Author Topic: The Big "Thank You Notes" Thread!  (Read 32956 times)

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djemily

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The Big "Thank You Notes" Thread!
« on: Apr 12, 2006, 02:08 am »
EDIT: Since we had six different conversations going on about thank you notes in various sections of the board, I've merged them all together and placed them on the board where they actually belong - the Green Room. - PSMKay, November 2013

The first show I worked on was Six Characters in Search of an Author. This is also the only show I have worked on. I remember the director/AD doing thank you notes and I was wondering if this is also usually done by the SM as well. I ASMed that show and the cast had about 26 people not including the production team. I'm just curious about standard practices for this. Any advice/ideas/suggestions would be great. Thank you all in advance :)

Emily
« Last Edit: Nov 25, 2013, 05:26 pm by PSMKay »

Mac Calder

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thank you notes
« Reply #1 on: Apr 12, 2006, 02:16 am »
As an SM, I like to thank casts and crew. Usually, I do a fairly general cast thankyou, as the director usually gets nice and cudly with them, however I really like to say a few words to the crew - as they tend to be overlooked quite a bit.

There truely is no standard. It all depends on what you think you need to do.

Some casts and crews, I don't say a thankyou to, because I honestly think they have abused my position (I am not your personal masseus! I may be pretty good at massaging shoulders, but I don't get paid enough to do it!) others I thank profeusly and invite arround for dinner a couple of times.

nmno

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thank you notes
« Reply #2 on: Apr 12, 2006, 03:42 am »
It usually depends for me.  If I'm SMing I'll often do cards for the cast, the show crew, production departments/heads, designers, directors, company management. This usually ends up being around 20 + cast (It's the one point I'm glad I'm working with small crews).  I usually like to make a note something more substantial than "It's been a pleasure working with you" but sometimes that's all I can do and I figure that's at least something.  It just often depends on how much energy I have, how creative and/or thankful I'm feeling...  Once made over 35 snowglobes from scratch!  Other times, I'll just make cards.

I'll do an all-or-nothing for each group (ie. I won't do my deck crew and not the booth crew. But I might do my crew and no one else) so at least I feel like I'm being equitable.  

I also space out my thank yous: I do things like bring donuts to the load-in crew or beer for post-strike or snacks to tech.  

I will ALWAYS do something for my ASM/PA's/Interns (anywhere from a Starbucks Gift cert to a Gift Cert for a massage).

As an ASM, I'll do something for my SM and my deck crew.  If I have a good relationship with the SM, we'll sometimes go in on cards/gifts for the others.  Otherwise, as an ASM I don't often do thank yous for the cast but sometimes we've been really close so...

jensparkingonly

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thank you notes
« Reply #3 on: Apr 13, 2006, 05:54 pm »
In general, I think ThankYou's are a must. Especially if you want to leave a good impression with the people you worked with.  You never know whos may be in a position to recommend you for a job sometime down the road.  

Whether it is opening night or closing I don't think really matters. It is all up to personal preference. The cast usually gets lauded over by eachother, the producers, the director; but the stage hands, dressers, wardrobe, follow spot ops usually get forgotten.  It doesn't always have to be a note either...I leave cookies, beer or snacks for my road guys or in house crews which is always appreciated.  Even taking the time to walk around and thank everyone personally for their work goes a long way.
Jen Matthews
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isha

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thank you notes
« Reply #4 on: Apr 15, 2006, 06:20 pm »
I do nice(personal) thanks you notes for everybody...

my last show it took a solid 2 days with every single moment of free time (as well as skipping classes for those 2 days) to finish them
cast=30
orchestra=14
crew=6 (this is highschool so our crew isn't very big)

I just print business card sized break a leg cards and write my notes on the back. I have extra small handwriting tho, and I try to fill each one up..it forces me to get a sense of closure with each person, and it's a great way to improve peer relationships (cause at about that point all the older kids hate you for "bossing them around" and the younger kids hate you for stopping them from killing eachother...lol)
it's gotten harder and harder to do as my casts increase in size....
-isha
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KC_SM_0807

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thank you notes
« Reply #5 on: Apr 15, 2006, 07:04 pm »
I do thank you notes for all cast and crew, and usually buy a small gift for my ASM and Director.  You want to leave a good impression... as stated above, you never know who might know someone.  That one thank you note may serve as a rememberance of you work, and therefore may get you another job.  I also just love thanking the cast and crew to show that everyone in every area or production is appreciated.
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."

KFullerton

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thank you notes
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2006, 03:00 pm »
My last show I did a general thank you to the cast by making a big plate of cookies and sticking them on the table in the makeup room downstairs with a note on them.

I did smaller thank-you notes for my crew, they weren't fantastic but they tried so I felt they deserved something.

My booth crew was awesome, so I wrote a little more in their cards than the others.

And then both of my ASMs (both non-SM majors, one is a dramaturg and the other is my best friend who's an actress who got thrown in due to lack of ASMs and did amazingly well) a dozen roses and Venti Frappuchinos that I sat on their tables right before they got to the theatre.

As for the director....well...she got the finger for her thank you gift when she wasn't looking...

