Author Topic: PEOPLE: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)  (Read 4006 times)

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dwj0772

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I’ve recently run into a situation I could use some advice on… I am a fairly new SM at a community theatre (we are getting ready to do R&H’s Cinderella), and my long-time ASM stepped down after the last show to pursue other opportunities.  I replaced her with someone else, and thought it was all settled… until last night.  My director has someone he wants to put in to ASM with me, but I don’t need her.  We have a very small “theatre” (actually a converted college lecture hall) with no fly space, rigging, etc, so I don’t need a techie crew.  Both ladies are equal as far as qualifications… either one would do a great job, but I just don’t have enough work to keep the both occupied and don’t really want to create more work for myself by always having to find something for one or the other to do.  ASM #1 really wants to do the show (it’s her favorite show), but ASM #2 has the backing of the director, who is also my boss.  Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:00 am by PSMKay »

LisaEllis

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #1 on: Dec 13, 2006, 12:09 pm »
Who has the hiring power and writes the contract?  Or is this volunteer?

Can always park #2 to be on book, or take the director's notes...and not needed in the theatre after opening night...more of an AD than ASM...

OR, tell the director that you've already hired someone and don't have a position for #2.  Maybe on his/her next show...

thehayworth

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #2 on: Dec 13, 2006, 01:08 pm »
Uh ... use both and have the 2nd run out for snacks and drinks for you YES

also those palm tree fans are nice ... feed you grapes and so on
"This time for sure."

nmno

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #3 on: Dec 13, 2006, 05:25 pm »
I suggest explaining the situation to the director (let him know that you already found someone and think that there may not be a lot to do) to find out what the ASM #2 is really looking for.  Is it just the director trying to be helpful in finding someone for you? Or is it the director trying to give a leg up to someone (and that would be a hard request to deny since that's the way to move forward.)  the only caveat I'd say to telling the director that #2 isn't needed and you don't want them is that if something falls through the cracks the director may (not necessarily rightfully so) blame it on the face that you don't have that extra ASM...  Only you know the director so...
I can be tough having too many people, but it will also be a good exercise for them in being pro-active.

LiLz

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #4 on: Dec 13, 2006, 08:23 pm »
I've had the same situation and, wow, was it hard keeping them both busy!  I attached one to the director (taking notes, fetching coffee, etc) and one to me (staying on book, pulling rehearsal props, etc), and was able to keep them both fairly happy.  I went crazy, but they were okay.  Then, when the show opened, I gave one stage right and the other stage left and had them run everything that happened backstage on their side.  Lucky for me, they worked really well together and everything went really well.  I hope your situation is as successful!

ReyYaySM

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #5 on: Dec 13, 2006, 11:53 pm »
I'm in the middle of a run of R&H's Cinderella, and I couldn't imagine doing it without two ASMs.  However, I'm in a regional theatre with a crew of nine, massive set pieces, lots of stuff flying, and complicated transitions.  During the rehearsal process, we often had split rehearsals, so I would keep one ASM with me and send the other to run the music or dance rehearsal.  It was also nice to have the two of them set up the rehearsal rooms while I checked in with departments.  And when we moved onto the stage and it was just us in rehearsal, they were AMAZING at quickly setting up scenes sans our running crew. 

Check out the thread ASMs vs SMs for some other thoughts on how to utilize two ASMs. 

smsam

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #6 on: Dec 14, 2006, 05:44 am »
Could I suggest controversial?... :)

As I've said before in the UK we do things slightly differently in terms of the Stage Management Team, its tried and tested and works really well. So how about...

Having a SM (you) who's responsibility is to run the Stage Management Team. They look after the Stage Management budget and props budget, Work with the ASMs to prop the show, Liases with the Director and Designer at all times passing on important information and in tech week the SM Runs the Technical Rehearsal with the DSM.

And then a The Deputy Stage Manager (DSM - who could be your the ASM you know already) could run the rehearsal room, create and post rehearsal calls, write and distribute rehearsal reports, look after the director (fetch coffee!) and then in performance can call the show, write Show Reports etc.

Then we also have an ASM (your Directors Friend?) who can prop the show (source and makes props), run errands out of the rehearsal room, attend and run additional rehearsals like Dance and Music Calls (when the DSM is in other rehearsals), create and maintain the props plot and helo the SM run the deck.

If you can afford to have an extra person in the SM team and you can work out a good system then why not, it can only make your life easier!

Sam x
Sam x

dwj0772

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #7 on: Dec 14, 2006, 08:44 am »
Thanks for all the advice!  I've got a meeting scheduled with the director for next week to talk about the show, and I'll bring it up with him then and see what happens.  If I end up with both, I'll make it work - after all, I am a SM!  ;D

sarahdk

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #8 on: Dec 14, 2006, 11:00 am »
I was about the suggest working out a job share, where they get to ASM different performance nights... but that triggered some nightmare situations where one of them would be told something and it didn't get to the other one... or lack of consistancy, quality of the work, etc.... so that could work, but it leaves the door open for a big mess.

Scott

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #9 on: Dec 14, 2006, 12:14 pm »

Sorry in advance if this has been adequately addressed already...

My suggestion would to be assign:

2nd ASM -- on book (responsible for "line" calls and helping track line changes.)

1st ASM -- responsible for tracking props, presets, fielding outside communications (answering calls from those who are late, making the calls to those who are late, filtering/dealing with other production calls as appropriate)

Either can be used for "outside errands" (photocopying, coffee runs, etc. depending on the situation in the rehearsal hall.)

2nd ASM helps 1st ASM implementing presets, etc. as production grows closer to performance.

(You don't have to call them 1st ASM and 2nd ASM if it will ruffle egos.)


thehayworth

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Re: Too many ASM’s… (who’d have ever thought!)
« Reply #10 on: Dec 14, 2006, 12:45 pm »
Quote
(You don't have to call them 1st ASM and 2nd ASM if it will ruffle egos.)

I nickname mine Toenail and Eyeball that way everyone gets their ego ruffled.

I work in small professional theaters.  When I have two ASMs, I usually od not have enough props work early on to dedicate one person entirely to that tracking job.

Since they are being paid so little anyway, I usually divide up rehearsals.  They either come on alternating days ... OR ... one is ASM for rehearsals and the other is ASM for performances (overlap in tech).
"This time for sure."

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