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Messages - SMAshlee

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I shadowed the calling SM for Phantom of the Opera in Vegas one time. I was surprised at how small the backstage area really was. During the opening, she leaned over to me and said, "don't be surprised, the booth shakes when the chandelier moves." I thought, oh yea, ok, no big deal. She wasn't joking... it was a like small earthquake in the booth!

Introductions / Re: Hello from San Antonio, Texas
« on: Feb 23, 2017, 11:15 pm »
Welcome to the forum! I lived in San Antonio for a couple years! It's a neat place. Sounds like you're busy. I hope you find lots of helpful info and don't be afraid to ask questions!

The Hardline / Re: Name change?
« on: Oct 10, 2016, 12:55 pm »
I joined AEA before I got married, but also did not change my AEA name, thought I did change my legal name.

Issues I've had:

- Over the course of several years, my email signature has morphed into my married (legal) name for various reasons. When I submit for a job posting, I try to remember to just add my maiden name to my signature.

- I have to make it very clear when I accept a contract, that my AEA name is what is on my resume.

- After moving to a large city, I quickly realized that our mailperson was not delivering anything from AEA that had my maiden name on it. My mailing address in my AEA profile is now:
First address line: C/O (insert legal name)
Second address line: number street

Hope that helps!

Introductions / Re: I'm Flying!
« on: Sep 07, 2016, 10:11 am »
Welcome, friend! Glad you found SMNetwork and congrats on Peter Pan!

The Hardline / Re: AEA SM wearing a costume backstage?
« on: Sep 02, 2016, 08:20 pm »
The two ASMs will appear on stage for several scene shifts, but there are also open doorways with no masking so we will be seen crossing backstage occasionally. It's a modern show so being costumed will look a lot like jeans, tshirt, maybe a hoodie or jacket, tennis shoes. I requested pockets and reminded them that we'll also have headsets, too.

I'm just curious at what point do I need to consider the rule book for supplying my own shoes, for example, if everything else I'm wearing is supplied. It seems like a growing trend that backstage crew is being costumed more and more around Chicago.

I like the jumpsuit idea, Megf!

The Hardline / AEA SM wearing a costume backstage?
« on: Sep 01, 2016, 08:33 pm »
Anyone had experience with an AEA ASM needing to wear a costume while running their track backstage? I'm using the CAT contract, but don't find anything specific to this. Do the same actor costumes rules apply? Thoughts?

Self-Promotion / First rehearsal was awesome!
« on: Aug 17, 2016, 10:26 am »
I'm an ASM at Porchlight Music Theatre for In the Heights. We have four short weeks of rehearsal before previews begin. I'm really excited to be working with such an amazingly talented group of people from the designers and sm team to all of the cast!

The Green Room / Re: Health Realted Issue
« on: Jul 19, 2016, 08:04 pm »
If it's contagious (airborne/sharing objects), I will do everything I can to talk you into going home.

As for your hypotheticals, the only ones I'm really concerned about are the contagious ones, especially in close quarters like a dressing room. 
Mono - You better bring me a doctor's note that says you are no longer communicable or don't tell me about it.
Chicken Pox - See above.

If you aren't yourself or it seems like the condition you've told me about about in confidence is affecting your work performance, I will check in with you from time to time to encourage some sort of relief (telling the choreographer, taking a sick day, medical attention, etc). If you get my entire cast sick, I will hunt you down to reiterate the importance of taking care of yourself.

I guess I'm also a bit confused about your description of HIPPA. I am not a medical professional or deal with insurance/health records for HR or as a company manager for example, so I have not signed any sort of oath of confidence (for lack of a better term). However, if an actor comes to me and says, "I might have blahblahblah, don't tell anyone," I will respect their wishes after encouraging them to get medical attention and asking how I may assist them.

Employment / Re: How far are you willing to travel?
« on: Jun 25, 2016, 09:50 am »
Catalie, I'm on the north side of the city and the commute is still rough for me sometimes!

I definitely agree that it's hard for SMs, of all people, to have long commutes though -- I don't mind mine very much, but I do find myself spending $2.75 to take the subway home at the end of a long day instead of walking 25 minutes.

