Theme parks are a great place to build your live sound skills. Christian Rosado who is currently Entertainment Production Planner for a major theme park talks about what working in audio at a theme park involves.
Tell me about your job working as an audio tech for a theme park.
When working at a theme park you have two options, you are either a stage technician or an event technician. Stage techs are only scheduled at stages in which they know tracks or roles and or they can learn other stages. When you get trained at a stage you can let the managers and crew chiefs know that your skill sets are on a specific discipline for instance mine is audio, then they can go ahead and train you in the audio positions at the stage.
As an event tech or what we call a flex tech, you are capable of doing stages and events. At events you can be A2’s or audio assists or you can be the A1 (Audio Engineer), we are always in need of good A2’s but we only have a few good A1’s. When a crew chief or an A1 notices that assists want to grow and become A1’s more than likely they will get trained and put on events as A1’s.
What was your official title?
Entertainment Stage Technician
What were your responsibilities?
When you start as a technician at a theme park your discipline doesn’t really matter at first, you get a park chosen for you and then a stage (that’s what we call our daily operation shows). At the stages you get taught specific tracks or roles that helps the show flow to be presented to an audience. As the time goes on a tech will learn an entire stage or several stages.
Did the job give you an opportunity to get much live mixing experience?
When you get trained as an A1 for your stage they give you plenty of time to mix the show. If you’re really good and your stage Crew Chiefs and Stage Managers realize your skill, you can get pulled to do events. That’s where you really get to mix events such as bands, opening ceremonies, conventions, weddings, etc.
Did you have to commit to a contract for a period of time?
When you get hired there is a contract but it is simply regulatory material that the company needs, and the union. You still have the opportunity the do outside gigs as long as it doesn’t interfere with your job at the park.
Describe a typical workday.
As a technician your hours are always a mess, but depending on the stage that you’re in for the day, your hours will always be the same. You will always have the same in-time, lunch-time, and out-time. Your day starts with a morning meeting if the stage has one, you do your reset a show test, and then what for the first show to start. After every show a reset is done and then do it again until your out time.
When you are in events your times will be determined by the production planner. All events are different with different in and out times, and sometimes lunch is provided which is great because sometimes you don’t have time to take a lunch.
What were the perks of the job?
The good thing about this job is that anyone has the ability to learn and grow. I have always said that the parks are a great place to start your career and/or retire. There are a lot of really good people I work with and people with a lot of technical experience in the field, and that has been one of the best things.
What was the worst part of the job?
Just like any job there are people that you don’t get along with, but you learn to deal, move on with life and not let that affect you and your goal in life.
What should people be aware of when applying for this position?
There is a high chance that when hired, a technician will not be doing positions related to their discipline. I always tell new hires to not worry. If you are a hard worker and you show interest in advancing your skill set, production planners, crew chiefs and managers will notice and start pulling you for events.
What kind of experience and/or knowledge is needed for the job?
Theater, concert, or any kind of production knowledge is always welcome. We have people from all kind of production backgrounds and we all work together.
What would you say were the best skills and experience you gained from the job?
My job at the park has molded me in becoming a great audio engineer, but the best skill I have gained from my experience here is discipline, leadership and communication. Something that I have noticed a lot of people do here is to never ask questions, if you don’t know something simply ask.