Author Topic: Question about SM finances  (Read 7475 times)

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Lvdsne

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Question about SM finances
« on: Jul 15, 2004, 12:14 am »
Hey all -

I have a dilemma and I need some advice.  I'm currently a stage management student transferring from a community college to a 4-year-program.  I got into a few schools, but my favorite is going to leave me with close to $42,000 in debt.  My question is this: can I afford this school based on a stage management salary?  I know the amount SMs are paid can vary greatly, but in general would I be making enough to afford this education?  I am in love with the program this school offers, but my father is convinced I'd be making a terrible mistake.  Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Thanks!
"I spread my wings and touch ten million other words" ~ His Dark Materials

MatthewShiner

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SM Salary
« Reply #1 on: Jul 15, 2004, 01:13 pm »
Hmmmm.  I can say that it depends on what level you wish to work at.

I for example, have been working at the regional theatre level, working about 50 weeks a year.  For the past three years, I have made anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 a year.

If you do broadway, you can imagine yourself making $60,000 - $100,000 a year.

If you tour on a production contract, your will make roughly the same.

If you do industirals as well, you could start making $500 - $2000 a day, but those jobs are few and far between.

Hope that helps.
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phillydan

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Question about SM finances
« Reply #2 on: Jul 15, 2004, 03:21 pm »
True, the financial rewards in stage management can vary greatly.  However $42,000 in student loan debt is really not all that much.  I am a huge fan of Suze Orman (a brilliant financial adviser with her own advice show on CNBC.)  She always stresses that student loan debt is "good debt".  Interest rates are at their all-time low, and $2500 of your interest is tax-deductible every year.

You'll be paying it off for a long time, but the fact is these days you just can't get a decent education without amassing some debt unless you are lucky enough to be wealthy or get a free ride somewhere.

Lvdsne

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Question about SM finances
« Reply #3 on: Jul 15, 2004, 06:30 pm »
Thanks to both of you for your information!  

It sounds as if I could swing the $42,000 debt if I decided to go in that direction.  The other school I'm looking at has offered me a free ride, but the program isn't nearly as good as the (much) more expensive school.  How do I decide??  How important is the name of the university you attended; how much weight does it carry?  And, in your professional opinion, is the better education worth $42,000?

Thanks so much!  It really helps to hear the opinions of those of you actually working in the stage management field!
"I spread my wings and touch ten million other words" ~ His Dark Materials

MatthewShiner

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« Reply #4 on: Jul 15, 2004, 11:49 pm »
Um, I am not sure a 42,000 education vs a free education means much to me, it kind of depends on the school, and also depends on how much you hustle.

To be honest, no one cares about my undergrad education at this point in my career.  Maybe you could save up, and spend it on grad school.

(Insert every discussion about grad school here.)
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centaura

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free verses fee?
« Reply #5 on: Aug 27, 2004, 04:57 pm »
Greetings,

I've been reading the post on free verses fee education, and I'll through 2 cents into the pot.  While student loan payments tend to be fairly affordable once you leave university, the job pay rates that have been quoted are not always entry level wages.  Most companies want to see that  you've ASMed once or twice before they'll consider you seriously for a SM position.

I've been 'out' for almost ten years, and none of the jobs that I have gotten have cared much where I went, nor even asked many questions about what I did in university.  And, as I always tell my new actors on tour, you get out of it what you put into it.  

Would splitting up your years in school make sense?  Start at free, get your gen eds out of the way, then transfer to pay for your last year or two?

-Centaura

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