Author Topic: Advice for the "advisor"  (Read 3304 times)

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javachic2004

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Advice for the "advisor"
« on: Aug 21, 2007, 01:44 am »
Hey y'all I'm a senior SM at a school with no SM program (its make it up as you go along whether your a BA or BFA Design/tech).  I've been asked by the SM "adviser" (I'm using the term loosely, He's the TD of the dept, head of a company & has 6 TD grads to deal with) to be a more of available adviser to our loads of new SMs & ASMs.  I'm supposed to create a list of guidelines for them as far as SMing w/in the dept & general rules about the spaces & what not to do that no one tells you until you've broken them.  Sounds great right?  (yea sure)  Me too but we also have a couple SM's who've done a couple shows, and think that they don't really need to listen to me b/c they 'know' what they're doing.  I"m not saying that I'm the best, but it seems I'm the best the dept has at the moment.  I'm not sure how to handle telling the SM's who think they are doing a great job, some general rules to follow w/in the dept that will hopefully help them out as well as make life easier for the rest of us.  any suggestions anyone???
Where's my coffee!?!?

Celeste_SM

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Re: Advice for the "advisor"
« Reply #1 on: Aug 21, 2007, 05:39 pm »
Bring them into the process.  Have a meeting, get their input on what the rules should be.  Let whatever inconsistancies exist come to light in shared discussion, so that the various SMs can have their say about why x should, or should not, be a rule.  Even if they don't all get their way, it will go much more smoothly if they feel they've been heard and had a voice in creating the rules. And they may even have thought of something that you missed, or have a better idea on how to do something.

Now finding time for a bunch of stage managers to meet... that's the really tricky part.

javachic2004

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Re: Advice for the "advisor"
« Reply #2 on: Aug 22, 2007, 12:54 pm »
Thanks!!
Where's my coffee!?!?

stagemonkey

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Re: Advice for the "advisor"
« Reply #3 on: Aug 22, 2007, 04:22 pm »

What worked for me in college is that we found that on Fridays all the SMs usually had a little free time so we met up in the theatre building and someone usually brought pizza or backed cheese nuggets (we rotated who brought it) and we just had dinner before everyone ran off to various rehearsals.  So at dinner we talked about whatever really not just SMing.  It was really more for me and my friend the 2 senior stage managers at the time to be around for the younger ones to ask questions. 

As for the rules and notes, put the stuff together if they dont want to read it they will be making their life harder.  I would also say you could try (and im sure this would be next to impossible if your TD always out of town and is never around for the students unless he needs free labor) to set up a meeting of all the SM's with the TD and have him present the stuff you compiled, making note that you compiled it and he's gone over it and it contains some very useful stuff that they all should listen to (not likely to happen he will probably sit on it till you leave then tell future students he came up with it).  Regardless these young "oh im so good at SMing I dont need to take advice from anyone" type of students are still probably the ones who think your TD is great, so if he tells them the rules and stuff they will be more inclined to listen.  Come the end of their sophomore year or early junior year they will probably think more like you.

ReyYaySM

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Re: Advice for the "advisor"
« Reply #4 on: Aug 23, 2007, 08:43 am »
When it comes to writing a list of guidelines or a handbook for the SMs of your university, you will definitely want to get the approval of the staff before distribution.  Whether it is the TD, the head of the technical theatre department, or the head of the theatre department, you will save yourself a lot of trouble if someone on staff reads it to ensure that all of the rules you think exist really do exist.  There's often quite a bit of bureaucratic red tape associated with universities, and you don't want to get yourself in a legal situation down the line for implementing a set of rules that were never signed off on by someone on staff (not trying to scare you as I don't think it would come to this, but better to be safe than sorry). 

Depending on what exactly your advisor is asking you to do, it may be better to set you up as a "mentor" as opposed to an authority figure.   You could have a meeting of all of the SMs at the beginning of the semester, and have the TD/SM advisor introduce you as such.  This way, you can assist and advise the new SMs and the SMs who have already been in the program won't feel you are encroaching on their style too much.  He may even want to acknowledge that the new SMs could talk to the other existing SMs too if you aren't available.  In this case, he may want to set you up as the "senior SM mentor" (or something similar). 

If there are universal rules/guidelines that all SMs at your university must follow, then the SMs who have already been in the program should follow them too.  This is another reason that it will be important to have the guidelines signed off on by a staff member.  The SMs could argue with and/or dismiss you, but it becomes harder when it's a department head you're arguing with. 

Best of luck to you!!

Firemagic

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Re: Advice for the "advisor"
« Reply #5 on: Aug 30, 2007, 02:46 am »
I would say rather than going to individuals, demonstrate it as an attempt to standardize the procedures at your school.  My university has a Stage Management handbook.  It was originally written by the more advanced students, and then approved by the Advisor/Production Manager in our case.  The handbook is updated occasionally because of various reasons by the current Assistant Production Manager, a position held by usually a senior Stage Management student.  No, I'm not saying you need to create such positions, but perhaps creating a handbook, maybe even asking for input of things you might have missed from your fellow students and then having it approved by said faculty.  It is a great way to have everybody on the same page without any lecturing or scolding.  Oh and we have a "seminar" every year where all the SM students get together and go over the entire handbook, even the parts that haven't changed.

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