The big three event production jobs: stage manager, show caller, and technical director

Understanding “The Big 3” Event Production Jobs

Show Caller, Technical Director and Stage Manager: What do they do?

Producing live events is a team sport. And everybody involved plays an important role, from leadership positions all the way to individual caterers and members of the cleaning crew. When it comes to understanding how events come together, it’s especially important to have an understanding of the big three event production jobs: the show caller, technical director, and stage manager. It’s no mistake that these three jobs also are hugely important in the world of theater. Be it a broadway show or a keynote presentation, these three roles run the show. But what’s the difference between the three? What do each of them do? Who is responsible for what? That’s what we’re digging into today.

The Big 3 Event Production Jobs

Show Caller: The Conductor of the Event

The show caller, often referred to as the show director, is like the conductor of an orchestra. This role involves orchestrating the various elements of an event to ensure everything runs smoothly and on time. They’re watching the performer(s) and calling the shots to align with the show’s real life timing. A show caller is responsible for cueing technical elements such as lighting, sound, video, and stage movements. They work closely with the technical team and stage manager to ensure all aspects of the production align perfectly.

Responsibilities of a Show Caller:

  • Developing and managing the show’s run sheet or script.
  • Cueing lighting, sound, and video transitions.
  • Communicating with the technical team and stage crew.
  • Ensuring the event follows the planned timeline.
  • Troubleshooting issues in real-time to maintain a seamless experience.

The show caller’s role requires strong organizational skills, being cool under pressure, and the ability to think on their feet. They keep the show on track, ensuring that the audience experiences a production in which all the technical elements run on time to match the performance.

Technical Director: The Master of Technology

The technical director (TD) is the mastermind behind the technological aspects of an event. This role involves overseeing the technical crew and managing the setup, operation, and teardown of all technical equipment. The TD ensures that the sound, lighting, video, and other technical elements meet the production’s requirements. They make sure that the equipment being used is working and the best for the event given its allotted budget. They also have a lot of creative input with how tech can interact with and enhance the event.

Responsibilities of a Technical Director:

  • Collaborating with the event producer and designers to understand technical needs.
  • Managing the setup and operation of audio, visual, and lighting equipment.
  • Troubleshooting technical issues during rehearsals and the live event.
  • Coordinating with the technical crew to ensure smooth operations.
  • Ensuring all technical aspects comply with safety regulations and standards.

Technical directors need to be highly skilled in various technical disciplines and possess excellent problem-solving abilities. Their expertise ensures that all technological elements function correctly, contributing to a high-quality event experience. TDs are both tech savvy and creative.

Stage Manager: The Coordinator Behind the Scenes

The stage manager is the linchpin of the stage crew, responsible for managing the performers, stagehands, and backstage activities. This role involves coordinating all on-stage and behind-the-scenes actions to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Responsibilities of a Stage Manager:

  • Creating and distributing the production schedule.
  • Coordinating rehearsals and ensuring performers are prepared.
  • Managing the stage crew and overseeing scene changes.
  • Communicating with the show caller and technical director.
  • Handling any backstage emergencies or issues.

Stage managers need excellent organizational skills. They can often be seen with clipboards or tablets, complete with spreadsheets and schedules that they probably created. Their ttention to detail is crucial, as anything that slips through the cracks before production could be blamed on them. And like show callers, they must have an ability to stay calm under pressure and convey urgency without inspiring panic. They are the backbone of the production, ensuring that everyone knows their cues and that the event proceeds without a hitch.

Bringing It All Together

The show caller, technical director, and stage manager each play distinct yet interdependent roles. The show caller ensures the seamless flow of the event, the technical director manages the technological elements, and the stage manager coordinates the on-stage and backstage activities. Together, they create the magic that brings an event to life. It’s critical that the people you choose to fill these event production jobs have a mastery over their skill sets and communicate well with each other. 

Precon Events has professionals to fill each of these roles for your next event. Please contact us today so we can help you produce the perfect event.

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Make it unforgettable.