Poll

Is it a good idea to have a job other than SMing

Yes
6 (33.3%)
No
6 (33.3%)
Don't know
6 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 17

Author Topic: Day Jobs? Yes or No  (Read 4939 times)

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smalltimeSM

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Day Jobs? Yes or No
« on: Oct 06, 2006, 01:46 am »
What is your opinion?  Is it hard to get work as a SM if you have a day job?

Mac Calder

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Re: Day Jobs? Yes or No
« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 2006, 04:32 am »
Unfortunatly, SMing (unless you get the "big" shows) is not the best paying job arround, however you can (usually) make a decent living out of it. I tend to work on the fringe because I like working with odd shows with strange requirements. The down side is that the pay is crap. Last week, I was payed AU$250 - to put it into perspective - my rent is $160 p/w (and is damn cheap), my fuel bill is $30 p/w (on LPG gas, so half what a petrol bill would be), my electricity bill for the last quarter was $330 (1 light on for about 4 hours per day, a computer on 24/7 and a fridge is basically all I use in my house) - that $250 could not support me no matter how hard I try. So I do work a second job - delvering LPG Gas equiptment is the current one. That cuts down on my time SMing though and basically cuts down the shows I can do to those which are semi professional (rehearsals outside of work hours etc).

However - when I am doing a mainstream show, the pay is closer to $700p/w - still not the best money out there, but a damn sight better than a lot of wages being paid in the "non-university qualified" ranks (which I am currently (although hopefully not for much longer) a member of). In cases like that, there is no way I would need a second job.

Mainstream SMing is a 40 plus hour a week job. If you have a "day job" (implied 38 hours) it would have to be night shift somewhere, and you will be a mess within weeks.

BeckyGG

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Re: Day Jobs? Yes or No
« Reply #2 on: Oct 06, 2006, 09:38 am »
It really depends on your finances and how large of a show you are SMing.  Many of the stage managers I know in NYC have some sort of other job (typically temping or working load-in and load-out crews) that they can turn to either when they are in production and free sometimes during the day or when they are in between SM gigs.  These non-SM jobs tend to be fairly flexible and they have some sort of agreement with the other job that they can come and go as they need based off of their show schedule.  When in rehearsal it is fairly difficult to hold another job. 
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MarcieA

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Re: Day Jobs? Yes or No
« Reply #3 on: Oct 06, 2006, 05:22 pm »
Is it a good idea? Depends on how stressfull your sm or day job is.

I'm getting one because I can't afford to live on the $265 a week my full time SM job pays me. I don't want to have to go into work at 5AM after a show the night before and the squeeze in everything else I need in the few hours I'll have off in the afternoons, but I also don't want to get evicted and live out of my car...

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MatthewShiner

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Re: Day Jobs? Yes or No
« Reply #4 on: Oct 06, 2006, 07:11 pm »
There comes a point when stage management becomes a full time plus job, I can't imagine SMing at the LORT level and having a job - I put in close to 60 hours a week during rehearsal.

Personally, when I am doing a job, I like to committ to 110%, so having an outside job always seems to interfer with the stage managing - so, I position myself so that if I took a SM job, I could support myself with that job only.  Once you make it a priority to make a living at this job, you figure out how to make it work.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

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Re: Day Jobs? Yes or No
« Reply #5 on: Oct 07, 2006, 11:36 am »
Matt is right about SMing being a full time job, but let's face it, not everyone is lucky enough to get that.  You may find that a 'day job' is an option for you, but it's certainly dependent on your SM situation.
At a time when I was going to be between shows for a length of time, I found a 'temp' job which was supposed to last 6 weeks, to get me through a holiday period.  It turned out to be a good fit, and now, more than 20 years later, I'm still in it.  It has upsides and downsides.  The biggest downside is that I'm not always available for the bigger scale shows which may get offered to me.  An upside is that I've been able to accept any show which DOES fit my schedule regardless of the salary.  this means I really can do shows 'for the love of it' and not worry about whether it'll pay my bills or not.  I've been able to 'sub-in' on shows, too, which is quite convenient sometimes, for me and for the show's regular SM.
The fact that my day job is in a college theatre department makes it even nicer, as I not only get to continue to play all day, but I get to pass on what I know to younger SMs and never feel as if I'm disconnected from the real theatre world.
Not everyone gets this opportunity, either... but the fact is that there ARE jobs which can be a good fit... and it's all a matter of your situation and your preference.
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Re: Day Jobs? Yes or No
« Reply #6 on: Oct 15, 2006, 09:35 pm »
it totally depends on your situation.
do you have steady sm work? if you do then you can probably get away without a day job.
i'm just starting out so i don't have steady work and i have to have a day job or i'de be screwed. i work 11-3 monday through friday which gives me plenty of time to clean up and get to rehearsal and performances.

Rebbe

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Re: Day Jobs? Yes or No
« Reply #7 on: Oct 25, 2006, 04:33 pm »
It’s not necessarily hard to get work as an SM if you have a day job, but it will probably limit the shows you can take.  Many non-equity shows I’ve come across rehearse nights and weekends, because the actors also have day jobs, so in that situation it could work out fine.  That’s the case with some smaller budget Equity shows, too.  You should just be very clear about your scheduling needs when you’re hired.   

It gets much harder with larger contract shows.  Those normally need the SM to be conflict-free, since there are so many other schedules to juggle.  And if you are in the rehearsal room more than 35 hours per week, it doesn’t leave much time to do the necessary show paperwork outside of those hours, and also work at another job, without stretching yourself far too thin to be doing justice to either job.

I agree with Matthew that it’s a question of priorities.  If you can be content in a steady job that allows you to SM on the side, and you find that the SM gigs you can get which fit your other work schedule make you happy, then there is your answer.  But if you intend for Stage Management to be your bread-and-butter, then you need the SM jobs that pay you a higher salary, and those positions require a full time commitment; you’d only be able to take additional work if it fits around your show schedule.   
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

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