Where's the Passion?

In the June issue of ED I found Chris Parry's article [“The Price is Not Always Right,” p.28] to be very interesting, informative, and provocative. Chris raises an issue that has been with us for a long time — the difficulty of acquiring new, interesting, and innovative items for your latest production.

I very much appreciate the thought of getting a response from some rental houses to Chris Parry's article. However, I found the response to his well thought out and very carefully exampled presentation more self-serving than useful.

Being told to be realistic or to use what's available, or “simple solutions work better,” and “why do you need this expensive stuff,” indicates a lack of response to Parry's thoughtful complaint. The examples he that offered range from the very simple and inexpensive, such as a 5k Fresnel or a GAM Film F/X machine, to a more expensive Autopilot from Wybron. At no time does Chris expect to get the stuff for nothing, but he does expect a reasonable rental price.

I would like to offer that the problem lies in the lack of imagination shown by the management of our supply houses today. I've been around long enough to remember a different time, some of it better, some of it worse. There was a period when one rental house so dominated the Broadway scene that if they did not want to put it in rental you had a problem, it was as simple as that. But that changed rapidly as the number of quality rental houses grew across the country as well as in New York. The people who started those companies were often working stagehands. I very much enjoyed calling on them with a new product because they immediately saw its possibilities and were eager to get one to show their customers. New products are coming out faster and market applications are expanding but the dealers seem to be asleep. They don't see the possibilities, not understanding their own markets and the needs customers have for these new products.

When a designer finds a solution as Chris did for his production challenges the immediate response is, “You can't get it, we don't have it, it's not available,” and, of course, “It costs a fortune.” This shows they don't understand Larry Schoeneman's positive response, “Designers are not the enemy, they are the life blood of our industry. It's my job to find the type of gear they want.” If a dealer is not willing to invest in the new equipment, that's a business decision that he/she makes, but blaming it on everyone else is not servicing the client. When a designer like Chris Parry finds a new and interesting solution to a problem there are probably others with the same need. A more imaginative and creative dealership would say wow-here's an opportunity to rent this equipment, get it started, and then have it to show to my other clients. Where did the imagination and the passion go? Without them you are not a leader. Maybe not even in the race.
Joseph N. Tawill
President, GAMPRODUCTS, Inc.
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Problem Solved

Thank you, thank you for adding Problem/Solution department.

I started reading Theatre Crafts more than 20 years ago and needed “How To: …” so as not to reinvent the wheel. When Theatre Crafts evolved into “more than theatre” I stopped subscribing….I subscribe and submit articles to Yale Technical Brief, which is only shop stuff. Please keep the important How To information heading to those in the trenches with limited time and money who provide the magic in theatre.
Rich Desilets
Technical director, Actors Theatre
Santa Rosa, CA