Author Topic: Where and when are you at your best?  (Read 5868 times)

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kiwitechgirl

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Where and when are you at your best?
« on: Jun 29, 2009, 10:01 pm »
This is something that I've been thinking about for the last couple of days, after a conversation with the two other SMs in the company that I work for - we all three have totally different strengths and things we're good at, which makes us a very well-rounded department and we can assign people to shows according to the needs of the show and cast.  So, where are you at your best, where do you do your best work?  Personally, I'm at my best on musicals; our musicals are unique in that we have a small, oddly shaped space with no wingspace and no flying which makes shows like The Producers a huge challenge.  I do best when I'm coping with a big cast, a director and MD who are relying on me to make everything happen, not enough time or money, hundreds of costumes, props coming out my ears, massively complex technical requirements and lots of pressure.  Put me in that situation and I thrive!

crazychicksj

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 07, 2009, 09:43 pm »
I'm at my best when I'm "cattle wrangling" backstage. I actually perform much better as an ASM because I find that being in the thick of the chaos helps me focus more. When I'm not ASMing I'm definitely at my best on shows that have a large cast, if only because I hate dead air on headset. If I can be constantly looking for somebody or thinking three pages ahead while I call cues it's a much better experience for me.

Mac Calder

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 07, 2009, 11:13 pm »
I am best at a) Paperwork and b) Solving the unsolvable and I prefer high levels of task loading. I have a very technical mind, but I like to be able to focus on the details.

People skills are not my strongest point - whilst I am generally easy going and get along with most people I meet, I do not tollerate fools, and will not pander to ego's, and I am intollerant when it comes to tardiness and lack of effort and concentration.

When I was SMing, holding myself back from lecturing late casts and casts who did not take the job seriously was very hard for me, and caused me no end of mental frustration.

I also have to like the show I am doing, both content and personel wise. The level of care I give to jobs is proportional to how much I like it. I will always aim to do a very good job, but a show I love will result in me going above and beyond.

LCSM

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 08, 2009, 12:36 am »
I am always at my best when fixing the unfixable at the very last minute; it often leads me to be more creative than I would be in a normal paced environment. Recently I had to fix an actress's sagging hoopskirt with duct tape and a coat hanger as she was standing in the wings about to go on. I am the quintessential "emergency person", I always act best under stress.

If I can be constantly looking for somebody or thinking three pages ahead while I call cues it's a much better experience for me.

I agree completely! When things are dragging on and there is little for me to do I get extremely frustrated.

ChaCha

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 08, 2009, 10:23 am »
I would say that as a stage manager I am at my best when the situatation has complex politics and personalities. I like untangling the threads and I get the situations resolved through people skills. I was never at all technical as an SM but give me a room full of people who dont understand one another and I will get them all on the same page and moving forward. I like a lot of responsibility, give me a director who is a control freak and I get bored. I also work better when I have an asm - maybe Im just lazy but I prefer to think I like to be part of a team albeit a mini one ( opera was nice - sometimes I got three other stage managers to play with on my show!) . I know the other people are part of a team but they Are Not The Same, no matter how fabulous or supportive.
ChaCha

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #5 on: Sep 09, 2009, 01:49 am »
I'm at my best in the theatre, whether that be calling or running the deck.  I am a stage manager who can't wait to get out of the rehearsal hall and get the show on its feet in front of an audience, and then run it forever.  A very good friend and SM who I have ASMed for frequently is exactly the opposite.  She loves the rehearsal process and would probably be perfectly happy to be in a situation where she could get a show open, hand it off, and start rehearsals on the next one as soon as possible.

missliz

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #6 on: Sep 09, 2009, 01:18 pm »
I thrive on "challenge shows," shows in nontraditional spaces or with very unique circumstances. I've always been a quick problem-solver/improviser, and I love having to think outside the box to solve problems.  Doing a show in a museum that interacted with the (very expensive!) paintings and sculptures and figuring out how to respect museum protocol while maintaining the integrity of the theater piece, for example.

