Author Topic: ASMS: Duties of the ASM (Meta-thread)  (Read 19662 times)

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KMC

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Re: ASM's Prompt Book
« Reply #30 on: Aug 29, 2007, 09:50 am »
Mac,

I agree with you below.  I typically kept mine in the back of my prompt book binder clipped together, just so I wouldn't accidentally turn to one while leafing through with a designer, etc...

ASMs should definitely know where they are and have access to them, but if there's an emergency that requires the medical form the SM needs to know anyway.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

babyfunkymonkey

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Re: ASM's Prompt Book
« Reply #31 on: Sep 12, 2007, 02:37 pm »
As far as medical emergency forms... in my opinion, it should probably depend on the show and cast.

For example: I did a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers that required the whole company to do some crazy hard choreography. After we had three injuries in one day, the SM, ASM, director, and choreographer had copies of medical emergency stuff on hand at all times. (It turned out to be a really good thing, because we had a total of 31 injuries during that show!)

But if it's a straight play with a small cast or very little opportunity for injury, the SM could probably be okay with having only one copy of the medical emergency forms.

adrianej

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ASMS: Duties of the ASM (Meta-thread)
« Reply #32 on: Mar 03, 2008, 12:18 am »
I have never had an ASM. So I have no idea about what duties to give him or what is traditionally his responsibility. HELP?  ??? When I was an ASM I was basically a gopher. So what was you guys' ASM experiences like?
I'm so used to doing everything myself that I am afraid he won't get to do anything. And he is super eager to learn. Any suggestions? THANKS! ;D

NOTE: This is now a meta-thread, assembled from four separate topics. -- PSMK
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 03:15 am by PSMKay »

Britney

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Re: I have an ASM for the first time....what do I do with him???
« Reply #33 on: Mar 03, 2008, 12:40 am »
Depending on what type of stuff you do paperwork wise, he could have a lot of different jobs. I usually have my ASMs set up the rehearsal space each night (sweep the stage, set up tables, set up rehearsal furniture) and then restore the space afterwards (break down the tables, turn out the lights, put out the ghost-light). After rehearsal I have them type up rehearsal reports and the next day's schedule while I'm talking to the director after rehearsal. Then I can just go in, proofread their work and add any extra things before sending out the report/schedule.  They also do a lot of photocopying for me and take notes during production meetings.
Aside from those tasks I use them as a second brain to help me remember important things, help me do mass callings of the cast, take attendance, and other exciting activities like that.
Essentially, they do whatever I don't have time to do and help make everything go much faster.  I don't like to leave the rehearsal space during rehearsal if I don't have to, so I send them out to get things/make copies/find cast members. That way I can always be there to keep time and answer any questions.
Also: If your director ever wants to run more than one rehearsal at a time, you can send an ASM to the second rehearsal to keep time and give the cast breaks.  It gives the ASM a sense of responsibility and lets them run their own mini-rehearsal in preparation for when they get their own SM gigs.

Hope that helps!


zayit shachor

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Re: I have an ASM for the first time....what do I do with him???
« Reply #34 on: Mar 03, 2008, 12:49 am »
In addition to everything Britney said, you might find these two threads helpful:

http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,1473.0.html

and

http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,2601.0.html


adrianej

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Re: I have an ASM for the first time....what do I do with him???
« Reply #35 on: Mar 03, 2008, 09:33 pm »
THANKS!!!
Those threads were very helpful.

Rhynn

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Re: I have an ASM for the first time....what do I do with him???
« Reply #36 on: Mar 12, 2008, 10:01 am »
I have two SMs--I haven't really designated either as an ASM, as their both taking on many responsibilities, and if one is gone, I expect the other to do both jobs.

I let them choose who wanted to run the sound system for rehearsals, as we won't have a dedicated sound tech until we do load-in (we rent a theatre that comes with a sound tech).  The other one is on book, takes line notes, etc.  The one running sound will end up calling the show, and the one on book will become my deck supervisor/cast liason during the run.
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JMullane

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ASMS: Assignment of Rehearsal Duties
« Reply #37 on: Mar 18, 2008, 01:39 pm »
Hi all!

I'm currently working on my second four-person stage management team, and I am noticing how the division of duties in rehearsal makes such a big difference in how I think about the job. I was wondering if anyone had any favorite ways to dividing the duties in rehearsal, or particularly interesting ways they've encountered, or even horror stories about ways that haven't worked for them.

My first four-person team was 1 equity PSM, 1 equity ASM, and 2 interns (I was one), and we were working on a season of big musicals in the round.
PSM: took blocking, wrote cues in her book, called the breaks, timed the scenes, wrote the report, scheduled rehearsal for the next day.
ASM: gathering and shuffling actors, created the run book, make sure the furniture and set pieces in the room were in the right place.
Intern #1: props tracking, costume tracking, entrance/exit plot, doubles on distributing paperwork
Intern #2: on book, lines notes, tracked script changes, help with the presets and shifts when needed, doubles on distributing paperwork
(Company Management would handle coffee etc in the break area)

My current four-person team splits it up like this:
SM: Blocking, Cues, Calling Breaks, Report Notes, Scheduling
ASM: Run Book, Scene-by-scene breakdown, doubles on Props, preset things in the room
Non-Eq PA: On book, Line notes, Costume tracking, Entrance/Exit plot, Character-Scene Breakdown, help preset when needed
Intern: doubles on Props with ASM, help preset things in the room, gathering actors, making coffee, distributing paperwork
(Assistant Director tracks script changes)


Any other interesting ways of splitting things up? Or additional duties you've seen given to a member of the team that really worked well?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 02:06 am by PSMKay »

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johnB

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Re: I have an ASM for the first time....what do I do with him???
« Reply #38 on: Mar 23, 2008, 11:01 pm »
adrianej,

I have the same issue! I have been working alone as the PSM all this time but since I am graduating, I was given an ASM that will eventually take over when I leave. It's definetly a different experience. As stage managers, I have noticed that I tend to WANT to do a lot of tasks myself, but it is important to delegate responsibilities. It's nice to have help setting up scenes, keeping track of line notes (for some reason, I am always staring into space, engaged in a conversation with the staff or otherwise distracted RIGHT when an actor calls "line"), etc.

