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Messages - stagemonkey

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Sounds like a fun time.  I have worked with directors who kind of give the loose blocking, and yes it can be frustrating.  Ultimately things to settle into a set pattern.  In terms of my blocking notations early on they tend to lean more towards what they are going to instead of  specific direction.  IE: crosses away, or crosses to table. 

In terms of the skipping class and long rehearsals from studying at the Moscow Art Theatre for a summer I saw that rehearsals kind of take precedence over other things, as you are in the school to act.  In the situation you describe i feel its more something you need to tlak to the head of your department about.  They are the one that should have set out the guidelines with the director of how things work in the university and what the director can and can not demand of the students. 

As for the asking for sets, props, and costumes I agree with what somoene else above said.  Some places can provide a lot of hat right away and your director might have had that but explaining to her why you cant have all the costumes (ie they arent all built) could solve the problem.  The show i just opened the director wanted costumes early on and the designer obviously said it wasnt possible but tlaking it out they were able to work out that ok we just needed the one costume as soon as possible (or at least a functional mock up) since the costume had a transformation onstage that definately needed to be worked in rehearsal.

Final thing to add is that while you never really want to tell a director "No" sometimes it has to happen.  However do not just say no, you need to have the reason why you need to say no and you have to be careful of how you phrase it.  Most directors i have worked with when you present a valid reason why what they are demanding cant happen they understand and things can move on, often times cause they arent thinking about all the things you are they are just thinking of what they want. 

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: I am out of solutions
« on: Nov 04, 2008, 02:55 pm »
I don't have any more ideas than what others have just said.  But i just wanted to add in that while you are looking out for him and want to help him there is the rest of the cast to worry about and not to even mention the audience.  I know some people that if they see another vomit they in turn have a similar reaction, and you don't really want to see the audience start vomitting during the show.

« on: Nov 04, 2008, 02:46 pm »
These notices always make me sad. 

Oh what a fun question.  After college I did a study abroad program to the Moscow Arts Theatre with my school.  As a stage manager they had no real program set up for me since like you mentioned Russian's dont really have stage managers, but i had some cool tech classes and theatre management experiences. 

Anyway I also work with a director now who was originally from Russia (hes the one who set up the study abroad program).  Like some have said Russian theatre does have a difference.  They do in fact have shows that rehearse but really have no set deadlines like show is opening on this date.  They will rehearse till they find its ready to open and then it will run till they feel its done, often not in a straight run like here in the US where we have like an 8week run.  Their shows might run a couple times a month.  Its a really interesting system and does allow for the show to continually evolve. 

Now while Russian's don't have a typical stage manager I never got a good sense of how everything does work.  It seemed most tech knew they show and just called their own cues.  In terms of rehearsal I think that yes you would be looked at as kind of an assistant director.  I think the important thing for you would be to sit down with the director and translator, and probably even the faculty person who is bringing the director in and just talk through how things would work.  You would still be that communication line of taking notes in rehearsal and dispersing them out and having blocking notations, and will most likely do everything you normally would but the director wont necessarily know everything you are doing, but after what will probably a bumpy start things will start to work. 

To me the job of the SM is always a loose description that is adapted show to show.  This show will definitely define your role outside the normal but it will be a great experience and opportunity for you. 

I had similar problem in college myself although it wasn't my roomate just a friend.  Luckily my friend knew I took the work i did seriously and part of my job was reporting lateness.  For the most part in college as the SM I did ask why people were late for when I did rehearsal reports I always stated that so-and-so was late due to whatever they said.  When someone constantly became late to the point i affected productivity i sat down and let them know its becoming a problem and that I have to report them as late in the reports which the whole faculty sees.  So usually when someone was constantly late they often got a talking to by the faculty and seemed to shape up. 

Since it is your roomate, just be honest with them and say the director is getting frustrated with it and if you don't shape up they will replace you.  The idea of taking her to rehearsal with you earlier is a great idea, but I do have to warn not to expend huge amounts of effort on your part taking care of her.  She does need to learn the responsibility she needs to have, but I agree that any SM should be able to put in some extra effort to help out their cast.

Employment / Re: Leaving a job
« on: Oct 07, 2008, 04:20 pm »
I think given the reasons you said most places would understand your wanting to leave.  Personally I would stress more that you want to go to grad school to work more on sound and lighting, I think most places would support you on that.  And give the fact you are giving them ample notice of wanting to leave there should be plenty of time for them to find a replacement.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Cast Gifts/Thank Yous?
« on: Feb 27, 2008, 01:07 pm »
To me you should never feel pressured to give gifts.  Personally I like giving out something as it helps let others know I appreciated working with them.  Mind you I have had some shows I didnt give out gifts because I didnt really care for some of the cast as a whole.  It really just comes down to personal preference as to whether you want to do something nice for those you worked with.

As for ideas i tend to give out simple cards with a message i write that relates to the show.  Some gifts I have gotten from an SM was a candle holder (cheap at dollar stores) or small box of candy.  Often if you can find a way to connect the gift to content of the show it adds a little extra personal touch.  But still sometimes just a thank you card is enough.

I find the best way to tailor my resume into what I feel works well for me is to always keep hearing others opinions and take what I like, so thank you.  Which brings up another question.  In an effort to get more experience an up and coming stage manager will often apply for run crew positions.  When submitting a resume for say a stagehand position obviously you want to list all previous stagehand jobs, but the question is what other types of credits do you feel look good on that resume.  I'd ask the same for  PA position. 

Articles from the Old Site / Re: Stage Management Desktop
« on: Oct 05, 2007, 01:16 pm »
This is an interesting product:
and cheaper than an honest to god tablet PC to boot!

