Author Topic: SM's problem with techies...  (Read 5328 times)

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latefortea

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SM's problem with techies...
« on: Mar 17, 2008, 07:31 pm »
So, I'm a freshman and I've been hired by the director to be the SM for our musical. The techies are majorly clique-ish and have a huge problem with a freshman being in charge of them (all of them are upper-classman). I'm not sure how much understanding I should allow them. I understand where they're coming from...but I'm also in charge of them. Any advice with something to say to them, or how to establish myself as their leader?

cbksm

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #1 on: Mar 17, 2008, 07:49 pm »
As a freshman you are trying to fit in with the upper class-man. I think that as a stage manager you need to be in charge and not that them boss you around. The upper class-man will then respect for not giving in. It is your job as a stage manager to be in charge. Once you lose the ability of being in charge you lose your ability to be a stage manager. You can not make them feel unimportant though. You must be able to make them feel like you are listening to them. It is your job as a stage manager to be the drill sergeant and  the cheer leader for everybody in the production. Please keep me informed. 

shanakathleen

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #2 on: Mar 17, 2008, 11:58 pm »
The best thing for you to do is to earn their respect by doing your job well, and being firm without flaunting the fact that you got this opportunity so early in high school. By treating them fairly and proving to them that you indeed deserved this position, you should be able to work well together. In my experience, if you show that you have the skills, grade becomes meaningless.

However, don't let them push you around. You are in charge, and if they don't do their job, it's your responsibility to remedy the situation.

Good luck!
Shana Kathleen Ferguson
shanakferguson@gmail.com

Mac Calder

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #3 on: Mar 18, 2008, 02:24 am »
I think part of your problem comes from the fact that you say you are "In charge" of them. Strictly not correct. You run rehearsals, you give cues, you act as an information hub, you look after the crew, yadda yadda yadda, but the Technical Director is ultimately in charge of them. If you go in with an I am the boss attitude (which is how your post came across) they will dig their heels in and resist.

Step 2 would be to stop calling them techies... Most Techs I know would rip someones teeth out for calling them a techie (myself included)

Finally, talk to them one on one, ask why they doubt your abilities to stage manage. Try to reassure them. Explain that you believe that for a show to run smoothly, during the rehearsal/tech/dress/show calls, the stage manager needs to be able to count on the cast and crew listening and taking on board what the stage manager is saying.

avkid

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #4 on: Mar 18, 2008, 03:50 pm »
Step 2 would be to stop calling them techies... Most Techs I know would rip someones teeth out for calling them a techie (myself included)
I couldn't agree more.
It is considered demeaning in the professional world.
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

jmc

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #5 on: Mar 22, 2008, 02:40 am »
Must be on your side of the rabbit proof fence Mac?
Here beyond the black stump!
The only ones I have heard object to being labelled as 'techies', are the odd 'noize boyze. There again if they had an electrical licence they would be an actual 'sparkie', who don't really care what they are called, so long as it's not late for Smokeo!
Or the occasional Big 'd' tourist, usualy because they believe they are not just a lowly 'Tradie'
On the other hand Mechanists love it, rather than being known as 'Mechies' & Chipies don't care one way or another.
Chookas mate! ;D
Tio Tio Chookas
{May you always play to a full house}
'Hear the light & see the sound'

Mac Calder

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #6 on: Mar 22, 2008, 08:38 am »
It is more of a professional courtesy. When addressing actors/dancers/etc, we refrain from calling them "luvvies", "turns", "twirlies" or any of the more "inappropriate" names (at least to their faces), and expect the same in return.

"Techie" tends to be used to describe 14 year old boys who think they know it all, know they know more than you, and believe that their school needs to buy some movers and a nexo line array because they R0xorZ. These "techies" can usually be identified by the fact that they come up and great you saying "Hey, I am xyz, the schools techie." when you rock up to help them with a show. They can be further identified by the fact that they will talk pure bull, as they tell you that your console is crap compared to the ZXY Light Maker II they read about last week in the local "DJ Times" magazine. The final identifying mark is that you will ask them to please not eat and drink in the Bio box, and yet you will come up during the middle of the show, and find coke all over your desk... So yes, many techs find "techie" to be a degrading term

However, that is going far, far off topic.

