Author Topic: SMA  (Read 8636 times)

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Bwoodbury

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SMA
« on: Jan 19, 2008, 02:44 pm »
Sorry if this has been covered before. If so, just point me to the thread, but I'm wondering if it's worth it to join the SMA as an associate. I am a student stage manager at the University of Maryland, but I'm also applying for professional work and working with professional directors/actors in a university setting. What would the benefits of joining be and are there any costs?
Thanks!
Bridget

Amy877

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Re: SMA
« Reply #1 on: Jan 19, 2008, 06:02 pm »
It's totally worth it.  Do it. 

Benefits:  They have great job postings from all over the country.  The postings come to you via email, instead of you having to search.  They're mostly theatre gigs (though opera and other gigs pop up too), and cover a wide range of experience levels from entry positions to union SM jobs.  Then, there's Operation Observation, where you can observe a stage manager on a production; it's fun, and a great networking tool.  You also get access to the contact sheet of members (many SMs have links to their resumes), and emails about SM Drink Nights and related social events.

Costs:  It's only $30 for a year at the Associate level.  In contrast, ArtSearch, which is postings for a variety of arts-related jobs/internships, costs $40 for 6 months of online access, $60 for the full year, and $75 if you want the print version as well. 

In the beginning, I had full-year subscriptions to both, but let ArtSearch lapse a few years back, and haven't missed it. 

smejs

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Re: SMA
« Reply #2 on: Jan 20, 2008, 04:13 am »
Clarification.  It's $30 per year for Associate (or $40 for Full level) PLUS a one-time initiation fee of $25 (you only pay this the first year.  So total to join right now at Associate is $55.

In the last 6 months I've also started up national online chats roughly once a month.  We're having one this Monday afternoon (requires the SMA password to get in, so no, it's not available for everyone) that's with a tax preparer specifically geared towards figuring out taxes for stage managers.  In the past I've also held them on stage combat, calling/script techniques, one with a financial advisor, and we're in preparation for one with Equity representatives (and are planning to do future ones with AGMA, IATSE, etc). 

SMA has also started recognizing stage managers at the local levels as far as an ad in the Philly regional awards (I can't remember the name of them right off).  I'm also hosting a Drink Night in Dayton Ohio tomorrow evening.  (I'm working there in town, but actually live in Denver.)

For the first time, the SMA is also making a presence at several "booths" this year.  We'll be at the Entertainment Industry Expo later this month (including hosting a panel with stage managers and company managers), as well as at USITT in Houston in March.  We're trying to get our "brand" out there not only to stage managers, but people who HIRE stage managers (and thus would submit more job postings, etc).

Some of your benefit in the SMA is whatever you CHOOSE to get out of it.  Take advantage of what we offer, and if you want something, like to host your own drink night in your area, ask the Board for help, and we will!  (Heck, many never thought I'd get 20 people to RSVP in Dayton, Ohio!!)  But Maryland is relatively close to DC, and there are quite a few things going on with SMA members there.

Erin
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ReyYaySM

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Re: SMA
« Reply #3 on: Jan 20, 2008, 12:18 pm »
But Maryland is relatively close to DC, and there are quite a few things going on with SMA members there.

The SM community in MD/DC/VA (SMA and non-SMA) seems to have been particularly active in the last couple of months.  SMNetwork members put together a drink night in December and there will be an SM Roundtable discussion at Round House Theatre on January 28 (see details here.  One of the stage managers attending the drink night was a member of the SMA and received funding from them to buy us appetizers for the event. 

I have thought about joining SMA in the past, but I have personally had good luck finding jobs through personal contacts/networking, the DC/Baltimore AEA liaison committee's postings, and the DC Theatre Tech pages (a yahoo group).  Also, from what I understand from DC SMA members (and please correct me if I'm wrong), most of the DC area theatres do not post jobs through SMA as of now.  Should that change in the future, or should I choose to relocate to another city/region, I may consider joining. 

However, after reading Erin's post, it seems as if the SMA is beginning to become more active.  I plan to keep my eye out and keep myself informed to see if it will indeed prove advantageous for me to join up.  Ultimately, it's a personal decision and you need to decide what is best for you. 

Maribeth

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Re: SMA
« Reply #4 on: Jan 21, 2008, 12:41 pm »
I have thought about joining SMA in the past, but I have personally had good luck finding jobs through personal contacts/networking, the DC/Baltimore AEA liaison committee's postings, and the DC Theatre Tech pages (a yahoo group). 

I have an SMA membership- although I don't find a lot of DC area work through it. I would agree that personal contacts and networking have been the top ways that I have found work in this area.

Benefits:
It's nice to get the job postings via email, and I find it more useful for out of town listings (including opera). I'm a fan of the Operation Observation, and hope to be taking advantage of it again when my schedule permits me. And they are organizing relevant online chats- today's is regarding tax preparation, which I think will definitely be interesting. So on the whole, I think that it's a good resource, and that it's working towards becoming more relevant and useful for its members.

That being said, it doesn't do much for me in terms of getting work and making connections in DC. Some of the other resources mentioned here (the DC theatre tech yahoo group, and the stage management forum being held next Monday) are more specific to the area. Many of the job postings are for showcase productions in New York- not something I'm interested in. I don't know that it would have done much for me when I was in college; there are a lot of other resources available, including job listings on Backstagejobs.com. And in terms of observations, you could contact some of the local theatres directly and ask to shadow someone if you were interested.

