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Messages - MatthewShiner

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I guess my MFA wouldn't count?

The Green Room / My 1 minute of fame
« on: Mar 25, 2015, 05:40 pm »

Employment / Re: "What Not To Post": Job Listing edition
« on: Mar 24, 2015, 02:42 am »
Hiring a SM is hard, obviously done by someone who doesn't it do that often, or had a very specific history they were trying to avoid.

Usually prep week, but sometimes on specific projects earlier.

Depends on when I am brought on board.

I've been in this situation.

I think the key is at the start of the process, always show the director the report prior to sending it out - so they get a sense of what you are putting into the reports.

You can, as other have mentioned, today we worked with three chairs for scene three.  Or POSSIBLE ADD: Two Small potted plants - where you are giving them a heads up that it might be added down the row.

My director who had this issue was he would sometimes lie to an actor to get through a difficult scene (Like, oh, sure we can add two chairs to this scene), but it was always his intention to have zero chairs in the scene.

But I always put everything into the report, with the caveat things can change - and they do.


Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Bad ASM's
« on: Mar 11, 2015, 01:32 pm »
Remember, there is no right way to stage manage, just wrong ways.

One person can easily sit in judgement of another stage manager and their style.

Yes, there are things perhaps a stage manager maybe failing, but as a student, it seems like that is what they are paying for the opportunity to learn, fail, and grow from it.  (If this was a professional environment, it would be something different.)

Now, as ASM, in this situation, I would do everything I could to support the PSM, doing the best job one could do, and see if there are tasks that the ASM can take over the PSM - maybe part of the issue is they are overwhelmed.

But hard to give specific advice without specific issues being raised.

If his unprofessional behavior, for example, is hitting actors with 2 x 4's, then I was suggest taking away the 2x4's.

Stage Management: Other / Re: Orchestra Calls
« on: Mar 06, 2015, 12:51 am »
In America, the union orchestra sets themselves by curtain (at the places call).

I have never had to have a separate orchestra call - except to tell them at times the pit is available for seating for a rehearsal.

I don't to assist a lot, but I do work with some difficult directors, and I always get questions like . . . "how was it t work with . . . " and I know there is a little bit of baiting.  For those who don't know me in real life, I am VERY opinionated, but even for the most "difficult" director, I am able to do the art of the spin - and that is part of management. 

If you have strong opinion about this working relationship . . . and don't feel comfortable asking about it . . . drop the show from your resume.    If they still know or ask,the be prepared with the most politic answer you can.

Some times it's not about WHAT you say, but how you say it - and a PM/GM/SM is interest to see how you answer a difficult question - that's why we ask questions like "tell me about your weaknesses", "tell me about you situation where you felt you could have done better", "what was your worst stage management experience" - yes, what you chose to answer is interesting . . . but HOW you answer is more interesting.

In your case, you can focus how two people with different styles worked together - where were the success - what did you learn from the failures . . . not every production is all sunshine and lollipops . . .

The Green Room / Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« on: Feb 27, 2015, 11:38 am »
Learned a lot about HR stuff - hiring (like avoid writing on resumes you notes from the interview), firing, pay, giving references, harassment.

OSHA rules . . . and how they change from state to state, city to city, venue to venue . . . and how people say OSHA says . . . when it's really in house policies.

Lots of about drinking, drugs . . . work environment.

Employment / Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« on: Feb 24, 2015, 02:14 pm »
It's not that I wouldn't hire someone without experience . . . but if it is between two candidates, I might side with the one who has experience on the contract.  These are reasons I wouldn't for sure not hire one, but could be part of the thought process why one good stage manager is passed over for another stage manager.  If a PM, GM or PSM (whomever is doing the hiring) is smart, they are going to put together the strongest team they can get for their money. 

I recently did an OFF Broadway show, where the ASM had never been on AEA contract before, let alone an off-Broadway contract.

My current show is currently being producing on a COST contract, so I made sure one of my team members had experience on the COST contract to flag with something.

Even if you just PA'ed or intern on the contract, hopefully you were paying attention, and picked up some of the experience.

Most of my big break thrus have been based on someone knowing me and my work - and going - "you know, he hasn't done a commercial show before, but he has the all the skills, and I believe in him" or "you know, he has never done a big musical before, but he has done some really big straight shows, and I really like working with him".

LisaS, it's  a rough business - and getting past those walls and moving to bigger ponds are part of the career - and part of the career that is a big challenge.

And remember, this wall against you is something you will hit long after you drop the term "YOUNGER" - I have lost out out on some commercial projects because I have had zero Broadway experience . . .

Employment / Re: Why didn't I get the job?
« on: Feb 23, 2015, 10:03 pm »
It depends on the job and position . . . would I hire someone with only education experience - not on any show I am currently attached to . . . but someone who is just in school would not be a good fit for either project . . .

But, for an internship or a PA with a smaller (regional) theater might be just the right first step for you.

