Author Topic: JOB DESCRIPTION: Who runs your production meetings?  (Read 7922 times)

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MarcieA

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JOB DESCRIPTION: Who runs your production meetings?
« on: Jan 05, 2007, 11:54 pm »
I've always had a production manager or 'director of production' run them but it seems that with no communication to me about this, I am now expected to do so. And if that is the case, am I responsible for asking the production management questions?

So I was just wondering what everyone else is used to.
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:05 am by PSMKay »
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

ReyYaySM

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 06, 2007, 12:14 am »
In college, I used to run the production meetings.  However, since working professionally as an SM, I have not had to run a production meeting.  The production manager or another agent of the producer creates the agenda and runs the meeting. 

Just curious, does the theatre not have a PM?  Does the AEA contract you are working under mention anything regarding production meetings? 

MarcieA

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 06, 2007, 01:40 am »

That's what I thought, though even in college our TD/PM ran all meetings. The theatres that I've worked at in Philly for the last 5 years were the same. Here, we don't have one person with the title Production Manager. To my understanding, the TD and Company Manager share the PM responsibilities. The TD is at all meetings, whilst the company manager is not, so I take that to mean that his PM duties relate directly to the physical producing of shows, ie: sets, props, lights, etc. While the company manager does more administrative work.

No one has said specifically that it's my job as a PSM, it's not in my contract per se, but I'm learning that a lot of things seem to go unsaid here, and are just assumed, much to my detriment. For a while it was a learning curve, but now I'm just starting to feel out of the loop.

I know I need to sit down and just ask, I just want some thoughts other than mine behind my statement.
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

malewen

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 06, 2007, 02:22 am »
In most regional theatres that I have worked in it is the PM who runs the production meetings.  There have been some occasions in regional theatre where I did run the meeting, but those were the exceptions to the rule (like the PM was delayed in traffic or I was bringing an existing show into a new theatre.  One time when I did Broadway as the PSM it turned out that everyone expected me to run the meeting.  Needless to say I wasn't as prepared as I would have been if someone had clued me in before the meeting.  I have also worked as the PM at a regional theatre for a few years so I have enough experience doing it if need be.

Not that you don't know this but if you do have to run the meetings the easy format is just to ask the director what topics or issues that she/he would like to discuss and then go department by department.  Try to keep the conversation to interdepartmental concerns - the set designer and the prop person can have their own meeting unless what they are going to discuss has some impact on another department (like the color of the sofa has changed radically because that's all they could find/afford).  Keep a list of your topics for discussion at the end of the interdepartmental time.  The load-in schedule (like who gets primary use of the stage at what time - when is the focus - does the sound designer get any quiet time - when is there enough time to paint the floor so it will be dry when the carpenters come in - etc.) is the one area that you should hope that the TD steps up to the plate.

Good luck, it isn't so bad to run these meetings but you do need to prep for them.

cuelight

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 06, 2007, 08:30 am »
From what you've said I would have thought that the TD would run the production meeting. But it's never right to assume something. I'm used to the PM running the meetings and in their absence for the SM to run them. However in this case I'd expect a lot of communication to be going back and forth.

But do prep for it. There's nothing worse than going into a production meeting that you know you're going to run and realizing that you're not entirely sure on some points of the get-in or you haven't sorted out the schedule for allocated times and such.

Rebbe

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 06, 2007, 06:35 pm »
It's been my experience that someone from Production Management usually runs the production meetings. In some cases I've seen an Artistic Director lead them, though a production manager was also present, and would presumably be following-up on matters. I've occasionally been asked to take and distribute notes from meetings, or even type up a meeting agenda, but have not yet had to officially run one. 
 
Since the designers, TD, Costume Shop Manager, and other staff usually report to the Production Manager, not the Stage Manager, it seems to me a PM type would want to be actively involved in the meetings.  They can make/enforce/support decisions, and are ultimately responsible for providing the show with what it needs technically.  The SM doesn’t have that power, so while you can certainly lead the meeting as far as asking questions and giving everyone in the group a chance to speak in an orderly fashion, I’d want to make sure the PM would be the one making sure discussion turns into action.

"...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)

ljh007

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 07, 2007, 11:06 am »
I agree with most folks - the PM generally runs production meetings. But I've seen situations where the PSM, TD, or even the Artistic Director runs the meetings. Usually I ask either the PM or Art.Dir. before the meeting begins to be sure of who is going to run the meeting. I also ask whether minutes will be taken and how they will be distributed. (I was blind-sided once when I was told after the meeting that they expected the PSM to take the minutes and distribute them to production departments.) I've had PMs tell me specifically that they do not like to run the meetings and that they ask the PSM to do this. I'm fine with this, just as long as the PM brings me up to speed before the meeting and then actually attends the meeting and does their job of following up on issues discussed around the tech table.

