Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - smccain

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Job Postings / AEA-Assistant Stage Manager Needed
« on: May 19, 2014, 03:56 pm »
Looking for an experienced AEA assistant stage manager for a production of Hairspray this summer. Rehearsals begin August 2nd, and contract Ends August 3rd. Rehearsals and performances are in New Canaan, CT.

Ideal candidate is comfortable with props tracking and running the deck during performances. A sense of humor and ability to keep calm during the process also highly recommended. It's a big show, so it is important that I can rely on you to keep things running backstage.

I am still waiting on salary info from the producer, but we are on an LOA-LORT contract, and I believe the actor minimum is around $350. I should be getting more information soon.

Looking to fill this position ASAP.

Position includes health and pension contribution.

Position is in New Canaan, CT, but is commutable from New York City via Metro North railroad.

For consideration, please email your resume and a cover letter or intro in the body of the email to DO NOT PM me on SMNetwork. 

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Prop Fire Extinguisher
« on: Dec 12, 2013, 01:07 pm »
Thanks so much for all the info everyone. The reason we were looking in the fire extinguisher direction is because the scenic designer had used one in a past production, but it poses both budgetary and safety concerns on my part. We'd like to be somewhat mobile, so a dry ice fogger is out. Our designer did some additional research, and we're looking into using this instead: The idea apparently is to have a quick blast of lots of fog, and for it to very quickly dissipate without leaving residue, so the talcum powder idea is out. Thanks for all your feedback!

Hey everyone,
I'm doing a developmental workshop of the new musical Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and we are using the workshop as an opportunity to test out some special effects. The show will eventually go out on tour. We have some moments where we would like to get the effect of a thick cloud that can be used to reveal the god Ares. We could just use a CO2 fire extinguisher, as it is not being pointed at any actors, but the cost of refilling a CO2 fire extinguisher once a week gets to be a bit too expensive. We would like to explore an alternative, perhaps with some kind of compressed air fire extinguisher that sprays talcum powder (or something similar.) It would need to be able to be re-loaded with an air compressor that would travel with the show. Has anyone dealt with this? I've been researching prop fire extinguishers, but can't seem to find one that would work for us. If you know where we could get this kind of extinguisher, I would appreciate any information. We present next week, so time is limited. Help! Thanks, everyone!


Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

Thanks for all the help, everyone. The situation has changed completely. Got offered a Special Appearance contract that will add the needed weeks for health insurance.

Matthew, I'll have to check into that with a rep. I hadn't heard of anything other than the 12 or 20 weeks.

I'm definitely quitting my day job and making the shift to full-time stage management. I've lined up work for the next 5 months. Here goes nothing...

I have the opportunity to PSM 2 musicals back to back this summer under LORT-D contracts. There is some overlap between the two shows, where I will be in rehearsals for show #2 while in performances for show #1. From start to finish, it comes to 11 weeks. (If I count the week prior to rehearsals for pre-production. Those count for health insurance weeks, right?) Do I get double weeks for the overlapping weeks? Each show rehearses for 3 weeks and performs for 3 weeks.

I want to qualify for health insurance through the union. Will that happen with these two shows, or if I'll just have to go without until I get one more week under a contract?

I'm going to be moving into the realm of full-time freelancing, so the insurance questions is important since I will be leaving a full-time day job with insurance to take these shows.

Any help you can provide is much appreciated! Thanks!

Employment / Re: lighting design?
« on: Jun 02, 2011, 02:31 pm »
For me, it comes down to simple marketing. While I have the experience needed to be a LD, I want to be seen as a stage manager. If I take non-stage management work, which I still enjoy, I will be seen as a [insert title here] to those people, rather than a stage manager. Although I am willing to do short-term non-stage management jobs, I make a point to spend the majority of my time stage managing and make it clear that is what I am best at.

There is a theatre company that I have done overhire work for, and now the only work they ever consider me for is overhire stagehand work. It's tough. The same goes for a theater company that only asks me to stage manage their non-paying work, because that's what I have done for them in the past. However, I am at a different point in my career now, and am no longer willing to work for free (there are exceptions).

I know the AEA office in NYC collects binders that people would otherwise be disposing of. Not sure about the other offices, though. I was told they are binders for stage managers and actors to use instead of creating more waste. It's one of their green initiatives. You might want to consider donating your binders there.

I have never worked with a director who has had issues with a laptop in the room. That being said, I am always careful about how I use it. I still have my notepad and pencil with me and I take most of my notes down there. I only use my computer for when we need to look something up, or if there is a pressing need, I can email the designers and get a quick response. It's generally more of a help than a hindrance in the rehearsal room, but only when not abused for non-work-related things. I can't imagine ever switching over to a digital script. Too time-consuming. If you're willing to spend all that time putting it into your computer, then by all means, do it. I just think I have better things to do with my time.

Employment / Re: Free Lancing Tactics: How Far in Advance
« on: Mar 29, 2011, 03:07 pm »
I'm glad someone brought up this topic. I'm a non-union SM, and I've been living and working in NYC for over a year and a half now. I've been lucky enough to have consistent work since I've gotten out here. Recently, I had to turn down a great opportunity to ASM an off-Broadway show because I had just replaced another SM on an off-off Broadway show in Queens. It was really difficult for me to turn down. I just couldn't leave it because a great opportunity came up. This production had already lost one stage manager, I couldn't abandon it.

The whole situation got me thinking about taking jobs in a new way. I've always just said yes to most of the opportunities that came my way, and now I'm wondering if I need to be more strategic in my selections. I typically have just booked myself solid as long as I possibly could. But, I can't predict the future, so it's a tough question.

