Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Maggie K

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Employment / Re: Prospects of working toward equity at age 23
« on: Feb 28, 2018, 03:53 am »
Honestly, when to get your Equity card is a difficult question to answer.  There are so many different factors involved that it really comes down to each person and their situation.  We also live in a day and age where people make frequent career changes.  So it will never be "too late" to work towards your card or even to join Equity.  Stage Managers come from all walks of life and it is your skill set that people will be looking at, not your age.  Without knowing you personally, your skill level, and your career goals it is difficult to give specific advice.  Probably not quite the definitive answer you are looking for.

However, I will say that your second sentence says a lot to me.  You say that "the pay isn't great and the work isn't terribly challenging."  So I ask you this question: What are the reasons for taking that job?  I don't necessarily need an answer, but you should certainly have one for yourself.  Here are a few more questions to ask yourself:  What are your career goals, short term and long term?  Does taking this position help in any way (contacts, experience, etc.)?  Are there Equity theatres in your area that may be hiring now or in the near future?  If not, are you prepared/willing to move to a different area or travel to an internship that may be far from home?  There are some areas where Equity positions are few and far between, so is there need for another Equity Stage Manager where you are or are there more positions available for non-Equity?  Do you need a steady income?  Which career path do you think would be more likely to provide the income that you need, now and later?  Frankly, I could go on and on.  The best thing to do is to sit down and be very honest with yourself about what you want and then weigh the pros and cons of each path.  Do what is best for you.  The only deadline is the one you set for yourself.

Introductions / Re: Hello from Boston
« on: Nov 03, 2017, 04:17 pm »
Having a fire drill is now required by the NEAT agreement.  I've always felt it should be included in more contracts.

It tends to vary from theatre to theatre.  Although I definitely like knowing the routes out and having a designated meeting place outside the theatre so that we can count heads.  Interestingly enough, the NEAT agreement now requires holding a fire drill.

I don't think you did anything wrong.  One of the more difficult aspects of this job is that you have to trust an actor or crew member to know their own bodies and inform you if they can't go on.  There may be times when it's blatantly apparent but usually it is the more subtle physical ailments that occur.  Does "I'm a little nauseated" mean that they're feeling a little off or does it mean they're going to vomit into the pit half way through their number?  No way for us to know for sure.

The only potential change I might have made would be to set a decision deadline with the actor (checking the AEA contract, if any, to see if there are any rules regarding an emergency.)  "Hey, I need to know at X time if you're up to going on tonight."  Then inform the rest of the cast that you are all in a stand-by to know what will be happening that evening and that you will inform them at X time.  People are usually fairly understanding when it comes to illness and injuries.  But overall, I think you handled the situation to the best of your ability with the knowledge you had.

I hope your actor makes a full recovery!

The Green Room / Re: Moving to fight off burnout
« on: Aug 04, 2017, 04:10 am »
A few years ago I was facing a similar feeling of approaching burn out.  There were a number of other factors in my life at the time that led me to the decision to take a big chunk of time off.  I ended up packing everything up, selling or getting rid of a bunch of stuff, and moving across country back to my parents.  I then took a part time retail job to cover my expenses and helped my folks with a number of projects that they had been struggling with.  I visited family and friends that I hadn't seen in a while.  I was also able to take care of some medical things that I had been putting off for some time because I was so busy.  It was an incredibly difficult decision to make and I frequently worried that I was making the wrong choice.  However, the down time helped me rest up and reconnect with family.  It also allowed me to step back and re-evaluate what I wanted to be doing, something that was difficult to do when caught up in the heat of things.  I gave myself a deadline of no more than 6 months off and then I jumped back into stage managing, only now with a new goal and energy.  I made that choice almost 3 years ago and now am incredibly happy with bouncing around the country working show to show.

My advice:  take a step back and breathe

Stage Management: Other / Re: Paging Calls in Opera
« on: Jul 14, 2017, 03:39 pm »
I usually use the performers' names or the group name (Male Chorus, etc.)  However, if the show is double-cast I will then use the character name. 

There are a few differences.  The atmosphere can sometimes be more formal (referring to the conductor/music director as Maestro, etc.) and having supernumeraries.  Probably the biggest differences for stage management is the fact that you will have a score instead of a script, the ASMs frequently will cue entrances (particularly for the chorus), and you create a who/what/where instead of a run sheet and entrance/exit.  Most things are the same or similar enough that you shouldn't have any problems.  Congratulations and good luck!

Lack of communication is one of the most difficult things to deal with as a stage manager and, unfortunately, there is only so much you can do to fix it.  You can only work with the tools you're given.  From what you've described, it sounds like this company does not have much experience with working with a stage manager and you may be a victim to "this is the way we've always done it."  I've found that a lot of smaller companies, particularly ones that haven't had a stage manager, sometimes have a lot of difficulties adjusting to having one.  They frequently don't understand what that work relationship entails.  It can be as simple as someone not realizing that the thing they've always been responsible for in the past now belongs under the stage manager's umbrella.  Making one person responsible for a lot of tasks that were divided among a large number of people takes more work than people realize.  They may think that they are hiring a miracle worker who will make everything better, not realizing that they will also have to work on the relationship.

