“WHAT IS A STAGE PLOT?” – Stage Plots are a graphical layout of how your band sets up on stage, and what equipment you use. This tool can be a godsend to sound engineer who has never seen/heard you before. Send it ahead of time, and they can be prepared for your particular needs before you arrive at the venue.
Some venues will even require that you send in a stage plot before you play. Don’t look like a newbie when asked to provide one. Just go ahead and make one now so you are ready. Here is an example of what my band, Mojo Radio, used.
“HOW DO I MAKE A STAGE PLOT?“
You can be as basic as drawing it with a pencil on paper. I would recommend using a basic drawing program like Windows Paint, or Google Drawings so you can save an electronic copy. That way you could send a copy of your stage plot via email. Plus, you can easily update an electronic version when your needs change.
“WHAT SHOULD I PUT ON MY STAGE PLOT?”
You should put anything that you think you’ll require from a sound engineer at your gig. Try to put yourself in the sound engineer’s shoes as well and think about what he/she might need to know about your band. One good example is that our singer asked for a straight stand at every one of our shows. Most venues provide a boom stand, and he preferred a straight stand. So we put it on our stage plot to try to guarantee that we had that taken care of. I also put that my bass amp had a DI that could be used directly to the mixer. I use an amp that is a reissue and it looks like something from the 1970s. Those old amps did not have a DI, and most sound engineers would ask if mine had a DI. I added that info so they would know it did have a DI ahead of time. We also laid out our stage plot to look like how we set up on stage. The bass rig is on the right because I set up stage left. The singer’s amp for his harmonica is in front of the drums because that is where he would typically put his amp on stage.
Add an input list to be even better.
Another element you can add is an input list. This is a list of what things will be plugged into the inputs of the mixing board. For instance, we can use the Mojo Radio stage plot above to make a list. 1-SM58 lead vocals, 2-SM57 harmonica amp, 3-bass DI, etc. This will let the sound engineer know exactly how many channels of the mixer you are expecting to use. If you chat about it ahead of time, you might find out that the venue doesn’t have enough channels to cover your ideal list. You can then figure out a compromise before the show. That way both parties know exactly what is happening the night of the show. That also leads to less stress the night of the show.
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