Technical Direction

Portfolio for Technical Direction Class:

Thought this class I was able to become more competent and have a larger set of skills in the field of technical direction. For hard skills I learned Vectorworks, and got better at drafting, along with acquiring a skillset for staging and curved walls. Overall I learned about budgeting and got better at creating processes. Further I learned the importance of planning out time, working with other groups, and the importance of defining a problem, and creating solutions from there.

What I have learned from the course I would break down into three areas: general, technical and personal. For technical skillset I have been challenged to work in groups and individually to come up with ideas to address complex, but potentially common construction problems in the theatre. Working together in teams presents opportunities but additionally challenges due to different personalities. Lastly from a personal standpoint working together and creating plans for the implementation of a designers idea has presented options to grow in my understanding of leading teams efficiently and effectively.

To start out I would like to touch on some of the general aspects I have learned thought the class as a whole,which are listed below.
•Sometimes the best place to start is to brainstorm, and physically handle the material and evaluate it, rather then start with an auto cad drafting. In the past one of the first things I’ve done is to create a sketch in CAD, and work on testing forward the end, and in a few instances it required starting over, which would have been avoided if a materials test occurred first.

Moving forward I will look to

Understand the minimum drafting to complete the tsk

Know when you need to draft & ways to short circuit impulse to draft first

Look at why, what are you truing to accomplish by drafting before committing a chunk of time .

• Take time to work on ideas. Rarely the first idea I come up with is the best, and it takes a few iterations for an idea to become good.

•Sometimes there are many good ways to accomplish something, especially when there is no constraint on budget; in the end as a team you need to choose one, and work on it. If it turns out this is not the best idea then abandon it and move to another solution.

• Solicit knowledge from experts in the field and books. There is no need to reinvent the wheel in order to accomplish a task. Very little of what is done has never had any similar items constructed, so there is usually information to be learned if a little research is conducted.

•When testing, it is important to be able to measure the results in a quantitative way, rather that just say X was better then Y because it appeared to be less shaky, or the like.

•There can be a benefit for contracting out work, which is not your specialty. Regardless if you use a vendor or not, an outside plan helps give insight into a project and may bring an idea that is worth exploring.

•It is important to come prepared with a plan of action for what to accomplish durning a class period, and actually put the work in, rather than wasting time

For the personal aspects, I have found from working on these projecst is that its important to engage with your teammates and be in contact with them in order to have the best outcome. Its necessary to split task among people, but its still important to have knowledge of what your teammates are doing. Its also necessary for everyone to be on the same page on what you want your project outcome to be. Working together in teams had provided the ability to create better outcomes, and reduce the individual workload of each member. There is a synergistic effect of working together, either positive or negative, and its easy to get off task and end up wasting time.

Problem 1: Create a pb&j sandwich according to design specs and adhere to budget

Solution: Procure materials, create documentation

What I Learned: I learned the importance of creating a process for implementing solutions to problems. Overall the most important item I learned is to work on clearly defining steps to define the problem, then work on a solution from there. Often I just rely on past knowledge, but I worked on creating processes.

Problem 2

Stage Deck

What I Learned: I learned more about the construction and types of stage decks. In the past I have either used pre-made or rental decks, or used standard open frame platforms. For this project I was able to feel more confident in the creation of stage decks. Overall I learned the importance again of creating processes and utilizing them.

Problem 3

Curved Flats

What I Learned: For this project I drafted in 3d with Vectorworks. This was the first project I used Vectorworks for and learned the differences from auto cad, and was able to turn in a final construction documents.

Curved flats require special consideration, a modification from standard flats & moulding.

•Flexible moulding is available for purchase, but cost far more than standard moulding.

Problem 4


What I Learned: I worked on creating a better system for documenting and working to be able to quickly and accurately create budgeting. I learned a little more about excel, and created a template to estimate budget and labor.

Overall I have learned a variety of both technical skills, and ways to approach problems. I think the most valuable information so far had been the information of how to work effectively in teams to address problems. Further another critical aspect is improving on providing actionable feedback, along with clearly defining the problem, goals, deliverables, and though actionable debriefing. I think it has been a more effective to take the time in the beginning to clearly define the problem, and break it down into different segments in priority of importance before addressing them.