It may be worth having a sit down discussion with this artistic director about everything that has happened and the difficulties you had.  The important thing in that kind of meeting is to not sound like you are trying to shift blame but that you are trying to understand where the breakdown in communication happened and what the company as a whole can do to make things better for everyone.  Did you have regular meetings?  Are there notes from those meetings?  Were regular reports sent out?  Those are things you can refer back to.  If they are unwilling to meet with you, then it is probably time to cut your losses.  Either the company is not ready for a true stage manager or it is not a good fit for you.  Either way, it's time to move on.

In the future, when you interview for a position or when you are first on board it is best to ask a lot of questions.  Who is responsible for that?  When are the production meetings?  What are my expected duties?  Be very clear in your own communications.  When in doubt, document everything.  If you are not getting what you need to do your job, then make the higher ups aware of it.

Dear artistic director,
I have attempted to contact "so-and-so" regarding "situation" but have not received a response.  Do you know an alternative way of contacting them?  Any assistance on this matter would be appreciated.

etc etc

Dear prop person,
It came to my attention today that a baby doll prop has been added to the show.  Could we meet briefly today to go over the prop list to make sure that everything I have is up to date?

etc etc

At the end of the day, all you can do is your best. 

Tools of the Trade / Re: Should an ASM have their kit?
« on: Oct 18, 2016, 09:08 am »
I have never considered it rude when one of my assistants has brought their kit or had anyone upset with me when I was an ASM and brought my own.  People like having their own gear on hand and there's nothing wrong with that.  Although I always recommend making use of what the school or theatre supplies you with first before you use your own supply.  But if you're nervous about it you can always do what they others have said and ask.

The Full Monty has some of the best story material!  The production I did had pleather g-strings which started to stretch over time.  One day our actor who played the stripper character paused for a moment before making his entrance.  When I asked if he had a problem, he told me that a certain part of his anatomy had "popped out" and he needed a second to adjust himself.    As the g-strings stretched this started to happen with a number of the guys rather frequently.  The code on headset was "actor x is having a testicular issue today".  That show is a lot of fun to be backstage for.

I also have used nametags on shows with big casts.  I've found it also helps the director/choreographer/music director since they frequently don't know all the names either.  One other method I've used is to take my contact sheet and write next to the name an identifier.  Example: Sally Smith (long red hair) etc.  I've not used it for a larger cast than 40 or so but it does help.

The Hardline / Re: Umm, that's not my name.
« on: Feb 19, 2016, 06:41 am »
This happens to me rather frequently.  I go by "Maggie" but my legal and AEA name is "Margaret" and people tend to forget about nicknames.  At least once a year I get someone who puts Maggie on a document, whether it's my contract, paycheck, or the program.  I usually include the distinction in any initial emails or contact about paperwork, even if they don't ask for it.  If it happens anyway, I always point out the error and ask for it to be corrected as soon as possible.  I tell people "it's Margaret on paper and Maggie in person."

I think what it all really comes down to is communication.  Tell them what you're going to say or do in the standby and everything should be fine.

My current show I have lights, sound, and projections.  There are a few times where I tell them that I will call an "all g-o" which means all 3 happen at the same time.  I also have a sequence where there are about 10 light cues and then a projection cue.  So in the standby I say "Standby lights 1-10 and tab cue 4, reminder that tab 4 is toward the end of the sequence." 

The Hardline / Visit from My AEA Business Representative
« on: Oct 10, 2015, 04:52 pm »
Hello all!

Last week I received an interesting request.  Our Business Representative was coming to see the show on Sunday and wanted to meet with myself and my one Union cast member at some point that same day.  He also was meeting separately with our producer and was getting a tour of the space.  I, of course, fretted about the meeting a bit and spent some time double checking that everything was in compliance (it's only my second show with this contract and I've been double checking a lot anyway.)

My actor and I ended up meeting with him after the show.  He told us that he was fairly new to Equity and wanted us to have a face to put with the name.  Then he asked if we had any questions, which prompted some questions about the Deputy from me.  And we all had a lovely discussion about how AEA is going more digital.  At the end he offered us both a lot of swag (score!) and went to his meeting with the producers.  All in all it was a lovely experience and it was great to meet our Representative in person and not have him be just a voice on the phone or words in an email.  I'm also feeling a little more connected to the Union.

The reason I am posting about this is, in about five years of being an AEA member this is the first time that I've had a Business Representative come out to my theatre for a visit.  It has made me wonder, has anyone else on this board ever had a visit?  What was your experience like?  Do you think that meeting someone in person is helpful to developing a work relationship?

PS. Did you know that AEA has buttons for the Deputy that are made to look like Sheriff's badges?  I told him that I'd love to have a stash of those to offer to the Deputy of each of my shows.  Everyone loves swag!

You could also label a plastic tablecloth and strike the tablecloth along with the props. An extra step but less clean up.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5