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Messages - ejsmith3130

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The Hardline / Re: Recording rehearsals for designers
« on: Sep 28, 2014, 02:57 pm »
We ran into this on our last production at an SPT theatre, and found that without express permission from Equity, we could not record for this purpose.

I agree that it is a very useful thing to be able to do- and especially at the lower levels. We had the opportunity to work with a great sound designer who was booked solid right up until our tech, because he was in high demand, and it would have been great if he was more up to speed prior to actually sitting down at tech when we were using rehearsal and tech hours to play catch up.

Whenever I am doing scene shifts with my kids at the high school, or university level, I make sure I have pictures or layouts posted backstage. I have an overhead view of the stage, with the set pieces mapped out where they have to go, and then label the names of who is supposed to be moving what. Post these on both sides of the backstage areas and go over them with the dancers. Having a visual reminder will help when they are not 100% focused on moving the item, because hey- the dancing is going to be taking up most of their brainspace. So don't make them have to think too hard.

If possible, try to have the same people move the same things throughout the piece so it is easier for them to remember.

Introductions / Re: The Worst Questions
« on: Sep 26, 2014, 02:01 pm »
I generally say I work as a Stage Manager, and simplify it by saying that I make sure everything that you see happening on stage: I make sure that happens on time, safely and fix any problems that come up.

Obviously there is more to that, but there is also more to being an accountant than working with people's money, but that answer suffices for the general population. People just want a general idea of what box to put you into in their mind.

Would whipped cream work? It's edible so it wouldn't be a problem getting in people's faces, and unlike shaving cream it wouldn't sting. If you could find real whipped cream and not an oil based one it would likely not stain either, and costumes could just be washed.

I second Tempest... I learned a lot of tech through my university program, but it isn't really relavant to tech as much as what I have learned just by watching, and asking questions (when not working- you will find the right times to ask)

I have had to run a lot of sound, and troubleshooting problems in a small space has pushed me beyond my limit of knowledge, so during tech, or previews when we had a little more time, and I had a designer at my disposal, I would ask questions about the equipment, programs, and how's and why's that gave me a fuller view of the technical side of things.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Cheap Spike Tape?
« on: Sep 15, 2014, 04:12 pm »
Check too if you are shipping, if shipping to a business address is cheaper. I knew that was the case with Syracuse Scenery and Stage Lighting in NY.

According to their new pricing list each roll is 5.07 or 5.37 for florescent. You can call or e-mail them. If you are local to Central NY you can just go right in. Otherwise you can call and ask about shipping costs. Their website is:

They have always been really accommodating and good to me.

Introductions / Re: I'm Joe
« on: Sep 15, 2014, 04:07 pm »
Welcome Joe!

I love Anouilh's Antigone! It can get a little long and wordy in spots, but I think it is wonderful! I studied French and Theatre, so I'm a little biased  ;)

The site is an amazing resource- make sure you check things first by using the search bar in the top corner to see if we already have talked about it! Enjoy!

The Green Room / Re: The Next Great Adventure
« on: Sep 09, 2014, 12:38 pm »
So I have been in Alaska for just over a month now, and finally have Wi-Fi (crazy right? Everything takes so much longer here to get done.) so I figured I would jump back on here and post!

Life is nice and it's interesting to get used to a more relaxed pace, as well as making my own schedule for everything! Interestingly enough, I have been keeping busy (I don't think I could stop working!) as the resident babysitter for the teacher's kids, as well as lots and lots of crochet, and working on my novel.

An interesting, stage management related job came up as well. Via Facebook a former SM of mine was lamenting typing up a script that she needed for her next job, and was wondering if there was a way to convert the pdf to a word file, and she made a joke about were there any unemployed typists out there. I immediately responded that I was in fact an unemployed typist with 60+WPM. After looking into the technology and OCR programs, she ended up sending me the script, with a week to type and format it. The theatre compensated me for my time as well.

So I guess there are a couple morals to the story- Keep in touch via Facebook: good things can happen, Don't underestimate the power of fast typing speeds, and you are never really out of the game if you don't want to be. There are opportunities out there that you haven't even thought of yet.

And hey, if anyone else needs a pdf typed into a word file, I may just be your gal  ;)

Employment / Re: "...interviewing locals only..."?!
« on: Sep 09, 2014, 12:19 pm »
After college I wanted to work in Philly, a notoriously "locals" town, that rarely provides housing. I did the same as you and stated that I was planning on relocating, etc. I did get one interview, but I didn't end up with the job for various other reasons (but it was one that does hire people from out of town on a regular basis for the apprenticeship).

I had to end up taking the plunge, moved, got a day job, and was then able to apply as a local. What do you know, but in less than a month I had a job. Sometimes it is all about the address on your resume.

If you really want to work in that town, move there. If you have the resources, what is stopping you? Yes it is really scary moving to a place where you don't know anyone and don't have a job you love- yet. It is a gamble you have to take if you really have your heart set on one place.

I believe that I would have done the same in your situation. And in terms of future employment, if the company is not playing by one Union's rules, what makes you think that they will continue to follow Equity's rules as well? And in that case, do you really want to work for a company that disrespects the people and rules that govern our safety? The strength of the union is it's people, and making sure that rules are followed for everyone's safety and wellbeing.

