Poll

If SMNetwork offered a mentorship program, would you be interested in participating?

Yes - as a mentee
239 (69.5%)
Yes - as a mentee (via email only)
34 (9.9%)
Yes - as a mentor
39 (11.3%)
Yes - as a mentor (via email only)
12 (3.5%)
Maybe
19 (5.5%)
No
1 (0.3%)

Total Members Voted: 341

Author Topic: Mentorship Program  (Read 25536 times)

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late_stranger

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #15 on: Jul 05, 2010, 10:41 pm »
I would LOVE an email mentorship. I'm a freshman in high school, and I got thrown head first into stage managing. I'm figuring it out as I go and loving it, but being able to ask questions of and get advice from an older student or even a professional would be such a help, and an amazing experience. It's true that the places of a stage manager is a lonely one sometimes.
« Last Edit: Jul 05, 2010, 10:43 pm by late_stranger »
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khey

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #16 on: Aug 03, 2010, 08:25 pm »
I would really be interested in the mentoring program.  I think it would be awesome for people like me, who are stepping into the professional world and looking for a place to start.  It would also really help with learning the ins and outs of the professional world, since it does differ from school.  It would really help with networking and experience as well! 

jman255

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #17 on: Aug 04, 2010, 12:44 am »
I would really be interested in the mentoring program.  I think it would be awesome for people like me, who are stepping into the professional world and looking for a place to start. It would also really help with learning the ins and outs of the professional world, since it does differ from school.  It would really help with networking and experience as well!
Amen to this! I am worried that my school didn't even begin to teach me what happens in the real world through classes and actual SMing.

lanersx39

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #18 on: Oct 16, 2010, 09:21 pm »
I think this is an amazingg idea!
I started stage managing after being hit by a car, and not being able to perform for a year. During my first production, I realized how much I adored it, and how bossy I was. And, three years later, it is my main focus.
I'd much prefer to be operating your spot light, then speaking to you xP

mgberton

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #19 on: Oct 18, 2010, 09:55 pm »
I think this is a great idea. At SVSU, the program is very actor/director focused  - us SMs are left to pave our own way and it's difficult to figure out which paths to take and what would be most beneficial. I would be extremely interested in conversing with a graduate SM or an established SM in order to get advice and get on the right track.

SMLois

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #20 on: Nov 15, 2010, 01:44 am »
As someone who is primarily self trained, I would love to be a part of this program as a mentor.  I took a rough path without much guidance and would love to help others so that their road is not so rough. 

albr0183

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #21 on: Dec 02, 2010, 06:35 pm »
I would take any mentorship, or give any I could get.  I am graduating this year from University of Minnesota, Morris with a BA in theatre arts.  Presumably, next year I will be in graduate school.  I did my senior project in Stage Management.  Unlike most here though, when I am done with grad school, I would much rather teach than pursue professional stage management.
It's a hard thing being a Stage Manager.  You have to be familiar with every job in the theatre, but you'll only ever be hired for the one.

Kelasaurus

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #22 on: Dec 27, 2010, 03:36 pm »
This is a super cool idea.  I am game!  I would love to have someone I can e-mail any question I may have to.  Sometimes, I am not super comfortable asking questions to my professors.  Also, I am curious about differences between Canada and the US, as I am interested in working in the states someday.
« Last Edit: Dec 27, 2010, 03:39 pm by nerdfighter »
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nick_tochelli

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #23 on: Dec 27, 2010, 10:38 pm »
In the grand tradition of "I thought I did this on this site" (ie like when I thought I had introduced myself then forgot it was years ago and under another handle) I would be very happy to take part in this program as a mentor. I think this is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between graduation and establishing yourself as a pro in the field. Hurray!

jrbucci

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #24 on: Jan 28, 2011, 01:48 am »
I would love to get to know someone who is further along in the industry than me. I have the access to upperclassmen at my college, Point Park University, but I dont really have a good relationship with any professional SMs other than the ones that are employed by PPU. I would love to have someone who has been out there mentor me. Hopefully in a few years I could return the favor for someone in my position.

MatthewShiner

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Mentorship Program *** FIRST STEPS ***
« Reply #25 on: Mar 26, 2011, 07:36 pm »
ADMIN NOTE: all three slots have been filled.  See below. - PSMK

For a couple of years we have discussed some sort of mentorship program on the SM Network.

Setting up and running an official mentorship program is huge undertaking, especially without any sort of experience to build upon.  Does an online mentorship program for stage management work?  What is the time commitment?  What sort expectations can one expect from the program?

Yet, many of us feel strongly that indeed a mentorship program is something that is important, especially in this field - that is truly an apprenticeship type career.  Although we can learn stage management from the class room, and we learn a lot by doing, we learn much from the generations above us - mentorship is part of the business.

Any sort of online mentorship is going to require a huge amount of personalization and customization.  Let’s be honest . . . just dealing with time zones is going to be a hassle,  now try to deal with trying to find an hour to chat during two overlapping tech weeks.  I am not sure a cookie cutter approach is going to work with this.  At best, I think we can set up a list of people who are interested in being mentors and people are interested in being mentees.  (And lastly people are interested in being manatees - which perhaps should be on a different internet board all together)

So, after some conversation, there is a feeling we just need to take a stab at it - and I am going to take the first step and I am officially volunteering myself to being a mentor . . . and this is what I am offering:

I am willing to take on up to three mentees.

One in early career (a couple of years out of college)
One in college
One in high school

I am willing to look over resume, offer career advice, talk about your current show, shoot the breeze about the lifestyle with the job - either in person or online - an hour a week, in person or on line.  We would have to be flexible, of course, give that I am in production, and I am hoping that you are in production as well.  This is not a substitution for classroom education or learning by doing.  This will not lead to my hiring you.  This will not lead to my being a recommendation for you.  But, it will lead to a personal relationship between two stage managers - which in itself can not be a bad thing.

