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Messages - chadparkerla

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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Shadowing: General Q&A
« on: Jun 23, 2017, 11:28 pm »
You can sometimes find the email address by searching various publications, but I've honestly never been too successful that way.

The most success I had was a nicely typed professional letter which I put in an envelope and addressed to the stage manager. I walked to the stage entrance and gave it to security and asked them to deliver it.

In my letter I introduce myself, told them about my goals, and gave my cell phone number and email address. I asked if shadowing was possible and asked them if they would contact me and let me know. Most contacted me via email or text and we set it up relatively easily.

I also said I'd love to have coffee with them if shadowing wasn't possible. (Some companies may not allow shadowing)

It usually took one to three days to get a reply. I'd suggest dropping off the letter early in the run (But not the first or second day, those are crazy busy for a SM and you may get lost in the shuffle)

Be professional and polite and you will be more successful than you might expect.


I too am interested in shadowing a Broadway SM while I'm doing my internship in the city this summer and I've been having difficulty finding the email addresses for the theaters/PSMs. Does anyone have any advice on how to gain this information?

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Shadowing Etiquette
« on: May 01, 2013, 01:43 am »
-Is emailing these days now more appropriate than sending a true letter, especially regarding convenience?
-Do you as SMs expect your shadowers to come prepared with questions, and if so, what questions do you wish they did/didn't ask?
-Is observing tech heard of, or appropriate?

I live in LA, so my experience may differ from yours. (I am also trying to shadow tours sometimes, so I getting emails can be hard.)  In any case, I've found that a printed letter in an envelope delivered to the backstage door is a good way to get contact. Always take the time to figure out who to send it to, and learn about them and the show. It helps.

In my letter I let them know about myself and what I'm looking for. I ask them what time they want me to arrive. Generally, I find I have some time to chat, but not all that much. I think it's more important to talk to them and meet them and their crew than to arrive with 20 questions. Maybe 1 question instead, as a starting off point for a conversation.

I've been welcomed at load-in for tours before, but haven't ever tried tech.

The Hardline / Weekly injury report under LA 99 Seat Plan?
« on: Mar 27, 2013, 11:14 am »
Simple question, does the stage manager submit a weekly injury report to equity for shows running under the 99 Seat Plan? How about the weekly SM report?


Post Merge: Mar 27, 2013, 03:04 pm
Got an answer on my own. Nope, those are all only for contract productions.

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Shadowing: General Q&A
« on: Mar 16, 2013, 11:04 pm »
I wasn't getting very far calling the box office, so I tried just dropping a letter off with the stage door security today. A simple letter, introducing myself to the PSM, telling a little about my goals for shadowing, and asking if it would be possible. Hoping I get a reply :)

I've been trying to find a day job that would be good experience, and in a related field to Stage Managing, and ran into a bit of a conundrum.

Day jobs that are related tend to be full or part time jobs with production companies, but their busy nights tend to be the same nights that you get stage managing jobs.

Can anyone think of any day jobs related to stage managing that don't conflict with actually stage managing shows? I've found a few in educational institutions, but those are uncommon.


Employment / Re: Being a Reference
« on: Mar 14, 2013, 08:44 pm »
Well, I've been a manager before and I can certainly help with this:

1 - I'd advise against a reference in writing unless you've worked with someone a long time. Even then, stick to the facts. What did they do for you, and how well did they do it. Don't make future statements. (ex. "I'm sure he will be great for you.") unless you have facts to back them up. The exception to this might be interns, you often have to submit a written report on the conclusion of an internship. At least I had to in IT.

2 - If you've only known them a short time, do talk over the phone but not in writing. Tell what you know, but never guess (positive or negative). Stay factual. For example, you can say you saw someone working on a light board, and they did well for your show. You can't say how good they are at lighting in general. If they were an intern, you can talk candidly about what you saw them do and, especially, how quickly they learned. As their supervisor, your position is to comment on their learning and improvement. (I've had to do this in other fields.) For interns, nobody expects them to be perfect, but people do want to know about attitude and learning. When working with interns in IT fields, I kept a checklist of the skills they demonstrated, and how those skills improved during their time. That helped to make these reference calls easier.

Hope that helps,


Self-Promotion / AEsopera at the Hollywood Fringe Festival
« on: Mar 13, 2013, 08:58 pm »
One of the shows I currently have scheduled is AEsopera at the Hollywood Fringe. It's a small cast opera for which I am stage manager and lighting designer. This is the second showing, the first was at the Carrie Hamilton Theater in the Pasadena Playhouse. I'm looking forward to working it again.  Wonderful singers and creative use of old fables.

The promo from the last show is on YouTube

The fringe festival is awesome, tons of shows going on all over, some of them extremely creative. Worth a look.


-Are microphones in danger of contact with water? if yes- wrap them with unlubricated condoms prior to the show.

Agree with this! And don't forget the lavs themselves. A lucky drop of water hitting a lav can cause all kinds of trouble. When we had a water scene with tons of lavs on stage, we carefully put each in locations where we thought the water would stay away... then we talked to the actors and asked them to be careful and kept our fingers crossed. (We also had extra lavs backstage with the in case we needed to make a quick change.)

At the end of the run, we hadn't lost any lavs. We were lucky, and the cast should be commended for how controlled their "random" water fight actually was. Great job of acting like it was crazy while avoiding certain target areas.


I tend to agree with much of this. My thoughts go like this. Especially with musicals and operas, exact timing of cues is as much an art as a science. A light cue that is a little late can horribly interfere with the mood. I have worked with light board operators who could do it and those who could not.

It basically boils down to:

- Was the board op there for enough rehearsals to know how the timing should "feel"?
- Are they any good at it?

In any case, I think the call for that is up to the stage manager. After all, it is their job to make sure the artistic vision comes out. If, in their opinion, the board op can do it... fine. If otherwise, then no.

For example, I have a young board op who I would trust to get the artistic timing of any musical number after just one rehearsal. They are just that good, and that musically sensitive. On the other hand, I have other board ops that are always a second or two off unless I call the cue.


Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Shadowing: General Q&A
« on: Mar 12, 2013, 06:02 pm »
This is a fascinating thread. I'll have to check this out. We have all kinds of touring companies here in Los Angeles, it would be worth trying to get in touch. If electronic means fail me, I could simply drop a letter off and hope.

Thanks for the ideas!

Greetings Everyone,

My name is Chad Parker and I've been working as a stage manager, lighting designer, and tech director in the LA area for about ten years. It's all been educational or smaller theaters, with moderate stipend pay when the show made a profit. During this time, I've always been working other jobs. First as a database admin and data analyst at EarthLink, and then as a teacher. In fact, as a teacher, I taught my students how to stage manage and run crew. It was a wonderful experience.

But it occurred to me, I have been doing this for twenty years now. I started in Florida long long ago. With all the job changes I've gone through, I've always stuck with theatre in all the free time I had. So, before I get too much older, I wanted to switch to this and make a career of being a stage manager.

So here I am. I'm hoping to make some contacts here and get to know some others, either in the LA area or elsewhere. I know a lot about the job and what needs to be done, but I'm not part of the social scene and I know that's an important part of it.

So, nice to meet you!


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