22nd April 2021

How to Succeed as a New Crew Member on a Gig

New Crew Member
Olive Olin

In the live entertainment industry, you will find yourself working new venues fairly often; in the beginning, it might be every week! It’s not easy being ‘the new crew member,’ and it can feel somewhat daunting at first. I remember when I started out and I used to not be able to sleep and get stomach ache because I was so stressed out that I was not going to fit in or that I was not going to be able to make some friends or do a good job.

Obviously, it was all in my head, and nowadays, I don’t lose any sleep over being new, but it took some time to get my confidence up and be comfortable with the unknown.

So let’s look at how we can tackle the basics of being new!

Pre-Gig


Look smart and wear practical clothing. Black is the standard colour in the industry because we are meant to be invisible, but it just always works. Honestly, any life situation where you feel like you do not know what to wear, wear black.

If you have got long hair or hair that tends to be in the way, put it up! It’ll be in the way when you’re working or get stuck into something you don’t want to have it stuck in.

Same with jewelry, make sure you’re not wearing anything that might come in the way or be at risk of being pulled out.

If you are new to a venue, make sure you look up the technical specifications of that venue and make sure to familiarise yourself with their equipment. If you are lucky and have got the time, ask to shadow the in-house person, or have a walk through their in-house system.

If you are working with new equipment, make sure you read the manuals beforehand, so you come prepared. Watch YouTube tutorials and make notes of handy tips and tricks to make sure your shift will run smoothly throughout the day/night.

The Gig


Be on time, or preferably be early! Time is not always on our side, so make sure you buy it as soon as possible. Being 30 mins early might save you later on in the day, or you will have the time to actually have a little break later on. Either way, you will thank yourself later.

Introduce Yourself!


To avoid assumptions on who you are, be the one to introduce yourself first. Let them know your name, who you are, and what job you’re there to do. This way, there will be fewer misunderstandings on who you are.

Ask for help, if you’re in a new venue, but there is a house technician, ask this person for help! That’s what they’re there for, and it will save you time rather than trying to figure everything out on your own. Although all venues are set up on the same basics, there are some differences due to XYZ.

Be friendly and keep the conversation light, if you are not as busy as somebody else ask them if they need a hand with anything.

Always bring a snack and water. There is nothing worse than working long hours on an empty stomach, and well, no one is pleasant to be around when they’re hungry and low on energy.

Post-Gig


Hopefully, the gig has gone well, and you had a successful night with hopefully very minor to no issues at all. Before you leave, make sure everyone is OK, ask if anyone needs help with anything. Loadout goes a lot quicker with a helping hand, so make sure you do not leave anyone loading out on their own.

Drop them an email saying thanks; if you have covered someone’s shift, just let them know how everything went.

Find out whom to invoice and make sure to invoice as soon as possible to stay on top of your finances!

With these basics in the bag, you’ll make a good impression, and hopefully, with time and knowledge your confidence will come along, and you will no longer be ‘the new crew’ member.


Article by SoundGirl: Olive Olin

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Another great article by SoundGirls: Naomi Larsson: On Lifting Each Other Up

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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

The mission of SoundGirls.org is to inspire and empower the next generation of women in audio. Our mission is to create a supportive community for women in audio and music production, providing the tools, knowledge, and support to further their careers. SoundGirls.Org was formed in 2013 by veteran live sound engineers Karrie Keyes and Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato and operates under the Fiscal Sponsorship of The California Women’s Music Festival, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. In 2012, Karrie and Michelle participated in the “Women of Professional Concert Sound” panel at the AES Conference in San Francisco. The panel was hosted by the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM) and moderated by WAM founder Terri Winston. Terri brought together five women working in live and broadcast audio. The groundbreaking panel (which also included Jeri Palumbo, Claudia Engelhart and Deanne Franklin), provided young women and men a glimpse into life on the road, tips and advice, and a Q & A with the panelists. More importantly though, was how incredibly powerful the experience was for the panelists. We had all been in the business for 20 years or more, yet most of us had never met before that day and within minutes we bonded like long-lost sisters. We were struck by how similar our experiences, work ethics, and passions were and wondered why our paths had never crossed and how our careers would have been different had we been there to support each other through the years. Each of us are strong on our own, but together we were even stronger and a powerful force. We were empowered. Each of us had been asked hundreds of times in our careers: Are there other women doing sound? How did you get into sound? How would a young woman go about getting into sound? Through creating SoundGirls.Org, we hope to establish a place for women working in professional audio to come for support and advice, to share our success and failures, our joys and frustrations, and for empowerment and inspiration.

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