Free Character Writing Prompts #59: Technical Crew

These character writing prompts are the kind of story starters that work behind the scenes to make sure everything will go as planned. When we visit a sporting event, a movie theater, a play, a concert or fireworks display, we don't often think of the technical crew behind the spectacle we are beholding. These are often extremely intelligent people who have taken their talents to the long, black cords and the complicated mechanisms of behind-the-scenes work. Some of them have taken umbrage to the lack of appreciation they get. Others are just happy to be a part of such technical wonderment. Don't make the same mistake that most entertainment goers make, include members from this esteemed group in your story. 

Free Character Writing Prompts #59: Technical Crew

1. When he was hanging hundreds of feet above the stage, hanging lights in an elaborate setup, he felt like God, even though he didn't believe in him. He was one of the most death-defying members of the crew who would hang at strange angles on the catwalk to get lights into the perfect position. He could tell just from looking at a lighting setup how it would look on the stage and he was a well-regarded member of the team. He'd be in even higher regard if he wasn't so cocky about how good he was. Why did he get into technical lighting and what are some of his hobbies that make him continue to feel superior to others?

2. He was the guru when it came to designing a set that would evoke some sort of major emotional response. He knew exactly how an audience would respond to the way a set looked upon watching a particular play. His work was often cited in reviews as being "genius" or "the stuff of legends" and hundreds of pictures of his sets could be found in dramatic art textbooks. Personally though, he felt as though his best work was still ahead of him and that he had never created "the perfect set." This quest for perfection drove him and the people around him a little bit crazy, but it helped him to create some amazing masterpieces. What do some of his sets look like and why did he get into this business in the first place?

3. As a director, you originally thought that the most important people to have around you were actors who could do anything artistically that you wanted. You quickly found out that having adequate actors were far down on the list. When you met her, you assumed that she was just some acting wannabe that couldn't cut it and chose technical theater instead. That was where you were extremely wrong. She was able to solve every single problem that came up in the production side of your show. You had almost prepared for the production aspects to be faulty, because something always seems to go wrong when you least expect it. It was almost comical how you could start a sentence, "Well, what about the – " and she would always end it, "I took care of it." The technical aspects of your show were flawless and it was all because of her incredible abilities to eat problems for breakfast. What are some of her magical talents and how did they manifest in the show?

4. You thought you knew the definition of tough before you met her. When she carried those large pieces of wood in on her tiny frame and seemed to defy physics with her strength, you changed the definition just a tad. The previous year, she'd even been knocked in the head with a steel beam on a play production and within three months, she had completely rehabbed and was back in action doing the technical production work she loved. She wasn't just tough, but she was cute as well and the two of you joked between moments of her showing her incredible feats of power. What is it that has made her so interested in the technical aspects of theater and how did she become so tough?

5. If he were a superhero, his power would be his amazing sense of hearing. This was the perfect guy to have on board at a concert hall with shows going seven nights a week. One of his most important abilities was to hear when the sound system was even a little bit off and he had the knowhow to get it to sound exactly right. He not only knew that, but he could also sense when a speaker was about to blow of malfunction in someway. It was like having a sound second sense or something. He was well-known in the area as the guy you wanted working your band's set to make you sound incredible to any producers who were in the area. What are some other ways he employs his super hearing ability?

6. He thought building up elaborate fake buildings and coming up with beautiful set imagery was a perfectly fine way to make your living. His favorite part, however, was tearing it all down to rubble. At the end of every show, while some set pieces could be preserved or sold, most of the set needed to be torn down to bits. That's where he came in. He was a master when it came to a quick, efficient and violent end to a beautiful set. In a process known as strike, he was the strike king. He even secretly hoped that shows would not be particularly successful, so that he could tear them down more quickly. What are some of his favorite memories of destruction?

7. She was the one who had the supreme power when it came to making sure you looked your best or your worst. She was the costume designer and she had no problem tightening up your clothes a size or two if you had done her wrong. When the two of you dated, she had spent extra time making you appear like the most attractive person who had ever stepped away from the chorus. Now that the two of you had broken things off, she was still making your costumes, but her meticulous stitching ability was used in other ways. During one performance, your pants split right down the middle. During another, a button on your shirt popped off due to tightness. What are some other ways in which this costume mistress has been vindictive?

8. She was at the same time the most feared and the most respected woman on the technical crew. She wouldn't take crap from anybody and it showed in how smoothly and successfully the show could run. She was the quarterback, the captain and the den mother all rolled into one. She was the stage manager and without her, the show would be a complete disaster. One of her main talents was her ability to point out and find mistakes before they happened so they wouldn't disrupt things. It's the same talent that gave her a 4.0 GPA in college and made her frustratingly annoying to hang out with. Why did she decide to get into the stage managing business and why is she so good at what she does?

9. As a dazzling array of brightly colored tapestries rustled through the theater, to the delight of the audience members, he was up on the catwalk controlling it all, while eating a pastrami sandwich. This particular show had been running for several consecutive years and he had the process down to a science. He knew what levers to pull and buttons to push like the back of his hand and as a result, he didn't need the most concentration. He was happy to be paid for his time up there, but for most of the three plus hours, he did nothing but sit there and wait for his cue. Slowly but surely, he gave himself more freedom about what he could do while he was waiting. Today, that freedom had reached the point of "pastrami sandwich eating." What are some of the other strange things this member of the fly crew was willing to do on the catwalk?

10. She was always just waiting for her opportunity. In high school, she signed up for the crew when she didn't get a part from her audition and while she loved gracing the stage to move set pieces, she yearned to have even a single line. The same thing happened in college, when her audition went awry, she took the stage...but only to move some backdrops from here to there. All in all, she'd been on stage more than most of the actors at her schools, though she'd never had her dream of saying just one line. A few years later, a community theater audition gave her the first acting part she'd ever had. A maid, who had exactly what she wanted, just one line. What does she love the most about the theatre and what are some things she learned from her time backstage? 

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Done with Character Writing Prompts about Technical Crew? Go back to Creative Writing Prompts. 

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.
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