Tuesday, 9 December 2008


i've worked as an AV tech for a good while now and it can be a long, hard, thankless slog. i've thought nothing of a 70 hour week, or a two-day rig that's been changed at the last minute.
or a client turning up and knowing your job better than you do, even though it's their first ever live event.
or making a speaker cable out of a 4-way because some idiot didn't put enough in the cable trunk.
or getting the blame for a microphone not working, and it turns out someone in the audience has turned it off.
or rigging an event one day, turning up the next day to run it and finding one of the cleaners has stolen the projector.
or HP laptops deciding they don't want to work anymore. mid-show.
or camera-men falling asleep.
or finding that a crew-member has plugged the entire video/graphics rig, satellite feed and the comms system into one 13-amp socket.
or hanging over a balcony (gripping with your ankles) re-focusing red-hot lamps with your bare hands, because the presenter has decided to re-arrange the furniture half way through the event.
or catching a set, before it lands on a string quartet.
.... i could go on...
(and ripping your hands to shreds... every day.)

we don't get much in the way of recognition, usually. and actually, most of the time when i say "i'm an AV tech" people look at me, slightly confused, and reply something like,
"oh cool, that's with computers and stuff."

"oh cool, because my telly has stopped working, so you can fix it."

"oh cool,...... errrrrmmmmmm. i'm a receptionist so i deal with you guys all the time."

or (my personal favourite)
oh cool, you make wires don't you?"


so imagine my pleasant surprise on looking back over one of the most memorable speeches this century and finding this:

(by the way, it's techs that built the stage he's on. and ran the sound system. and the screens. and the lighting rig. and the graphics, sound, cameras, video network, satellite feeds, tv broadcast, arranged and fired the fireworks. we brought it all in on trucks. we carried it into the venue. we set it all up. we made it work. tested it. tested it 40 more times. worked it.
and then
long into the night and the next few days
we took it all down, put it back in trucks, and left an empty room for the next group of techs who were probably sitting outside waiting.

and we probably did it all on 10 chocolate biscuits.

you're welcome.

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