When I was in the Philly Market, there were some rather high profile strikes of IATSE crews at one of the theatres, but what you didn't hear about in the news was the turn over of the Stage Managers as well. They ended up hiring a non-equity and giving an equity contract to them, but that only lasted one season, and they were again specifically advertising to hire a non-equity stage manager and give an equity contract. It seems to me that they want to  have someone with less experience with the union and the rules so that they can take advantage. Now I know this is based on speculation and some hearsay, but when you think about it, it makes sense.

In my personal experience, your job only gets easier if the IATSE crew is on the same page, and having an organized steward helps eliminate problems, and makes the production run much more smoothly.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Scheduling Software
« on: Jul 10, 2014, 02:44 pm »
I have used before because you can send out an e-mail and each choir member can put in their availability in an easy poll-like format without having to sign up for the site or anything.

In the past I have created an SM "Handbook" of sorts that was company specific. For me, I was walking into a similar situation where only the Artistic Director of a small company was held over from the year before, and my whole first day was spent driving around to all the locations and me taking notes about information that was important. Apparently this was a yearly thing. So at the end of the gig I compiled all of my notes into a little handbook of useful information about the spaces and how the summer would work. (Outdoor theatre with several shows in rep with each other)

As you continue to work, just jot down information you find useful, and think would have been helpful prior to arriving, or starting your prep. Instead of forcing someone to wade through all of your paperwork in the future to find an easy answer, you can already have it in a concise format. Paperwork is good to leave, and may clarify things for them, but why make it harder than you have to if you have already committed to doing some extra work?

I applaud your efforts! I always try to leave a job better than I found it in some way, so I know that it can be a lot of extra work that you may not even benefit from, but the experience and knowledge of how to do those things will help in future jobs, even at different theatres.

The Green Room / ARTICLE: Tony Awards Cutting 2 Trophies
« on: Jun 11, 2014, 11:59 pm »

If you haven't read already, it appears that the Tony's will no longer be awarding trophies to Sound Designers. I know we have had the conversation about awards for Stage Management, and how it is difficult to measure what we do, but Sound design always seemed like a pretty obvious thing to me.

Here is a link to a petition to get the awards re-instated:

The Green Room / Re: The Next Great Adventure
« on: Jun 02, 2014, 07:24 pm »
That sounds so exciting! Have you ever considered blogging about your adventure? Only so that we can read it  ;)

I have actually already started  :) I found that reading blogs of other people who made the big move made it easier for us to agree that it was a good idea, so I wanted to put that out there as well. And it will be a great thing to look back on! You can read it Here:

Thanks everyone!

The Green Room / The Next Great Adventure
« on: Jun 01, 2014, 09:56 am »
So big plans on the horizon for me, and I'm a little scared to say the least. I will be taking a break from Stage Management, and working in the traditional sense, to move with my husband to rural Alaska where he has accepted a teaching position in the bush. This has been about 6 months in the making, and he just accepted the position this week. I had already signed on for next season with the theatre I work at, and according to my math, would be getting my Equity card by the end of next season. Now that is all changing. The super independent feminist side of me is freaking out a little bit, and I'm not going to lie; I totally cried when I wrote my resignation letter to the theatre. I have just under a week left on what is now my last show with them. After two years I had become extremely comfortable working with amazing people doing some really great theatre.

And it all comes down to one thing: money.

If the theatre could provide enough for us to stay we would. But it doesn't, and never will. I knew that when I got married, that once my husband found a full time teaching job (although it has taken almost two years of looking) it would trump any income I was contributing. Last year we worked 6 jobs between the two of us (stage management counting as one) and we still made less than what he will be making in one year as a teacher in Alaska. And that doesn't even factor in 100% covered health benefits and the fact that they subsidize our housing. We never weren't making it- in fact we were doing well, with a comfortable 2 bed apartment in the suburbs, nice things and not having to worry too much about money. But in the end I was consistently working 60+ hour weeks, with days off few and far between. When this teaching job presented itself it was very tempting.

There will be no work for me in the small village that we will get to by bush plane, but I plan on doing all of the creative projects that have been on the back burner because "I don't have time". Maybe this is my blessing in all of this. I'm not saying that I won't go stir crazy and accept a job touring or in a town that will pay to get me there, but at least for the beginning I am going to have a lot of free time.

We have talked a little about this before on here; compromising careers for family and such, so I just wanted to share my story. It's interesting that I'm really excited about having a break, and taking a couple years or so to really build a sustainable base for a family. Had you asked me a couple of years ago if I would do something like this I would have thought you were crazy. My career and theatre were the most important things, and I was okay living out of a suitcase and giving up everything for it. Now that is much less appealing. I got married. I want a family. I want a home. It's not wrong to want these things, and know that theatre has to take a backseat for a while to achieve that. I also read an article from another Philadelphia theatre artist having some of the same revelations. Charlotte Ford is a successful local actress/theatre creator, and what she wrote really resonated with me, and actually made it much easier to support my husband in this endeavor. You can read her story here:

But for now, I'm in a sprint of the biggest logistical mess I've ever faced: disassembling our life that we have been building up, to ship over 4,000 miles to a town you can only get to by plane or frozen river. Here I go!

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