Didaskalos

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thank you notes
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2006, 08:01 pm »
A director I had in college had a creative way of making thankyou cards, which I have adopted.  He took a few of the show posters and cut them into card-sized sections, folded them in half so that the printed side of the poster became the outside of the card, and wrote his sentiments on the blank inside.  Cheap, unique, easy and very memorable.
Do it right the first time;  do it right every time.

stgmgr4life

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Re: thank you notes
« Reply #8 on: Jun 17, 2006, 04:56 pm »
It depends on the show and how much time you have. I've always been a very personal person. I enjoy writing cards but that can get pretty costly when you have a large orchestra, cast and crew. The last show I worked on my SM made me a blanket! Where she found the time I have no idea and while I'm very grateful I also think she's crazy to have been able to do everything and make me a blanket from scratch. Now mind you this was our second time working together but I doubt I'll ever make someone a blanket. At least not while SMing a show at the same time. For me it really depends on who you're closest to while working with them. That's just me.

PSMKay

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Re: thank you notes
« Reply #9 on: Jun 17, 2006, 07:59 pm »
At one house that I worked at, the pre-opening photo call usually included a full company shot with cast and crew.  The SM there would get a copy of this shot, paste it to the front of blank notecards and use those for her thank you notes.

One thing that I did on a particular show with very political overtones was to find little quirky buttons with appropriate political slogans on them for each character and leave them on the counter for all to chuckle at and take home.

smsam

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Re: thank you notes
« Reply #10 on: Jun 17, 2006, 08:13 pm »
The most important thing I think when doing Thank Yous is ensuring that you treat everyone fairly with Thank-Yous, especially when ultimately your in a position of authority and responsibility (i.e. Stage Manager/ DSM).

So if you are going to do the cast cards then you have to do them all cards. And if you are going to get crew cards or presents do them all cards/ presents! Even when I've had my boyfriend on my crew he's got the same Thank-You card and pressie as everyone else!

Personally, I'll get the cast as a whole and the crew as a whole a Good Luck Card on the first night which I'll stick on the Call Board then at the end of the run I'll get little cardettes for each of the crew and cast and try to put something personal in each one like a funny experience or anecdote about the show! If its a musical with loads of cast and dancers though or its been a short production period then I sometimes just get the whole cast one card!


The only exception I'll make is an individual card and present to the director. As a DSM I rarely give cards or presents to the Designs/ Design Team because its not my place to, often the director will sort this out!!

Sam x
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ESM_John

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Re: thank you notes
« Reply #11 on: Jun 21, 2006, 07:18 am »
Generally, i try to thank everyone at least face to face on closing. Ill get cards for the Director, an ASM, the TD, etc. but usually the show going off flawlessly on the tech end, is a nice thanks to the cast. It all depends on how you get along with your cast and crew.

kjdiehl

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Re: thank you notes
« Reply #12 on: Jun 29, 2006, 09:08 pm »
I think many many years ago i may have given out a few thank you cards. That practice quickly stopped. It got way out of control. These days, I would almost never dream of doing anything for opening night. Tech  is the busiest time for me, and I don't want to jeopardize the show or my personal time for cards. Frankly, whatever type of Thank-yous I do are only personal, and always  different from show to show. I certainly don't give cards as a matter of course or to ensure getting hired in the future. If someone on the team wants to hire me in the future, I want it to be because they remember the work I did, not a card I gave. My only hard and fast rule is on tours, after the final curtain at a venue, or after load-out is complete: ALWAYS shake every crew member by the hand and look them in the eye and thank them. Otherwise, I just give personal thank you's, if i feel it's warranted. I have gotten chocolates for my entire booth, (usually near opening night,) but only if i like them and appreciate their work. I generally always give my ASMs something special, maybe a gift certificate, maybe fancy chocolates, maybe a book- but again, only if I feel they deserve it. (The one thing I do do as an arbitrary rule, before they have a chance to prove their worth, is usually on the first or second day of our working together, I try to take my entire SM team out for lunch.) If a particular cast or crew member or two have become especial good friends to me, then I'll usually get them a card towards the end of the run. This is not so much to thank them for their work, but to acknowledge our friendship. (Mind you, it'd be unlikely that their work was crap and we actually became friends, so it's a safe bet that I'll be thanking them for their work as well.)
-Kris Diehl, AEA SM

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standing in the shadows with a clipboard in hand..."

nmno

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Re: thank you notes
« Reply #13 on: Jun 29, 2006, 09:50 pm »
I certainly don't give cards as a matter of course or to ensure getting hired in the future. If someone on the team wants to hire me in the future, I want it to be because they remember the work I did, not a card I gave.

I don't know...  My production manager knows that I do a lot of stuff for my crew -to make them feel appreciated/motivated- so it's that much less that he has to do.  Does he re-hire me BECAUSE I do these things? No, of course not.  And do I DO these things in order to get re-hired? No, they are part of my personality.  But I do feel that one of the reasons I get asked back is because of how I treat the people I work with so in a round about way, sending thank you notes does get me hired back.  That said, THIS is how I show my appreciation for my cast/crews - there are other ways of course.

I also have to add that, yes, writing all those thank you notes during tech can be exhausting.  But it has also been helpful, when perhaps not enjoying certain folks so much, to take a moment and force myself to come up with something nice to say... There has always been something nice to say and forcing myself to find it, pushes me out of my negative thinking. 

I also like using the notes for the actors as a way to ease into the idea that I'm now taking the reigns of the show from the director.

My $.02.

kjdiehl

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Re: thank you notes
« Reply #14 on: Jun 30, 2006, 10:20 am »
Hey nmno, thanks for brining that up. That's a side of the coin I hadn't really been thinking of- that thank you notes can of course be anyone's personal style for how you breed good vibes in your company. I guess it's clearly not my style.   :D  But more power to ya if it works for you.
-Kris Diehl, AEA SM

"Somewhere in the city there's a stage manager waiting,
standing in the shadows with a clipboard in hand..."

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