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Topics - ejsmith3130

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1
The Green Room / ARTICLE: Tony Awards Cutting 2 Trophies
« on: Jun 11, 2014, 11:59 pm »
http://www.broadwayworld.com//article/Breaking-News-Tony-Awards-Committee-Meets-Changes-Rules-for-Revival-Authors-Erases-2-Creative-Categories-for-2014-15-20140611#.U5lPIMjn9LN

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: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/470/217/554/reinstate-the-tony-award-categories-for-sound-design-now/#sign


2
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: http://blog.fringearts.com/2014/05/20/the-untenable-career-of-a-successful-philadelphia-theater-artist-interview-with-charlotte-ford/

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!

3
Self-Promotion / Man of LaMancha
« on: Apr 27, 2014, 02:13 am »
I'm actually super excited about the show I'm working on right now- Man of LaMancha is usually a really large scale production, and our version has been really stripped down for a 130 seat theatre. With no room for an orchestra, the 9 actors play all of the instruments and much of the score has been re-arranged to work within the talents of the group. It adds an interesting flavor, and has been exciting to work on, and truly an interesting experience having to track instruments as well as props and such.

The local paper did a spot on us that you can see here: http://www.theintell.com/videos/local/man-of-la-mancha-rehearsal/html_9dca7283-1d1e-5f55-a6fe-3777d14ef4a2.html#.U1pys6YHxkY.facebook

I was a little excited to see myself at the SM table in the finished video- although I did a good job of avoiding the press people the actual day of rehearsal.

If anyone is in Philly the show performs at Act II Playhouse in Ambler (just north on the Lansdale/Doylestown regional line) with previews starting this Tuesday, and running until June 8th.

4
Employment / Reasons to Reject a Job Offer
« on: Nov 20, 2013, 06:01 pm »
While stumbling about the internet I found this article:

http://www.salary.com/8-good-reasons-to-reject-a-job-offer/

I think that some of these points can really apply to when Stage Managers are looking for not only 'filler jobs' as the article quotes, but also when evaluating job offers in the theatre. I generally stick to a rule I learned from an actress I knew: A job has to have two of the three following things for me to accept:

1. A good project that I'm excited about
2. Good people that I'm excited to work with
3. Good pay that I'm excited about

It can be difficult to find all three in one position, but evaluating if a position has two out of those three has worked well for me in general. I think the article brings up some really interesting points to think about though- what are your thoughts?

5
The Green Room / Stage Management Day in the UK
« on: Oct 04, 2013, 07:46 pm »
http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2013/10/theatres-honour-backstage-staff-first-ever-stage-management-day/

This strikes a weird chord with me. I don't know too much about the UK SMA, but I would feel really uncomfortable being invited to a curtain call, and there is NO WAY I would invite actors to 'help set up for the show'.

My favorite response in the comments:
SMA executive director Andy Rowley explained: We have felt for a while that there ought to be some way of recognizing [sic] the work backstage people do, and particularly what stage managers do.
I think I know of a way to recognise [sic] them. I believe its called a wage.

6
Employment / "Stop using these 16 Terms to Describe Yourself"
« on: May 10, 2013, 10:50 am »
I read this article on Linkedin this morning, and although it isn't specifically about writing cover letters I think it has some really great information that we can think about and learn from.

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130117141235-20017018-stop-using-these-16-terms-to-describe-yourself?trk=mp-details-rc

I have always had a hard time writing cover letters that don't seem generic and get a good response rate. It is so easy to slip into saying that I am creative and organized and blah, blah, blah, but  it is so much harder to really show what kind of person I am and why I would be an asset to the theatre.

I think the article brings up some good points about how when we talk in real life we don't talk about ourselves this way. It reminds me of advice on playwriting- show, don't tell. If only I could figure out how to effectively show and not tell in my cover letters. Lucky enough I married an English Teacher and he totally proofs everything I send out!   :P

Has anyone else found effective ways to write professional but unique cover letters that really express who you are while avoiding cliche?

