A breakfast meeting in 2011 introduced Gerda Kruger to the then, fledgling organisation, Women in Technical Production (WiTP). WiTP aims to develop, protect and promote the interest of women in technical production. To remain relevant, committed and dedicated driven by the need to ensure that every woman is able to realise her full potential and aspirations within the technical production industry.

Gerda offered her services as mentor to WiTP and this lead to the presentation of Philip Kruger Consulting’s highly successful Follow Spotter Training course to eight ladies at the Johannesburg Promusica Theatre on 9 and 10 April 2013.

Gerda’s criteria for the selection of the eight ladies were that they must be new to the entertainment industry, be fluent in English and have a passion for the industry and be keen to learn a new skill. WiTP had the responsibility to choose the eight candidates.

In February this year, WiTP, in conjunction with the International Production Youth Network (IPYN), an internationally based youth development organisation that has recently established a branch in South Africa Soweto, had an open session for women in the technical production sector.

This session was held to help WiTP network and also pin point the immediate needs of the members and potential members of WiTP and attracted ladies that are both NEW to the industry as well as those that has been working in it for a while.

There was a definite and clear indication of great interest in lighting from quite a few of the ladies attending. Some for more advanced training and some as a means of exploring lighting as a career option, from theatre, to photography, to film, to live show lighting etc.

Six of the girls selected to attend the Follow Spotting Course came from this pool of girls, who are new to the technical production industry and do not have the means to enrol in costly study institutions.

One of the ladies was selected through referral and the remaining one through her consistent commitment and dedication to the industry as a technician, but that has also never received follow spotting training before.

The Follow Spotter Training course originally came about as a result of Gerda’s aim to raise the standard of Follow Spotting in general and to give it its rightful place as a viable career option. The course has been successfully presented to a number of production companies and venues across South Africa.

This WiTP initiative was the ideal way to, not only raise the standard of Follow Spotting, but also to teach a new skill to eight girls and therefore provide them with an employment opportunity.

The Follow Spotter Training course is normally presented as a one-day course, but Gerda and Philip decided to do the WiTP over two days, with day one dedicated to the theoretical aspects and day two to be totally practical Follow Spotting.
The course was presented on 9 and 10 April 2013 at the Joburg Promusica Theatre as a joint development initiative between WiTP, Joburg Promusica Theatre and Philip Kruger Consulting, all parties donating their time and resources at no charge.
Melony Eksteen of WiTP made all the arrangements and negotiated the use of the Joburg Promusica Theatre with Loran Robertson, the General Manager.

Day One started, as usual, with introductions and then some ball playing on stage. This is done as an “ice-breaker’ as well as to introduce the girls to the importance of eye-hand coordination in Follow Spotting. Each girl is allocated a number which they keep for the duration of course, becoming their “Spot Number’.
This was followed by an introduction to the theoretical aspects, including safety, colour, communications etiquette, components of a follow spot and stage terminology.

Day Two was devoted to practical follow spotting with the girls divided into groups – one group on the follow spots while the rest had be “performers’ to be spotted.
At the end of the very long and intensive second day, Kruger presented each girl with a Certificate of Attendance. A follow-up Advanced Follow Spotting Techniques course for these eight amazing girls is currently being planned. This will again be presented free of charge with all the parties again donating their time and resources at no charge.

“We would like to present these eight girls with the basic safety equipment required to go out and work in the industry, so are looking for sponsors of hard hats, gloves and safety harnesses. A shifting spanner and gell swatch for each would also be appreciated,’ added Kruger.