Author Topic: This show has been running forever...  (Read 2323 times)

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This show has been running forever...
« on: Aug 23, 2007, 03:46 am »
Hi All -

I wanted to pose a question to those of you on productions that have been around for years. I am wondering how such a length of time changes the way you do your job. I am currently working on a show that has been running for 6500 performances. We have a lot of new technologies and toys that we can use because of that time. Many of the items we use on a daily basis are only in place because we are the 11th or 12th or 13th SM's on this show. We have had the input of many different styles and focuses. We have the luxury of a show that has not had a technical rehearsal in ten years. We have the time to take a breath and wonder what can be done better, what can we streamline...

For example, we have a calling script that is built in an excel spreadsheet, it is formatted to include links to "alternate call scripts" for different versions of the show; Acts that go in and out (yes it is a circus), Large Scenery pieces that stop working (No Turntable, Lifts, etc...), Medical & Technical Rescues. I feel very privileged when calling this show to have the knowledge of all the stage managers before me at my fingertips; If a show goes off the tracks in a completely new way we, of course, do the best we can but we have the advantage of then sitting down and decidingif we could have done it better. The better version goes in the script for the future. It might be 5 years until that exact series of events happens again but, we will be much better prepared next time. (I can do this on a shorter run, but it so rarely happens again :)) We have addressed some common concerns that I see about calling from a computer in this script. It is created on a black background to lessen the glare and adjustment when looking from script to stage. We have colored boxes and type for Camera moves, Cue Lights, Links to alternate versions...Etc.. We used conditional formatting for the background so we can flip to white to print it out. A completely updated printed version is ALWAYS kept in the booth in case of technical failure. I adore this script. I did not think I would ever be able to give up my pencil on the next line but I have adapted. Now I am not looking forward to going to my next show and adjusting back to a paper script full of paper clips, post it notes, stickers & arrows.

We also use a database that is used throughout the company on all of the shows. It allows us to cast and print a lineup of the show each night. It tracks artist cues, competencies and level of difficulty of each show so we can compare artists track to themselves or others on a show by show basis - or year by year basis if we wanted too. We also use it to - schedule fittings; keep a Chrono (timer) of the show; enter SM & Technical notes; create, distribute & print show reports; track & submit payroll; enter & track discipline...and so many other things.

So...a few questions to get us started

Have you, or your company, developed programs to assist you? Do you have "SM software" that is company specific?
How do you handle the information from previous SM's? How is it handed over? Did you inherit a script or start your own?
How are incidents in a show archived and how is your access to that information handled? Could you access it during a show if you needed to? Do you feel it it would be useful to do so?
Do you have a database to track casting? Do you need to other than for archive or payroll?
                                   I know most of you do not recast cues each night, let me tell you what fun it is  ::)
How do you feel your role as an SM has changed since you have "inherited" this show?
What other issues do you think are different for these situations?

I work on a rather large and non traditional show. I will again, someday, tech & call a show that is all mine, but that is not my world for now. I know it has changed my focus and the way I view my job. I would love to hear thoughts from others in similar situations.
 - Dani

I was not sure where to put this question so I posed it here since my primary question is about new tools being used.
« Last Edit: Aug 23, 2007, 04:38 am by GalFriday »
"Now the best way to learn the theater, always, is to be a stage manager" - Stephen Sondheim


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