Author Topic: Finding Work: Full Time Employment  (Read 4454 times)

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nikkiec

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Finding Work: Full Time Employment
« on: Jan 16, 2006, 10:31 pm »
Hi--
So I'm looking for some advice. . . I'm graduating in May with an MFA in Stage Management.  I went right from undergrad to grad school, and hence my only outside work has been summer stock.  This may sound silly, but does anyone have advice on getting a "full-time" (aka-- longer than summer stock) job?  Ideally, I'd like to to stay towards the East Coast, but am willing to travel, tour, cruise ships, etc.  Suggested companies or conferences? (due to performance conflicts, I'm unable to go to SETC and UPTAs, but I am going to USITT)
Any advice would be great. . . as I'm honestly pretty terrified!  Thanks!

~Nikki  8O
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:24 pm by PSMKay »
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MatthewShiner

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« Reply #1 on: Jan 17, 2006, 06:53 am »
Are you looking to be employed full time or find one job that employs you full time?  There is a slight difference.

For me, as someone who worked 48-52 weeks a year, and has done so since graduatng grad school, let me tell you have to work you butt off to line it up.

I find, before become I resident PSM, when freelancing, to keep sending out resumes, hustling and networking lining up work.  I was, for awhile, able to keep myself booked a year in advance.  (Now, I missed some wonderful, high profile opportunities, including two broadway shows, because I was booked long in advance.)  Be prepared to move, a lot.  I lived my entire lift out of 4 black hard plastic cases (all my possesions weighed less the 400 pounds, so I could move via UPS under Equity Guidelines.)  

Right now is the the time to be sending out resumes.  Most theatres are doing their hiring right now.

Best of luck to you.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

Mac Calder

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« Reply #2 on: Jan 17, 2006, 10:59 am »
The only way to guarantee full time employ is to become a company SM. Personally, it is not my style - I like to pick and choose shows I work on. This of course means that I do not have employment 48 weeks in the year, instead have a far more seasonal career, filled with months of extream business, followed by months of pure nothingness. Now, I realise that that is not ideal for most people, but as I am one of those 'Jack of all trade' backstage techs who does anything and everything, I can usually fill the quiet months with a few odd lighting or sound gigs for events and bands, and failing that, do some temp type work.

The main thing you need to do is to get a good diary, a big wall planner and a good pair of marker pens if you are not going to be a company SM.

Then, as each job comes up, mark it in both. The time I did this, I coloured in the squares on the wall planner and only used black. Big mistake, as I had a second, evening gig that ran during the rehearsal period, and could not write it in or diferentiate between the two. My current way, which seems to work, is to rule a line in black for rehearsal period, red for performance period and both black and red for tech week.

I find that rehearsals are largely day time, and performances are largely night time and it is often possible to double book during the rehearsal period with performances over the top (after establishing that they did not do matines). Tech week however is not possible - so a fully booked season for me will have two lines on every day, a rehearsal and a performance, although I try and limit myself from doing that.

I suppose what I am trying to say is if you play your cards right, you can deal with periods of inactivity by sensible practices. A good habbit is to work out how much you need to live off of in a week. For me, that is AU$180 (including rent and bills that occur monthly and only covers bare essentials ie food and petrol etc). Now a standard week I may bring in (for example) AU$600 after tax (I have no idea what the actual figure is). Now what I do is take $200, and it goes into my expenses account. Next, I take another $250 and it goes into my 'dry period account'. The final $150 I put in my savings account. Now that means that I have enough after 10 weeks of work to live for just under 14 weeks without dipping into my savings. If I stick to my strict budget of $180 per week, my expenses account will also be in credit by $200, which is another week, or something nice to spoil myself. Now my period of inactivity usually contains the odd job, which also supplements. When I get a fair bit in the 'dry account' I transfer some to the savings account.

It is all a matter of how you want to live.

Mac

... PS. Another good trick, when people are booking in advance, get written, signed confirmation. Nothing worse than when they back out. Especially if you have had to knock back another job because of it. Do not make it pleasent to back out late either. I have a standard contract I get them to sign when booking me, which has a clause stating that should they cancel my services within 2 months of the job, a $120 booking fee is required, or renumeration for the money lost. Most people will understand if you explain it, although I lost three small gigs because of it. I know the person who picked up two of them though, and one of those the person cancelled on them two nights before.

ljh007

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« Reply #3 on: Jan 31, 2006, 01:44 pm »
Join the Stage Managers' Association (SMA) right now! (www.stagemanagers.org). Membership is only $40, plus a $25 one-time initiation fee. In return, you'll be plugged into an amazing network of professional stage managers nationwide. You'll receive emails from companies constantly looking for stage managers. While not many salaried positions are posted here, you can catch tours/cruises and lots of short-term gigs. There are lots of other opportunities to being a part of the SMA - including Operation Observations and the chance to meet and network with people who have been career SMs for decades in all genres of theatre.  

You could also subscribe to ARTsearch (www.tcg.org), $60 for 1-year of online access. ARTsearch is a regularly updated posting of artistic jobs for theatres, schools, and museums - including SMs, props, wigs, wardrobe, set building, as well as development/marketing/administrative professionals.

Besides all that, hit the websites of any theatre you've dreamed of working with. Contact them to see if they have a need for stage management. If you're willing to work in other areas (especially development and fundraising - seems like theatres are always desperate for grant writers), you might have improved chances of getting a salary there and SMing in addition.

nikkiec

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« Reply #4 on: Feb 10, 2006, 05:18 pm »
Thanks so much for the advice!  I think right now, it's more nerves getting to me than anything!  

~Nikki :)
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centaura

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« Reply #5 on: Mar 02, 2006, 12:05 pm »
There are interviews that happen at USITT, look into getting in with them.  And a great free place to get job info is backstagejobs.com.  Just keep sending out resumes.

-Centaura

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