Author Topic: how essential is a kit?  (Read 7565 times)

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beningini

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how essential is a kit?
« on: Jul 07, 2006, 12:08 pm »
ok here's my deal and my question.

i am not new to stage management - it was my focus for my bfa in college.  i had a tacklebox kit that i started and filled up exactly as the textbook told me to.

then after college i got an internship at a professional theatre in dallas.  first show i brought my box but the theatre already had all the office, medical, misc supplies so i stopped bringing it.

i did that for a couple of years, stayed at the same theatre for a while.  got my aea equity card out of it.

then i got a "real job" and have been doing that for the past 2 years.

now i am starting a new stage management job for a local theatre here in town, they are a little bit smaller than the one i was with before, but definitely with it.

my question is, do i need to bring a box?  i dont wanna look like a dork or anything.  i was thinking just basic office supplies and cough drops, life savers, etc. in a small lunch box.

yes or no?  feel free to email me:  beningini@yahoo.com

tommy
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VSM

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 07, 2006, 01:02 pm »
Better safe than sorry.
Bring your Kit.
Leave it in the car if you want, but have it handy.
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Fisheje198rm

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 07, 2006, 01:44 pm »
 i agree with VSM.  better safe than sorry.

 i have two kit with me all the time. 

full kit belongs in the car ( in case, i SM for local, community theatre, and/or Volunteer)

smaller scale kit that i can fit in my backpack, along with my laptop,well... actually my backpack is the kit  ;D ( i use that for if i work for a Major Theatre company like now, Seattle Children's theatre)

Rebbe

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 07, 2006, 02:56 pm »
I’d say it’s better not to make assumptions about what the theater will provide, so bring your kit for at least the first few days.  When you get familiar with the theater, and have a chance to see what they have onsite, then you can decide whether you want to keep your kit there or bring it home.  I don’t think an SM with a kit would look dorky, but an SM without one may seem unprepared . 

When you’re deciding how much to keep on hand, also think about the set up; is there an SM office, just a desk in the corner, or a storage closet to pull supplies from?  How far is it from the rehearsal space?  It may make sense to keep your kit with you so you don’t need to run down the hall every time you need something….and you can never have too many pencils, post-its, sharpies, hole punchers, or erasers, IMHO

I’ve worked in a mid-sized theater where using my mini-sewing kit was faster and easier than searching the costume shop for a needle and thread.  I’ve also worked for a large theater where we needed four tape measures to tape out the set, but only had two on hand.  Luckily, I was able to pull two more out of my kit. 
 
Personally, I worry least about stocking first aid supplies, since Equity rules require the theater to have them.  If the theater’s first aid kit isn’t in the rehearsal space, I’ll pull some of the basics from it to keep in a baggie wherever we are rehearsing.
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

ljh007

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 07, 2006, 04:50 pm »
But I'd recommend that before you bring your kit, ask the company about supplies reimbursements. You might want to know whether you'll be paid to buy a pack of sharpies to replace the ones that disappear the second you walk into the theatre. If the theatre can't/won't pay you to restock the kit you bring, you should probably leave your frequently disappearing supplies (mechanical pencils, sharpies, post-its) at home. Sometimes "donating" your kit supplies is a labor of love at smaller theatres. But stocking a kit is expensive! So just be sure you know what to expect.

uSMp

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #5 on: Jul 07, 2006, 08:19 pm »
From my experiance in various roles, most 'transient' SM's always bring their kit. A lot of the company type SM's (who only work for one company) will often drop the use of a kit as they know exactly where everything is.

If you are really worried about "Looking like a dork" - since you are SM, you will be one of the first there. So when you set up your rehearsal space, just push it into a corner or under your table. Chances are it will be ignored by everyone, and then, take the time to sticky beak through the space and make sure that you know where things are - that way if something goes wrong and there are supplies in the room to fix it, you can get it straight from the room, but if there isn't anything there, well look who is a nifty little SM, prepared for every event - Instant karma  ;D

ReyYaySM

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #6 on: Jul 08, 2006, 01:53 am »
Like Fisheje198rm, I have two SM kits.  I have a small toolbox (12" x 4" x 6")that I got at Dollar Tree for $1 that holds pencils, post-its, band-aids, tape, etc.  It's essentially a mini version of my big kit, which has all that stuff, just in a larger quantity and variety (i.e. a rainbow of sharpies instead of just black or large AND small paperclips).  I always have the mini kit with me.  In rehearsal, it lives on my table.  In performance, it lives somewhere in the booth (it's serving as a stand for my prompt book in my current production).  It depends on the production and the theatre as to whether or not I bring in my big kit, as well as whether or not my assistant has a kit. 