I also love working with lots of people who work lots of different ways, and finding the ways to get everyone on the same page. I'm very much a people person, and I know I do well in facilitating things between different personalities.
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

Aerial

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #7 on: Sep 09, 2009, 03:14 pm »
I love tech, both when I'm calling the show and when I'm on deck.  It's just something about the pace, and working hard to keep so many people happy.

maximillionx

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #8 on: Sep 12, 2009, 03:46 pm »
I believe I am at my best when, as someone put it, "cattle wrangling."  I love auditions and coordinating different spaces and times and being able to walk into a lobby and tell a large group of people where and when to go to a room efficiently and have them understand it perfectly.

I also love the design meetings, having a small background in design.  I feel like I can point out different solutions for tricky situations that may not come to anyone else's mind. For instance, being able to eliminate a set piece by suggesting using lights instead. Fun times.

BalletPSM

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #9 on: Sep 15, 2009, 10:16 am »
I am at my best when my strong personality and high energy level are able to balance out a mild and laid-back director.  I've found that when I work with a director like this, we are able to support each other and work as a team, which in turn gives the cast and other creatives faith and trust in our varying degrees of leadership. 

Conversely, one of my best friends and favorite directors to work with has a very similar personality to mine, and we are a great team.  Maybe it's because we know that we are very alike and we know each other so well; in turn we know how to curb the various parts of our personalities that would butt heads with each other. 
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #10 on: Sep 29, 2009, 12:46 am »
Much as I love it when nothing goes wrong and I can enjoy the show, I am at my best when things go haywire and I have to solve on the fly. 

For example, doing a big door-slam comedy, the sound went out right after the recorded spiel and I had to invent (and communicate to my ASM on deck) ways to make the necessary sounds, make sure cast was notified, keep our sound op calm and rebooting the computer while we waited to see if any of the cues would work or not (it ended up abt 50%), calling light cues and sending constant updates of info to actors etc - or recently when my (responsible terrific) light board op and my (lovely and capable) ASM both arrived late to call - the LBO arriving AT showtime - and we all pitched in and did what was needed to get the dimmer check and backstage set-up and ironing and preshow prep done, all accomplished in the proverbial nick. It's crazy-making, but exciting and fun. (Can you tell I was almost an ER doc?)


missliz

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #11 on: Sep 29, 2009, 11:15 am »
Much as I love it when nothing goes wrong and I can enjoy the show, I am at my best when things go haywire and I have to solve on the fly. 

For example, doing a big door-slam comedy, the sound went out right after the recorded spiel and I had to invent (and communicate to my ASM on deck) ways to make the necessary sounds, make sure cast was notified, keep our sound op calm and rebooting the computer while we waited to see if any of the cues would work or not (it ended up abt 50%), calling light cues and sending constant updates of info to actors etc - or recently when my (responsible terrific) light board op and my (lovely and capable) ASM both arrived late to call - the LBO arriving AT showtime - and we all pitched in and did what was needed to get the dimmer check and backstage set-up and ironing and preshow prep done, all accomplished in the proverbial nick. It's crazy-making, but exciting and fun. (Can you tell I was almost an ER doc?)



That's awesome! I love it.
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

dallas10086

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Re: Where and when are you at your best?
« Reply #12 on: Jan 14, 2010, 11:24 pm »
I also have to like the show I am doing, both content and personel wise. The level of care I give to jobs is proportional to how much I like it. I will always aim to do a very good job, but a show I love will result in me going above and beyond.

I am SO glad you said that. I read the script for "Women Who Steal" after being talked into SMing it, and after page 8 I literally threw the script across the room. It was terrible! Vivien Leigh could have played the lead and the show still would have tanked. It was the only time I woke up dreading SMing that day. Sadly, after the bad script, it was all downhill from there. I kept beating myself up, thinking if my attitude could be at 100% only when I was enjoying myself then what kind of SM was I? But I learned from that debacle and moved on.  ;D

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