Author Topic: PRE-PRODUCTION: Running a design meeting  (Read 3826 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

margaretheff

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 13
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Margaret A. Heffernan Stage Manager
  • Affiliations: EMC, University of Northern Colorado, USITT
  • Current Gig: Production Assistant, New Repertory Theatre
  • Experience: Professional
PRE-PRODUCTION: Running a design meeting
« on: Dec 03, 2013, 04:55 pm »
Probably a silly question, but: How does the stage manager run a design meeting?

I have so far been a part of three design meetings (I am a college stage manager), and each time I felt rather unprepared to run the meeting as much as I did. But, as I thought I should, I went into it with the mentality that it was a meeting for the designers to collaborate (as opposed to a production meeting).

So, I was wondering how everyone else went about attending/running a design meeting, and if there is a specific way to do it.

Thanks!

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth
« Last Edit: Dec 09, 2013, 01:50 pm by Maribeth »
"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

iamchristuffin

  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 270
    • View Profile
    • www.christuffin.co.uk
  • Affiliations: UK SMA, UK Equity
  • Experience: Professional
Re: Running a design meeting
« Reply #1 on: Dec 03, 2013, 08:52 pm »
How would you describe a design meeting? I'm sure I have been to some, but I guess I call them by a different name.

C

nick_tochelli

  • Loved and Missed.
  • Permanent Resident
  • *****
  • Posts: 448
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Nick Tochelli's Blog: The Backstage Ballet
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
  • Current Gig: PM- Godlight Theatre Company/Inside Sales:Barbizon Lighting
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: Running a design meeting
« Reply #2 on: Dec 04, 2013, 09:13 am »
Honestly, in my opinion there isn't much to run per se. Design meetings are for the director and designers to talk and bounce ideas around and hear potential pitfalls. The only thing I've ever really done in design meetings is set an agenda (Sets, Lights, Costumes, Sound, and Props usually...others as needed). Beyond that, all I ever really do is wrangle conversations if they go off the tracks. Also preventing side conversations. Side conversations in design meetings are no good because people are having conversations that potentially more people need to be hearing.

BARussell

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 193
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Current Gig: Assistant to the Producers at Goodspeed Musicals
  • Experience: Professional
Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Running a design meeting
« Reply #3 on: Dec 10, 2013, 07:39 am »
I would just take notes of things that you need to know, and make sure people hit everything they needed to talk about otherwise I just let them sort it out.
"We don't negotiate with weirdos!"

david94

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
    • Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles
  • Experience: High School
Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Running a design meeting
« Reply #4 on: Dec 28, 2013, 06:08 pm »
I would just take notes of things that you need to know, and make sure people hit everything they needed to talk about otherwise I just let them sort it out.

Sounds like wise advice to me, I would take it :)

SMeustace

  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 115
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Theat Troupe Theatre Company
  • Experience: College/Graduate
Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Running a design meeting
« Reply #5 on: Dec 29, 2013, 08:45 am »
I'm not quite sure but maybe you are referring to production meetings. I'd usually send out something like an Agenda, list of topics I'd like to be discussed. They usually involve schedules, new additions and before-seen problems.

I find that it doesn't quite matter who "runs" these meetings as long as you help open communication and keep on track. These meetings are for the entire staff to discuss problems, ideas and come up with solutions.

I find that some discussions are better suited for smaller meetings or "one-on-ones" after the group meeting. 

"On the first day the lord said....Light cue 1, GO! Then there was light".

brangell

  • Tourist
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: EMC, SMA
  • Current Gig: Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Creative Entertainment
  • Experience: Professional
Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Running a design meeting
« Reply #6 on: Dec 29, 2013, 12:34 pm »
Before you even get to the meeting, I would meet with the director.  Ask her what she wishes to share with the designers about the play, why she's directing it, any themes or thoughts she has that might spark interest.  Or, if your school is set up in such a way that the design meeting is also an initial thoughts presentation by each designer, then you can formalize the agenda as a series of presentations, then "manage" the meeting by keeping track of time and corraling side conversations, as mentioned above. 

For me, the meeting works best when it's a partnership of the director driving creative discussion and the manager taking notes and keeping the main discussion and time on track.

MatthewShiner

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 2477
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, SMA
  • Current Gig: PSM THE LION KING NORTH AMERICAN TOUR; Assc Director and Production Supervisor HUNCHBACK International
  • Experience: Professional
Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Running a design meeting
« Reply #7 on: Dec 29, 2013, 01:06 pm »
I think a design meeting like this is akin to a production meeting, but while ideas are still being thrown about - not always the best place for a stage manager to be.

I feel like directors and designers should go through a "out of the box" period where they are allowed to come up with wild, budget breaking, crazy ideas to riff on - and not be reigned in.  Then as they get closer to design deadlines, the reality of the production limitations should kick in.  Given that most of the time a Stage Manager isn't hired until pre-production, often the design process is all but over. 

If you are lucky to be a part of the discussion for the design process, it might be good to have all the data you need for the show the performance space - number of dressing room, line sets, dimensions of the space, inventory of in house stock - and maybe help them get on to solid footing as far as a realistic design is needed.   Having a character/scene break down, location of each scene might be helpful as well.  Also knowing your crew size maybe helpful.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
8 Replies
8019 Views
Last post Mar 24, 2009, 02:23 pm
by SMrose
3 Replies
3808 Views
Last post Dec 15, 2014, 10:40 pm
by Richie
5 Replies
3039 Views
Last post May 14, 2016, 01:54 pm
by NJ.JerrySmith