Regardless of whether I'm running the meeting or not, I am always ready with a list of questions and issues to keep the discussion moving along. I'm usually the one who stops the chit chat and reminiscing ("remeber the last time we built a turntable and Jerry fell off and...") and keeps the meeting moving along as efficiently as possible.

Candy0081

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 07, 2007, 10:58 pm »
I have almost always ran my production meetings.  Occasionally I've had a production manager run them, but most places I have been, there wasn't a production manager and the TD was very focused on the build and not the overall production.  I always go though my rehearsal reports before the production meeting so I know everything will be covered that needs to be.  I also like to start with the director or anyone who really wants to talk first. 

Hope this helps.

Candy

LiLz

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #8 on: Jan 07, 2007, 11:46 pm »
Hi!  On many of the smaller, independent shows on which I served as PSM, I ran production meetings.  However, when I worked with companies and as SM, the Artistic Director, Director or PM usually ran the meetings.  I guess it depends on the situation.

MarcieA

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #9 on: Jan 08, 2007, 02:14 am »
I have almost always ran my production meetings.  Occasionally I've had a production manager run them, but most places I have been, there wasn't a production manager and the TD was very focused on the build and not the overall production.  I always go though my rehearsal reports before the production meeting so I know everything will be covered that needs to be.  I also like to start with the director or anyone who really wants to talk first. 

Hope this helps.

Candy


It's not that I don't know how to run a production meeting, I was just shocked to have the entire table turn to me and wait for me to speak. After I got over that, I was suprised the issues weren't being followed up by the people who brought them up as problems in the first place.

It's a strange dynamic we have here.
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

Scott

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #10 on: Jan 08, 2007, 09:06 am »
I have almost always ran my production meetings.  Occasionally I've had a production manager run them, but most places I have been, there wasn't a production manager and the TD was very focused on the build and not the overall production.

Ditto.

When I production manage, I will run the production meetings in the earlier parts of pre-load in, load-in and tech. Then I try to transition into having the PSM run the meeting as the "world" we are creating  is more complete and the PSM is in postition to give us the best evaluation of the "state of the world".

nmno

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #11 on: Jan 08, 2007, 11:04 pm »
Since we were all chiming in, I'll say in my regional experience (contrary to what's been said here) running the meetings has usually fallen to me.  But like scoot said, you adapt to whatever the standard at the theatre is, (unless you are taking on a full time position and if you'd like to explore another way to do things, do take the opportunity to discuss with the PM). 

I think your bigger issue is:
  I was suprised the issues weren't being followed up by the people who brought them up as problems in the first place.
Regardless of who runs the meeting, it is important that people are, oh, say, doing their jobs.  If people aren't following up, I'd say a convo with your PM is in order; but be delicate, so as not to sound like you are accusing your PM of not doing HIS job.

Balletdork

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #12 on: Jan 09, 2007, 10:30 am »
I was inspired by your question and had a very funny chat with my PM about this topic. We decided that
nobody run's our meeting's... either that or everyone does!  :o

We're a very small staff (only 6, sometimes 7 people in the meetings) and so we start to the top of the agenda and work our way down. Usually pretty smoothly... I create the adgenda.

Of course the choreographer chirps up whenever he has an idea... or a thought... or really anything....


MarcieA

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #13 on: Jan 09, 2007, 03:28 pm »
I guess we sort of run them that way too. I have my own list of questions, but start each meeting with something like, "Let's begin with sets" then we have a progress report for sets, and segue into questions for sets, starting with the director and myself, and then go around the table. We do the same for each element we have. Usually there are only 6 or 7 in my meeting as well.

I feel like the meetings are going fine, there are never any huge suprises and everything is always addressed, I just can't help but think they want more from me.
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

nmno

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Re: Who runs your production meetings?
« Reply #14 on: Jan 09, 2007, 03:35 pm »
I feel like the meetings are going fine, there are never any huge suprises and everything is always addressed, I just can't help but think they want more from me.

Here's on thing that I realized about my meetings...  A lot of things were getting addressed in the time between meetings.  I would call, send emails etc addressing issues as they came up; so by the time we got to the Prod mtg I felt like a lot of my issues had already been addressed so the meetings didn't feel like they were ultra productive.  But I still feel like it's a good use of time (assuming you keep the meeting moving along - don't let a 30m meeting turn into an hour meeting for no reason) and occassionally an issue regarding sets would come up that someone in elex had a solution to (and that solution wouldn't have come up if the ? hadn't arose with everyone in the room.)
If you are feeling insecure about it, maybe talk to your PM and see if the feeling is mutual...

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