Choices, Choices

Our disappointingly short journey at school is drawing to an end. Had I ever known it would be this interesting, I would have joined when I was 18. I’d be rich and famous by now. And regret getting AIDS from a Thai hooker.

We’re moving on to light techniques of different kinds, and random stuff like special effects. I found myself repeatedly thinking I could actually use all this stuff, and couldn’t wait to try some things out, in sharp contrast to having to learn where the fuck the Grote Nete is located when I was a kid.

I think I’m more of a light type of guy than future sound tech. Not only is the industry much more interesting with smoke effects, lasers and whatnot, but it’s also evolving much faster. It allows for creativity and experimentation a hell of a lot more, and this is why:

SIGNAL FLOW (SOUND)

signal flow sound

This is how sound signals go around, from the artist to the speakers. As you can see, the signals are first collected, then mixed with effects, then amplified, and then blasted into your ear canals. The sound tech is about halfway in between and serves no other purpose than to interpret the sound correctly and make adjustments before the audience kills him. Every single individual present has some opinion or other on how shit could be better and 99% of them are wrong, often including the sound tech, himself.

Let’s compare this with lights:

SIGNAL FLOW (LIGHT)

signal flow light

Voila. There’s you, and there’s your fucking lights, without any sort of artist or dickmonkey from the audience informing you of some or other unwelcome opinion. When you hit a switch, the whole concert changes dramatically and if you do your job right, not even the biggest fans can tell the difference. When you fuck up, you can fix things subtly without glares in your direction, and basically you’re in fucking charge of fucking everything. Sounds too good to be true, almost.

Playing with light allows for a creativity no sound tech will ever experience- the only ones to come close are recording studio technicians. Enormous effects are at the tip of your finger; your controller commands hundreds of servos, the arc lightning inside each little bulb, and lo and behold, the fricken’ laser.

Don’t get me wrong- I love doing sound, too, but in the end you do sort of literally feel like a tool, a cog in the machine. That doesn’t mean a robot could do your job, but still, the only thing you do all day is making it sound “right”. To try and match the creativity of the artist; and every flaw brings back the quality of the intended effect.
Fuck that, I want to make my own effect. Build something from scratch and unleash it upon the masses as something untouched by poor music taste, ear drum-piercing feedback and bad equalizing. God never said, “Let there be sound,” did he.
That’s funny because God is a mental projection of a father figure as a result of our moral laziness and he couldn’t possibly say “Let there be sound” because he doesn’t physically exist. Also, he can’t say “Let there be sound” if there is no sound. I am funny in so many ways.


If I finally get around to making it to their office with my papers to sign, I will officially be an intern with the Vieze Gasten, aka The Dirty Guys. Now pause a moment and then answer me truthfully:

Could I have picked any more suitable spot?

I didn’t think so.

20 years ago, some guy nicknamed “Filthy Mong” (I am not making this up) united a group of anarchists and agents of chaos, to see if they could start a cultural riot by introducing some old fashioned attitude to it. This day and age, they have grown to a cultural center with their own theater hall and passive office building (check that out, it’s interesting).

For April and May, I will be working there as part of their team, mostly doing lights. It may not be the most versatile of jobs but it will at least be interesting, and fucking fun. Remember that, you office whore, when work was fun?
The last two interns they had fucked up so much that they left a very bad aftertaste, so I’ll have to prove myself more than usual doing things I never have, before. But that’s okay- I like a challenge and the few hours we’ve worked together went like a baby in a blender: Smooth.

I can’t tell for sure but I’ve spoken to a few people who have done their internship there the past few years, and they claim you are pretty much promoted to head technician from day one. Seeing as how they have a few major productions coming up on location, that might be a tad more stress than I bargained for. I am inclined to believe it too, as I just spoke to the “real” crew chief (named “Dirty Mark” in my address book) today and he asked if I could control the lights next Saturday, when their house fanfare (The Clean Fanfare of the Dirty Guys, not shitting you) is performing. Last time I saw them perform was at a protest last summer and if you have a quick peek at the photos I shot that day, you might understand why I find them one of the most beautiful things on earth. Doing lights for them would be more than a pleasure for me, it would be an honor.

I am so fucking nervous.

If I could maybe land a job there when my education ends, I will have accomplished exactly what I hoped for when first subscribing to classes. It doesn’t even need to be a full time job- just a foothold to explore my options further would do. The Vieze Gasten represent local culture in its most self-aware and humorous form. No matter the challenges that await, I know I am going to love working there.


Alright, you made it this far, bear with me a minute longer:

On April first we, assistant stage technicians in training at Pianofabriek, will present our final project in the form of a festival. Yes, a fucking festival, that the remaining lot of us have organized ourselves in an exceptionally amateur manner, with marginal funding and ditto equipment.

And the whole world is invited.

Piano Forte

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