Am I afraid of sharing what I know?!
I can give you a straight, short and confident answer, NO.
A while ago, I had a chance to connect with a 4-Wall staff and I asked him about any possible workshops that teach Grand MA, which is a lighting console that I have been very curious about and had yet had a chance to learn. He told me, they stop hosting those workshops because he had observed many board op who taught the classes would not share all that they knew and hid tips from students. The reason of them doing so is because they are afraid they’d create more competition in their own field and lose their jobs. I understand that fear completely but I look at this challenge differently.
Teaching has been most rewarding and refreshing experience in my career. It is a great way to re-examine your knowledge and to be tested by questions reflect on what you don’t know and are not familiar with. DMX and board op-ing are such complicated matters, if I can use most logical yet simple explanation to help others understand them, that means I truly posses in depth understanding of both of them. Also, the more people grasp the concepts of the technology and a mysterious position that is now commonly part of the team, the better we improve our work flow and advance as a whole, pushing forward in our craft. That for me is a much better development in our industry than just me sitting on top of my little board-op throne.
Of course, losing your job to someone els you taught can be a real threat. But at the same time, I would ask myself, how does someone I taught not only catch up but also further their knowledge exceeding what I know? It only leads to one conclusion, I stop learning at one point or another and losing my magic touch. It is easy to blame others when we lose what we value. But, I believe it is important, as human beings, to reflect on ourselves before we start pointing fingers.
It definitely developed with my design trainings and personality that I enjoy friendly competitions. They have always motivated me staying on top of my game and kept me on my toes. After numerous heart aches, I finally learned that it is my work under evaluations from public eyes, not me, as a person. It is easy to mix up your professional establishment with your identity. But, I consider my work is only an extension of who I am and it is not all of who I am. It usually is the combination of both getting you work and helps you find teammates enjoying working with you when free-lancing. I believe if someone can easily replace you and win over a group of people that originally enjoy working with you, there must be reasons other than your skills as a broad op to be explored.
It takes a lot of practices to look at the threat of your livelihood as an opportunity of growth. I remember when the news of I got accepted into Yale spreading back home, there were many people started to talk and their words were not encouraging. One of the lighting designers I worked with even said “ Oh, Yale must have lowered their stander, how come someone like Chi could get in.” It was like a dagger to my heart. I was so angry at the time and swore I would come home stealing all his clients. But here I am, not only I survived intense three-year program, I also made a name for myself. I have proved myself without engaging any of those who hurt me. Jealousy and fear are human conditions. The best way to turn them around is not to attack but to empathize. If you look deeper, those emotions come from a place of insecurities which we all have. What’s the point of making it worse to everyone?!
Working as an electrician in TV/Film industry is already tough enough facing dangerous environments and weather elements. Why make it harder by creating more enemies than embracing them as your comrades?