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I just started in this industry a month ago, I'm a PA but I feel left out when everybody's talking and I would like to learn more. I would very much like to become a production manager in our company. I seriously want to learn more about lighting and sound. Everything about it, all the different kind of equipment, but mostly first about everything our production company has on premises just howThe company have the following stuff


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The company have the following stuff


vrx 932 900w

srx 718s 800w

srx 728s 1600w

crown it 4000 and 6000



Soundcraft GB 8 32 Ch

Soundcraft LX7 16inch

Insert mult 8way

Dbx IEQ 31

DBX 1046 Quad Comp

DBX 1074 Quad Gate

Lexicon MPX - 200 FX



srx - 712 900w



martin mac 700

martin mac 250+

Robe scan 575 XT

Robe colour wash 250at

Robe colour spot 170 xt

Pulsar chromozone 12 mod

zero88 dimmer

compulite rave console

martin light jockey

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You will get a more positive and helpful response if you provide more specific questions.


Now I'll probably get shot for this, but in answer to what does all that kit do, well it all goes together and makes noise and light and hopefully looks and sounds good and makes a show. - That is a general answer, I doubt there is anyone here (unless the actual op of that rig is here) that could tell you exactly how that is all used in your venue.


If you are more specific people can be more helpful, but if you are in a venue with PA and LX ops, can you not go and talk to them? surely that would be a good place to start.

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If you want to learn what the kit does and how to operate it, and eventually become a production manager in your company, I'd suggest you start shadowing the people who rig it and operate it, and take it from there...
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To be honest, the best way to learn the kit is to use it. Speak to the techs, see if they have periods when they are not so busy and have them talk through the kit and get you to rig some of it. If you show an interest, with any luck the company will be helpful.


Nobody is giving you that much stick - its just the question was so open ended, it would be like saying I just started working in a factory as a PA, how do all the machines work?


Practical experience is always best, and if you work in a company with kit, make use of it as it is the best resource out. Also offer to stay on late to play with equipment, and (against my better judgement) maybe go out on shows if at all possible, in your own time (better if you get them to pay overtime).


Once you have done that, if you more specific questions that the techs at your company can't answer you may find an answer here.

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the best way is to get out there on a few quieter gigs so you can ask questions, or get stuff explained to you in the warehouse on a quiet day, once you've done that you can come back and search/ask us for more information



good luck!

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I´d say ask around and see if you can spend a week doing tech things and not PA things, you´ll learn a lot in short space of time..

mostly because I´d say you seem to have the motivation and the interest..


also, if you see a tech fiddling with something in the warehouse, join in.. that simple..


LEARN BY DOING.. the #1 rule here I´d say...


Other than that, your basically looking to learn a new "language" altho this one is technical use of english..

as someone who moved to spain 4months ago.. trust me there is no way to rush learning new languages and ways to use them.. theres a phrase in spanish that all my friends here keep saying to me "poco a poco" ie.. little by little!


I´m guessing its a permanant job.. so dont worry. its not a race, its a marathon!

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I think it's great that you want to become a Production Manager. I'm a Production Manager and here's how I did it.


I did a few years at school/university realising that I quite liked doing lighting, sound and SM.

I trained in sound as part of my music degree.

I helped lighting and stage people to widen my knowledge base.

I did 1 year as a casual technician.

I did 1 year as a part-time (20 hours a week) techncian at an arts centre.

I did 2 tours as the lighting and sound bloke with a group of singers and dancers.

I did 6 years as a technician in a busy theatre.

I did 4 years lecturing in technical theatre.

I got a job as a Production Manager.


Now, I realise that it is perfectly possible to do all that somewhat quicker than I did, but it does strike me that if someone wanted to become a lawyer or a surgeon or an accountant they wouldn't think they could ask a question on a discussion forum and, from the answers, be able to go out and do the job a week later. Yet somehow, and I'm really not trying to be personal now - I'm sure there are many people who think the same as our original poster - some people think that the job of Production Manager is so easy you can pick it up very quickly.


Personally, I think the opposite: the best PMs have years of experiece in all areas of the business. Let's face it, when something goes wrong and no-one else is able to deal with it, all eyes will turn to you to answer the question "what do we do now" and "I don't know" isn't one of the possible answers.

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I'd chuck myself in with Eric (and we have a similar type of background).


In the days when I was crew/technician/operator, I always thought I could do the production managers job easily. The big problem is that the sound and lighting is a very small part of the entire job - and it's those other areas that trip you up. Dealing with musicians and the MU probably the most difficult. Paperwork too is dreadful - especially as the production manager now find him or herself responsible for the dreaded heath and safety documentation and implementation.


I'm not sure if anyone starting out can know what being a production manager's is actually like? Many of the things you think it is, it isn't - and it is lots of things you've never given much thought to!

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Some good advice above!

The best way to learn about the equipment is to talk to the people that use it, and spend some of your free time using the kit.


You may be a bit put off by some of the responses above, but maybe this would explain the reasons for it:


*Random Person*:

"Hi, I've just started working as a **** at a company, and I noticed the PA doing all kinds of stuff on their computer and with the other office equipment like (list of equipment). I'm really interested in becoming a PA and want to learn everything about it.
How would you go about answering that on an open forum?

The job of a PA is more difficult than it might look from the outside, and involves a much bigger set of skills than you'd (maybe) initially expect.


How did you learn to be one?

I'd guess that you learned by doing it, talking to other PAs, your boss and that sort of thing.


In the technical side of production, it's much the same - I learned much of my craft by doing it and by talking to other technicians.

The vast majority of theatre and other production technicians are very friendly people who are usually willing to help and pass on knowledge - but you do have to know when to ask!

If I'm very busy or on standby for something, I don't appreciate an interruption and will probably ignore you or give you a Look.

If I'm not particularly busy or if I'm doing a job that might be easier with two people, then I'll be happy to explain things - especially if you offer to give me a hand!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Talking and doing is generally the best way to get started, however not everyone gets that opportunity. I recommend reading a few basic books on audio, lighting and stage management as this will give you background info (what is a Fresnel?), so that you can make the most of whatever hands-on time you can get. If you are at a more advanced level, the technical manuals for the gear may provide more info. A lot of these manuals can be downloaded from the internet these days.
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