Madison Career Chat Friday Field Trip

Madison Career Chat Friday Field Trip
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MMI Career Chat Friday once again ventured out on an employer field trip.  This time our destination was the Wisconsin Union Theater – a venue that hosts everything from theater productions to music concerts to lectures and everything in-between. We were met by Heather Good, Jeff Macheel and Heather Macheel.  Our goal was a grand tour of both the historic Shannon Hall and the brand new Playcircle venues followed up by a sharing of resumes and informal interviews for attendees.  All was accomplished!

We discovered that the Wisconsin Union Theater is what you call a “Roadhouse” a word in theater meaning a place where artists, groups and troupes simply pay to rent the venue space only and not the extras such as instruments, lights, video and anything else that makes productions high-tech these days.  Each item a show wants outside of just use of the stage costs extra – something most shows forget to remember. WI Union TheaterWI Union TheaterBecause of this memory lapse by show promoters and performers, Jeff and Heather Macheel say “every day is new, every day is exciting – you never know what you’ll get”.  Jeff and Heather have been asked for everything from video production to instruments they’ve never heard of and turn to the UW School of Music to help them find.  It’s definitely never a dull moment around their space! Being that most attendees were from the Recording and Music Technology program of course the soundboardhighlight was the sound board – a DiGiCo SD8.  Yeah, we all geeked out over it!  There was an animated discussion on the why and how they’ve moved from a digital board to this new and awesome digital board.  They’ve found that most shows coming in are a little intimidated by the abilities this new board holds (including the ability to save show specs and create audio recordings!) once they catch on they love all it has to offer. The Wisconsin Union Theater has a long history with student workers and this is the first time that student group has included Madison Media Institute students.  Jeff and Heather put the job into three categories – sound, light and stage – with everyone getting the opportunity to work within each category.  Some days workers come in and start the day emptying the trash and end the day being the stage manager for a major performance while other days might be spent setting up lights and sound board settings for 10 hours. Jeff’s best advice to those looking for a career in live productions or simplifying adding more experience to round out their resume, “you have to want it, there are far easier ways to make money then working in live production - whether it’s theater or music. You see, we work when the rest of the world is off.” The Wisconsin Union Theater is almost always hiring and at rates between $12 - $18/hr.  If you’re interested in learning more, check in with Career Services at bulbOh, and that stand with the blue light on the top of it – it’s called the Ghost Light.  Interested to know what that is exactly?  Here’s a link to a fun article stating both the supernatural and not so supernatural reasons why - Look for Career Chats to start up again in October - check your MMI email account for details and dates!