Technical Director

The position of Technical Director (TD) can be one of the most demanding on the production staff, requiring specific skills and a substantial time commitment. The TD should be a leader capable of initiating and sustaining the build and installation process. This entails goal setting, organizing a team, monitoring the workflow, and seeing that all work is completed safely. The construction skills needed for a specific production will depend upon the scale and nature of the production.  A UP Technical Director will provide instruction and guidance as needed. 

Completion of specific UP workshops is required for this position. The Yale Drama Coalition and the Yale Dramatic Association are also good sources of support and information.

Three tools may be used on the Yale campus without direct supervision by a UP Technical Director: a jigsaw, cordless drill, and palm sander.

In consultation with a UP Technical Director the student TD will be required to estimate materials and labor budgets for the production, working from  plans provided by the set designer and so should be familiar with able to read and interpret basic ground plans sections and design elevations. He or she will also be required to prepare working shop or construction drawings and so should have basic drafting skills. A working knowledge of Google SketchUp can make this job much easier as each venue has an existing 3-D SketchUp model to work with. Hand drafting, AutoCAD or Vectorworks are also acceptable methods of creating drawings. A drafting table and a computer with these drafting programs are available in the UP offices in the Broadway Rehearsal Lofts. The UP Technical Directors can assist with this process.

Before beginning the student TD should be familiar with the Undergraduate Production Regulations and any special conditions or restrictions specific to the chosen theater venue.

In preparation for the UP plan review, utilize the ground plan sketch and elevation sketches provided by the scenic designer to create the construction drawings required for UP approval. Again, the UP Technical Director can assist in creating these drawings. Further assistance and support can be found by joining the Student Technical Working Groupwhich meets on a regular basis in the Broadway Rehearsal Lofts. The Yale Drama Coalition and the Yale Dramatic Association are also good sources of support and information.

The following is a sample timeline. Your timeline will depend upon the scale and scope of your production.

Six Weeks Prior to Performance

  • Participate in production design meetings with the producer and design staff to obtain a clearer understanding of the intended scope of the project and how this may relate to available skill sets.
  • Begin to assemble a build crew.

Five Weeks Prior to Performance

  • Seek training assistance as needed.
  • Continue to assemble a crew.

Four Weeks Prior to Performance

  • Secure a complete set of design plans, including ground plan and elevations from the scenic designer.
  • Begin to break the set design down into manageable projects.
  • Estimate materials and labor for each individual project.
  • Adjust plans so that material and labor budgets can be managed through available funds.
  • Assess available crew and report any problems to the producer. Consult a UP Technical Director for assistance.
  • Complete working build drawings for each project in order of build schedule and secure materials.

Three Weeks Prior to Performance

  • Ensure working drawings are complete ahead of scheduled build time.
  • Assign work projects to crew. Begin set building.
  • Monitor progress in relation to build schedule.
  • Monitor material levels and supplement as needed.
  • Attend production meetings, keep staff up to date on the build progress, and report progress to the UP Technical Director.

Two Weeks Prior to Performance

  • Evaluate build progress.
  • If progress is not satisfactory consult with the producer and production staff for assistance in identifying problems and finding solutions.
  • Make adjustments to building project as required.
  • Report progress to the UP Technical Director.

One Week Prior to Performance

  • Plan load-in process with production staff and review with UP Technical Director.
  • Schedule load in-crew.
  • Assemble materials and tools required for load-in.

Load-In

  • Provide overview of the load-in process to crew before starting work.
  • Ensure crew is aware of general safety guidelines, dressed appropriately, and using required personal protective equipment.
  • Coordinate set crew work with other crews that may be working in the production space.
  • Be sure work area is cleaned completely at the end of each work session.
  • Monitor work progress with producer and other staff as appropriate.
  • Inform producer and UP Technical Director when work is complete.

Technical Rehearsals

  • Familiarize the Stage Manager with all elements of the installation. Assist with training of stage crew as needed.
  • Assist with the integration of technical elements into the rehearsal process.
  • Make note of any adjustments that may be required.

Work Note Calls

  • Lead work sessions as needed to make required adjustments to set installation.
  • Notify producer when work is complete.

Load-Out / Strike

  • Attend strike meeting to coordinate load-out process with other crew heads.
  • Oversee and coordinate set crew work, paying special attention to all safety concerns.
  • Coordinate with theater manager to ensure adherence to all guidelines for disposal of debris.
  • Once work is complete and production space is clean and orderly confirm condition with theater manager.
  • Arrange for return of all rented or borrowed tools or equipment.