I think everyone that works in the live concert biz tends to be in a hurry. We are taught that time is money from an early get go in this biz. Gotta get it all out of the trucks by noon so we can cut the teamsters. Gotta get the rig up quick so we can cut the riggers before they get a 5th hour of pay. Yada yada.
Face it, we are all always looking for a shortcut. But sometimes that shortcut costs way more time (and money) than you originally thought. And that is when you look back and say to yourselves, “Damn I’m an idiot. A few seconds of my not so precious time and now this”.
Yesterday I was focusing lights on a touring show. A lovely theater in Manhattan, and a smooth day for everyone. I’m set up next to my audio engineer and happily focusing my moving lights. It’s that time of day when the systems engineer for the audio company has to tune his PA for the room. He’s always kind enough to ask me if it’s OK to make noise and as usual I tell him to blast away.
The guy is carrying a tablet of some sort that I imagine talks to some audio processor of some sort. All he needs is to hook up a microphone to some other device to EQ the room. But since we are under a balcony eve, he decides the best place to put this mic would be above us in the balcony. So he does a quick gut reaction. “If I plug the mic cable into the port, then throw the slack over my head into the balcony, I can save a few seconds time. And with that comes the over the shoulder toss up of an XLR line.
But the old adage, ”Missed it by that much” comes into play. The cable fails to reach the balcony and instead unravels and comes down right in front of me. I am a tad startled then look up with one of those looks that says “C’mom dude. You could seriously screw up my stuff with an errant throw, go over there for your next try”. Then I look down. The 2 dollar XLR connector on the cable has shattered one of the touch screens on my console, rendering it a liability as the touch screen may start making button pushes of it’s own at any moment. Console down.
Luckily I was in NYC. ACT lighting, those fine folks who distribute the GrandMA line of lighting desks has an office in Jersey, right across the river. It just so happens that they have a spare part in stock and a tech named Phil who can accommodate me. This is huge, because if I was anywhere else I would have had to spend thousands of dollars to ship the console in for repairs and even more money to ship the substitute out overnite. Lucky in the sense that I happen to be gigging where I am today and having the wonderful support of Bob’s company to make my day easy.
Bottom line was that saving a minute just cost the audio company some grief and maybe some money if their insurance doesn’t cover it. My poor audio guy feels just awful and knows he will hear about this for quite some time. We all just need to take a little more time to think sometimes. I feel an article coming on.