Author Topic: Miscellaneous: hey, need a bit of help  (Read 5511 times)

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OBrien

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Miscellaneous: hey, need a bit of help
« on: Oct 03, 2006, 01:49 pm »
hey, how the hell are ye?

Im Dan and im in 2nd level education right now, im 15 and my school is producing a play (Grease).

As part of the production crew i have been assigned stage manager, and im wondering what it is exactly that i have to do?
Right now, the director has told me to tell the different grouped jobs (Costume, Lighting, Sound etc.) what they're first assignments are, he also asked me to compile a list stating the names of the people in each grouping and theyre phone numbers so as i can get in contact with them.

I have a few questions regarding stage management,

1- What exactly is it that im suppose to be doing?
2- What is my "Job Discreption" as such?
3- Do i get to boss people around?
and
4- Is my job at all important?


Thanks alot in advance,

Dan
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:56 pm by PSMKay »

smccain

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #1 on: Oct 03, 2006, 03:37 pm »
Wow, first of all, good luck, as stage managing is a tough job. Here's some answers for you:
1. and 2. (The can both be answered in the job description) The stage manager is responsible for making sure everything related to a particular production happens when and how it is supposed to happen, and conveying all pertinent information about time and place to all parties involved
3. This is a touchy subject. No, you do not get to boss people around, but yes, you do need to make sure people are getting things done. Being "bossy" is the best way to fail at stage management. I have seen too many times stage managers get power hungry and bossy. That is when they fail.
4. You are asking if your job as a stage manager is important in a forum for stage managers. The obvious answer is yes. The stage manager organizes an entire production ensuring that everything that needs to get done, gets done. I hope I answered your question. If you have any other questions, be more specific. There are some books on stage management out there. They can be valuable resources. Do some searching.
Sean

OBrien

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #2 on: Oct 03, 2006, 04:37 pm »
so im kinda supervising the production teams?

fuzzy_7

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #3 on: Oct 03, 2006, 04:58 pm »
Basically a stage manager is the guy (or girl) in charge of making sure that everything is organized and progresses smoothly. As new issues arrive, dealing with props or costumes or the like, you  will inform the head of that department as  well as keep notes on all things that go on during rehearsal. You will also keep a copy of the script with blocking notes (notes that tell where the actors are and are moving and are doing on stage). If you need help don't hesitate to ask. Your director is there for you as well as the actors. Also, we are always here to answer any question, but in 2nd level education you'll always want to ask your director first. He might want to run things a bit differently than any of us are used to.
I love Grease!!! The most important thing to remember as a SM is to have fun and try to keep a clear head.
Derek A. Fuzzell

OBrien

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #4 on: Oct 03, 2006, 05:05 pm »
right thanks, well im gonna give it one hell of a shot, right now i have my contacts list and a script, we have 2 directors- 1 is incharge of the acting and production and the other is incharge of music etc, i think as SM im being put into the Production bit of the Play, so what do you think i should have with me? is there anything i need to be concious of or need to keep notes on?

lydiaelaine

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #5 on: Oct 03, 2006, 07:16 pm »
My biggest thing is keeping a close eye on my actors at all times. Always be ready to write things down, answer questions, and be prepared. Grease is a great show, have fun with it!
Stage manager: Totally responsible for everything.

fuzzy_7

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #6 on: Oct 04, 2006, 12:34 am »
Keep notes on costume changes, lighting/sound fx, scenery changes, and if you use a grand drape or travelers, when they open/close.
Derek A. Fuzzell

ChaCha

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #7 on: Oct 04, 2006, 01:00 am »
Hello. You REALLY need to go and find a book on stage management or theatre production (use search on this site to find some suggestions, but your school library is bound to have something). Even just a quick read through will tell you a lot about what you need to do and when you need to do it. Obviously your director knows you havent done this before and will presumably be expecting you to have many questions to ask -so ask!  And always stay calm, patient, good humoured, organised....getting the idea?!

Chookas!
ChaCha

Mac Calder

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #8 on: Oct 04, 2006, 09:07 am »
hey, how the hell are ye?

Please, the hell is not required ;-)

Quote
Im Dan and im in 2nd level education right now, im 15 and my school is producing a play (Grease).

As part of the production crew i have been assigned stage manager, and im wondering what it is exactly that i have to do?
Right now, the director has told me to tell the different grouped jobs (Costume, Lighting, Sound etc.) what they're first assignments are, he also asked me to compile a list stating the names of the people in each grouping and theyre phone numbers so as i can get in contact with them.

That is certainly a starting point...

Quote
1- What exactly is it that im suppose to be doing?
2- What is my "Job Discreption" as such?

1. I suppose the best way to describe a stage manager is the center of communication. You are the first point of contact for all cast and crew, you distribute any information that is needed etc. You are also responsible for making sure the environment is a safe and habitable one. You are also responsible for pulling everything together and for making sure that things like working props, script updates etc are given to the right people, and in the correct places at the correct time. HOWEVER. You are doing a school musical. Generally, that means your responsibilities will be much reduced.

