Pyro alongside full time job?

Discussion in 'Professional Fireworks' started by GTRpyro, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. gareth71

    gareth71 Pro Firer/Crew

    There's a difference between exclusivity and loyalty. I can understand why some companies prefer a crew member to work exclusively for them. However, in my part of the world there simply isn't enough going on pyro-wise for me, as a freelance firer, to throw in my lot with one company.

    Consequently, I crew for a handful of different ones. None of them are under any illusion that I crew exclusively for them, and are happy with that. When it comes to information which is in any way commercially sensitive, it's a simple matter of confidentiality. Of course I'm not going to start disclosing that sort of information from one company to the owner of a competing one - doing so would be a bit silly, and would jeopardise my chances of being asked to work for them again if it became known that I couldn't keep things to myself.

    In my 'day job' as a freelance theatre lighting programmer/technician I work for many different clients - there's no reason why my secondary income from fireworks can't operate on the same basis as long as the client is happy.
    Ozzieuk likes this.
  2. Matthew Tosh

    Matthew Tosh Pro Firer/Crew

    True. Good point.

    Besides, exclusivity can only be enforced if you have a legally binding agreement in place. How may of you have a written contract? I have seen a phenomenal variety of approaches to this. Some companies insist on detailed crew contracts, others are happy to do it all verbally/casually. Make of this what you will.

    I have worked with a number of companies both on and off the field and, like @gareth71, this is no secret. (As an aside for my public engagement/spokesperson work, having a strong, positive working relationship with more than one company is incredibly helpful, for example when dealing with complaints or anti-firework debates. It helps me to represent us all as accurately as possible, especially if I am being grilled by the press/media. ;))

    In those cases where commercially sensitive information is being disclosed or I am being entrusted not to divulge detailed rigging methods to direct competitors, I've been asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). I do the same for people working with me at science festivals. It is legally binding. It's particularly helpful in situations where I am filming/vlogging/photographing - it will often state what I can/cannot make public. I've found NDAs to be commonplace in TV/film industry, collaborative creative projects and tenders. So yes, whilst I would always maintain confidentiality as a matter of basic professional conduct, an NDA is the belt 'n' braces approach.

    There is no one-size fits all. A lot will depend on how individual business owners wish to conduct their affairs, which accounts for the variety of responses on this thread. As such, some firers enjoy an exclusivity with a company.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  3. Da Main Mouse

    Da Main Mouse Supports UKFR

    I wish i had chance alongside my full time job and all the home projects I do! Alas i cannot dedicate time enough to myself let alone for others!

    Plus I did ask around me here in Scunthorpe but noones interested, cannot for the life of me think why?
    Locky Smith likes this.
  4. Having recieved so many replies already, it will probably be easier to ask everyone on here...
    What will most of you expect of me as a new firer, just getting started on professional shows?

    Obviously fire retardant PPE, face shield/ goggles, boots, hard hat etc..., along with myself and common sense. But from browsing forms online for joining various companies, some mention my own van and firing equipment (racks, mortars etc...)?

    Now I do have a jacked up 4x4 that recently pulled a fire engine up a seriously muddy track and lorries in the snow (useful for shifting vans on wet fields ;)), but it's not a van. Also being new I only currently have my homemade rocket racks, duct /foil tape, clingfilm and cake stakes on the equipment front :p.

    It'd be great if you could either post or PM me a list of what I will I need, and what is recommended for my venture into CAT 4 :).
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  5. Charlie

    Charlie Pro Firer/Crew

    Not a lot. A good set of boots, waterproofs, a good safe hardworking attitude, an good sense of humour, a torch and your bank account information to get paid. ;)
    GTRpyro likes this.
  6. I'll have to get a better torch ;).
  7. blackbat

    blackbat Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    Preferably one that sits on your head :)
    GTRpyro and Jon like this.
  8. Jon

    Jon Pro Firer/Crew

    GTRpyro likes this.
  9. Before I accept any offers, I have to get written permission from my full time employer to engage in any paid 'outside of business interests'. I cnat imagine that they'd refuse. There's not a lot of business secrets working in a snacks factory that could be leaked to benefit setting up a fireworks display o_O. I'll try and word it in a way that only allows them to say yes ;). Otherwise I'd have to be down as 'voluntary crew member' :p.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  10. I think I might have to invest in a couple of those. Be useful for a lot of things I do, especially when I get into the world of pyro :D.

    A side note, is there anything worth reading up on to give me a head start when it comes to BPA training? I've found the 'Yellow Book' on the BPA website and downloaded it, but is there any 'pyro-bible' you all found useful when looking to join a team as a novice?
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  11. My advice is just to get stuck in somewhere!
    GTRpyro and PyroAsh like this.
  12. scoops

    scoops Pro Firer/Crew

    Second that approach
    watch, listen, ask questions and get your hands dirty so to speak. I'm firing from a barge in an estuary this week, always something new to learn in this game!!!
  13. Jon

    Jon Pro Firer/Crew

    Don't read the yellow book and then apply that as best practice. There is a lot of old hat stuff in there and companies use what works best for them. The section on splicing quickmatch you may never use, there are loads of ways of joining QM which are no better or worse!

    They now teach level one over about 400 odd slides with lots of repetition. The exam in my opinion was disappointing because although it's now online (yay!) Some of the questions were worded in a way to catch you out grammatically then test your knowledge. For example, they would use lots of double negatives etc.

    I would also debate that some stuff in level 1 should be in level 2 but it's good you start thinking about it early.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that the yellow book almost preaches what it is considered industry practice when really it was centred around one particular company's practice. There are lots of different ways to do a show and it's best you learn your company's approach rather than another company's.
  14. blackbat

    blackbat Pro Firer/Crew Supports UKFR

    No change there then!
    Fingers Intact and Jon like this.
  15. We are also recruiting in the Essex and Suffolk area if anyone is interested please get in touch, full training is given aswell as all the usual operator perks!!