About Katie Gilliland

Posts by Katie Gilliland:

The Shark Theory

So when it comes to managing people is the is no such thing as always making the “right” call and contrary to popular beliefs there are no “Experts” in management as a expert is a person who has made ALL possible combination of mistakes the given discipline. So what all managers strive towards is implementation of the shark theory. The shark theory is continuous improvement within your management skills. Humans are not simple machines so when managing them Inspiration, motivation, effective communication, and the ability to build commitment thru enablement is key. One of the most popular models for creating this environment is called “CREATER”. The idea is to notice, actively listen, and effect change within the following themes: Change and innovation, Reward, recognition, and motivation, Empowerment, Attitudes, Task, Emotional intelligence, and last but not least Relationships. One of the overall styles to keep in mind is that Servant Leadership, where you(as manager) work in the trenches with the other employees in their area of comfort is one of the strongest was to earn their respect. The Cameron Jackson was quoted saying “Some of this will feel foreign to you at first but keep it up and it will become part of your culture.”

Stop making me Mad!

Everyone has run into that one person that just keeps getting under their skin and becomes a real difficult person in their world. Being a production manger means that you have to find a way to deal with that person and work thru what is going on. In truth what is difficult to one person n their level is often simply passion and commitment on the part of the other person. Taking the high road and simply ignoring what is happening is often not the safest thing to do in the theater. Here are eight ways to work thru a problem to help resolve conflict. One; be charming as possible even if it kills you. Two; be clear about what the problem really is- state the problem not the solution that is clearly not working. Three; removal the personal investment and feeling that are associated with it to help you remove anger and emotion which never help. Four, avoid judging- there are always at least two if not more perspectives and solutions to whatever is going on. Five; one issue at a time. It is very difficult to deal with solutions and outcomes along with all the varieable of each situation if you are jumping between circumstances. Break it down into chunks and deal with it in pieces. Six; Develop your own view on the situation – Gather all the information from a clear slate with all sides present and ask questions to get to the route of the true problem. Seven; bring options to the table not obstacles and finally number eight. Number Eight is that managers need to get to the Cruxt of the problem and find the win win scenario that makes everyone happy.
Feedback is a very important part of leadership that if done correctly is one of the most helpful tools a production manager can give to the crew so that they can grow and progress forward. It s the ultimate sign of a strong production manager to have people under them get promoted. You want to train your replacement so that you too can be promoted up and beyond the task at hand. When giving the feedback it is always wise to focus on the task at hand, work on the positives, give it out of the ear shot of others and in a timely fashion to the mistake, give it with their permission, be precise and do not infer, balance the positive and the negative, offer suggestions and open a dialog.
In general when managing people it is wise to keep the following in mind; have authority without having to say anything, try not to be what in the session at USITT today one of the presenters called “Emotional Tofu”- which is when you absorb the strongest emotion in the room. Realize that at some point all managers will cry and you need a safe haven where you can turn and that strong manager share the power and authority. It is all about creating a team and using delegation.

No Feedback??

Day 2 in Kansas City was Day 1 of the USITT Conference. My goal here in Kansas City is to generate a fact sheet about each of new automation options/ what you need to need to advance them, the best way to distribute power / easy equation that will be used to convert power draws, and to develop a list of common vocabulary that can be used help the production manager interact with the different groups of personal within the theater industry.
Rock n Roll all night, session one of today was a panel run by Jim Moody. His left and right were flanked by Paul Dexter and a female associate of Jeff Ravitz’s. The session was an awesome series of hands on stories directly from the road of the concert industry. There was no sugarcoating going on in this room – these stories were as real as they get. The format of the session covered tips on how to make freelance and roadwork a business ie the differences between 1099 / w2, and tips on the pre-designing the tour. Each slide of the powerpoint came with bullet points. What made the session valuable and exciting were the stories from the road that littered each and every bulletpoint.
The second session of the day was called Automation 101. Here is a sneak preview of the list of terms that will be defined in the automation language dictionary. The first term is feedback is the process in which part of the output of the system returns to input half of the system to indicate location of the moving device along a designated path. The feedback of any device can be either be in absolute or incremental measurement. Absolute encoders measure distance in binary via dark and light lines on a series of concentric circular wheels. Incremental encoders measure the distance via holes. If there is NO Feedback then you are in real trouble.
More updates to come. Check back soon!

Top Hat of the Morning to You!