While that is pretty cool I'd think I would still spend the extra money and buy a tablet pc as it then gives the benefit of having all my other computer programs right there to easily make up rehearsal/performance reports and email them out quickly.


My resume is very much broken down the way you suggest, I changed it that way a while back when I looked at it and was like "whoa where are my stage management stuff thats what they want to see."  But going off your last post I need to extend another question to you and others.

So My resume starts with a list of Stage Management credits then has another heading for Related Experiences (mostly various crew work).  My question I want to put out there is what kind of crew experiences do people see as worthy of mentioning?  Under stage management I list: PSM, SM, ASM, and SM intern, under related experience I have things like: electrician, carpenter, stagehand, rigger.  I know a Production Assistant (the job I have now) kinda ties more into stage management but at the same time seems more like a crew position where do others feel PA should be listed under.   

Also as those first 2 categories on my resume lists individual shows I also feel its worth noting my work in college as the Production Manager for a campus organization that brought in various concerts and theatrical events as I feel that kinda work reflects well on my skills.  Is this just something I should but after the list of shows just saying "Production Manager - College Organization - and dates." 

Like everyone has been saying there is a time and place for warnings.  I find I only use them in a few situations. 

1.) If there is a long break and the crew might doze off and loose focus (ie 20 pages with out a cue) and even then the comment is more like "ok everyone we're coming up on the end of the scene" and everyone jumps back into work mode.

2.)  When working with a crew that hasn't had much or any time to learn the scene shifts.  I remember one show I did I didn't always have the same crew people each night and others were some of hte actors who didnt always remember the shifts.  So prior to a scene shift I would warn the crew like "this is the warning for the scene change, when the lights go out the house wagon comes off, the city drop flys in, and we set the benches on the blue spikes."  Granted if I had a competent ASM for that show I wouldn't have to say so much but a lot of the time it was said for him to remember.

3.) when there is some sort of pyro effect involved.  A warning gives the pyro operator the chance to make sure the blast area is empty and put up some kind of warning to others in the area to stand clear.  Then the standby he arms the effect and on the go he activates it.

4.) When there is a complicated scenic element that is not able to be fully set until just prior to the event on stage.  This could include having an actor fly in for an entrance.  It would be like "warning Bob entrance" which tells the crew to strap him in his harness, "standby bob" cues them into fly him into entrance position, and of course "bob go" has them fly him in. 

Now in any of these cases I may not specifically say "This is a Warning for ......" or "Warning ......." I find most of the time the warning comes off more as something like saying "this is your friendly reminder that this event is coming up so please make sure you're ready"

College and Graduate Studies / Re: Advice for the "advisor"
« on: Aug 22, 2007, 04:22 pm »

What worked for me in college is that we found that on Fridays all the SMs usually had a little free time so we met up in the theatre building and someone usually brought pizza or backed cheese nuggets (we rotated who brought it) and we just had dinner before everyone ran off to various rehearsals.  So at dinner we talked about whatever really not just SMing.  It was really more for me and my friend the 2 senior stage managers at the time to be around for the younger ones to ask questions. 

As for the rules and notes, put the stuff together if they dont want to read it they will be making their life harder.  I would also say you could try (and im sure this would be next to impossible if your TD always out of town and is never around for the students unless he needs free labor) to set up a meeting of all the SM's with the TD and have him present the stuff you compiled, making note that you compiled it and he's gone over it and it contains some very useful stuff that they all should listen to (not likely to happen he will probably sit on it till you leave then tell future students he came up with it).  Regardless these young "oh im so good at SMing I dont need to take advice from anyone" type of students are still probably the ones who think your TD is great, so if he tells them the rules and stuff they will be more inclined to listen.  Come the end of their sophomore year or early junior year they will probably think more like you.

Employment / Re: Websites
« on: Aug 22, 2007, 03:58 pm »
I spend 40 bucks a year on my website which includes the domain name.  While my website is just there to have more information listing my past shows I like the benefit of having a professional looking email address simply laid out as  I think actually will host an email address for you when you register a domain.  Regardless its a $40 tax deduction for me at the end of the year.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Creating Paperwork
« on: Jul 12, 2007, 02:07 pm »
It really doesnt matter how its done it just matters that it is done and everyone knows how it is getting done.  Whether that mean the PSM does it all or filters stuff down to the ASM's and PA's.  The last show I was a PA on where I ran everything backstage the SM always said that the backstage was my area so do whatever paperwork I need so I can understand what needs to be done.  He of course required a copy of all my run sheets by opening night to keep in his book.  And of course with my mentality being that anyone should be able to pick up that run sheet and do my job backstage it was nice clear and concise.  Usually when I have SMed though I do a lot of the paperwork myself because I've had issues trusting ASM's to do the job, however I am trying to be more trusting in the matter. 

Employment / Re: advice on interviewing
« on: Jul 11, 2007, 06:43 pm »
MatthewShiner I can totally understand you not wanting to give out questions you asked.  It makes perfect sense.  I do appreciate the input one it.  I really appreciate the questions you presented of what I can ask as the one being interviewed.  While I am not equity at this time I can see how some of them can still be used as a way to find more information and to help show I am interested in the project. 

And ljh007, I've been there and done that, babbled on and said something stupid.  You also gave the same advice my one reference gave me when he told me i was sucking at the interviews and that was to practice interviewing with a friend. 

Now not to change the subject too greatly as I still wish to hear what others have to say about questions you like to hear the person you're interviewing ask I'd also like to know what you're thoughts are if someone came into an interview with you with a pad of paper with a list of questions about the job and to take notes throughout the interview. 

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