He’s a Techie: Techie Cowboys…the New West

One of my sons (Darren) is totally not into the horses ranch scene at all. He has a horse, and he likes to ride the horse, but his heart isn’t in the land or the enterprise or the idea of carrying on the business as a matter of family pride.


But that’s OK.

He’s got his own interests and pursuits, and I’m fine with that.

He’s in the technical theater program at school, and that, my friends, is what gets his heart going.

He does set design, set building, and stage managing for all the productions that are put on at his school. He is learning lighting and sound and all kinds of tricks of the trade.

The school he goes to has an outstanding drama department that works in conjunction with the tech department to put on top-notch productions.

The tech department produces kids who, by the end of four years at the high school, have already completed college-level training in lighting, sound, and set design and production.

Every spring the head of the tech department takes a busload of kids to the Southern States Technical Conference. They go to seminars and lectures and get to meet reps from tons of different colleges and universities who are looking for up and coming tech students for their programs.

So this is the program that my son is into at his school.

He was stage manager for the production of Frankenstein last spring. The wife and I went to it, of course, and we were blown away (like we always are) at the quality of that production. The set design was outstanding and the acting was excellent.

You know how many high school actors and actresses speak way too fast and can’t project their voices? Not the case here. Must be the coaching they get from the drama guy. I could hear every word they said, and their lines didn’t sound canned or scripted.

Darren doesn’t get the stage manager gigs all the time. Those gigs get divvied out among all the tech kids.

Darren is also learning auto-cad and just recently finished a big auto-cad project that had to be presented as a 3-D project. The assignment was to design a set for an upcoming real-time school production. The design had to be done in auto-cad and then had to be created out of foam core to present as a 3-D scale model.

He worked on that for weeks. I remember at the open house the head tech teacher described the complexity of that specific project. The design in auto-cad had to be done in layers, and when the layers were stacked on top of each other, all the measurements and angles had to line up exactly. He described it well then; I’m not doing a great job of replicating what he said.

Anyhow, I understood his explanation enough to see how it would take weeks to get that project done. When Darren brought home his 3-D foam core model, I really was able to appreciate it.

He was super happy with how it came out. It’s great to see him in his element, and that’s what I want more than him carrying on the family business.

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