Author Topic: Concert SM'ing tips?  (Read 2179 times)

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Concert SM'ing tips?
« on: Mar 01, 2010, 08:08 pm »
Well, I'm SM'ing my first concert on saturday, anybody have any tips? I have always SM'ed musicals and straight shows, but have come across the oppurtunity to work a concert. The venue is going to be the most difficult part though, it is at a church, I have no telex system, and will probably be using my cellphone and a bluetooth headset to connect with my 3 ASM's (why on earth there are 3 ASM's I have no clue. But it's ok, I don't mind.) There will be multiple rooms in use, the main stage, a Green Room, and a Retail Area. So, any tips would be greatly appreciated.


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Re: Concert SM'ing tips?
« Reply #1 on: Mar 01, 2010, 09:23 pm »
there is a discussion of this elsewhere on the site (sorry, I shd have looked it up first but on my way to a prodn meeting - yes, on a Monday - and just catching this on the fly)

but you are gonna be grateful for your 3 ASMs, trust me. Two of them will be legs/escorts/runners for specific areas and acts ,and the third (your eyes and ears on deck) backstage reporting to you when things are ready (or not) for the next act.

Be ready to have a blast and do everything on the fly. Trust your gut.


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Re: Concert SM'ing tips?
« Reply #2 on: Mar 01, 2010, 09:59 pm »
A lot of times when I work concerts and similar events, other people are hired to run the sound.  If you don’t yet know what the plan is for sound, that’s a good thing to ask about.  Have a conversation with the sound people on the day of the event on how you can work together.  Sometimes they appreciate an extra set of hands.  Other times, they only want people with their company touching the equipment.  It’s good to talk through the transitions together as much as possible so you don’t get in each others’ way.   Do you have info on what instruments each performer is bringing and what kind of mics they need, and info on seating and music stands?  Sometimes producers have gotten sketches of performers’ stage set ups ahead of time, and if you can make copies for sound and yourself that’s really helpful.

In these situations, it may be that you as SM just need to get the performers to the stage on time, and aren’t responsible for the sound at all.  If there are lots of different performers, you may want to assign your ASMs so one is always with the group that is “on deck” and another waiting to escort the current group away from the stage, where you’ll want to avoid over crowding, with the third ASM staying with the  group that is 2nd in line.  Find out what kind of turn around time the producers want between groups.  Sometimes they say “as soon as possible” and then are disappointed when it takes 15 minutes to reset the stage, so if possible, encourage them to build into the schedule a couple minutes to strike and reset. 

Bring snacks and water for yourself in case things get hectic, also extra paper and pencils, etc, so you can make cheat sheets for yourself and others.  Every concert is unique, so just  keep your eyes open and be ready to go with the flow.   Also, there is a lot less mystique in a concert setting, so if a chair or mic or whatever is out of place, don’t be shy about walking on stage and fixing it, audiences are used to seeing that.
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)


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Re: Concert SM'ing tips?
« Reply #3 on: Mar 02, 2010, 01:06 pm »
I would need to know more about what level of concert it is, before I can give any advice.  Is it local bands?  Or a national tour?  The bands on the national touring scene generally don't use stage managers, and wouldn't have much specifically for you to do during the show.  Their need of a local person would be for fulfilling their rider requirements before their arrival.  If its a local event, then I would assume that you'll be helping with starting and stopping, getting bands onto stage at the right time.


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