When working outside in the sun, black is the worst color to wear.
On an all-day show, having an entire change of clothing on hand is a good idea.
A sweat towel also comes in quite handy. At the very least, your feet will thank you for a clean pair of socks midway through the day.
And, please - don’t make us have the “Stinky Talk” with you. Yes, it’s often a dirty, smelly job, but don’t start the day that way.
When in doubt, ask!
There is no one correct way to roll cables - BUT- there is only one correct way for each sound company. Ask. And learn how to roll cables: circular, over and under, etc. Cables never “forget,” and if they’re rolled differently than usual, they can be damaged. This can get expensive!
Roll cables as if you’re going to be the person to use them next.
When rolling cables, be aware that there are many different types, and they usually go in different places. As a general rule, it’s best to keep them separated so that stowing them is both accurate and swift. Note in each trunk what size and type of cables are already rolled and packed. Follow that lead.
Cases and their respective lids are usually identified by matching numbers, words like “FRONT” and “BACK” written across both the lid and case, color codes or the like. Pay attention - putting on the wrong lids, or putting them on upside down, can warp or otherwise damage cases.
Be gentle with things like snake latches and other multi-pin connectors. They are delicate and very costly.
When you see something that is broken or obviously should be repaired before it does break, bring it to the sound company’s attention.
When dealing with mic stands, find out how the company wants its stands to be stored. Usually, fully collapsed is the accepted method. Leaving out a telescoped boom means there’s a good chance it will get bent, and therefore ruined. Again, if look carefully at the cases to figure out what is to be stored where.
When loading trucks, be respectful of the case wheels. DO NOT ram the wheels onto the lift gate. This will bend the casters, which cost at least $25 each.
Never ride a lift gate up to the truck box while holding gear. If a case, loudspeaker stack, etc., begins to roll, it’s almost impossible to stop. And it will likely take you off with it. This is one of the more unsafe aspects of stagehand work (on the ground, that is).
If faced with a falling loudspeaker stack - please, please, please - don’t try to put your body between it and the ground. You’ll lose every time. Yes, loudspeakers are expensive, but they aren’t as important as your safety.
Teri Hogan is a veteran audio professional who co-owned Sound Services, a performance audio company in Texas.