On January 7, 2013, SDCF spoke with Production Managers/Technical Directors David Benken and Martin Pavloff about "Understanding Automation: What Every Director Should Know Before Technical Rehearsals." This is a master class on automation from two practitioners who have supervised automated lights and scenery for Broadway and touring productions including The Lion King, Magic/Bird, Woman in White, Mary Poppins, and the 2008 - 2011 touring production of Dreamgirls. Pavloff starts by introducing critical terminology, discussing the use of pre-visualization, gives reasons to automate, and iterates the challenges of automation including safety concerns. Benken follows by illuminating concepts such as of rates of movement, the subtleties of automation, the relationships between director, set designer, and technical director, and gives real-world examples to illustrate. For the producer, director, choreographer, actor, designer, or theatre fan, this conversation offers a comprehensive overview of automation in theatre and provides the understanding necessary to maximize your working relationship with your technical director.