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Messages - erin

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I just make sure everyone is there and functional, give any notes from the previous performance, and call that good enough.   When there are kids involved, the child wrangler usually does a group warm up for the kids at 10 minutes, but that is just for the kids.   Adults can get themselves prepped however works best for them, and that varies widely.    Our Scrooge hangs out in the Scene Shop (when it is empty) from 20 to places, and that's fine by me as long as he watches the clock.   You have enough to do, don't add cheerleader!  ;)

...or when the ME drops his phone underneath a raked stage during an afternoon work call without realizing it, a fact which is only discovered when the Muppets theme song starts playing in the middle of an otherwise silent scene....


Effective Live speech by actor:    "please take this opportunity to turn OFF  any pagers or cell phones. Tuck them away, or we will take them away. I am quite serious.   We have specially trained people standing by.  With mallets. "

Employment / Re: Changing lanes.....
« on: Nov 02, 2007, 04:26 am »
I don't know if any of this is helpful, but I figure it pays to know what sort of people you're working with in the quest for employment.

Very helpful, the whole corporate culture is such an odd concept to me, every insight is useful :)

Tools of the Trade / Re: Box Office Software
« on: Nov 02, 2007, 02:09 am »
we use tessitura but that's a pretty huge investment.

The Hardline / Re: Stagehand Wages
« on: Nov 02, 2007, 02:07 am »
Right now my non-union crew for a show on a LORT B stage is making (IIRC) $400/wk, assuming $10/hour for OT purposes.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Clock/Timer recommendation
« on: Nov 02, 2007, 02:03 am »
One of my favorite portrayals of an SM in film is Eileen Atkins' performance in the film version of The Dresser. She wears a simple watch on a cloth ribbon, pinned to her sweater. Whatever happened to math?

Takes time.    *rimshot*

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Calling attention
« on: Oct 29, 2007, 12:24 am »
To each their own, but I would never blow a whistle at a group of adults.  Treat them like the adults they are, not like the children the can behave like.  By treating people with respect you always walk away knowing your standards are intact.

Well, she's asking about dealing with high school students, and 50 hormonal teenagers hardly qualifies as a group of adults :)   Chatty students tend to be MUCH less aware of the authority figure trying to pass on important information than professional adults.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Tech or Church?
« on: Oct 28, 2007, 09:21 pm »
Tech should not be allowed to be on Sunday mornings to begin with.

Um, not everyone worships on sunday mornings.  Plenty of people (and major religions) have other holy days or other preferred times of worship and it is our responsibility as managers and schedulers to be sensitive to every person's religious needs.

Usually, according to industry standards we take mondays off.   But when i work with an orthodox jewish director, we take saturdays off and finish early on fridays.   When i work with the artistic director of the theatre, we take off sundays not for religious reasons but so that he gets one day a week off with no work at all.

Juggling all those holy days can be a pain in the butt, but so far (*Knock on wood*) i've never had to schedule a show where there were more than two religions devoutly observed.   

I think a more open point is that any person who has strong religious beliefs should be able to practice those without having to give up theatre entirely.   Tech can go on without one designer for a couple of hours if everyone else on the show feels a need to work when that person wants to worship.    Flexibility is essential when working with other human beings who have beliefs and needs.

Employment / Re: SM Portfolio?
« on: Oct 28, 2007, 09:06 pm »
The only time i've ever needed a portfolio was grad school admissions.    Anyone in the real world is going to be more interested in your references than anything you manufacture.   Hiring a stage manager is more like hiring a baby sitter than  an architect.    Who you've worked with is far more telling than any physical, tactile results that could be shoved into a portfolio.

Photos?   Are you also doing design work?  What kind of photos demonstrate your ability to stage manage? 

The only things i would expect in an SM portfolio are programs with your name credited as SM, and samples of paperwork.  Maybe a sample calling script.   

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Calling attention
« on: Oct 28, 2007, 08:51 pm »
It's annoying and would be condescending for adults, but a whistle is an effective way to get the attention of a large group of people.

Once, during a showcase, when i needed to get the attention of a lobby full of stranger, i resorted to standing on a chair.   As soon as people saw me climb up, they all turned around and stared, and attention was had. 

