Working as a Stagehand in China.
In case you are planning on moving to China to work as a Stage Manager, Stage Technician, Technical Director, etc... there are a few things you should be aware of; First, if you don't know the language you will have a hard time getting the most basic things done like rigging, lighting and explaining the designers artistic vision of the install and why the crew has to move things around three or four times. Second, you will have a hard time finding a translator that knows "theater lingo"! Unless you are fortunate enough to know someone that has been in the country long enough to have trained a translator in Stage Tech lingo! Third, the "Safety Engineer" will cause you headaches if you don't know how to deal with them. What is a Safety Engineer? A person who is suppose to be there to ensure the Health and Safety of the Chinese crew is being taken into consideration while at the job site. He/She will point out issues without solutions! The list goes on and on... If you need help or want to ask question contact me at www.globalstagetechs.com I will be more then glad to answer your questions or tell you about some of my experience, frustrations and good times while installing shows in China.
Vendors will promise you EVERYTHING but will deliver nothing but invoices and delays!
Yes, the vendors here in China are notorious for saying they can do what you are asking and have knowledge and experience with the entertainment standards you are requiring. However, when the work is actually being done; It's either not fabricated as per AutoCad drawings or the crew isn't aware of Health and Safety work practices that your are expecting to be followed. The end result will be that the project will be delayed due to the GC or Vendor; both of which will blame each other. It never fails! When negotiating contracts with vendors here, ask for sample works or at least get some feed back from and I will stress this, companies you know or that have been in the country long enough to give you honest feedback on that particular vendor! Ive been here for five years installing shows all across this country and can recommend some pretty good fabricators and not so good ones! :) www.globalstagetechs.com
Not all theaters in China are built the same. The picture to the left is from Lang Fang Training Studios. Built by Wanda Group. Contact me and I will be more then glad to share stories about this venue. Not all bad!
All Production Gear isn't built the same
Keep in mind there is no ANSI, CSA or Chinese version of UL. if you need gear with those tags on them you will either have to import them yourself or know of companies within China that carry that product. Procurement of these items is a nightmare and lead time is costly to your install and timeline! Be aware of customs and freight forwarding companies! Even if you plan ahead your container can be stuck at the port of entry for weeks, if not months! Fill out your carne in both English/Chinese in order to expedite things!!! Major lesson you don't want to learn on the JOB!
A word of advice if you are going to be rigging and need to make your own wire rope! Bring these items with you! Along with sleeves!! Trust me on this because you will have a HARD TIME finding them in China!