2. Description not Discreption ;-) See 1.

Quote
3- Do i get to boss people around?
and

Whilst I find myself quite often giving orders etc, I do not think a stage manager should enjoy "bossing people arround" - organising, yes, bossing, no. If you want this possition purely for the fact you will have "power over your peers" - forget it. You spend as much time being treated like junk - and I doubt other students will respect any authority you have over them.

Quote
4- Is my job at all important?

I have seen theatres survive without stage managers - I have even worked with them - however the tasks that an SM does are critical - so theatres without SM's need others to pick up the slack. Without the SM's tasks being done - there would be no show. HOWEVER - that can be said of most people within the theatre. No lighting, they act in the dark, no sound, they cannot be heard, no deck crew there are no scene changes, no actors, there is nothing to present. All jobs within the theatre are crucial (exception being the Technical Director IMO)

Read Carissa Dollars "Stage managers do make coffee" for a crash course in SMing. If you want something more in depth - Stage Managament by Lawrence Stern is a great book.

OBrien

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #9 on: Oct 04, 2006, 12:46 pm »
right so basically my job and responsibility is to make sure everything happens when and how its suppose to.

does that put me directly incharge of all the production groups or is that above me still?

ljh007

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #10 on: Oct 04, 2006, 01:20 pm »
Instead of thinking of your role as a "boss" or "subordinate", consider the role of Stage Manager that of a facilitator and executor. You work alongside the production team. It's your job to make sure communication occurs across departments, that everyone is thinking ahead and thinking together. You don't necessarily make any artistic or executive decisions - that's up to the director, designers, and producers (and it would be fairly accurate to consider the director and producer your "Bosses"). Once they agree what will happen, you help make it happen. Most SM executive decisions should only be concerning safety. For everything else, go find the person to make the decision - if it's artistic, usually the director; if it's financial, usually the producer. Sometimes, in completing your job of running a rehearsal, you need to act simultaneously as a babysitter, traffic cop, air traffic controller, secretary, and orchestra conductor. The reason people sometimes think of SMs as bossy is because it's part of our job to keep everyone in line and keep rehearsals moving along. But nobody likes a bossy stage manager - it does not make you any better at the job.

I would also recommend that you start making the production analysis for the show. There are other posts on this process on this website, both in this forum and also in the Plays & Musicals forum. Start collecting pre-show tips and reading the books on stage management folks here have recommended - you'll be well on your way to a smooth production process.

OBrien

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #11 on: Oct 04, 2006, 01:30 pm »
yeah alot of people have been mentioning taking notes down in relation to the script, what is it i need to note?

PencilQueen

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #12 on: Oct 04, 2006, 02:23 pm »
Quote
yeah alot of people have been mentioning taking notes down in relation to the script, what is it i need to note?

During rehearsal, as the director directs, you note down when & where actors and props are to enter and exit, and where actors move on stage and what they do.  Later you'll write in light and sound cues that you'll use to call the show.

I agree with what ChaCha and others have said about finding a book on stage management. It really will be your shortest route to figuring out what your job is.  Mac's suggestions of Stern's book and Carissa Dollar's webpage are excellent.  My favourite intro level book is THE STAGE MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK by Daniel A. Ionazzi. It lays *everything* out in an easy-to-understand way.  If your school library doesn't have anything, your public library will.  And once you've done some reading up about it, then ask ask ask your director (who, by the way, will be mighty impressed that you've come to him/her having already made an effort to find things out on your own...you'll score big points and the director will likely be even more forthcoming and mentor-like as a result).  We're always here if you have specific questions.

Good luck, O'Brien!  Grease is a fun show.

 


KRose9788

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #13 on: Oct 05, 2006, 12:49 am »
I'm just starting out as a stage manager too(frosh in college), but I was SM for two shows in high school, the second of which was Grease, and was ASM on one professional production since then. The first show I did, I knew nothing about my job, and to top it off we were performing an original 'work-in-progress' production. Pencil Queen's suggestion was great. Find a copy of The Stage Management Handbook by Daniel Ionazzi, that thing was my bible for my first show, and it taught me a lot, really quickly and made things so much easier.

As far as notes go, if you are rehearsal secretary as well, then note all blocking, and set changes, props if you can. Also if your director mentions any specific lighting elements, set changes, elements, etc. Basically, anything they might want to remember later but probably won't.

Ionazzi described the job of stage managing perfectly in my mind "A stage manager is a LEADER, who is SELF-MOTIVATED and EVENTEMPERED, with the ability to ANTICIPATE and ADAPT to constantly changing conditions. Stage managers are DEDICATED to and RESPONSIBLE for every aspect of their productions without losing their SENSE OF HUMOR. They provide an EFFIECIENT and ORGANIZED work environment while remaining EMPATHETIC to the people and the process...stage management is an art" The caps are part of the quote.

As far as being bossy keep these two things in mind: (1) You must care about your cast and crew liking you, but not have a problem being the jerk getting everyone else's but in gear. (2) Since you are in high school, the people you are working with are most likely your friends so even though it's hard to boss them around, sometimes that is the only way things get done. Just make sure that when you don't have to be a stage manager that you drop the job, and be their friend again.

-I hope that helps.

OBrien

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Re: hey, need a bit of help
« Reply #14 on: Oct 05, 2006, 10:41 am »
thanks alot peeps

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