Captain's Log: Buffy @ Comicon

Buffy came and went in the blink of an eye. Looking back, I can’t believe how fast time flew by. Being new in the theatre production scene, we hit a lot of firsts with this one. It was my first time in a theatrical world, I come from engineering after all. I have no idea where to start, so I’ll do it like a true engineer; procedural and from the beginning.                 

This idea started about 2 years ago, when we met up with a Comiccon representative at a coffee shop to pitch the idea. He was interested, or at least intrigued, since the idea was unique and never done before. I don’t want you getting the idea that we were working non-stop since then, not at all. There was a lot of waiting for answers from various parties involved, dead time where we just didn’t work on the project due to life getting in the way, and general flip flopping between ideas and uncertainty. You know, the state before a project is a project that looks like procrastination but it’s not? Yeah, that.

Buffy was made our final decision moving forward in January of 2018. We were happy with the idea but, at the time, we didn’t realize how deep the deep end was. I’ll try and explain as bluntly as possible. At this exact moment, we were two dudes and one dudette with an idea. No company, no website, no social media, no funding, no experience and we just entered into an agreement with Comiccon. For those of you that don’t know, Comiccon Montreal attracted 58,000 people in 3 days in 2017. A regular theatre production in Montreal attracts about 500 people if they are running the show for one week! We had to get to work and fast. Not only did we have to create our company, logos, webpage, and social media but we also had to create Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once more with feeling.

Needless to say, we were understaffed. So much so that titles didn’t make any sense because we did everything. Granted, some of us had skillsets that made them the obvious choice for certain tasks but other tasks were tackled as a team (read: the blind leading the blind with a YouTube video). I consider myself lucky to have had Kevin with me for all things technical. Leading up to the show, Kevin’s tasks were mainly supporting. His Photoshop and InDesign work is excellent. He was able to bring to life the ideas I had in my head for logos, pictures, flyers, posters, etc. During the show, Kevin stepped up. With his background in Tech, he was able to show the cast how to set up risers and curtains; he brought in an amazing tech for lights and went through the entire play with her in 2 rehearsals; he manned an unfamiliar sound console for the first time at show on Saturday (yes, no practice) and crushed it; he was responsible for mic checks and equalizing for the band and vocals. Overall, everything I had no idea how to operate tech wise and all the good habits that come with this field, he was in complete control. Mikayla was also a blessing. At first, she was behind the computer putting together our Media Kit. Granted, it was a collective effort to decide what we liked and what we didn’t but she did all the heavy lifting. Next, she moved on to costumes and props. She hit up all the stores that matched her vision of what the cast should be wearing. She went out of her way to grab cast members on their days off and drag them from one store to the next. Props was also an adventure, I think we received over a hundred pictures of stuff to approve but it was well worth it. The time that she gave me went into good use and I’m very thankful. During the show, she killed it back stage. As a hybrid between a back stage manager, a prop coordinator, and a prop choreographer, I’m really happy her brain didn’t explode.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that HoM is recruiting. We probably did the impossible for this show. We had a tech DAY instead of a tech WEEK, we built a company concurrently with a production, we had 3-4 hour rehearsals twice a week, and we spent the rest of time planning the next rehearsal. We saw the lights and sound console for the first time the day of the show, we saw the stage for the first time the day before the show, we had to build and strike the stage after each performance (we had 1 hour, impossible, right?), and we put on what you saw with 1 practice run, without mics. As three people, I think we did pretty well.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post!

- Stephen.

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