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Messages - LiLz

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SMNetwork Archives / Vegas - Dec 4-7
« on: Nov 30, 2007, 11:42 pm »
Hi!  I'm at a conference Dec 4-7, hanging around town all day on the 7th after the conf ends ... Any SMs in Vegas available to meet for coffee or to hang out for a while?

Tools of the Trade / Re: What Type Of Drill Is Best?
« on: Nov 30, 2007, 11:37 pm »
I'm a big fan of DeWalt and Bosch.  Also, I agree that a corded drill is important, though I understand the convenience of cordless.  I had both and that's what I'd recommend.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Onstage Hangings
« on: Nov 26, 2007, 02:26 am »
I worked on a production of "Billy Budd" ... we punched a hole in the ceiling for the hanging scene ... Billy crawls out of the audiences sightlines ... special lighting, Sound FX ... Actors left on stage react to the "hanging" ... audience is incredibly moved.  The great thing about theatre, as opposed to TV or film, is that audiences don't have to be spoon fed every moment in order to share it emotionally.  I'm hanging with the pack on this one - get professionals or get artsy.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Thoughts on ASMing
« on: Nov 23, 2007, 03:30 pm »
Hi!  I can actually "hear" the fun in our post and the title, "Santaland Diaries," is hysterical!  I hope the show is a great success and continues to be a wonderful experience!

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Yale Incident
« on: Nov 23, 2007, 03:27 pm »
This is the most tragic possible way for us all to be reminded to be careful.  My heart is breaking for Pierre-Andre's family and friends, and for the entire creative world that will never know what he would have offered. 

The Hardline / Re: AEA supporting IATSE?
« on: Nov 16, 2007, 03:56 pm »
Ah!  Thanks again.

The Hardline / Re: AEA supporting IATSE?
« on: Nov 16, 2007, 11:17 am »
Thanks for the info.  My heart goes out the NYC SMs.  It must be hard to cross a picket line, even if the union is behind you as you do it.

The Hardline / AEA supporting IATSE?
« on: Nov 14, 2007, 12:31 pm »
Hi, guys!  I'm just wondering if there's been any talk in NYC of AEA's stance with IATSE.  Between IATSE on the East Coast and WGA on the West Coast things are crazy, aren't they?

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Help me please
« on: Nov 12, 2007, 09:39 pm »

I've been an SM for 28 years.  I've worked for dozens of companies, including The Mark Taper Forum, Deaf West Theatre, Catalina Production Group, The Colony ... I don't remember a lot of the names any more.

Choosing a favorite show is impossible.  I had a great time working with the cast of a production of "Billy Budd" I did for Catalina, and was very proud of the challenges I overcame to call the 478 cues while running a panel of cue lights and SPFX for a production of Dandelion Wine at The Colony.  Touring brings great memories (and bad, of course) as does every production.  And even the hugest nightmares provide great stories for the future.

I started my theatre training in community theatre as a small kid, working as a performer.  I discovered tech in college (Florida State), taking basic stage management and design classes, and never turned back.  I received my most valuable training in the trenches, working hard and making more than my share of mistakes.  I was very lucky to be mentored by an amazing and demanding technical director with whom I worked for 8 years and on 48 productions.  His name is Terrence Shank - I believe he's directing in South Africa now. 

The rehearsal process changes depending on my history with the director.  If I've worked with them before and we're a close team I might be brought in very early to cull headshots and handle auditions.  When I come in depends on the contract the production company wants to offer.  So, I guess it's difficult to tell you what a "typical" rehearsal process is beyond what we all learn in SM 101.

I like working very closely with my director.  After all, we're both trying to create the best possible product.  I find that especially important during tech rehearsals.  That said, I also want it made clear that I need to captain the ship during tech rehearsals and we can't be distracted by non-technical actor issues.  I keep things very organized and create good lists that I always share with the director then ask that we work as a team to stay on top of things and keep an organized front.  Given time, I like to do a paper tech, then a dry tech, then the Q2Q so that my crew can bond and feel prepared before they have to start working around the cast.

Is that what you were asking?  I'm recently off a plane from Europe and may not be tracking very well.

Stage managers need to have an long list of attributes to reach the top many of which can be learned, but some of which are innate.  There's the organization and the sense of responsibility, of course.  Communication skills are essential, both spoken and written.  A cool head under pressure, professionalism, a positive attitude and good ethics will make a huge difference.  An innate ability to connect with people will separate the good from the best.

The mistakes I see rookies make ... Not being proactive - waiting for a problem to go away or hoping someone else will take care of it causes a lot of problems.  No one should ever have to tell the SM to do their job.  The other mistake is blaming.  Newbies want so desperately to be good that they don't want to admit when they make mistakes.  That can make for a very uncomfortable atmosphere and just isn't very professional.  You're better off to admit your mistake, apologize, take your licks and work hard to fix it. 

Feel free to let me know if I haven't been clear on anything or if you need more.  Good luck on your paper!

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Pre-strike
« on: Nov 12, 2007, 06:29 am »
Be prepared ... make lists ... have cleaning stuff and garbage bags ... Think through the tools you'll need ... Make sure that, as people show up, you can assign them a task and keep them busy.  The minute people are allowed to let their focus and energy drop, the start drifting away from the work and can be difficult to get back on task.  Good luck - let us knkow how it goes!

Conflicts can be varied and insane ... from folks who are constantly late to those who refuse to do their jobs ... I've worked on shows where designers have complete meltdowns and became violent and shows where love affairs put cast members at each other's throats.  Then there are venue issues ... the building owner notifies you that exterminators are coming in late on the afternoon of your opening so you'll have to worry about dead critters and smell.  Let's face it, if it can go wrong during a show it probably has. 

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Furniture
« on: Nov 09, 2007, 11:33 pm »
The set designers I've worked with with have wanted to be very hands on regarding the selection of furniture.  After all, that's the look of their set!  I'm joining everyone who's confused that you're having these problems in the first place.  The bottom line, I suppose, is that the Props Master is in charge of gathering all props, regardless of their size or purpose.  It's rotten that you're stuck in this situation, though - hang in there!

When doing environmental theatre or experimental theatre the boards can end up anywhere.  It's a good lesson in self-control ... You almost have to create a character of your own that you play during the performance - None of the usual kicking back disinterestedly between Qs, ya know?

The Hardline / Re: Stagehand Wages
« on: Oct 23, 2007, 01:34 pm »
I've seen non-union in LA waiver paid $8.  I'm not sure of what IATSE is now.

The Hardline / Re: Stagehand Wages
« on: Oct 23, 2007, 01:15 am »
Union or non-union?  There's a huge difference.

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