You should probably look over my resume (located at http://www.stagemanager.net/stagemanager.net/Resume.html), and perhaps look over some of my post to get a sense of my attitude toward the job.  Basically, I have 12 years experience in top tier regional theatre, and have recently relocated to New York and finding my way, straddling NYC non-profit and the commercial world.  If you are interested, drop me a note about why you think the two of us would hit it off.  I doubt there will be a huge application process - if I feel like we will hit it off, and I think I can make our schedules work - then we will attempt this.  (If you are under 18, I may want to drop a line to your parents to make sure they know I am NOT an internet stalker . . . . )

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Comments?  Concerns?

After six months, there are couple people on the boards who will sort of "sit down and meet with us" and talk about what we think was good about we did, what we think we can do to improve it - and how we think we can roll it our on a bigger level - or if we even should roll it out.

If you want to respond to the idea as whole, respond on the board.

If you are interested in apply to be my mentee - private me.

ADMIN NOTE: Matthew did get the go ahead from both me and Bwoodbury before moving ahead on this. - PSMK
« Last Edit: Apr 11, 2011, 11:44 pm by PSMKay »
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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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loebtmc

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #26 on: Apr 08, 2011, 03:24 am »
Would you also be willing to share your journey? As someone who transitioned (rather quickly) from university to small theater to large top-tier houses, I'd love to hear how you tackled the transitions and talked folks into taking you along!


MatthewShiner

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #27 on: Apr 11, 2011, 09:51 pm »
AT THIS TIME I HAVE TAKEN ON THREE PEOPLE . . .

I will focus on them for the next couple of months, and report back to the admins, and discuss how to move forward on the program.

Thanks for your interest.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

bpaige

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #28 on: Mar 12, 2012, 08:49 pm »
It's been almost a year since anything has been posted on this board and as an up and coming stage manager I would be quite interested in a mentorship program. How did the past mentoring project work?

PSMKay

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Re: Mentorship Program
« Reply #29 on: Mar 12, 2012, 09:46 pm »
Wow, look at that poll. 176 people wanting mentors (most of them in person!) and only 46 willing to do so. Of course, the poll has been running for FOUR YEARS so that might have some effect on the numbers. Heck, the college freshmen that voted in year one of this poll are probably done now.

I would love to see how Matthew's trial run worked out. I'd love to have him post right after this to say that it was super successful, but the silence from the western front tells me it probably petered out about 6 weeks after it started. I don't mean to knock Matthew or his skill with mentoring here. He's a wonderful SM and I give him props for jumping in and giving this a shot. But I have been doing this SM website thing for 12 years now and have learned how these things work out.

SMNet's prior mentoring program failed badly, and looking at this thread I can see why. A lot of folks in the thread above are saying what they'd like to get OUT of a mentorship, but not anything about how they envision this happening. This leaves us with:

1. Pair up students with mentors
2. ??? ?
3. Magically transform students into professional stage managers!

When we've tried to do this before we've run into the same problem over and over. The two sides have grossly different expectations and it all ends in tears, and the staff winds up having to chase down mentors and students for progress reports forever. Admittedly last time we tried about a decade ago, but even so, the root causes of our problems are still the same.

I think there's a general conception of a kind of "Big Brothers/Big Sisters" sort of fostering program, or something akin to a professor/student advisor relationship that many colleges offer. Happy smiling stage managers poring over prompt books together and whispering secrets in each others ears. Some sort of combination of "Good Will Hunting" and "Finding Forrester" and, heaven forfend, "Oleanna." All well and good, but this is an internet forum. Our members are spread out all over the world. Some of our most vocal members are no longer actively SMing.

The SMA UK has only managed to put together a mentorship program this year. The US SMA has a Mentoring committee but mentoring is not mentioned at all in the US SMA's recruitment materials. This tells me it isn't a very robust program. If the paid-membership based associations with committees and dues can't pull it off, how can we do so with no budget and no real world contingent?

For me to be willing to put SMNetwork's name on it, it would have to be a quality endeavor that really focused on refining the skills of young stage managers. I'd want to see curriculum design, monthly and quarterly check-ins, staff supervision, interviews, resumes and possibly grading. Now, the internship survey that we just released was in the planning for 3 years, took nearly a full month of me doing nothing but code for 12-18 hours at a stretch, and another month of me coding 4-6 hrs per day to get the thing tested, bugfixed and launched. That is merely a fraction of what would be involved in developing code to handle a forum-driven mentorship program and track it properly. If it's what we need and I think it can be done properly I'm happy to work on the code, but I need something more concrete to work from.

So, bearing in mind that a professional stage manager is not a trained educator... bearing in mind that SMNetwork is a donation-driven web forum ... bearing in mind the kind of labor that would be involved in getting it running, let alone keeping it going... bearing in mind that anyone volunteering to mentor would be doing so in and around their work schedule...

Students requesting mentorship, how exactly do you see your mentor helping you? What sort of things would you want your mentor to teach you? I mean, do you just want an email buddy to vent to? Do you want them to go through your notes from college and cross out anything that doesn't apply in the real world? Do you want them to find you a job? Do you want them to tell you stories of what life is like? Do you want them to invite you backstage and let you call the show? Let's get specific here. If what you guys are expecting is realistic, we can talk behind the scenes about giving this a shot. However, if students are expecting things that can only be accomplished with magic fairy dust, we really need to kill this idea rather than getting people's hopes up for another 4 years.
« Last Edit: Mar 12, 2012, 10:00 pm by PSMKay »

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