Somewhere in the course of our weekend services, our FOH audio engineer leaned over and said to no one in particular, “My daddy warned me there would be days like this.” He was speaking truth. It was a Sunday filled with many wins in the midst of many challenges. As is always the case, upon review some where just a unfortunate events while others could possibly have been avoided. Here’s a rundown of how the day went down.
Our creative moment for the day was centered around a combination video-song piece highlighted by a small set change involving a picture frame screen running black and white images of families submitted through social media.
Challenge #1: Construct the frame for projection. This project took us many directions as we wrestled with how to place the screen on stage in the appropriate position during the 2 minute video we had to reset. Constructed out of fancy base board (Home Depot) and with muslin stretch fabric across the back, the screen worked well to receive the images. Our final choice was to use large structures left and right with hooks added. The trick was the frame/screen needed to hang freely so the rear projection would be unimpaired.
Challenge #2: To execute the song within our set piece look we needed to move the following elements in 2 minutes.
- Stand up piano shell with audio lines
- Throw carpet
- Three stools for musicians
- Two Structures for Frame
- Frame to Hang
- Floor lamp for ambiance
Now you see the potential issue. We immediately realized …ok, not immediately but on Sunday AM that our normal one Stage Manager would not be able to pull this off. So we went into recruitment mode. A couple “lucky” volunteers were snatched alongside our Production Assistant.
Challenge #3: We realized during run through that our plan to have the keyboard “live” bed the set up video was just not going to work. The reason? Our keyboard player needed to move from their normal key rig down to the stand up piano. There really was no other way to underscore the song (bass guitar solo would not get it done), so we had to scramble and quickly add a stock music bed to the set up video allowing our keyboard player, etc to reset. Crisis averted.
Challenge #4: Communication problems were ongoing between our laptop computer running the picture loop for the song and the projector designated just for that moment. Our Live Video guy spent the morning trying to get the hiccups out of the system. It was touch and go throughout the day which put everyone on edge. The entire set piece would seem a bit unnecessary if the images did not run in the background. (Update: There was only one instance of the loop bogging down briefly)
Challenge #5: Call outs. We had a DAY where for various reasons our volunteer productions team was short in a number of spots. The scrambling and moving that was necessary added stress to the already full day.
So here’s how the service actually went. In the end, the service was effective and moving despite our behind the scene challenges. Our topic was “Fight For Your Kids”. Earlier in the week, our Video “Guru” Dave Cowan flew down to Phoenix to shoot a set up video with our worship leader Ben Kolarcik in order for him to tell his own story of his family, parents, and growing up. This would lay the groundwork for the song to follow.
We then reworked lyrics to the song “7 Years” and added a slide montage of family photos submitted through our social media channels. It was a great set up to the message and was well-executed by Ben Kolarcik.
Here’s the song:
- There are just days. You can do your best to avoid them, but eventually…they will touch us all. Don’t lose your mind. Adjust.
- As much as possible, protect those in the seats from the “drama” that may be happening. Keep them unaware.
- Don’t overlook transitions. Most of our challenges from this past weekend could have been avoided if we would have looked more closely at the “heavy lifting” our major creative transition moment was going to involve. We would have planned ahead, staffed better, etc.
Weekend Run Sheet: