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Wiring: the Magical Epic Art
Jan McL posted a topic in General DiscussionWiring = epic? Yes in the sense that wiring someone is in my fantasy world an operatic event: adjective op·er·at·ic \ˌä-pə-ˈra-tik\ 1: of or relating to opera 2: grand, dramatic, or romantic in style or effect Opera contains the maximum possible artful layers: orchestral works, song, dance, sets, costumes, stories, technical stuff galore. Much like motion pictures. Have been thinking more critically about how I conduct wiring sessions toward sharing some things I can only assume from artist and costumer feedback don't always happen. All of the following assumes you know your gear intimately, how to quickly troubleshoot, and maximize your particular electronics particular value. Awareness. Each moment of the process requires awareness and the collection of data points for future study. Time to study. Replay the game films. For me it's a kind of meditation on the process. What went smoothly. What could be more elegantly achieved whether sonically, logistically, or politically. Create openings for feedback loops by proving I remember what my colleagues prefer. Mental Confidence. From awareness and time sprouts mental confidence that engenders trust. Physical Confidence. Think of how people groom horses, how doctors and nurses are with your physicality. The physical confidence while placing a microphone was improved for me by means of an early and long connection to dance. Graceful dance. Predictable. Rhythmical. Respectful. Our process is certainly nowhere near an intimate as a prostate exam, but there's no reason I shouldn't treat our physical connection with the same clean, respectful and proven professional intimate touching technique. My wiring psycho-physicality lives somewhere between the dancer and the groomer/OB Gyn: once I move where they can't see me, I maintain contact with their body with at least a forearm as I move around mounting a transmitter and/or dropping a cable. Continued contact with the wire-ee especially important during ankle mounts, kneeling with hands out of sight. There is an economy of movement. I say in advance what I want to do. "With your permission I plan to run the mic in through this armhole, right to the middle and onto the fabric of the Spankx, then to the transmitter that will fit smoothly under the jacket on the waistband. Let's make sure we don't see it on your waistband before we get too far." When I'm finished, I always tap them twice so that if they're in conversation or saying lines they know I've finished without distraction and can relax. There are hand signals I train AD's to recognize, # of wires among them. Communication. "Welcome to my cart-away-from-home where you are an honored guest," is what I endeavor to convey with body language, especially someone's first time at the cart. Beyond the introduction I'm a chick of few words at first. Furthermore, I become in my head a restauranteur: the professional host. Learned to quickly and accurately read customer mood from college and high school years as--ultimately--a high-end waitress. Private? Silent? Modest? Small talk? Philosophy? They have props/drink/sides? Vanna White shows them, "You win! This is YOUR cupholder, this your personal shelf. Jacket here. Let me make you comfortably at home." So much fun. Psychology. Every time we do the thing it gets better. I think about it. Refine the process. Call their attention to significant improvements with a Twitter-length sentence. The moment of pointing out the plant mic is something I enjoy almost as much as their playing to said mic. I serve plant mics up like a 5-star chef presenting the entrée to POTUS. Sound cart as refuge. Cart placement is generally far enough from the fray that it feels significantly less hectic than near camera. It's a calm space. Quiet, positive space. When practical, I clear extraneous people away in advance of an artist's landing. Sacred Trust. Given the microphones, I consider that connection with the artists a sacred trust; I endeavor to illustrate that reverence with every word, movement and action. Respect. I'm never finished wiring until I've put on the costumer's hat and given 'em the once over. I put that costumer hat on when I'm evaluating a new costume, too.