Author Topic: PEOPLE: Working with a new Director  (Read 4686 times)

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PEOPLE: Working with a new Director
« on: Jan 06, 2005, 01:36 pm »
What is your process for getting to know a new director?  Are there certain questions you ask before rehearsals begin to make sure you are running the kind of rehearsals that are most productive for them? I am usually able to read people pretty well, but I am having a  hard time right now with this one!

« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:14 pm by PSMKay »


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questions are good!
« Reply #1 on: Jan 07, 2005, 11:42 am »
Asking questions is a good thing!  Just an intruductory "What do you like your stage managers to do for you?" can get you started down the conversastional track.  Talk about what you've done for other directors, something like "So-and-so liked me to do this, what would you like?"  That can include everything from notes to breaks, to room arrangement, etc.  You can either make several meetings with them, first to talk about rehearsal, then as you get nearer to tech, etc. if you're nervous about sitting down with a new person at first.  Find out how they like their rehearsals run, rehearse for a week, and then approach with "How do you do tech?".  Or sometimes that first meeting will get you all the way through to the end of the production.

For me, I always find that approaching them to find out how they like to work is a good way to make a first impression.  Think about everythink you've done for previous directors, and start there.  Do they want you to stop them when its break time?  How/when do they want notes posted?  Etc.



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Re: PEOPLE: Working with a new Director
« Reply #2 on: Aug 09, 2013, 09:19 pm »
Reviving an old thread- As I am working with a new director at the moment, this topic hits close to home for me.

What questions do you ask a director you haven't worked with before? What other ways do you adapt to working with a new director?


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Re: PEOPLE: Working with a new Director
« Reply #3 on: Aug 10, 2013, 02:11 pm »
I just like to meet before rehearsal starts for coffee or whatnot and open with "How do you like to work?" and "What do you expect of your stage manager?"
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco


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Re: PEOPLE: Working with a new Director
« Reply #4 on: Aug 10, 2013, 08:36 pm »
Be very thorough and prepared. I just worked with a director, and there were a lot of things that I had anticipated he would do/know that I shouldn't have because other directors did stuff another way.

Also, I have found that different directors view stage managers very differently. I've had a director that asked me about a lot of his choices, "Oh, do you think this is good? Should the light change come before or after this word?" Another director I couldn't say anything; barely even confirmation on a cue!


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Re: PEOPLE: Working with a new Director
« Reply #5 on: Aug 15, 2013, 09:07 pm »
In the past I have usually sat down with the director and just had a "what do  you expect of me" kind of conversation when working in a non equity or summer stock type situation. I always asked how they liked to handle breaks and line notes. However recently, I have been working union, so the Stage Manager's (and ASM's) jobs are more specifically structured under the particular contract so that kind of conversation doesn't really happen as much.

In Philadelphia it seems that a lot of people have already previously worked together, so if possible see who on your team has worked together before- sometimes you get a good insight from your production manager or designer that has worked with a particular director and can give you some "care and handling of" tips. 


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Re: PEOPLE: Working with a new Director
« Reply #6 on: Aug 16, 2013, 12:30 am »
When I sit down with a new director - I try to cover the basics.

How do you like the room set up?
How do you like to take breaks?
How detailed do you want me to be in reports? 
etc, etc, etc . . .

but I also like to ask more artistic questions, to get to know them and their relationship to the show . . . so I can start looking at the project with their eyes

Why this show?
How did the design process go?  What was lost in the process they loved?  What fantastic ideas grew out of the process?
What are they worried about in the process?
Are they happy with the cast?  Concerns about the casting?
How do they like to do table work?
How do they like to stage?  (Work fast on the first past, and then a slow pass - do they like to take the time and get it right the first time?)
How do they want me to handle the schedule?  Full cast there all the time, work at their natural pace?  Do they want me to schedule giving them a little push to keep on schedule?
How do they want to handle press and marketing requests (Some directors HATE this stuff)?
Do they want a rehearsal sound system?  How do they want to put in sound cues and music?
What is their relationship to their Assistant, how do they work with their assistant?

In the end, the goal is to know only get to know how they work, but how we are going to work together, as well as how I am going to support their work.  I want them to know I am not just about calling breaks, typing prop lists, and just the technical side - I want to make sure they understand I have an artistic eye and can support their work as much as they need.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.



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