Author Topic: Directors: Working with a new Director?!?!  (Read 2800 times)

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Directors: Working with a new Director?!?!
« on: Sep 20, 2006, 12:13 am »
I am working with a director that I  have not worked with before because I have just transfered to this University. I am a little nervous because every director I have worked with prior to this one I have known on a personal level as well as on the academic/professional level. What are some of the things you guys do to get adjusted with your new directors?
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:52 pm by PSMKay »
Derek A. Fuzzell


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Re: Working with a new Director?!?!
« Reply #1 on: Sep 20, 2006, 12:20 am »
The most important thing, in my opinion, is to find out what the director wants from you.  You are going to work with a variety of directors in your career, all with different styles and expectations.  Introduce yourself and talk to them about what their expectations are of you as a Stage Manager.  Find out how they run rehearsals, what they expect you to do during rehearsals, etc.  Work hard and show that you are willing to adapt to their style.  However, do not be afraid to incorporate your own style as a SM.  One of my highest praises (from a well-known director who has worked with a million professional SMs) was that he loved the fact that I took charge and did things without him even having to ask me for it.  If he needed a character breakdown, or an extra copy of the rehearsal schedule, or whatever it was, I had it there ready for him.  Take initiative and really push yourself to do well.  They will greatly appreciate having a SM who gets their job done without having to be told exactly what to do.  But definitely get in there and talk to them ASAP about what their job expectations are.  In time, you will establish a great relationship and hopefully you two will want to work together again.
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Re: Working with a new Director?!?!
« Reply #2 on: Sep 20, 2006, 03:19 am »
I think the most important thing to do is be prepared when you first meet them, be confident (shake their hand firmly etc) and ARANGE A TIME TO SIT DOWN AND TALK.

A guideline of the sort of thing that should happen:

SM: Hi, I am <YOUR NAME HERE>, your SM for the show.
D: Hi, pleased to meet you, I'm <Directors name here>.
SM: Great to meet you. Before we go any further, can we organise a time to sit down and talk about how we want things to run in the near future?

There are a few important things in that dialogue. 1: Introducing yourself first, and your position gives a sense that you are proactive (I took psychology in High school... who'd thought it would come in handy). 2: You are efficient - by making the meeting the first thing you discuss, it shows that you get down to business, before you proceed to other endevours. I have worked with an SM who always liked to do those things at the end of a conversation - as a by-the-way sort of thing and it was quite annoying. 3: You are subtly setting the ground-rule that any important meetings should take place in a structured meeting as opposed to them walking up and wanting to chat with you (whilst you have to get to a meeting with props or lighting or something - trust me, it happens).

Then, after organising the meeting, I would try and steer clear of show talk, and just 'talk about the weather' for a while - since most of your time in the rehearsal room will be spent shadowing the director so that you don't get left out, it is important that you connect on a personal level, and not just a professional level.

That is how I usually do it. I also like to email any SM's who have dealt with the director in the past to get some info from them too - however since you are entering a new environment, it is doubtful you will know any SM's who have worked with the director there.

A lot depends on your overall attitude and demenour. I do not really make friends easily - however I generally make aquaintences easily within a work type environment (am well liked, however when the show closes, that's that, we part ways and life goes on) - I am a bit standoffish and introverted, and my style of dealing with people reflects that. Other SM's are extreamly extroverted, and they work with that. Work with what you have got, and try and get your relationship with the director to be at the point where they will come and see you first when they enter the rehearsal room. Because when that happens, you know you have a great relationship with the director.


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Re: Working with a new Director?!?!
« Reply #3 on: Sep 20, 2006, 08:20 am »
I find that a quick conversation with a director, who is often pressed for time works as well.

I usually ask . . .

1.  How do you like the room set up?
2.  Do you perfer breaks after the hour or the 1 hour 20 minutes?  (although every director I ask this says the 1 hour 20 minutes).  And how would you like to be notified, if at all, that a break is coming up?
3.  Do you have any special concerns or needs for rehearsal?
4.  Do you have any special requests for rehearsal?  type of coffee?  cream?  etc.  (I promptly then tell the AD about that.)
5. Anything else I can do to make the first couple of days go great for you?

The rest of the stuff we tend to work out as we go.

I find that if you sit down and talk with the directors forever, you will find them saying one thing to paint one picture, be often doing something else.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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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Re: Working with a new Director?!?!
« Reply #4 on: Sep 20, 2006, 11:32 am »
I agree with most of this above.

One of the questions I asked directors in the past was, "How do you want rehearsals run?  Do you want me to formally start, stop, and restart rehearsals or do you want to casually begin with conversation and slowly ease into rehearsal?"

However, I found that most directors think say they like to rehearse casually, but then seem upset when I don't take charge more.

My solution is I am not going to ask that question anymore.
"This time for sure."


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