If I depended solely on driving myself, 45min would probably be the max for me, especially after a long tech rehearsal. I'm also not a fan of driving at night, so transit is a great option. Transit, I could commute up to an hour/hour and a half. I can read or start the report or just relax and decompress from the day. The small downside is that after 11pm, transit runs less frequently so I may have to wait 20 minutes for the next bus to get to the train vs. just walking to the train.

The NIOH code of conduct is being examined by non-equity theatres across the city and country.

There are a few Equity theatres that are piloting the code for their non-equity actors. NIOH will list all the pilot theatres on their website in the next few weeks. I am an advocate for the code (even as an AEA member in Chicago) and look forward to what the pilot group will learn over the next year.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Rail cues
« on: Jun 12, 2016, 03:35 pm »
Ideally, the operator should know which direction they are moving, but a reminder never hurt. If I have time to talk through the upcoming sequence at a standby, then yes, usually I'll say "Standby for Rail 5 out, Lights 15, and Deck shift for couch platform." But in the midst of actually calling the cue, especially if there are several other things happening at the same time, I'd just say "Rail Go."

However you decide to call it, make sure you're consistent.

It made me ill when I read the article and I've followed it closely since then. This summer I'm helping one of the small pilot theatres adapt the Code of Conduct. I posted about the code on the Chicago board shortly after attending the unveiling of the code and meeting the Not In Our House team. There is another meeting this week and honestly, 'excited' does not begin to describe how I feel about attending.

I don't know what I would have done in that situation as a stage manager. I would like to say I would have been all up in someone's business, but as a young stage manager, it's terrifying to think of being put in that situation, and from what it appears, have my concerns swept under the rug. The fight choreographers would have been my first call, and from there I probably would have done some severe soul searching and been fired after calling out the lead actor.

And jman, I completely understand your position since you did not witness what the article describes. I appreciate that you took a step back to consider what you could have contributed to the interview and felt it best not to participate. 

Tempest, thank you for sharing. You are absolutely right.
Listen to your instincts. Hold tight to your courage, sense of worth, and boundaries for acceptable behavior. Advocate for those weaker than you. Find your resources. Be willing to cut and run. Speak fearlessly about what has happened to those outside the situation. In the sort of institutionalized circumstances described, that's all you can do.

When working with any type of animal, it's always good to have a backup plan. I'm a firm believer in creating a relationship between the animal and the person(s) who will be handling them on stage. They all have their own personalities and making sure they are comfortable in the environment is key.

One of the shows I did had a few macaws that flew over the crowd in a loop. The team had several, so not all of them were used for every show. This was an outdoor show so they had lots of height over the audience and noise was not an issue.

I also did a show in a small traditional theatre space that had an umbrella cockatoo named Susie. Susie loved meeting new people. During rehearsal one day, I was sitting in the house and Susie decided halfway through her short loop through the house to land on my head instead. Once Susie and I had met, I couldn't sit in the house during the show, I had to stand off to one side, out of her flight path. Ha! As for noise, she would sing backstage so we had a cover for her cage. She was also not a fan of the boa constrictor and would squawk if she saw it so they were kept on opposite sides of the stage. (It doesn't sound like this will be an issue for you.)

Please report back on your experience!

I did a show at SeaWorld with live birds which is rather different from traditional theatre.

How do you plan on using the birds? What type of bird? In a cage on stage the whole time? Is the intention to have them fly through the house/across stage?

The Green Room / Re: Hiring a Friend
« on: Apr 29, 2016, 11:38 am »'s been really helpful in making me feel more at home in new places, by having her around.

While having a friend with similar styles/philosophies is appealing, you never know what fresh, new ideas come from hiring someone you don't know.

It's a crap shoot either way.

Having been that person that was not hired because the PSM hired a friend instead, it sucks. My situation was most likely a bit different though. I had been with the company for two years; I was the stage management sub and prior to that I had been a PA for the sm team. The friend was completely new to the show and was learning everything from scratch while I had already been trained on all but 1 deck track. Especially when I was not given a heads up that the hiring decision had been made and was called in to cover a track while the friend started training. It was handled poorly to say the least.

I agree with BayAreaSM though, you just won't know what you're missing one way or the other.

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