On a side note, someone on this thread mentioned ArtSearch- I think UMD has a subscription, so you can probably access it through them instead of having to pay for an individual subscription.

I weighed the cost vs benefits in college, and waited until I was a few years out of school to join.

gotracigo

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Re: SMA
« Reply #5 on: Jan 28, 2008, 04:03 pm »
Hi!

Does any one have experience living in Chicago and being a member of the SMA?  I'm considering joining and am wondering what the benefits are.  I have a few questions:
Are there many members in the Chicago area? If so, are they active in sponsoring events, both social and networking? 

Are there "operation observation" opportunities in the Chicago area?

Do the job postings include positions for the Chicago area and the midwest, or are they primarily for the east and west coast? 

Thanks to anyone who can give some insight.
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BLee

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Re: SMA
« Reply #6 on: Jan 28, 2008, 05:57 pm »
Now is the difference between being an Associate and being a Full Member?
XX. The only valid excuse for missing one's cue is death.
-Proverb from the Techie Bible.

Maribeth

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Re: SMA
« Reply #7 on: Jan 28, 2008, 07:17 pm »
http://www.stagemanagers.org/membship.htm

From the website:    

Full membership
Any person who has worked under a recognized contract of any branch of the 4A Unions (AEA, SAG, AGMA, AFTRA) as a Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager, or who can demonstrate comparable experience as a professional stage manager, is eligible for full membership. Full members enjoy all benefits and privileges of the SMA, including eligibility to serve as a member of the Executive Board, and the right to vote in elections and on SMA issues.

   
Associate membership
Any person who demonstrates an intent to pursue a career as a professional stage manager is eligible for Associate Membership. An Associate member may attend all meetings and gatherings, and serve on committees, but has no voting privileges. Once an Associate member feels he or she qualifies for Full Membership, he or she may apply for a change in category, subject to review by the Membership Committee.

   

smejs

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Re: SMA
« Reply #8 on: Feb 06, 2008, 01:30 pm »
As for Chicago, we're working on setting up something for a CPR class with Chicago SMA members.  Details still very much in progress, as it was just discussed this week. 

As I've discussed with PSMKay, it's always interesting trying to organize Chicago SMs.  Perhaps part of it is that in Chicago except for a few Equity members, many are non-Equity and thus lower paid and having to work more than one job...leaving less time towards networking.  We certainly want to provide more for our Chicago members, but just like any other area, it takes someone locally to get things going.  Perhaps this CPR class will spur that. 

And of course there are the national job postings, the online chats, our newsletter, and some national tours are on Operation Observation....

Jessie_K

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Re: SMA
« Reply #9 on: Feb 06, 2008, 03:03 pm »

Are there "operation observation" opportunities in the Chicago area?



To observe shows in Chicago, you can write to the SM's that work for Broadway in Chicago.  They are nice and allow observations.  You can find the address and shows online at http://www.broadwayinchicago.com/theatreinfo_contact.php

« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2008, 04:11 pm by PSMKay »

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Re: SMA
« Reply #10 on: Feb 06, 2008, 04:11 pm »
As I've discussed with PSMKay, it's always interesting trying to organize Chicago SMs.  Perhaps part of it is that in Chicago except for a few Equity members, many are non-Equity and thus lower paid and having to work more than one job...leaving less time towards networking. 

Not quite.  There are a lot of AEA SMs, but as Chicago seems to spawn about 20 new tiny theatre companies each day the large number of AEA members is swarmed under by the non-equity members, many of whom will SM for one show and then vanish.  I spent my entire SM career as non equity and working two jobs, it's what I had to do for years.  I joined the SMA for the last year that I was in the business but did not have time to take advantage of anything that it offered, and certainly didn't have time to be a pioneer member in a largely ignored location.

I did attend two Stage Manager gatherings over the course of the seven years that I was working in theatre here.  In both cases it seemed like all of the attending AEA SMs already knew each other quite well and had worked on many shows together already. 

Of course, I was extremely shy when I got here and this was all several years ago and things may well have changed since then.

smejs

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Re: SMA
« Reply #11 on: Feb 06, 2008, 04:20 pm »
Quote
in a largely ignored location

True while there are many places that may have seemed "ignored" in the past, I have made great strides myself in the last few years (since being the first non-NYC Secretary) to remind folks, including those on our Board, that it is a NATIONAL organization.

We need help from all our members to do this, but I do think we've become more of a national presence in the last few years, and certainly I hope to do better.  But again, it's a volunteer organization.  Baby steps at times, but we're starting to take some greater leaps these days.  As soon as I heard from the Chicago person about the CPR thing, I leapt at trying to help that one...we're just currently stretched at 15 Board Members trying accomplish things for an entire country [let alone, we even have several members in other countries], and indeed many of those Board members are in NYC (though we also have CA, CO, IA, and PA/NJ represented presently).  It's the members who make the organization what it is, and we will help support (and indeed, try to encourage, lead, etc).

Erin
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2008, 04:22 pm by smejs »

Thomas A. Kelly

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Re: SMA
« Reply #12 on: Apr 10, 2008, 12:22 pm »
You should join... any exposure to other stage managers is beneficial when you start, and as we try to nationalize more and more, it will become more and more valuble. As someone said, like everything else, SMA will be what you make it. It is not a deli; they do not deliver, you have to seek a little... I got my next job through a posting, sooooo, you never know!


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