When Mentoring Finally Clicks With The Mentored

Old Deaf Roadie

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Posts
4,887
Location
Goonieville, OR
As I have discussed in the forums previously, I head the tech (read A/V and IT) department at a small meeting and convention facility. In addition to typical seminars and training events, we host a number of performance based events and church groups and boast a significant inventory of professional audio, lighting, and video gear. Before I go further I should mention that I also regularly volunteer time & expertise to local youth programs, community theater, and even occasionally teach science and physics labs at a state youth correctional facility located in our county (which is a challenge because I am insanely limited on what can be brought into the classroom because it’s literally jail). I have learned much in my life and am a point where I really enjoy passing those skills on to a new generation. Plus, it allows me to dust off those training skills I learned as a NATOPS sensor station instructor aboard Navy P-3C Orion aircraft all those years ago. I don’t know who said it first, but I am a firm believer that everyone has something to teach and that everyone has something to learn.

One day I was programming our former Leprecon LP-X48 lighting console for a pageant and I felt the presence of someone watching over my shoulder. Turns out it was the drama coach from a local high school and he was having issues with his light rig. After some banter and a tech tour of our facility, we agree I should go take a look at his stage and see if I can deduce what the problem was. After all, it’s for the kids, right? This was in 2018 and since then, we have had dozens of conversations and visits to the school.

Since then, we have donated 36 1kw PAR64 cans, a number of old (and personally reconditioned) ellipsoidal fixtures, a large box filled with used gels, a few 1st generation ETC SmartBar dimmers, and that Leprecon LP-X48 console to their drama department. They now have enough professional gear to to put on a decent looking show on their stage (built into a gym wall). Yeah, it’s an old school. Then, he gets a bunch of budget to add equipment and he goes out and buys a bunch of LED batten fixtures, LED PARs, and a moving light. But, it seems, the man does not quite understand DMX or how to program the console we donated to him.

So today I met him at the school and we have yet another round of console training with an emphasis on soft patches and fixture libraries, how to add fixtures, and how to write fixture profiles. After about an hour into it, he perks way up, says “it all makes sense now”’ & starts correctly telling me how it works, then took off and wrote profiles for each fixture model in his rig while I am sitting there, and tells me he can finally add DMX to the curriculum for the technical portion of his class. It was that aha moment when the light goes on (pardon the pun) that makes everything worthwhile and is the reason I even bother to help. I know…an Old Deaf Roadie rant that’s positive…crazy…🎶🎶🎶🎶
Thanx for listening.
 

edvard

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 15, 2016
Posts
2,603
Location
Bremerton, WA
That's awesome. My son was interested in stage lighting, and we encouraged him to volunteer at a local community theater. The main lighting director welcomed the opportunity to show him the ropes and after a few shows we overheard him tell the director "This kid gets it!". It was like DMX was in his DNA, lol. He actually took over the lighting duties at that theater for about 6 months until some folks on the board found out he was only 17 (16 when he started), then suddenly he was a liability, despite knowing more than they did about lighting safety and protocols. Insurance worries, probably. We eventually sent him to SILV (gone now) and his credentials from that got him a job at one of the largest lighting companies in town.

He doesn't do stage lighting anymore due to various circumstances that almost wrecked him, but he still has programmable lights in his apartment, and a little bit of that old spark comes back when he talks about newer protocols like Art-Net and sACN. I'm still thankful to the kind and patient man who wasn't afraid to let a whippersnapper get his hands on the knobs and eventually take the reins. It gave my son an experience that few get to have.
 

telepraise

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Posts
1,998
Age
67
Location
Tampa Bay
As I have discussed in the forums previously, I head the tech (read A/V and IT) department at a small meeting and convention facility. In addition to typical seminars and training events, we host a number of performance based events and church groups and boast a significant inventory of professional audio, lighting, and video gear. Before I go further I should mention that I also regularly volunteer time & expertise to local youth programs, community theater, and even occasionally teach science and physics labs at a state youth correctional facility located in our county (which is a challenge because I am insanely limited on what can be brought into the classroom because it’s literally jail). I have learned much in my life and am a point where I really enjoy passing those skills on to a new generation. Plus, it allows me to dust off those training skills I learned as a NATOPS sensor station instructor aboard Navy P-3C Orion aircraft all those years ago. I don’t know who said it first, but I am a firm believer that everyone has something to teach and that everyone has something to learn.

One day I was programming our former Leprecon LP-X48 lighting console for a pageant and I felt the presence of someone watching over my shoulder. Turns out it was the drama coach from a local high school and he was having issues with his light rig. After some banter and a tech tour of our facility, we agree I should go take a look at his stage and see if I can deduce what the problem was. After all, it’s for the kids, right? This was in 2018 and since then, we have had dozens of conversations and visits to the school.

Since then, we have donated 36 1kw PAR64 cans, a number of old (and personally reconditioned) ellipsoidal fixtures, a large box filled with used gels, a few 1st generation ETC SmartBar dimmers, and that Leprecon LP-X48 console to their drama department. They now have enough professional gear to to put on a decent looking show on their stage (built into a gym wall). Yeah, it’s an old school. Then, he gets a bunch of budget to add equipment and he goes out and buys a bunch of LED batten fixtures, LED PARs, and a moving light. But, it seems, the man does not quite understand DMX or how to program the console we donated to him.

So today I met him at the school and we have yet another round of console training with an emphasis on soft patches and fixture libraries, how to add fixtures, and how to write fixture profiles. After about an hour into it, he perks way up, says “it all makes sense now”’ & starts correctly telling me how it works, then took off and wrote profiles for each fixture model in his rig while I am sitting there, and tells me he can finally add DMX to the curriculum for the technical portion of his class. It was that aha moment when the light goes on (pardon the pun) that makes everything worthwhile and is the reason I even bother to help. I know…an Old Deaf Roadie rant that’s positive…crazy…🎶🎶🎶🎶
Thanx for listening.
Busted! Old Deaf Roadie your first paragraph fully exposes your humanity. Your compassion and service are commendable and I'm proud to know you electronically.

As a retired elementary teacher, I know of what you speak, I saw that light come on in a struggling student many times over the years. Fills your heart right up. Carry on brother!
 

Old Deaf Roadie

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Posts
4,887
Location
Goonieville, OR
Busted! Old Deaf Roadie your first paragraph fully exposes your humanity. Your compassion and service are commendable and I'm proud to know you electronically.

As a retired elementary teacher, I know of what you speak, I saw that light come on in a struggling student many times over the years. Fills your heart right up. Carry on brother!
Wow! Thanx!! I try to live a positive life. The advent of grandkids has certainly helped me to relax along the way and have some fun. I have a soft spot for helping schools. Maybe it stems from some contrition I feel for how I behaved as a student all those years ago. 🎵🎶🎵
 




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