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Self-Promotion / Zen and the Art of Stage Management new book
« Last post by davidbaughan on Jun 13, 2018, 05:58 pm »
Hi all
Just written and published a 310-page book "Zen and the Art of Stage Management".
Several members are quoted in the book with their permission and thanks.
You can see more if you search in facebook for TheZenSM.
The subtitle is "a philosophical and practical companion to the alchemy of stage management", which I hope gives some idea of it's contents!
As I have worked as a SM mainly in Canada many of the examples are Canada-based but I think most of the terminology used in theatre in the US and Canada is similar so it should appeal to SM artists on both sides of the border.
Thank you.
The Green Room / Re: Production Haikus
« Last post by LostinBoston on May 30, 2018, 10:49 pm »
Sir you are a pro
So why wait until tech to
read your script, LD?

Yes, you are the lead
but when castmates skip their lines
you CANNOT call hold.

Okay, rigging's hard
But tie-line isn't the best
to secure that drop.

The Green Room / Re: Career Day - How to teach littles about our job
« Last post by KMC on May 24, 2018, 07:32 am »
Can you show a short video clip from a childrens' TV or Theatre show they may be familiar with at the start of your segment?  You could then move in to what it is a Stage Manager would do in this context.  While the connection to TV is not direct it is somewhat relevant, and a great way to get through to young'ins is to relate what you're talking about to something they're familiar with. 

An anecdotal story on the subject of relating to small children: a few years ago my wife and I moved to Dubai for a one-year work assignment for my job.  When we explained it to our four year old niece where we were moving and that it was far away, she was rather confused.  We then explained we were going to move to where Aladdin lives, and the light bulb clicked and her eyes lit up.  She understood we'd be far away for a while and in a different land.  It's all about the context.
The Green Room / Re: Career Day - How to teach littles about our job
« Last post by Brandi Shook on May 24, 2018, 01:49 am »
Different spike tape might be interesting to bring, and maybe glow tape! They may enjoy seeing you use glow tape and being able to charge it themselves/watching you do it.

Also, you could compare onstage/theatre to movies at the start to explain to them what it means, like "you know everything you see in a movie, all the sets and props and effects, I do that but live and in real time." If there are any kids who don't know much about theatre, it might relate to them and then after that just explain what you do specifically.
If you could maybe bring in a video of you calling a show, they may find that interesting. Also, to explain calling a show, you could use the game Red light/Green light, if they've played it (I know I did as a kid, so they might have). Red light is standby, Green light is go, but instead of running, they make the lights go and the sounds play and the sets move. If you're able, you could even play it with them!

Hope it helps!
The Green Room / Career Day - How to teach littles about our job
« Last post by TarytheA on May 23, 2018, 08:21 pm »
I thought you all might have some suggestions for me. In a couple weeks I am presenting at my son's elementary school for Career Day. I just found out that I'm being assigned to a few classes in the younger grades (K-2). Any ideas for visuals or hands-on things, or ways to explain stage management to kids that age? How do you explain it to kids who barely know what it means to be onstage, let alone backstage? I feel like talking to the 6th graders would be easier...

If I were to step away from my resident gig someone else would quickly come up to take it over and I would be SOL. 

That's the entire reason I was so worried about having a child. Thankfully my resident gig in ballet was mainly Monday-Friday 9am-5:30pm unless we were in show, which was only 4 weeks out of the season, plus the month of December. (And I'd been there for 9 years and they were cool with me bringing him to work a few times a week.) Now, once that ballet went out of business, I had to switch careers to get something else that was mostly 9a-5pm.

Though I left the biz back in March 2016, I still kept in contact with smaller companies I had worked for, letting them know my new availability. I ended up working for the smaller companies (getting permission granted from my new employer - though I had to spend all of my breaks and time off from rehearsal working for them) a few times until I moved out of state in late 2017. And then I let them know that as well.