So you think you know everything about top hats but you are wrong or so I learned this morning. Believe it or not there is an extensive history of their development and implantation over time. It all began in 1930s with the invention of the top hat as one of the lighting accessories. In the 1980s the current owner of City Theatrical, Garry, who was working on Broadway began to cut apart the full top hats that were in use. As he made the modifications to the top hats he became to the “go to guy” for manipulating the beam spill. This drew more attention to the light that was not being designed. Each designer was then forced into deciding wither or not to deal with this extra light. Garry ended up opening a small modification shop in his garage which has grown into a huge international company. City Theatrical has been doing more a large portion of their work on custom applications and modifications for now than 25 years. Standard top hats all focus on the 45degree cut off theory. This theory states that the perfect ratio between the amount of housing that covers the lamp (preventing the observers to see into it) and the amount of light that is cut out of the beam. This theory means that the 6 ¼ diameter top hat has a 6 ¼ height. The height equals the aperture. The current types of top hats in addition to the full standard are concentric circles, cross quadrant, half hats, and egg crate. Concentric circles, cross quadrant tend to be less efficient than other types and they are primary used when it is going to be in a visible location, part of their appeal is visual. The coolest application, I think, of the egg crate in a custom application is their use in Le Reve at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. The egg crate top hat has been reshaped to form into the shape of bubble covering the moving lights to prevent the audience from being disturbed by the light so close to the audience.

LEDs Part One

This is a special multi-part team post from Katie G. and Andy.

This blog is coming to you as a collaborative effort as we both took on the task of doing major research on the newest forms of LED instruments. LED fixtures unlike traditional tungsten fixtures utilize multi source point compared to a single source point reflector combination of the old system. These multi source point fixtures are composed of a series colored light emitting diodes arranged in groups. Each of the diodes in these groups are single color beams that mix together to create a single smooth field beam. Each generation of LED fixtures has groups of colored diodes consisting of three, four, or seven. LED fixtures containing three colored diodes per group use red, green, and blue color mixing; this type of mixing does not take into account for the orange, yellow, indigo, and violet wavelengths. Eliminating these wavelengths causes the field beam to either too warm or too cool, resulting in an imperfect white field. The LED fixtures that contain four colored diodes in each group help to eliminate this problem by adding a fourth diode colored amber. The amber diode begins to account for the missing wavelengths of the three diode fixture, thus creating a closer to perfect white. Most seem to think that by increasing to seven diodes you would create the perfect white; in theory this concept would hold true, however the current technology of the seven color diode fixtures fails to meet this expectation. Failure results due to the additional three diodes wavelengths result in less luminous cells within the beam field, these dead zones decrease the maximum saturation of field color. The distance between diodes and number of colored diodes within each group seems to be most efficient within a four diode LED fixture.

The transition into replacing traditional theatrical lighting fixtures with new LED lighting fixtures forces us to deal with the relationship between source and reflector. The most successful LED cyc fixture we have experienced so far is the 100w spectra-cyc LED fixture by Altman. We believe their success has arisen in maintaining the traditional J-reflector in previous cyc fixtures. This has allowed them duplicate the successful field properties found in traditional cyc fixtures. Competitor products that do not maintain the traditional relationship between source and reflector including the newly acquired Selador line of LEDs by ETC cannot duplicate the field results of the asymmetrical color mixing.

Please check back tomorrow for Part II as we explore the LED PAR and spot fixture from around the trade show.

A Whirlwind of Learning in Design +Tech

At day break, we were off to begin a day full of events that now looking back has seemed like a few days have gone buy rather than only few hours. Starting off the day was a session based on magic sheets which demonstrated the process of creating, laying out, maintaining, and the efficiency of computer generated magic sheets. Much of the discussion was based around the layout and the way that your eye moves around the page most efficiently. The second session and maybe the most inspirational session was the all conference keynote speaker address at the National Meeting held before the official opening of the conference. D Lynn Myers, the artistic director for Ensemble theater here in Cincinnati gave a address that was one of the most profound things that I have sat through. She addressed the state of theater and how it will move forward by an in-depth exploration of her past experience here at the Ensemble Theater. It was the respect that she showed while she spoke about the role her designers played in advancing her work that immediately won much popularity among the audience. Her messages were simple and for the most part quite clear in my own words believe & achieve. She spoke at length about how believing in what you are doing and the people you are surrounded by creates an environment of enthusiasm that may prevail against the worst events and odds occurring outside of the theater. She continued on in depth explaining how in the past the motivation and creative inspirations of her design team has helped the community at large survive the loss of numerous community members along with other tragedies that ultimately lead to the events that kept that same theater alive and its head above the water. My afternoon I spent my time touring the local Cincinnati Playhouse Theater in the park. This valuable session proved to be more valuable than ever conceived when an open, informal, and interactive dialog between professionals, me as visitors/guest and the full time staff that runs the facility, allowed them to begin to disclose the problems or difficulties that they had to overcome/work around. The most interactive session by far of the day was a session called “Knots, Knots, Knots.” A hands-on workshop that had a large expert to student ratio taught the knots every professional needs to have under their belt for a union call. UB riggers beware we have a few new knots up our sleeves.

We Swarm Cincinnati

After a bit of a drive, we have landed here in Cincinnati and are studing up on what the game plan for attacking the different classes that will begin bright and early tomorrow. I am pumped for the 8am session Magic sheets aren’t Magic yes me who loves her sleep is pumped to get up early for this session. Check back as I explore a way to develop a lighting inventory for designers that work across architecture and theater industries, to configure a lighting simulation station, and to use theatrical fixtures and accessories in non-traditional applications in and outside the theaterical industry.