For me, my kit is an essential tool for my job. 

centaura

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #7 on: Jul 08, 2006, 09:40 am »
For me, since my kit is also the bag that I carry my prompt book in, it never looked out of place.  Its redundant, but I'll second the opinions that said bring it until you know what's available.  Then you might re-think what's in it depending on what's available. 

I've kept some odd things in my bag, but they've come in handy.  I always had a deck of cards - if there are young actors getting antsy in a corner I am able to come up with 'instant entertainment' - give them the cards.  I've always had the regular tape measure, but also a sewing tape measure.  Somedays I only pulled my own pencils or whatever out of my bag, but I always had it with.

-Centaura

MatthewShiner

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #8 on: Jul 08, 2006, 11:34 am »
I have a kit.  It sits in the storage room of my rehearsal hall where it pretty much has been for two years.

If you are working for a resident theater, and they have an office and supplies, why bring a kit?  So, my office supplies, my first aid supplies, my toys are get used, stolen or broken?  (speaking as somone who has purchased over 20 tape measures in his career)/

The kit is great to have if you are freelancing and moving about, but honestly I am not sure why I would be expected to bring in supplies - that's the theatre's responsibilities to have tools, to have first aid supplies, to office supplies, etc, etc - not mine.

Now, when I freelanced, sure, I loved have the kit, and being there ready to pull out a sepctic pencil or some off office supply - but I work in a different thing now - where I stock my office, and I make sure my office has everything I need . . . when I leave here, who knows.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

VSM

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #9 on: Jul 08, 2006, 12:27 pm »
"sticky beak thru the space?"
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kjdiehl

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #10 on: Jul 09, 2006, 09:47 pm »
"sticky beak thru the space?"

Yeah! I wanna know too!


As to looking dorky for carrying a kit: C'MON! We're stage managers! Dorky is our middle name! There's nothing you can do to reduce the company's opinion of you as the biggest dork there. (Well, except for maybe the Sound guy.)

I have my standard, 2-tray tackle box kit which I generally bring to my freelancier type gigs. But my favorite is my handy little pencil bag that I bring everywhere. It just has the few little personal supplies that I can't live without and then I rely on the theatre to provide everything else.
-Kris Diehl, AEA SM

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

uSMp

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #11 on: Jul 09, 2006, 11:12 pm »
You have never heard the saying "Have a sticky beak"? Wow... It means to poke through the space looking at everything, or "Being a sticky beak" - like being nosey.

Basically it is a derogatory term for 'examine'/'look around' etc.

beningini

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #12 on: Jul 12, 2006, 03:39 pm »
okay so i did it, i brought my kit and i didnt look like a dork.

i got a new box at container store, really cool - see thru and red.  and restocked cheaply using travel sized products since there are only 6 people in this cast.

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smalltimeSM

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #13 on: Oct 06, 2006, 04:24 pm »
I work for a pro equity company, and they have most things.  But I have run into many times where we can't find things.  So if you have your kit, you will know where things are.

kokobear

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Re: how essential is a kit?
« Reply #14 on: Oct 24, 2006, 09:08 am »
I carry around crazy items in my kit.  I have everything I need from my company, so I "carry" odd items that seem to have no connection, but come in handy, usually as rehearsal props.

Last year I was able to pull a rosary out of my kit at JUST the right time.

The show I'm working on right now, the Sherlock Holmes pipe broke in previews, but I was able to pull a working pipe out of my kit!  It wasn't a proper SH calabash, but it got us thru til opening!  I'd been carrying it around with me ever since my grandfather died, but it had a purpose just then!

If SM'ing in an unfamiliar environment, a kit is more essential.  If you know the lay of the land, you'll rely on it less.  Mine mostly serves as a suitcase for office supplies when moving from Rehearsal Hall to Stage.

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