Hands down one of the most stressful things before a performance, for both performers and venues, is figuring out the stage set up. For touring bands, having a stage plot is essential; and even if you don’t tour, you’ll be doing the bookers a huge favor by providing a stage plot and input list beforehand. You are much more likely to get gigs this way, you’ll be praised for your professionalism, and the sound-engineer will be your bestest friend friend for life!
What is a Stage Plot?
So what exactly is a “Stage Plot” and how do we make one so venue’s love you? Well a stage plot is a visual representation of your desired stage setup; detailing the locations of the band members, mics, instruments, amps, and any other details you can provide that will make the stage feel like home. Here I’ll make it clear by throwing this all into a bullet point list.
- Firstly, lets provide some contact info to the most tech inclined member of you band
- Be sure to show where the performers will be standing/sitting on stage
- Best to give the names of the band member as well so the tech crew can interact on a name basis. Oh – and which instruments they play of course.
- Any sound gear that you’re bringing with you, and any sound gear that you need the venue to provide. This includes Mics, monitors, DIs, and cables.
- Of course the desired locations of said items
- Keep it organized and easy to read
- Once you’ve got that puppy all figured out, email it to the venue owner and/or sound guy.
Did I say be as detailed as possible? Where does the drum set need to be set up in relation to the rest of the band, Which direction does the keyboardist need to be facing, Where do you need outlets for your gear, and how space will the lead singer need in order to move comfortably? You’ve got all this info figured out beforehand, then you’ve already won half the battle.
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Adding details and info (perhaps on another page) about the inputs and outputs you require for your gear is important as well; an input list. This is also where you’re going to add notes about desired balance levels and mixer volumes for everything; as well as effects such as reverb or delay. With all this info, your sound guy should be able to establish a solid base line for your mix. With that all taken care of, Mr. sound guy is at ease, and you can spend all that time you would have needed simply to get things balanced, tweaking the mix for a superior sound!
How do I make my stage plot?
It’s simple really. If you have basic knowledge in Microsoft office you should be able to make one without much issue. However, there are tons of stage plot builders online specifically designed for the task. I will list a few for you to take a look at.
bosstweedbackline – A standard drag-and-drop stage plot designer, that prints out info in the ideal format.
tecrider – Clean and simple, fully customizable with the ability to add notes about effects and settings for each instrument.
StagePlotPro – Full downloadable software specifically for building stage plots.
So many times I have seen the stress and frustration caused from artists showing up to the venue unprepared for the unexpected. Time is running short, but the vocals just aren’t sounding right, or a Hip Hop artist can’t hear the beat to his backing track. It leads to panic, and frequently puts the performers at odds with the sound engineer or venue owner. With a proper and well designed stage plot you can completely circumvent all the unpleasantness, feel confident in your set up, and give the best performance you can, unimpeded by any technical setbacks.
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