Author Topic: New Questions  (Read 4557 times)

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Chell1989

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New Questions
« on: Jan 17, 2008, 11:05 pm »
Hi my name is michelle, im a senior in high school, im planning on going to Point Park University for stage management in fall of '08. Could anyone answer a few of my questions?
Do you think getting a BFA degree is a waste of money?
How much do stage managers usually make?
How stable is the job?
What are the down sides of the job?
 sorry if these were answered in other topics

avkid

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Re: New Questions
« Reply #1 on: Jan 18, 2008, 12:31 am »
I'll keep my answers in a general form that pertains to the whole of the EI.
Quote
How stable is the job?
That depends on many factors, geography, the economy, urban development in an area, tourism increases and decreases.
I could go on for pages on this question alone.

Quote
What are the down sides of the job?
No "normal" working life(9-5 M-F and such)
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

MatthewShiner

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Re: New Questions
« Reply #2 on: Jan 18, 2008, 12:46 am »
My Answers:

1) I think that getting a BFA is personal decision, as any educational choice. I think it truly depends on the program, your needs to get from where you are to where you need to get to.  Remember, when you are going into Stage Management, you are prepping yourself to be a business of one, and you should get as much education and preparation you need to compete in a highly competitive field.

2) Stage Managers make as much as they want to make.  It really depends on what level you want to work.  If you are working non-equity you can make anything form nothing to $700 a week.  If you work dance or opera, you can make a lot more.  Working as an Equity Stage Manager, you can make anywhere from $0.00 a week (stupid Workshop contract) to $250 a week (some SPT contracts) to $1,000 a week (some LORT contracts) to over $2,000 a week (Broadway and production contracts).  

You kind of have to figure out how much you want to work - I make about 30% over minimum on my contract and work 52 weeks a year.  I probably work too much.  It depends on if you want to freelance, be a resident stage manager somewhere, etc, etc.  I would say professional stage managers make anywhere between $15,000 and $120,000 a year.

3) The job traditionally does not have a lot of stability, you are free lance worker - if depends on how hard you hustle for the next job.  I hate freelancing, so I do make myself open to resident jobs where I work 52 weeks a year.  Which is nice, but I am tied to one place, work on the same type of shows, and with the same people over and over.  I would say a lot of stage managers, who freelance, work between 20 weeks and 45 weeks a year.

4) Down sides of the jobs.  Well, money and stability can be part of the big picture.  

You are always, in some way, looking for your not only your next job but your next career move.  

I believe o be successful, you have to be prepared to take a job where it may take you - which may mean either touring or moving from gig to gig.  I once spent 24 months where I was never "home" for more then 10 days at a time.  

The hours are a big draw back - I work primarily in an high-end Regional theatre - and during rehearsal, I work about 70-80 hours a week, during tech I work about 90 hours, and once the show is up and running, I work anywhere between 40 and 60 hours a week.  (And I do this about 52 weeks a year.)  

Other things - it can be hard to have a personal life, especially when getting start in the business.  Marriage and kids also present a difficult challenge.    

Given the extra work a SM puts in on show, I find that it is really hard to hold down a day job when I am working on a show - others have made it worked . . . I never could.  So, you often have to make do with what you are getting paid.  

This job can eat up your life.  (And that is if you are "successful" at it.)  It slowly works into everything about you.

The job is terribly high stress - even when a show is up and running.

As you climb up the ladder, the job becomes more and more complex, being sort of the ultimate middle management position - balancing needs of administration/producers, artistic needs, artistic temperaments, stars - it all adds up.  (Sometime I can tell you over drinks, when you are old enough, some tall, tall tales . . . .)

You end up being a fall guy a lot of times . . . taking the blame for things you have no control over, being yelled at for no apparent reason (Like it's my fault the actor showed up late?  He knew the call.  He is an adult.)

The whole job can be rather addictive, trying to get the next show show (or "high") and the bigger and better show (or "high"), and it can take over your life.

But in the end, there is no other job I would rather be doing.  

Now, of course, if you were to ask about the up sides .  . . .



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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.

Chell1989

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Re: New Questions
« Reply #3 on: Jan 18, 2008, 11:53 am »
What are the up sides ?
  Michelle
Thanks

Jessie_K

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Re: New Questions
« Reply #4 on: Jan 18, 2008, 12:07 pm »
Up sides:

-variety (each show, each cast, each day is unique)
-travel (if you tour or are willing to travel for jobs)
-not a lot of boring days
-you don't have to wear office attire
-reasonable amount of freedom to decide how to do your job
-thrill of a good show
-the fact that if it's a bad show, you still know when it's going to end and you can move on
-the job teaches you perspective and prioritizing

That's just off the top of my head.

centaura

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Re: New Questions
« Reply #5 on: Jan 25, 2008, 01:50 pm »
Stagemanaging is a job you do because you love it, not because you're looking for bigger and bigger paychecks to take home.  Yes, finances come into it - and there is the potential for some good money out there.  I spent several years on low-paying tours because they were really darn fun, the challenge was a very big 'high'.  I know that I'm not showing up at work, punching a clock, and hating every minute of it.  Or sitting in cubicle land wasting away.  There are long weeks, but my current job rewards me with a lot of time off to compensate.

It boils down to whether you can spend your days doing something you don't love, just for they pay, or whether you want to do something that you love, and deal with whatever you end up getting paid for it.

-Centaura

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