MatthewShiner

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #7 on: Mar 22, 2008, 11:17 am »
When we start calling people "techies" we end up getting called "stage manglers"


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RuthNY

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #8 on: Mar 22, 2008, 11:42 am »
Heck, Matt, I refer to us as "stage manglers" all the time.  Sometimes I even answer the office phone "Stage Manglement."  EVeryone gets a kick out of it!


When we start calling people "techies" we end up getting called "stage manglers"



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sievep

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #9 on: Mar 22, 2008, 12:25 pm »
Heck, Matt, I refer to us as "stage manglers" all the time.  Sometimes I even answer the office phone "Stage Manglement."  EVeryone gets a kick out of it!


When we start calling people "techies" we end up getting called "stage manglers"



And we've gone even further off topic . . .can we get back to helping the original poster?
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

sievep

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #10 on: Mar 22, 2008, 12:33 pm »
Indeed, I think the best thing you can do is walk into tech with your paperwork correct and organized, looking professional, acting professional, and they'll do what you ask without hesitation.  I do not think it's wise to speak to anyone about the problem before it happens.  If someone steps out of line or is not paying attention to the show or their duties, then you have every right to ask them to get their head in the game, and if that doesn't work you are in an educational setting where you can go to a higher authority to take care of the problems.

If your technical staff grumbles, let them.  You are not there to be well liked or to be anyone's best friend.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't be friendly, but don't take the grumblings of the staff on as your personal problem.

 
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

adrianej

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #11 on: Mar 22, 2008, 03:39 pm »
I am a sophomore and I work with a lot of upper class men. Its usually best to make them aware that they are a necessity in a way that doesn't give them a complex.
Also most people don't like being reminded that they HAVE to do anything (even if they do.) Most people are more responsive to being asked to do something in a stern, rather than forceful, way. So the phrase "in charge of them" is a phrase to stay away from. People don't respond well to that kind of phrasing.
It will all work out once they respect you. Give them a reason to.

cflow

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #12 on: Mar 23, 2008, 01:54 am »
In general once people get to the college level and are serious about doing theatre, the whole age and grade thing don't matter. They know you have your position for a reason. The crews (loose the term techie) should listen to you b/c they don't know the show and you do. Simple as that. If they don't listen, they make mistakes and make themselves look bad, which they don't want.
View their experience as a bonus! Throughout my college experience, most of my crews have consisted of freshman, performers, or freshman performers. That's a nightmare! With upperclassmen you will never have to check the rail after every time a fly moves because your flyman forgets to lock the linesets!Onstage leadership is absolutely invaluable; keep your eyes and ears open and figure out which crew members are the most trust worthy and use them. Listen when they have suggestions about doing things faster/safer/more efficiently.
And, as several other peopld have said, make sure you do your job well: know your show, have accurate and easy to read paperwork, give directions calmly and politely (Please and thank you are your friends). You'll be fine. 

latefortea

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Re: SM's problem with techies...
« Reply #13 on: Mar 31, 2008, 09:40 pm »
Wow...thanks for all the responses!
But now I have things to add! : )
I've always hated the term techies...and I much rather use the term "crew" or something else...but they absolutely love calling themself that. They're the definitely a tight-knit crew and I guess they like the labeling of themselves. Like I said, they're clique-ish.
Also, our technical director is kind of just...there. Well, actually not always. He doesn't really have an interest in theatre and is more there just to be an advisor. But he always tells me "you're me when i'm not here". Not to mention that a lot of unexpected appointments seem to come up in his schedule during rehearsals...
but anyway.
I'm pretty close with the director and he's told me a lot about being firm but not demanding. I think I've gotten a pretty good handle on establishing myself as a worthy stage manager. They're definitely improving on the respect. In the beginning, I got none of that.
I was just wondering if any of you had any thoughts about some things I could do to get them to accept me more...
I don't know how friendly I should get with them. If I try to get the to accept me as a friend as well as a stage manager, is that going too far? I just want to find a happy medium. But I don't want them to feel forced to be my friend. I don't know...I'm okay with not being buddy buddy with all of them, but maybe they would appreciate my work more if they knew me as a person? They're all really close, and hang out together, but I was just kind of thrown in there with them.
I should also mention that there are a set of twins who I used to be friends with in elementary school, until they were very bossy when I stopped being friends with them. And they consider themselves better than the rest of the crew, and aren't afraid to say that.

So...thoughts, please? : )

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