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Messages - maximillionx

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Hello all! I was just wondering how some of you go about dealing with tension between actors and directors should it arise. I know sometimes there's a liaison who directs cast and crew concerns to the stage manager, but what is done after the stage manager gets the complaint(s)?

Tension is a pretty vague term. Any more specifics?

Each instance has to be dealt with on its own, according to the variables of the situation.

The article in question is called "High Achiever Burnout." While the whole thing (a short page skim) is worth a read, the part that really grabbed my attention was in the first 2 paragraphs:

Essentially they expand the scope of their job by assuming others’ responsibilities. In the short run this isn’t a problem. Their intent and resulting outcome is good. However, it’s rarely a one-off situation. It can easily become a habit and create what we call the “stage manager” syndrome—when things are going well no one notices your contributions, but when things aren’t, you end up holding the bag.

Coming from my background in low/no budget small regional theatre....I was jumping from tech to opening to tech for a while).

Wise realizations Michelle! It sneaks up on you. It sounds like you have a good support system, but remember to support yourself too. We all want to make the most happen with the least resources and that certainly is our employer's standpoint too (best productivity for least pay...I know that sounds evil, but it's business!). Keep in mind your personal equations: What makes you able to work? Do you have time to be healthy? Do you have time to recharge? Do you have time to be with loved ones? But OOOooooo you're giving me some flashbacks.

Last year, the theatre I worked at folded. I served as that PM, SM, ME, Designer, IT fella, do-it-all person and was - unbeknownst to me DURING it - burning out fast and unhappy. I have spent the last year, refocusing and re prioritizing myself in different ways (different job [i.e. teaching], taking classes, doing the jobs that I want, seeing my spouse and family and friends).

When you burn out, it takes time to heal. It's not just exhaustion, but the mental damage it and you do to yourself. (I'm not good enough, what's the point, this doesn't matter, etc...)

Also, the research I referenced:

And if anyone needs to talk about burnout and frustrations with work, do'll feel so much better! I felt so alone until I did (which is probably why I'm word-vomiting all over this post lol)

I was so happy to hear about this on The Take Away on NPR! Recognition leads to solutions....hopefully.

Having just recently done some research on it for a project, it's astonishing how much of burnout's description and characteristics you personally recognize working in theatre.

I wish I had some type of literature to recommend, just some anecdotal stuff:

I got REALLY lucky and my previous therapist (he retired - I know, selfish right?!) minored in theatre in college and happened to work in NYC post-grad/pre-doctorate backstage. Wow, was it refreshing to hear an "I know exactly what you mean" when you're trying to vent on the frustrations of the career.

Now, I usually describe the job as middle management. You have power and responsibilities, but certainly not the major decision-making (aka design of the show, direction, casting, money management, etc...) that an audience notices most. It's important and necessary stuff, but not the glam and glitter, and not easily taught or replaceable.

"Middle management" is also a term that I've seen triggers a sympathetic response from people. They understand you're in charge, but only to a certain extent, with a wide variety of responsibilities. This sentiment is something that I think easily translates across industries.

You sunk my Actor Ship!

Similarly to other posts, I've attributed compass directions to a particular side. Maybe one entrance is North and another South, East or West, depending on preference.

I think the trickiest part of this staging isn't necessarily the orientation of labeling, but rather how you label the grades of the stage. Center stage is a little obvious, but whta do you call the spot that's 6' from center but 10' from the North entrance? Compass directions, clock numbers, or spacial references only get you so far. Maybe adopt something like you see on the edges of proscenium stages and number the feet from center and reference those?

Whatever you choose, good luck and have fun!

Be honest, and just express it. Without knowing your producer, they probably think they are doing the right thing keeping you in the loop.

Agreed. Honesty is the solution to most problems.

I know the experience, Tempest, as I am also essentially "on call" for issues and solutions, due to necessity. I try and set the tone before my days off, even if it's with "I'll talk to you on Tuesday" or even saying "I'm not really available for quick responses on _____ day, so email would be best for updates or questions."

As someone who does not (at times) have a healthy work/life balance, I would also love to hear everyone's perspective on this...It's  been a talking point lately for me and something I need to work on.

I also began my theatrical life as a performer. Singing, dancing, the whole bit.

I went into college as an actor/technician, but half way through sophomore year I transitioned to a technical/design/SM concentration. It's served me very well over the years.

Having the performance experience, like others have mentioned, serves you very well. In addition to the technical and managerial aspects making you more employable once you've graduated, it gives you a better context to relate to the people you're working with.

Good luck!

The Hardline / Re: Who has worked on/ attended Fringe Festivals
« on: Aug 02, 2017, 11:53 pm »
Just finished up a local fringe festival, working tech and troubleshooting. Feel free to PM with any questions!

Employment / Re: Non SM jobs for former SMs
« on: Apr 04, 2017, 01:38 pm »
Here's a more recent thread on the topic:

Try looking under the "Employment" section of the forum. I've seen a few out there, in case the one above doesn't help.

Why not both? Is there an option available where you can start your education in-state for less and transfer to your desired location for the latter/advanced part of your education?

Also, don't be afraid to seek out to alumni to ask their opinions....maybe on a forum like SMNetwork!

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Contact Methods
« on: Mar 11, 2017, 06:45 pm »
I have initiated and been contacted via social media before. I have no issue with it.

I do prefer email, but I understand that might be privileged information sometimes.

The Green Room / Re: Oscar Night 2017: How to teach from it
« on: Feb 28, 2017, 10:53 am »
Believe it or not, it's not the first time!

Handled a smidge better, but let's not discredit Jordan Horowitz for the graceful hand-off.

I think what peeved me most was the amount of time it took to make the correction. 2 speeches and a whole cadre of people walking to the stage is unacceptable. That's where my lesson would come from: if something is wrong onstage, don't wait and hope it resolves itself. Just make the correction and continue with the show. This could translate into someone walking on with a duck instead of a dog, or someone being given an incorrect/broken weapon. Expediency in remedying a mistake is far more impressive than improvisational flailing.

The Green Room / Re: Kay
« on: Nov 09, 2016, 03:07 pm »
Yay for Kay!

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