Spring Planting

by Nook Schoenfeld • in
  • April 2018
  • Editor's Note
• Created: April 11, 2018

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I had some good fun in March, and April is shaping up nicely. I got to go down to the Rock Lititz compound for the first time, and it was quite impressive. Taylor Swift or some giant star was rehearsing in the studio. I was visiting friends over in Pod B, where a bunch of my friends have built studios to work out of. Upstage Video, Control Freak, Pyrotek and others are now in residence.

The newest member into this campus of creativity is CM. The hoist company bought some space here for their entertainment division to offer training. Not just the highly touted motor school they have been involved with forever, but a rigging training school that shows folks the best way to utilize all their products. All I can say about CM is, this isn’t your father’s Lodestar anymore. Their signature hoist is just one of the products they offer. They gave me a glimpse of their future, and I’m keeping it under wraps for now. (Okay, I hint a little in the article on page 48). Suffice to say, they have some cool gear showing up on the horizon.

‡‡         Planting the Seeds

CM is spending their own money, to invest in the future of the entertainment business. The following week, I saw them down at the annual USITT show in Fort Lauderdale, sharing their knowledge with the younger generation who will be tomorrow’s work force. If you have never heard of or been to this show, it’s an annual convention where theater kids from schools all over the country come to learn. They have classes offered in every department of theater, from Rigging to Hair and Makeup. Companies such as Rose Brand show off what they have to offer. ZFX and Flying By Foy have kids going up and flying in their booth.

I ran into some friends from Stage Rigging who were hanging around a booth that Reed Rigging had up. Most of the students here know nothing about hoists or rigging in general. Folks like these send reps down to teach classes and let kids get hands on experience. I questioned my friend Michael Reed on why he spends his own money to send a tech and some gear down to a show. Was it worth the investment, I asked? “Yes it is, to me, anyway. Folks may call me a snowflake libtard, but it feels really good to give something back to the community.” I salute the riggers who took the time to show up.

This year, I saw lots of classes being held on the floor. I walked by a booth of young students learning the ChamSys console. Must have been over a dozen consoles set up, each with a beautiful on-board visualizer to show their work. I heard Chauvet set up buses to take students to their facility for a tour. Those hot tickets went in a matter of days, making this one of the smartest marketing moves I have ever seen in my life. Busloads of young students will grow into their careers with the knowledge that Chauvet did something cool for them at one point. I’d like to think this will pay back in time.

Prop Lab at USITT

‡‡         Props to SD

Michael and Kathy Eddy were on board from Stage Directions, PLSN’s affiliated publication, making a huge presence. Besides conducting 52 interviews with name designers from all fields of theater, they had talks scheduled for three days at “The Prop Lab” that were always well attended. Every time I stopped in at one, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of these classes were attended by industry pros as well as students. We are never too old to learn.

This month, we feature a lot of good, informative articles with images caught by the world’s best photographers. I’m particularly proud that after several months I was able to sit my old friend Chris Weathers down for an interview. Our readers can acknowledge the importance of great promoter rep, but not many articles have shined a light on this profession. We are glad to wave that light on one of the best in our industry.



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