Author Topic: How to break into Music?  (Read 6289 times)

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gypsygoddess

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How to break into Music?
« on: Nov 08, 2008, 12:34 pm »
I'm in NYC, I've been stage managing theatre for a couple years, I'm AEA....but what I REALLY want to do is work on stage managing Music concerts...I'm also interested in all things music, dance, opera, etc. but I do not really know how to find the network outside of Theatre.  I just got back from prodution managing a music tour, which was a terrific experience, but I found that on craigslist.

Any Suggestions, HELP???? ;D

Jessie_K

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 08, 2008, 12:38 pm »
Try contacting events companies.  I have done a couple of rock concerts through my company.  Also contact venues and try to get on their overhire list.  Work a few shows as a stage hand and make connections.

gypsygoddess

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 08, 2008, 01:25 pm »
Thanks for the suggestion!!  Where would you recommend finding names of events companies to contact?

BKrynicki

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 08, 2008, 05:31 pm »
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) represents performers and stage managers in opera, ballet, concerts, etc.  You can check their website (www.musicalartists.org) for some company names and info.  There are many more companies out there and a web search for your area of interest and a city name should turn up a few companies for you.

Jessie_K

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 08, 2008, 08:33 pm »
Outside of craigslist, I recommend googling or searching on LinkedIn.  Also try BizBash.com

Good luck.

centaura

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 12, 2008, 04:29 pm »
Music is hard to break into, especially if you're referencing concert tours.  Most of the bands that come through my venue don't have stage managers, perse, the person who runs everything is the production manager.  If you can get yourself onto a few crews to help load-in and out, that's one of the better ways to make contacts with folks.  Another website is www.roadie.net - its been a while since I visited there, but I believe they had an employment section.

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TourSM

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 07, 2009, 06:04 pm »
Does anyone know what the salary range is for a concert Stage Manager? From smaller tour to a full arena tour?

centaura

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 08, 2009, 05:31 pm »
Greetings,

That's a hard question to answer, since there aren't a lot of stage managers in the concert industry, especially below the arena level.  I have a 2,500 seat road house that gets about 100 concerts a year, in what is considered a 'tertiary market', and I maybe see one or two actual 'stage managers' come through with the concerts.  Tertiary market means that I get the folks who are either up and coming but haven't gotten big enough for arenas yet, or folks on their way down who can't fill arenas anymore.  We had the Jonas Brothers as an opening act for someone else, for example - but now they're on their own arena tour so they won't be back here (this size theatre/market) for a while.  The theatrical shows will all have SMs, and there are a few concerts that do, but not many.  Since you're dealing with one star and their band, you're not in the same situation as a theatrical show dealing with actors.  Actors come and go and need wrangling,  singers are the tour and will have their own personal manager that takes care of them.

-Centaura
« Last Edit: Jan 08, 2009, 05:34 pm by centaura »

dcwhitson

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #8 on: Jan 09, 2009, 11:54 am »
Centaura is perfectly right.

I used to work for a friends concert production company out of Little Rock and the ONLY time i ever saw a tour with an SM was a theatrical show. Concert tours are made up of different "groups" that perform certain funtions. A lot of the equipment for productions for lighting, sound, band instruments, and the like are found locally and usually bring their own crew.

For example, when we did backline services for puddle of mudd, we brought OUR equipment and used OUR people (and a few people supplied by the venue) to set everything up on our end. Another company provided the lighting trusses while the conventional lighting (mostly source 4's) were already in the venue. Each group gets plots, diagrams, and schematics on where everything goes weeks or months in advance so a stage manager is never needed. Most stage plots will even show where the cables should be run and where they should be covered with a rug, gaff tape, or glow tape.

There are a few "roadies" (the most I have seen travel with the tour is about 6-8, but there is more on REALLY BIG SHOWS) who do travel ahead of the bands and assist with any equipment that does travel with the band, but these guys have done this same show 20 times before and know what to do. Most of the time there is a Tour Manager who arrives and makes sure everyone is getting their breaks, getting paid and makes sure everything is in order for the show, but they dont show up until hours after the load-in and, like the band, leave as soon as the show is over, and sometime before.

The closest thing you will find to being a stage manager in a touring act is for 1) it to be a play or musical, 2)become a tour manager, 3)be on the payroll of a company that offers services to tours or venues and be in charge of a certain function, or 4)be a Technical Director for a well-toured venue.

