Bev Paskell, technician
Bev started out helping in an orchestra pit and got hooked on the technical side of music. She's now a full time technician.
I'm from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, but I'm now living in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
What job do you do?
I'm a technician at South Holland Centre in Spalding.
What previous jobs have you done?
I used to help out in the orchestra pit. I then got involved in a get out (packing up a show afterwards) and got hooked on the technical aspect of things.
I've been a technician at Wakefield Theatre Royal, too.
What qualifications do you have?
I have an A level in music and a BTEC national diploma in music technology. Finally, I have Level 3 City and Guilds qualifications in Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment and Management of Electrical Equipment Maintenance (a posh way of saying PAT testing!).
What do you do at work?
That’s a hard one to answer. It largely depends on whether we're running a live show or cinema showing, but we always start with a cup of coffee!
Next it's checking emails and technical specifications for live shows, or the "film dump" for incoming films. If it’s a film, then I check the whiteboard for which film we are screening and find out its ratio. I then load all the pre-screening material (we run our adverts and trailers digitally). Then it's lacing up the projector and screening the film at the advertised time.
"Most people are intrigued about what a technician actually does – all they ever see is the slick end product."
For a live show, I check the technical specifications and do any lighting rigging (this is generally done earlier in the week, depending on how busy we are) and any other required set up.
We have a rolling maintenance plan, so there is always something to do to fill ten minutes, like cleaning lanterns or doing orders for consumables. We also have a function hall where we hold conferences, a comedy club, weddings and so on. Depending on what’s happening, I sometimes get involved technically in that.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The variety. I love not doing the same thing day in day out. You learn something new every day. My other favourite thing is the team I work with – I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people. Everyone pulls together when it’s needed.
I always find it funny when I’m asked what I do for a job. Most people look really confused and then become intrigued about what a technician actually does. Because all they ever see is the slick end product, they don’t even realise the hours of preparation that go on beforehand. I don’t give away many trade secrets, though – that would spoil the magic!
And the worst thing about the job?
I haven’t really got a worst thing – I try to take the rough with the smooth. We all have bad days, and sometimes things don’t go as planned, but it always works out all right in the end.
Sometimes not being able to do things with my friends due to work commitments can be bad, but they're really understanding, and we plan things for when we all have the time off work.
How do I get into music?
Don’t give up! Pester and push people to give you a chance.
If you don’t want to work long hours, being a technician isn’t the job for you. Try to gain as much hands-on experience as possible, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they sound stupid. We've all had to get started somewhere.