Author Topic: ASMS: ASM during Tech  (Read 4427 times)

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hbelden

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ASMS: ASM during Tech
« on: Jan 03, 2006, 10:58 am »
I'm putting in my time as ASM on the LORT level, one level up from where I've been stage managing, and I'm having a hard time making the adjustment.  I was fine while we were at the rehearsal hall, but now that we've started tech (it's an IATSE house) I feel superfluous.

I pay attention to every second of the tech; I know who's working and I know what's coming up next, I listen in on everything on my side of the stage, and every time the tech stops I go out on stage to see what's happening.  But for some reason, I just feel like an eavesdropper, a visitor.

When I was the Stage Manager, I felt totally plugged in to the entire show and everyone working on it.  Now that I'm the ASM, it just seems like I'm in the way.  The crew doesn't need anything from me, the actors are working out their issues, and when the director goes up onstage to talk to the actors, he doesn't say anything that anybody besides the actors needs to know.

It's true that it's a small show, with not much going on backstage.

Maybe it's just my own perception; maybe this is part of the normal differences between being an SM and an ASM.  This is the first show I've done in this house, and I have a second this season.  I'd like to feel more of a contributor on the second show.  

How can I be a more effective ASM during tech?
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:59 pm by PSMKay »
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Heath Belden

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MatthewShiner

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ASMing
« Reply #1 on: Jan 03, 2006, 11:15 am »
Heath, I know it's a little advice, but maybe it can help.

The ASM and SM really have such seperate jobs during tech, that there will be a normal period of adjustment during the show, especially when working in a IATSE house.  I think a lot of it comes from you working on a small show - if it was a larger show, more complicated with more problems to solve, you would be jumping a lot more.  

It sounds like you are doing everything right, there is just not enough to do.  Considering yourself lucky that everything is running so smoothly, and hope that nothing major comes up you need to solve.  Remember a lot of stage management is like being an air traffic control, hours and hours of boredom interuppted by moments of sheer terror.

Also, it's a great time to pay attention to the SM's style, and learn do's and don'ts - play that game in your head "What would I do differently?" or "Why don't I do things this way?"

You may also want to approach the SM and make sure their needs are being met and also discuss that everything that is expected for you do is being done, but other then that . . . it may just be adjusting the perception that you are not plugged into the show, and realize that everything is just fine.
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Mac Calder

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ASM during Tech
« Reply #2 on: Jan 03, 2006, 09:16 pm »
I have never ASMed before - it is not my kettle of fish - so a lot of this is sort of hypothetical.

During tech as an SM I usually spend a LOT of time writing notes.  In the end I decided it took far too much time to write everything and have started using a micro-tape recorder to record notes, which is fine except there are some notes I need done imediatly - when I have a spare ASM who is idle, I usually sit them next to me and get them to make quick changes for me in my bible whilst I am doing other things.

Other times, when I have an ASM who is not needed, I send them up to the booth as LX is almost always running late as a liason of sorts.

As I mentioned before in another thread, my prompt desk is a thing of beauty and I usually have it moved into the auditorium during tech which means I need an eye on P as well.

During tech I can always find something for an ASM to do. However it will probably get worse during dress and show.

hbelden

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ASM during Tech
« Reply #3 on: Jan 13, 2006, 06:51 pm »
The show's open, and it's a success; I feel more at home than I did when I originally posted.  

It was a challenge to keep my hands in my pockets and call for the prop person to hand over a comb from the prop table to the actor, when I was two feet from the table and four feet from the actor and the prop person was reading a book on the other side of the stage, and it felt very wierd, but I got used to it.

What helped me the most, though, was making the effort (hard for me, I'm very shy) to get to know the crew.  I went to Trader Joe's and picked up some almond butter (I had overheard two crew members talking about the price of it) and brought it in and gave it to one of them.  Another crew member, later in the day, thanked me and said it was the best gift they ever got as most people give them wine and they don't drink at the theatre, obviously.

It also seems like the IA crew assumes you're incompetent for the first couple of days and they warm up to you after you've shown your professionalism.

I did check in with the PSM and found out I was doing everything expected of me.  We joked about my being so lazy, since whenever she asked me to do something I had already identified and done it or was in the process of doing it.

An easy show, and I guess I'll just continue to enjoy it.  I used my spare time to send out a bunch of cover letters and resumes.

Thanks for the help!
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Heath Belden

"I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right." - Sondheim
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Tags: Union iatse crew tech asm 
 

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