There just isnt the cohesion between the different facets of a production that would require a stage manager because each part of the show knows their job and goes in and gets it done without any supervision because they are all getting paid mucho $$$.

The best idea is to sign up to be on a load-in crew at a venue or production company to see if you would like it.
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centaura

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #9 on: Jan 10, 2009, 01:41 pm »
Exactly - the tours that come to my venue vary with whether they're touring with their own equipment (one or two trucks), or whether they are renting equipment from a local production company.  There is one person on the tour who is either the tour manager or the production manager who is the person in charge of the tour crew if they have their own equipment, or who will give instructions to the crew that came with the rental equipment, as well as the local hands.  The best theatre equivalent for the title of this person is 'Technical Director' since they are dealing solely with the technical issues of where is the truss going here, what are the rigging points, etc.  The lighting and sound persons run their own shows, and there are rarely any scene changes (other than say taking the opening act's gear offstage - but that will coincide with intermission so doesn't have any timing issues).  The lighting person will give the spot ops their instructions - but often its just "Shine light on person A every time they're onstage" - there are few 'cues'.

So, with the lack of cues, the lack of actors, and the lack of scenery, the concert environment lacks the need for a dedicated SM.

-Centaura

dcwhitson

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #10 on: Jan 10, 2009, 02:20 pm »
Also, in response to the pay question....any of the SM's that i talked to who came with a THEATRICAL show (not concerts or expositions) got anywhere from $200 to $700 per show.

I have no idea what the tour managers of tours I did made. We rarely talk to them much. Once they get to a town, they are usually working a show or two ahead....they already did the work for the show they are presently getting ready for.
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centaura

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #11 on: Jan 10, 2009, 08:30 pm »
Yeah, I've got so much that I need to talk with the tours about, the subject of what they get paid never comes up.  Not that I'm the type that would ask that kind of question, anyway.  When I was on tour, with small theatrical things, I was up to $800 per week, plus perdiem, before taxes, but again that was small scale shows.

To break into music - which I believe was the original question on the thread, the best way is to get in with a production company that supplies lighting or sound to gigs.  Once you've proved yourself on local gigs, you'll get tapped to take the company's equipment out with a show.  But, you need to be up to date on either your lighting or sound equipment - and especially with all the new LED technology in lighting that's an ever changing environment.

From there, most production managers are hired because they're known road crew guys that folks will trust being in charge of a tour, and folks know they have road experience.  It would be nigh on impossible to get anyone to trust you to be a tour PM if you've never toured, or only done one or two tours before.  Touring takes a certain personality type, and most folks don't know if they're suited for touring until they've been out on the road once.  There is a big difference between wanting to tour and having a touring personality - touring will weed out those not suited to it very quickly.

-Centaura
« Last Edit: Jan 10, 2009, 08:34 pm by centaura »

ChaCha

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Re: How to break into Music?
« Reply #12 on: Jan 10, 2009, 11:42 pm »
On the more classical  or 'fine' music front there are a couple of options. Festivals of different kinds might employ stage managers to look after whole programmes of music. For example at the Perth International Arts Festival in West Australia, they have both a contemporary music program manager and a fine music program manager(who also does jazz). I was employed for several festivals to 'stage manage' (ie wrangle on the ground) the chamber music series and several large classical concerts where the festival was directly employing the soloists and conductor and working with the state symphony. ALways fun. I didnt call much in the way of cues but did ensure artists requirements, transport, got them onstage, took them to the doctor, wrangled curtain calls, directed the crew, etc. Perth Festival also employ a stage manager in the festival's contemp music venue - basically bands and soloists on and offstage all night plus other roving acts occasionally. I would think many multi arts or specialist music festivals would employ such staff. Contact them direct. dont wait for adverts.

other ideas: Folk festivals often ask for volunteers to stage manage venues with the festival. often outdoors or in a marquee - good way to get experience perhaps.

Opera : you have to be able to read music quite well even to asm in opera. if you can do that and you know how to stage manage then just apply.

in australia most classical orchestras have a role called somthing like 'concert manager' or 'orchestral assistant' These roles are all about logistics. getting the orchestra onstage - dont do it if you don't like music stands! - really the stage manager of the orchestral world.


ChaCha

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