Unfortunately, I have yet to achieve any work/life balance, even with leaving the business. We SMs are an interesting type - we are incredibly dedicated and take on ownership of our responsibilities to the Nth degree. (Regardless where we work.) It's why it's hard for us to stop working/take a break/get away. But it is also hard to step away for fear of being forgotten/replaced - but you never know when everyone else's schedule isn't going to work and yours does. Just keep up your contacts, even reaching out to replacements (if your PM moved on, reach out to the new guy, telling him your history and your interest in the company) - that worked for me! Who wouldn't want someone with some familiarity with the company to work for you when you're new and may not know the area?

Since moving out of state, I work from home remotely for my last employer. The time difference is tough, especially when I'm trying to make dinner for my son and they are calling me with questions/problems to solve - or I get a phone call at 1am, because it's only 10pm there. At some point I will find a way to achieve that balance - but so far it's been 6 months and I haven't figured it out yet.
Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Taking time off
« Last post by smejs on May 08, 2018, 04:27 pm »
I ended up taking some time "away" in a sense, when I spent 9 1/2 years in educational opera, with only 3 Equity gigs in the meantime. I did attend USITT national conference every year, and tried to keep contacts up, kept involved with new trends, and if you know me (or my name), you'll know I'm very active in holding stage manager social gatherings.

About a year before I left, I really started leaving hints to my network that I was looking for something that would let me slip my "golden handcuffs" of health insurance and other benefits, to get back to "real" stage management. I managed to find a job through a Facebook posting, and negotiated with them to hire me for two different shows - enough to have me break those handcuffs. I spent quite a bit of time taking whatever smaller gigs I could, and contacting friends, including Facebook posts "hey, I'm available" etc. About a year in, one friend said, "Are you still looking? My old boss is looking for a new PSM." And short story, I'm now about to do my 4th contract with them in a little over a year's time.

So, my "short" answer is, do whatever you can to network and self-improve, and let folks know you're looking - though networking is also about making friends and connecting, not just "HEY HIRE ME" (caps intended). The honest approach is good for me - I left the opera because I missed the ebb and flow of shows that prepped, rehearsed, performed, then closed. Life happens for those who have kids, too, and maturity can be an asset.

As for work/life balance....while I have to do the unemployment thing, I also use it to go boating as much as I can, and catch up on the friendships (and house organization....) that I've missed while out of town. While out of town, I try to catch friends around the country, and I adore the Roadside America app to help me find fun new things to do. Also, get out of the theatre for a tiny bit on tech days during a break. Don't stay inside your whole break. I'm also grateful for my Netflix account.....

Best of luck,
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."
"Hey x... Please take this as it is intended, but can you please try to avoid calling me on a Monday - unless you need something urgently sorted for Tuesday? I am a bit sensitive about my time off at the moment because life is a bit hectic. I am happy for you to contact performers directly if you need to deal with an issue regarding illnesses and absence and just send me a summary after the fact - that will probably make your life easier as well. Let me know if you need me to provide an updated contact list to you"

Be honest, and just express it. Without knowing your producer, they probably think they are doing the right thing keeping you in the loop.
(...unless it's an emergency, of course)

"I know it's your day off, but..."
It's Monday, and I've been fielding texts, all day, from my producer, in regards to a performer who felt ill during yesterday's shows. mostly, I've just been a forwarding service, passing the producer's texts on to the performer in question, and the performer's texts back to the producer.

They could easily just text or call each other. Then, call me if the show ends up needing some sort of adjustment.

I don't mind being contacted about time-sensitive things for which I'm the only resource, but this is a ridiculous amount of playing telephone for a minor illness that did not and probably will not affect performances.

I'm maybe a little sensitive about my time off, right now; I haven't had a vacation in 9 months, the current show is an absolute beast with a stupid-long run, and I'm getting married in less than three weeks. So I am a little on edge.

But I don't think it's unreasonable to ask not to be disturbed for this sort of thing on my day off.
I just have no idea HOW to go about communicating that. Any advice, my dear colleagues?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth
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