened in December 2012 at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in Washington, DC — but face rocking on a Wednesday morning never hurt anyone before.

Nancy and Ann Wilson (formerly known as “We’ll slap you in the face, we’re Heart“) played an excellent version of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven that allegedly made Robert Plant get misty-eyed.  Check it out, and HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

Friday Afternoon Awesome – Pink Floyd Doing “Great Gig in the Sky” at Earl’s Court


Sometimes all you need is some Pink Floyd to get by.  Here’s The Great Gig in the Sky from Earl’s Court in London – from the Pulse tour!  LOOK at all of those VL2s!!!  NICE!

Now go pick your face up and go back to finishing up your Friday.  If you’re really bored, go check out Earl’s Court as it stood during PLASA 2012…  it’s going to be torn down soon.

Truss Falls at the Feast of the Pinion Party in Lages, Brazil



Well, it seems I have spoken just a moment too soon.  At least no one was hurt, apparently.  There’s not a lot of news on the accident, but it seems as though it was the design and a rigged piece of gear that failed.

In Lages, Brazil, a truss component of a stage design fell last night onto the stage deck – from the article at Porto Menina:

Lages / SC – The Central Committee Organizing (CCO) of the 25th National Party Pinion reports that the unforeseen event that occurred yesterday afternoon Tuesday (27) at about 16:30, involving the Stage National solved ASAP not affecting the show Alexandre Pires and SPC.

The problem was the breaking of a part of the column structure lighting, when changing the map of light needed to show the SPC, remembering that each show has a different map.

Also said that the show just happened in To Thwart National Stage from 22:30, as scheduled.

More news as I can find it on this accident — but I guess we have to count one for the disaster pile.

Thanks to Mike Mallinson for this one.  The original article is here.

The Making of Porter’s Visuals for their Vive Latino 2013 Performance


So Tupac and Kenji from Satore Studio finally posted what we were all waiting for on the content side of the world: THE MAKING OF THEIR PORTER VISUALS from ViveLatino 2013!!!

From the Vimeo page, the bolding is mine:

In March 2013, a well known indie band “PORTER” came back to play again after 5 years. They decided to make a memorable show for their fans, a show to thank for all the waiting. They called Tupac Martir (a mexican visual designer who lives in London) to design the show. Tupac together with Kenji Ikenaga (mexican filmmaker) and Fabiola Ruiz Ortega ( editor and post producer) made the visuals for the show. This little documentary shows the creative and technical process behind this show. How they made the visual content for the comeback of Porter. This is a testimony of this work. I hope you enjoy it and live your coments about this work. Thanks PS.-Sorry for the translate you will find it inaccurate but made with the interest to let you know how we worked this project.

Not only do we get to see the video by two of the most creative people of our current time, but we get to enjoy the hilarious translation, too!  Check this out, then check out PORTER’s performance at ViveLatino 2013!

Making of the visuals for PORTER in VL13 english subtitles from Kenji Ikenaga on Vimeo.