Employment / Re: full time or part time?
« on: Oct 26, 2007, 04:21 am »
So, I just wanted to hear what you want/need to do to enjoy the theatre, but still eat and keep a roof over your head!

I've been SM'ing pretty much exclusively for the last five years.   

During slow years and in between contracts i've also turned to scenic painting at the same theatre (having a background in scenic art came in handy....) as it can be great part time work, very accomodating of evening show calls and such.    Similarly, crew work, non-union work calls, if you have any background in electrics or construction can help round out the income without resorting to non-theatre work and those pesky standard 9-5 hours.

That said, economy is super helpful.   Cook/prepare food at home and bring in with you, it's WAY cheaper than going out to eat every dinner break at work.   Heck, buying frozen meals on sale at the supermarkes is WAY cheaper than the local sushi joint, if not as exciting.   
Skip the post-show drinks except for special occasions (closing, birthdays, etc.)   Socializing is pricey.  Some people joke about having their pay check direct deposited at the local bar.  It's only slightly a joke.

Theatres can be great places for finding free food.   Schmooze with caterers so that after big money-raising shindigs they leave lots of leftovers in the green room :)  Those sandwich platters can last for days.   If it's left in the green room, it's fair game to go into that special drawer in the fridge where you keep tomorrow's lunch.

Roomates are helpful for lowering our top expenditure (housing) and sharing utilities.
Even as a resident SM at a major LORT theatre, i still live with a flatmate as housing prices in SoCal are obscene and i like a little extra cash for going out after shows occasionally.

Sadly time=money and saving time often means not saving money, so sometimes you have to choose. 

Little things can go a long way in the end.   People always talk about making a budget and keeping to it, but with the amount of time we spend working, i don't usually find a lot of time left over for budgets.   Having a general knowledge of how much is in the bank and how much is on the way is usually a decent guage as to how much (if any) spending money is hanging around and i haven't had trouble with managing the day to day expenditures.     Having three months living expenses in a savings account is always recommended, albeit tough to keep when living paycheck to paycheck.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Stop The Show!
« on: Oct 24, 2007, 08:48 pm »
I've had to completely stop a show only once- when a dimmer rack caught on fire (faulty wiring in an old building.)

There was acrid smoke pouring out of the dimmer vault, the lighting board started smoking out the back, and lamps overstage started blowing like geysers.  Eventually sprinklers activated backstage, but not until after i'd started evacuated the building.

As backstage started ushering the cast out the back, i had the undergrad board op bring up emergency house lights (the board essentially shorted and froze) and started to make an evacuation announcement via godmic when the smoke alarm went off, deafening, and made it pretty clear that it was time to get out.

Scarily, the house manager had turned down the volume on her walkie talkie and i couldn't get through to her when things started.  She clued in once the alarm went off.

The horrible irony is that the ME knew there was some sort of problem and had left us a note that there was an odd smell in the dimmer vault, and to turn off the master power switch in the vault if anything went wrong, but because the switch was in the BACK of vault, past the smoking racks, we couldn't get to it without suffocating.  I spent precious minutes trying to get him on the phone in vain.

It was just into the fifth act of a shakespeare, so the actors finished the show on the front lawn while i guided in the fire department and emergency crew.

Employment / Re: Changing lanes.....
« on: Oct 19, 2007, 10:46 pm »
A way I like to explain SMing to businesspeople is: "An SM is basically the General Contractor or Project Manager for all activity related to the production that has less to do with the creative process and more to do with all the coordination of absolutely everything onstage and backstage." People also quickly understand the old SM adage: when everything goes right, you have nothing to do with it; when anything goes wrong, it's all your fault. Then let them ask specific questions about your skills and experience. This way, you'll always speak to what they want to hear, instead of trying to give them "SMing and theatre 101" in a 15-minute lecture.

Brilliant.  I like that:  short, simple, comprehensive.

Thanks for the keyword suggestions!    That's exactly the sort of thing i've been trying to brainstorm.

Employment / Re: Changing lanes.....
« on: Oct 19, 2007, 10:42 pm »
Middle management is a definite possibility and I'd recommend taking advantage of a professional placement

Pardon my ignorance, but what is a professional placement service?  Is that like a headhunter?   (Afraid i'm terribly behind with the lingo :)    Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

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