Diane DeMasi

Freelance Writer & Author
Job Scoop: Live Sound Engineer

Job Scoop: Live Sound Engineer

As writer’s we have common jobs we frequently use for our characters. In an effort to find a variety of positions I’ve been asking those I love, those I know, and those I’ve just met about their jobs. We can always guess what kind of conflict happens, but it’s nicer to get it straight from those who know best.

This segment will give a little insight into different jobs, from starter jobs to career jobs. It will also give an idea of the different conflicts we can create that are typical of those fields.  And, of course, the information most of us writers want to know: Where would we most likely find a dead body?

Today’s Job Scoop is: Live Sound Engineer

and the information is provided by a family friend who wishes to remain anonymous for a few reasons: He’s fairly new and doesn’t want to ruffle feathers.  Concern respected. Thank you for taking time to answer my questions Sound Guy.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

SOUND GUY: We review the day’s itinerary and find out the order of the bands and the start times.

We help the bands load in their equipment, turn on amps, consoles, etc….

Headliner band sets up first on stage, we do their sound check, mark levels on board (always have Sharpie and tape). Once they’re done, their equipment is moved to back of the stage and the band just before headliner sets up. Same thing, sound check, mark levels, move them back. Finally, the opening band sets up and gets their sound check. Some stages are smaller and the opening bands don’t have much room up there.

Some of the larger tours have their own sound guy, those are pretty laid-back nights, and we’re just there to help when needed. One band even brought in their own console.

Once all bands are ready we just hang until show time. When doors open we put on house music and take our break.

After each band performs they haul out their equipment and the next band pulls theirs forward. This makes the gig run smooth and gets the bands out quick.

Once the gig is over, we zero out the console, shut everything down, unplug and wrap up cables.

WHAT IS THE MOST TYPICAL DRAMA YOU EXPERIENCE?

SOUND GUY: Prima donna attitudes. I’ve been lucky, no one too bad, yet.

WHAT’S THE HARDEST PART OF THE JOB?

SOUND GUY: Just keeping everything running smoothly. Equipment glitches, mics die, stuff like that.

ANY MYTHS OR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT YOUR JOB?

SOUND GUY:  We’re not part of the show. Some people think we can introduce them to band members. We don’t hang out with the bands, we’re working. We got stuff to do, we can’t get you autographs and we’re not buddies with the bands. Sure we get to meet them, but it’s all work.

ANY SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR THE JOB?

SOUND GUY:  Flashlight – gets dark in some corners, gloves – lifting heavy equipment, Sharpie and tape for marking levels on board

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE BENEFITS OF YOUR JOB?

SOUND GUY:  You get to be around music all day. Do it a lot and you can work the show of a band you like. That can be good or bad. Bad if the band is not cool, have an attitude.

ANY INTERESTING PLACES YOU’VE DONE SOUND?

SOUND GUY: All the venues. They all have something different, something cool.

WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKELY FIND A DEAD BODY?

SOUND GUY: Probably in an alley behind a venue.

WHAT WAS YOUR CREEPIEST MOMENT?

SOUND GUY: I haven’t had one.

DID I MISS ANYTHING THAT YOU’D LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW?

SOUND GUY: No. Think that’s all there is.

Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. Appreciate the help.

If you have a unique job, please contact me Diane (at) DianeDeMasi (dot) com, I’d love to interview you for this segment! Or if you have suggestions for questions or want more information, I will do my best to get it.

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1 comment found

  1. Great idea for character development. Would make fascinating story to have suspense thriller from the POV if the sound/light engineer.

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