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Messages - BLee

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Hello All, I have a personal request for help in determining fair wages for an Assistant Stage Manager. The union information is easy to gather, but it is harder to find the starting and average wages for actual Assistant Stage Managers in theme parks and live entertainment. So I'm putting out a plea! If you have any copies of old contracts or hiring papers for a role that either was "Assistant Stage Manager" or very similar to that title in the Entertainment field I would very much appreciate the information.

Please private message me with any assistance. If you have a scanned copy or screen shot (with all personal information blacked out of course) that would be even better. All information is confidential, this is just a request for information.


Stage Management: Other / Re: Teaching Score Reading
« on: Nov 23, 2013, 02:50 pm »
I was taught following a score using the Gypsy overture and the broadway CD. It has a wide variety of instrumentations making it simple to identify different sections and catch up if you get lost. But there were a few challenging bits to keep it interesting. We were taught with that piece how to mark up a score for easy reference, making opera scores far less intimidating.

On another level, Don Giovanni was the first opera I learned to follow with a score. Definitely more challenging than a musical, but much of it is easy to follow once you've heard the melody a few times.

As for public domain works, seems to have a wide selection of scores available. Not sure of the quality and nothing is well known from what I've seen, but there are a ton of options.

I wish I could offer words of encouragement and tell you it would be worth sticking it out. But if you are going into debt for an SM degree and you aren't 100% sure of that choice, then it might be time to reconsider. Unfortunately, the people you work with will not get any better. Every company has some good, hard-working performers who will make you love your job, but just as often you will find yourself babysitting rude, immature, and unprofessional "professionals". Not everyone will have a strong work ethic and if those people are dragging you down now it is unlikely you will find happiness working with them in the professional world.

You are in Seattle. There are some very wonderful, large companies there, like 5th Avenue. My best advice is to get out of your school for a bit and work somewhere else. You need an internship, either in Seattle during the semester, or perhaps somewhere across the country during the summer. If you can take a semester off to do an internship that would be even better. What you need is some outside perspective. See if it is just tension from longevity in one place or a condition that will appear anywhere you end up. It could just be the sophmore slump from working with the same people for a long time. But if it is a more serious frustration it is better to learn now and find a solution than go further into debt for a degree you do not find valuable.

Also know, if you do decide to finish the degree, there is no law that says you have to continue working as a stage manager. Plenty of people with degrees in stage management have well paid positions in other career fields. Our skills are highly transferable, so please do not feel trapped by an SM degree. In general, I always advise students to do their best to avoid going into debt for any degree. If it is possible to get a part-time gig to help keep the debt paid down or avoid taking out more loans you would be in much better shape. Starbucks and some retail store are usually very flexible with students and understanding of scheduling difficulties. But I'm sure you have heard all that before. I don't mean to lecture, but I've had good friends who are drowning in debt payments from their theater degree because they took all the max loans out and didn't build up a savings account while in school. As hard as maintaining freelance jobs or a part-time non-theater job may seem, the result I found was highly worth the long hours.

You might start with the "internships" tab at the top of the webpage. That might give you an idea of the types of places you could apply. A google search and some local research should also yield some good results. Best of luck and I hope you find an answer. :-)

This is above your pay grade. What I mean by that is your best step is to go to whoever your boss is, perhaps the Production Stage Manager or other higher ranked position, and share these e-mails with them. You are in no position to confront the director or explain why this behavior is intolerable. It is never acceptable to yell at children in a production, no matter how much you like the director.

Not turning these parent's concerns over to someone with enough authority to deal with the situation puts your reputation far more at risk than any concerns you may have about your relationship with the director. Whoever you turn the letters over to should handle the situation with discretion, perhaps by attending a few rehearsals to observe the director's behavior and discuss the parental concerns that are turning up. No one will fault a high school student for not dealing with the situation alone, but they maybe be upset if a parent contacts them and says they contacted you and you did nothing.

Remember, it is not you deciding his behavior is unacceptable (even if deep down you agree). You are simply allowing someone with authority to review the concerns of parents and address them appropriately. Even if the director knows you turned the letters in, he should be reasonable enough to know you did not write the e-mails yourself and it is your responsibility to deal with the situation in the best manner you know how.

Best of luck. These types of situations can be a difficult test of our leadership abilities. I applaud you for taking the concerns seriously and seeking counsel from others when you were unsure of the next step. That is a good trait for a stage manager.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Lightweight Headsets
« on: Jan 22, 2013, 04:39 am »
Picking up this conversation and expanding it:

Does anyone have thoughts on the following brands or models?
Telex PH-88 (=97&fam[]=100][]=97&fam[]=100)
Clearcom CC-27 (
Eartec Fushion (

Telex is a good basic lightweight headset. Clearcom is a reliable brand, but the earpiece style is liable to fall out. And eartec has the best design and price, but I have no idea about the quality or reliability. Any thoughts or other recommendations would be greatly appreciated!


Lol, I just got home from calling a show that uses watered down tea as the liquor and coffee. Drives me nuts making it every night.

Never would I ever want to work at a place which didn't have easy (and free) access to a photocopy machine.

Although I do have a couple of screw guns in case they are needed in an emergency, but for my daily uses I find a 3-hold punch is essential. As I go more digital that is becoming less true, but at this point in time I still keep paper copies of reports, contracts, groundplans, etc.

I subscribe to the 3 hole punch both right and left scripts sides for versatility. Anyone else?

I have always been able to find alternate solutions to dimming lights backstage, but I always desperately miss my scale rule when I don't have it on me. It is both my straight edge and my set taping friend. And I've even used my tri-side scale rule as an nook to keep my prompt book from sliding off a podium table.

Spike tape is a plague on my nails. (Wow, that is so oddly girly for me...)

Post-its not only serve a useful function, but for some reason they have also been used throughout my career for performers to write sweet notes to me and stick on my prompt book and desk. I have kept everyone and even tape some of them into my 3-ring binders as reminders of old shows. (Wow, that was oddly sentimental...I must be tired tonight!)

And ever since Super Sticky post-its came out I see no reason for post-its not to put up a good fight at least.


Protractor has been warming the benches for years and it is amazing they even had enough players to take the court.

The straight edge certainly serves its purpose. And if you are like me, that straight edge may serve other roles by also being scale rule. In its own league it is a good tool.

But overall the more versatile Team Laptop has the nod here. Especially if they start the new rookies, iPad and tablet. Straight edge can't communicate effectively and will likely crack under pressure.

The 3 ring binder has been a classic champion in this division for years, but lately they are struggling to perform at those same levels. Digital light board has a decent chance in the second half to pull out the win, but only if the young players step up the game and show the old-school team how new technology can crush the competition.

December Madness I: 2012 / Re: December Madness!
« on: Dec 02, 2012, 02:59 am »
I'm on team headset all the way, but it will be a tough round if we have to go up against the cell phone in round 2. Post-it is my underdog team I would love to see push through to the finals. All in all, this will be an interesting bracket to watch play out.

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