So far, I have been able to work well with my assistant. She is very willing to learn and just by doing my job, I am able to teach her a thing or two. Sometimes I do forget and when I'm in a bind, realize :oh, I have another smart mind here that can help:.

Hope this helps.
John B.

Christine MacLellan

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ASMS: ASM/PA duties
« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2008, 09:36 pm »
(A few minutes after posting this, I found a similar thread from a couple months ago.  I'll read all those posts, but any new insight since then would be welcome as well.)

Hello folks.  Just looking for a little guidance.  I am starting my first "professional" sm gig next week.  On this production I will have two paid, non-union ASM/PA's.  I want to be clear with them what their responsibilities are.  Problem is, I'm not entirely sure myself.  In the "non-professional" theater I have been working, ASM's are volunteers and not necessarily around a lot, and I didn't really rely on them for anything.  If they could help me, great, but I didn't count on it.  In my upcoming intense 2 week rehearsal period I will have to rely on my ASM's since I can't be everywhere and do everything myself.  My first job out of college was as a PA at an Equity theater, but it was more years ago than I want to post publicly, and I really don't remember what I did besides be on book, sweep that stage and make coffee.  I know I did more than that 9 hours a day?  

Long story short, does anyone have, or know of a nice comprehensive list of ASM/PA duties I can refer to?  Or just some seasoned advice?  Thanks.

Christine

« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 02:18 am by PSMKay »
Christine
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theatreannie

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Re: ASM/PA duties
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2008, 01:15 am »
In a situation with 2 ASMs/PAs I have usually seen it split so that one person is concentrating on props and props tracking and the other person is concentrating on costumes and their tracking.

Things I have done during rehearsals
-paperwork, be on book, run lines in another room, set costumes and props during runs, run errands


NomieRae

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ASMS: ASM Duties on very small show?
« Reply #41 on: Feb 28, 2009, 12:09 am »
Hi All--

So the last 6 shows I've worked on have been rather small 1-3 person cast, where I was the only SM team member which was more than enough for the amount of work being done.

I've also done full musicals in the past with 2-3 trusty ASMs on my team with me that of course are indispensable for all the nuances and endless tracking that goes along with a musical.

The next show I'm doing however... is a one woman show, VERY projection heavy, moderately prop heavy, and requires no running crew (actor never leaves stage, no scene changes, etc) and early in the process the powers that be said I would be getting an ASM/Board Op to run lights and sound as I will be dealing with running projection and calling the show. Now today they said that I'll have the ASM for all rehearsals as well...which is wonderful...but..

What shall I do with them?? I'll admit that I'm not always the best at delegating tasks, usually with ASMs on musicals during rehearsals it will be props tracking, actor tracking, line notes, costume tracking, making copies, corralling chorus members..etc..

But with this show it seems like there will be so much less of that sort of work-I'm leaning towards lending them to the scenic/props designer as assistance for all the props we need to buy/track down.

We have 4 weeks of rehearsals, 6 days a week, 6 hour days... I always was irked being the ASM who sat in rehearsal waiting for a task to be given to me...

Any ideas???
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 02:31 am by PSMKay »
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kiwitechgirl

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Re: ASM Duties on very small show?
« Reply #42 on: Feb 28, 2009, 04:36 am »
I think I'd definitely be lending them to the props department!  Much better that they're busy than sitting in a corner waiting for something to do - I very rarely have an ASM in rehearsal, even on musicals, so when I do get one it takes me a couple of days to get into the swing of dividing jobs up, and until I get that balance right I always feel bad about boring my ASM.

EFMcMullen

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Re: ASM Duties on very small show?
« Reply #43 on: Feb 28, 2009, 09:47 am »
I work at a theatre that uses relatively small casts for all its shows, 2 - 6 actors on average, and I ALWAYS have an ASM in the rehearsal hall with me.  Their main focus is staying on book for the actors and tracking props/setting the rehearsal hall, that way I can focus on blocking, other technical aspects, and getting my head out of the book to watch rehearsal.  You mentioned that this was a moderately prop heavy show as well as having projections, etc.  It seems like there is a lot this person could be doing to take some of the burden off of you.  Also, is this person interested in stage management?  This seems like a perfect learning opportunity.  Yes, there is not a huge chorus to wrangle but unless the show consists of just the Actor sitting in one chair (i.e. no props to track or blocking for you as the SM to be taking) there is always something for the ASM to be doing.  Then once you move on-stage, this person will be able to help you set the stage and assist you in other things as they will know the show.

An ASM is a very valuable position.  I say take them when you got them, or the theatre may not give you one when you need it!

MatthewShiner

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Re: ASM Duties on very small show?
« Reply #44 on: Feb 28, 2009, 01:06 pm »
I think this is the perfect project for you to LEARN to delegate, and be comfortable with that.  It's the hardest thing to do, but as you move up the ladder, you will be glad you learned how to.

How experienced are they?  Can they take blocking, while you track things you need to track?  Maybe they can track props/costumes?  Definitely they can ease your pre-rehearsal and post-rehearsal duties?  Have them be on book?  Have them run lines with the actor?  They should be in the room, as they are going to help run the show, it will be helpful for them to learn the show.
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