Tools of the Trade / Blogging Topic
« on: Sep 02, 2009, 08:43 pm »
Recently I have started a self-promotion website because I am moving to NYC in 15 days. I wanted to make sure that I was doing all I could do to make sure my name was out there. I have started to slowly put things onto the site and am also planning on having a blog on the site where I can discuss topics in the theatre that pertain to stage management. My question for you stage managers is this: Are there any topics, ethical questions, issues, or anything at all that would make for good discussions that I can blog about? I appreciate any and all help you come up with. Who better to decide what issues face stage managers than stage managers themselves?  Thanks!

We have been in rehearsal for a while now and I figured it was definitely time to update on this process. When I first met her, I was surprised how young she was. She was only about 28 or 29. Her translator is 23. They are both very nice people. Since the show is a world premiere, I am again charged with the fun task of script upkeep. I made copies of the script for the actors and also created my production scripts and the scripts for the designers and my ASM. About 3 days after I made the copies, the playwright told me that he was working on some major rewrites. I asked him to send me the updates so that I could distribute them to the actors. He told me that the script rewrites he was making was going to be the base script that we would work off of. So, I put the 600+ pages in the garbage and used 600+ more sheets of paper re-copying the scripts. A bit frustrating, but I just moved on and rolled with the punches.

The playwright, might have done a world premiere before, but it was definitely not with the use of a computer. He doesn't know how to do the changes so that the page numbers don't get all messed up and so that the general formatting is maintained. He has been making changes with the director and then, without my knowledge, he as been giving the changes only to the actors in that scene. I don't get the changes and my ASM doesn't either. Because of this, the actors have all different versions as I have not been allowed to do the distribution of the copies. I make new versions different colors so that they know right away if they have the right copy. I asked him to let me do the distributing of the copies. In addition to all of this, he is completely re-writing Act 2, so no one has a copy of it, including the director and the set designer and lighting designer. This has been upsetting some of the actors as well as me. We have been rehearsing for two weeks now and I just got the first 3 scenes of Act 2. The last two scenes have been deemed unacceptable by the director, so the playwright now has to re-do them again. Finally, we have a good system in place for future rewrites, although it is not what I would hope for. My system works a lot better than his, but he is the playwright...and also the head of our department.

Now to the director. We had our first production meeting and it went pretty well, but it quickly soured after that. In the individual meeting with the set designer, she gave very vague images and ideas for the set. After much persuading her to elaborate, we thought we had the general idea down. She said "Next meeting, we will do drawings." To both the set designer and me, that meant that we would do some collaborative drawing with the director at the next meeting. This is where things were lost in translation, for sure. What she meant was,"Next meeting, we will look at your drawings." So, we came in with blown up ground plans of the theatre to draw on and brainstorm. Apparently she thought that she had provided enough information for him to come up with a design. So, we told her that we were confused and we didn't know what she wanted. In Russia, apparently the set designer just creates a design and the director works with whatever is provided. Normally, for us, the director will give some kind of an idea of what he is looking for and the set designer creates a design realizing the director's vision. They talked and finally there is some kind of design for the show.

The rehearsal process seems very wasteful with time. Typically, we will rehearse 3 hours in the evening and that's all. Well, this director has 4.5-7 hour rehearsals everyday. Since we are not a conservatory theatre school, we have classes and other things going on in our lives. She just doesn't understand that we are students first and thespians second. She expects the entire production staff to be on call 24/7 and she expects, even during school breaks and weekends for things to get done. Today, our TD/Set Designer was in working on things. Today is Sunday and he was very upset that he was being told to work this weekend. She also started asking the actors what classes they want to skip second semester so that they can rehearse during the daytime. At our school, the professors require attendance and your grade lowers when you miss a class.

The costume designer is very stressed out because she wants the costumes done NOW! We don't open the show for 4 weeks, yet. I think she wants to use the costumes during all of the rehearsals so that the actors can "live" in them. This is a problem because it means that laundry will have to be done as well as dry-cleaning. That is expensive and very time-intensive when we are still trying to get the show built. She also wants the sound designer to get all of the equipment ready now. She wants to hear how the sound will be in the theatre so that they can play with it and discover new things during the rehearsal process. What that means for me is that my ASM will spend all her time running sound during the rehearsal.

She also wants working food props throughout the entire rehearsal process, which means we are spending $5 every day on bread alone. She has also come up with a plan to
Another thing is that she doesn't block the scenes. She lets the actors move wherever they want and EVERY SINGLE TIME it is different. I have no blocking taken down for the scenes. Has anyone else had this blocking dilemma? What have you done to solve that problem?

Overall, the process isn't awful. I can deal with it, but I hate to see how much she upsets and stresses out the production staff. I just know that it's going to get worse and my grandmother instincts (my stage manager instincts) are kicking into high gear and throwing up warning signs. Any advice with all of this, especially the blocking issue?

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Costuming the Crew
« on: Dec 22, 2008, 03:25 pm »
I worked at a theatre while one of the shows required the crew to wear costumes. We had a technician who refused to wear the tights and it took a strong talking to by the stage manager to get her to finally put them on. She fought it as hard as she could. I was just frustrating for everyone to have someone so against crew costumes.

Good news! The director got her visa and has her interpreter picked! She arrives in the United States on January 12th and auditions are going to be held over two days. It will be the 13th and 14th. Exciting times!


*Someone who enjoys problem solving. Ask them if they like math. Usually if they like math, they like problem solving.

I disagree with this. I HATE math with a passion, but I love problem solving.

Thanks for your outstanding advice. I will most definitely keep you all updated on this project. The director isn't slated to come to the United States until January 12th-ish. We open the end of February, so there is still a bit of time left. Thanks for your interest and help!

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5