Author Topic: DIVERSIFYING: SMs in other roles  (Read 4665 times)

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centaura

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DIVERSIFYING: SMs in other roles
« on: May 04, 2005, 10:21 pm »
Its been brought up in another thread about SMs doing other roles for a show other than just SMing.  To me this can tie into a lot of the union discussions that've been posted lately.

Is is just me, or is one big difference between working union or non-union the chance to work hands-on in other departments other than your own?  Or is this just a scale thing, larger shows having more crew and therefore more clearly defined roles, and smaller shows having less staff and more crossover?

One of the things that I've enjoyed about working on no-union shows has been the chance to help outside my area.  How do others feel about working in other areas of tech?

-Centaura
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:53 pm by PSMKay »

smejs

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SMs in other roles
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2005, 10:53 pm »
I like the fact that I have had experience in the past in several areas, and that it gives me a feeling for what is needed of me by other departments, as well as helping facilitate things in an emergency, etc.  But at this point, I am glad to be union so that I don't HAVE to do those things, and can concentrate primarily on the stage management aspect.  On those rare occasions where I have extra time and feel nice, I have helped out on occasion, but generally I'm still working much longer on paperwork (let alone often still in rehearsal) than other folks who go home at 5 or 6 o'clock.  Granted, they're in at 8 a.m., but I like my sleep at that point if possible.  Just my two cents.

Erin

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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2005, 12:27 am »
Well, I too enjoy being able to just focus and be responsible for my area.  But being union does not mean you can not do other things, I did pick up a projection design gig for a show I was working on.  But, I did get paid extra, and there was a rental for the use of my computer.

Early in my career I enhoyed doing other things, but now I like just to focus on my job - and granted as a SM, I do get to focus on other areas as I need  to.  (If it is a big scenic show, I like to focus more on the scenic, and get my hands wet in that area.)
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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.

SMgeek

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SMs in other roles
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2005, 01:59 pm »
I am just graduating from a small college where everyone helped with everything.  On the three shows that I was SM and the many shows I did crew for I was working on set, props and costumes as well.  I don't mind doing more than one thing at a time, but it can get stressful as it gets closer to production week.  I found myself gettting behind in most of my classes because there was some much to do for the show.  The worst time was when I was acting in You Can't Take it With You and I was also Costume Mistress for the show.  I wasn't able to focus on what I needed to do character-wise because I had to worry about how to fix all of the costumes.  

Overall, though, I think it has be very beneficial to me.  I have learned something about almost every part of the show.  That should come in handy later on.

ChaCha

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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2005, 08:43 am »
I'm always happy to help out (and in general we are not as confined to particular (union) duties in Australia) in other departments, but have to say as I've gotten 'older' as a stage manager I've enjoyed jobs more where I just get to focus on stage management . Without your stringent union protection it is way too easy for the employer to take your cheerful help as a precedent. And I guess by now I know as much as I want to about lighting, sound, props, etc in a day to day way!
ChaCha
« Last Edit: Nov 06, 2006, 09:52 am by ChaCha »
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giabow

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SMs in other roles
« Reply #5 on: Jun 22, 2005, 08:00 pm »
I have yet to do a show where I can just SM (I'm not union.)  For the majority of shows, I'm also Master Carpenter, ME, light and sound board op, and I usher if there is noone else to do it and the house manager catches me before she opens house (I hate to usher, so I try to hide once house is open.)  I occasionally do scenic and lighting design, and with a certain director, end up as AD as well.

Thankfully, its a small theatre, so things like scenery and lights aren't too major.

Aerial

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SMs in other roles
« Reply #6 on: Jul 23, 2005, 04:57 pm »
I found that early on, I used to enjoy doing a little of everything, but as I've progressed in my career, I prefer to focus on my stage management duties and make my work the best it can be.  On the show I'm doing now(I'm non-union, its a semi-pro gig), I am also running the light board, and I'm constantly reflecting on how much easier it would just be to call this show as opposed to op it as well.  Several years ago, I would have preferred being the op because its taken me some time to get used to trusting others to do as good a job as I think I can in a given situation.  I've gotten better at delegating as I've worked more in the assisting positions since I've gotten out of school.

Camille2684

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Re: SMs in other roles
« Reply #7 on: Nov 02, 2006, 10:58 am »
I come from a college theatre program from which they teach us to do eerything. Whether you are actor or technician, they always emphasize the importance of learning different areas in the theatre. Although in all honesty there are some areas that I am not such a big fan of and others that I am, however I am really grateful to hae a little knowledge and experience in everything because I feel like I am better prepared for jobs in the theatre world. As SM's, do you all feel that way? Do you feel that with all that experience, it has helped you to get more jobs whether or not you are Union?

centaura

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Re: SMs in other roles
« Reply #8 on: Nov 02, 2006, 01:01 pm »
Absolutely.  Most of the entry-level touring jobs that I found were combined roles between SM and something else.  My very first tour I was SM/CM/Lighting.  Now I'm a stage manager at a road house, but I sometimes get called on to help the facility manager with big projects - I have definitely used all my electrical and carpentry knowledge.  Its also helped me at home - I've recently bought a fix-me-up house, and I've been able to do most of the work myself.

-Centaura

Rebbe

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Re: SMs in other roles
« Reply #9 on: Nov 03, 2006, 11:10 am »
Yes, I think one of the big union/non-union differences is that there are many additional tasks you can’t be required to take on while an SM.  Less staff=more crossover is a factor, and lines do get blurrier with smaller budgets, but AEA means the lines are in fact there, and it’s up to every union member to walk them…or not.

In terms of helping to get SM work, I think knowledge of all aspects of theater is a definite benefit, particularly for non-union work, when most positions have a slash in the job title.  I’m very thankful to have held a variety of theater jobs, both during college and professionally.  Knowing the challenges other departments or positions have to deal with helps you help them.  As Smejs said, you’re better able to troubleshoot in an emergency if you know the language and have a basic grasp of what problems might arise. And I like knowing I’m not asking my crew to do something I haven’t done or wouldn’t do myself.   Also, when you’re starting out, you may be able to get board-op or overhire work at a theater where you wouldn’t be hired as an ASM or SM right away.  It gives you a way to get your foot in the door, and if you’re on run crew you get to see another SM in action and learn from them, too.  But as much as I appreciate my tech background, I’m a Stage Manager because that’s what I do best, and I’m happy to not have to also do jobs I’m less good at.
"...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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