The Green Room / Re: Broadway SM Symposium
« on: Feb 23, 2015, 08:07 pm »
Lifted from facebook . . . just a reminder . . .

There are still a few more days left to get the early bird discount for the Broadway Stage Management Symposium.
This is going to be an inspiring and very instructive weekend of insights from Broadway's top professionals, including: Peter Lawrence (Tony Honoree and author), Lisa Dawn Cave (Rocky, Fun Home), Frank Lombari (Tarzan), Arturo Porazzi (Memphis) and many, many more.
Don't miss out on making these important connections.
Register today.

Employment / Re: How to give a recommendation?
« on: Feb 23, 2015, 04:33 pm »
There is legal requirements if you are on staff of a theater about recommendations.

Talk to you HR person.

But basically, if I do not recommend someone, I would never say "OH MY GOD, DON'T HIRE THIS PERSON."

My recommendation would be all factual.

This person worked on this show, these dates.  They were terminated at the end of the show, and not re-hired since.

Someone would get the idea.

If the person was an INTERN under me, and someone asks for a recommendation, I will ask them to explain the job to me, and then I will say where they had successes with me and my team in areas that line up.

Remember, that if you saying something that could harm them, then you might get in trouble.

I also recommend giving recommendations either in person or on phone and not emailing.

Employment / Why didn't I get the job?
« on: Feb 22, 2015, 08:34 am »
I have interviewed 80 stage managers in the past eight months, and recently had a couple of “hey, can you help me hire an sub/asm/replacement” situations arise. 

I’ve gotten a couple of emails after the fact, asking, basically, “why didn't I get the job?”.

Here’s a couple of the major reasons why a candidate may not get the gig.
1)   Experience – when a stage manager is being hired, their experience is being rented . . . I am trying to get as much experience for my buck as possible.

2)   Wrong kind of experience – even the best stage manager may not have the experience I am looking for – no musicals, no big teams, no classical theater – all have had me put a resume aside for someone else.

3)   Bad Interview – just as I can rant that many GMs/Production Managers don’t know how to interview FOR a SM position, there are some SM’s who don’t know how to be interviewed.

4)   Wrong Personality – I joke all the time that a monkey with a lap top could sometimes do our job, but it has the right personality.  If I am looking to fill a position, I need someone who I can spend 80 hours a week with, and a lot of those hours I am going to be stressed, tired, frustrated . . .

5)   Wrong for the Team – I am looking to put together a team, and I tend to look at who is already in the team, the skill sets / personality of the team already in place – I am looking to complement those skills.  I don’t want a team of all people exactly like me . . . first off, that would be horrifying . . . second off, I have my skill set, I need people with other strengths or weaknesses.

6)   Over Qualified – as I wrote before – I have had some VERY bad experiences with taking a risk on an over qualified candidate.  I avoid it all costs.

7)   Union Experience – I tend to want to make sure when I am hiring someone they have had a couple of shows on that union contract.
8)   Degrees of Separation – I have had tremendous luck and positive experience when being handing a team, or working with new people – but I will always tend to move towards candidates either I know, or someone I know recommends.   It’s about knowing people work well with my style – but it also about just knowing that person is good person.  (There are some not so nice stage managers out there)

9)   Wrong Reason for Wanting the Job – sometimes a candidate will give me a reason for wanting the job that sends out warning signals to me . . . if a stage manager seems desperate to work on the show, I get very worried – or if they seem like FANATIC in anyway (I REALLY WANT TO WORK WITH THIS ACTOR, THIS DIRECTOR, THIS COMPANY) I get nervous.

10)   Recommendations – if there is any hesitation a recommendation gives me on a candidate . . .I will usually move on.

11)   Wrong Person – sometimes I know I want a team that has diversity – I want to make sure I have a diverse team.  I lost a job early in my career because of my gender . . . I mean it was a long shot, but the PSM didn’t want to end up with an all-male SM team, if the female first had said yes, I would have gotten the second position – sadly, a male first was hired.

12)   Lies on Resume – that one speaks for yourself.

13)   Missing critical skills – two PA resumes in front of me, one knows Final Draft, one does not – the projects is a new play by a playwright who is using Final Draft – I am going to lean towards the PA who has proven experience in Final Draft.

14)   Social Media Savvy – if I am on a fence about a candidate – I do check out social media – if that candidate has bad mouthed other SM’s, complained about their shows, and showed poor judgment in the past . . . hard to hire them.

15)    Where you live – two choices of equal talent – one is local, one requires housing – why not hire local?

16)   Bad Resume – if your resume is too far of the professional acceptable format, I wonder how off you are in other paperwork

Basically, I think, there is a myth that any SM can SM anything . . . and that’s not really the case – SM is a very tricky job, and when you are under the pressure of finding the right person for the right job, there are many red flags that might be the signal for you to pass on applicant.

I have done this for both LA shows, and showcases / events.

Very common for dance.

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