Technical Theater for Nontechnical People

Technical Theater for Nontechnical People

by Drew Campbell

Paperback(Third Edition)

Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Here is help for actors, directors, stage managers, producers, and event planners who want to understand every aspect of technical theater—from scenery, lighting, and sound to props, costumes, and stage management.

In this thoroughly revised new edition, the popular guide firmly embraces the digital age with new content about digital audio, intelligent lighting, LED lighting, video projection, and show control systems, all explained in the same approachable style that has kept this book in the pockets of industry professionals for many years. A brand-new chapter on sound design has also been added, and every chapter has been updated with more information about the basics of theater technology, including draperies, lighting instruments, microphones, costume sketches, and more. This book teaches:
  • Who’s who on a theatrical production team
  • What is needed to know about technical theater and why
  • What to look for when choosing a space for a show
  • How to communicate with lighting, scenery, audio, and costume designers
  • How to stage manage an effective show or presentation

Covering both traditional and digitally supported backstage environments, this book is an essential guide for working with every technical aspect of theater!

Allworth Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, publishes a broad range of books on the visual and performing arts, with emphasis on the business of art. Our titles cover subjects such as graphic design, theater, branding, fine art, photography, interior design, writing, acting, film, how to start careers, business and legal forms, business practices, and more. While we don't aspire to publish a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are deeply committed to quality books that help creative professionals succeed and thrive. We often publish in areas overlooked by other publishers and welcome the author whose expertise can help our audience of readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781621535423
Publisher: Allworth
Publication date: 11/22/2016
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 404
Sales rank: 349,191
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Drew Campbell has been in the entertainment business as a stage technician, designer, film lighting technician, director, and teacher for more than thirty years. He has run his own business as an industrial videographer and editor, has worked backstage on hundreds of productions, including drama, opera, dance, fashion shows, conventions, horse shows, and athletic events and has taught at San Francisco State University for seven years. He is the author of Technical Films and Television for Nontechnical People (Allworth) and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Table of Contents

Dedication ix

Foreword to the Third Edition xi

General Notes xiii

Chapter 1 Breaking It Down: Who Does What 1

Costumes 4

Props 4

Lighting 4

Sound 5

Stage Management 5

Scenery 6

Chapter 2 Touring a New Space: What to Look for 9

Is This the Right Space for You? 10

Space for Stuff 11

Space for People 12

The Rigging System 13

The Lighting System 15

The Sound System 16

Monitors and Headsets 16

Masking and Sightltnes 18

Chapter 3 Space, Texture, and "The Statement": Scenic Design 19

The Statement: The Big Picture 21

How to Read a Script like a Set Designer 23

The Backstage Survival Guide to Reading a Floor Plan 25

Texture and Color: Giving the Show a "Look" 29

Chapter 4 The Tools of Scenery: Surface, Texture, and Tricks 33

A Place to Stand: Platforms, Stairs, and Ramps 33

A Surface to Look At: Walls, Drapes, Fabric, and Paint 38

Real Things: Doors and Windows and So on 52

Moving Stuff Around: Gripping, Rolling, and Flying 55

The Backstage Survival Guide to Scene-Change Choreography 66

Playing with the Audience: Special Effects and Illusions 69

Chapter 5 Lighting Design: Illumination, Mood, and Focus 81

Illumination: First and Foremost 8L

Mood and Atmosphere: Angles and Color 90

Creating Focus: Specials and Follow Spots 93

Where the Show is (and Isn't): House Lights and Actors in the Audience 94

Moving the Show Forward: Cues, Timing, and Blackouts 95

Lighting for Dance 97

Lighting for Musicals 99

Lighting for Fashion 101

Lighting for Video 102

Lighting for Rock and Roll 105

Chapter 6 The Tools of Lighting: Seeing the Power 111

The Birds and the Bees: Where Does Power Come From? 111

Protecting Yourself: Circuit Breakers and Fuses 117

Protecting Your Equipment: Surge and Spike Protection 120

Protecting both You and the Equipment: Grounding 121

Highways and Byways: Outlets and Plugs 122

Taming the Beast: Dimmers and Control Consoles 123

The Real Workers: Lighting Instruments 144

Other Types of Lights 166

Color My World: The Joy of Filters 172

Putting it in the Theater: Lighting Positions 174

Chapter 7 Costume Design: Character, Period, and Function 177

Character 179

Period 182

Function 185

The Costume Sketch 187

Chapter 8 Costume Construction: Shopping, Draping, and Stitching 189

Building 190

Draping 192

Buying 193

Renting 194

Pulling 194

Fittings and Measurements 195

Fabric Augmentation 196

Dealing with Hair 197

One Final Note 197

Chapter 9 Sound Design: Audible Atmosphere 199

Step One: Making It Audible 201

Defining the Content 209

Finding the Content 214

Chapter 10 The Tools of Sound: Source, Signal, and SPL 217

The Signal Chain 218

Sources: Where it all Begins 221

Mixing: Telling the Sound Where to Go 253

Processing: Sculpting the Sound 257

Amplification: We are Going to Pump You Up 260

Speakers: The Bottom Line 262

Chapter 11 Show Control: Why Can't We All Just Get Along? 265

Synchronous Versus Asynchronous 266

Event-Based Versus Time-Based 267

Interfaces 269

Dedicated Show-Control Computers 271

Midi Show Control (MSC) 272

Pc Versus Plc 273

Entertainment Protocols 274

Chapter 12 Properties: Research, Detail, and Crafts 277

The Artisan 277

The Detailer 278

The Researcher 278

Making a Prop List: When to Buy, Borrow, or Build 279

Furniture: Why the Stage Isn't Like Real Life 2§2

Weapons: Safety and Proper Handling 285

Handling Props during the Show: Prop Tables 287

Chapter 13 Stage Management: The Great Communicators 289

Communication: The Central Issue 29O

From Coffee Shop to Load-Out: Schedules 292

Lists and Lists and Lists of Lists 298

Preparing the Rehearsal Space and Running Rehearsals 303

The Actors' Backstage Survival Guide to Tech Rehearsal 308

Opening Night and the Sun 312

The Payoff: Calling the Show 314

Chapter 14 How to Do a Show in a Hotel: Corporate Theater 319

Lighting: Trees, Trusses, and the Demon Track Light 319

Sound: Plug and Play or Truck It In 327

Scenery: Four Feet by Whatever 328

Projectors and Projection Systems 329

Playing Twenty (Or More) Questions: Things to Ask and to Know 331

Chapter 15 The Essentials: Things You Should Know and Things You Should Own 337

Things Every Show Person Should Know 337

Things Every Show Person Should Own 339

Things Every Theater Should Own 340

In Closing 343

Glossary 345

Bibliography 375

Index 379

Customer Reviews