7
The Green Room / SM Tumblr
« on: Apr 29, 2013, 08:47 pm »
http://whatshouldwecallstagemanagement.tumblr.com/

I just discovered this via pintrest. I love most of it and feel that we can all relate. The SM's that run it work both at the college level and in professional theatres. What is your favorite post?

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The Green Room / Being Human vs. Professional
« on: Apr 17, 2013, 10:48 pm »
So I'm going to start by saying that this is a unique week for me. In addition to my day job I am in Tech for a High School Production that I'm doing lighting, sound and set work for (as well as random SM jobs because the SM is a student who just gives light cues) as well as my first week of rehearsals as ASM for a regional Equity house. It's a lot. More that I have done in a long time, if ever, including an hour commute to the regional theatre (each way). I'm reverting to bad eating habits, and not getting nearly enough sleep.

I found myself talking to my Director (at the High School) and my SM at the regional theatre in a much more personal way- about my lack of sleep, or how I was feeling emotionally. Normally I have a clear line between my personal life and gripes/etc and take pride in my 'professionalism'. But then I got to thinking that maybe I come off as distant or cold. How do you balance all of the outside stuff with being professional, but still being a human being. I feel like complaing about my schedule this week, even if it is in a light way, breaks down the 'professional' persona that I like to portray. Maybe it is because I still feel like I need to compansate for looking so young while being in a management position. (I actually was mistaken for a student at the school today  ??? )

Perhaps this all belongs in a therapy session, but I was wondering if anyone else had ever felt this way. I know there are lots of different Stage Management styles out there so I was curious if anyone had thoughts.

9
The Green Room / ARTICLE: "The Busy Trap"
« on: Mar 26, 2013, 10:00 pm »
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

A really great article, got me thinking. I am currently working 3 jobs (ASM, Tech Director for a High School, and my day job in Sales) and I find myself kind of lost when I don't have work (on the very rare occassion!). I have literally scheduled myself to the brink, and kept taking on work as long as there were enough hours in the day. I don't stress out about work anymore, but I tend to feel the need to make lists so I feel productive in my time off- what a weird kind of paradox I'm living.

I look back at my summer in France- the author talks about a friend who moved there and discovered a new lifestyle- and I have always thought of it as a 'turning point' for me. They really do value their lives and time outside of work or school, and I learned to take a chill pill and stop stressing about work. I think I am much more relaxed now in work situations and it is one of the big reasons I feel I do well in Stage Management- but have I just switched things around and now stress about my downtime?

I have the next two days off, and I'm going to try and not make a list or stick to things I must do (although a trip to visit family is planned). The biggest challenge I think will to tell myself that it is completly okay to waste a couple of hours on trashy tv, or a video game. It's not a waste of time- it is my life and downtime is okay. We'll see how it goes.

10
Employment / Interview Scheduling
« on: Feb 15, 2013, 08:52 pm »
So, I have been contacted to schedule an interview with a local company for a job this summer, but I'm having issues with scheduling. The interviewer and I have now been back and forth for two weeks about several different dates to have a face to face interview and nothing is meshing.

The problem is that she was in tech the first week, and I'm going into tech this week. The week after this she is leaving the area, so that is a no-go too. Has anyone else run into this problem before too? I'm getting frusterated and I can imagine the interviewer is too. But on the other hand, I have to keep my day job and when I'm working that and at the theatre at night my schedule is limited for anything else.

Neither of us has broached the idea of a phone interview, and I think that would be less ideal anyway. What I guess I'm wondering is if this scheduling problem is actually hurting my chances at the job- or if there is anything else I could possibly suggest or do.

Maybe I'm just overthinking all of this, but I don't have anything lined up for the summer yet and really want to stay close to home so it is a little more difficult than in the past.

11
Employment / Salary Requirements
« on: Jan 06, 2013, 01:31 pm »
Hello All!

I am applying for a full time production management position, but I am running into one thing that has me stuck. It asks me to include my salary requirements. I have been working freelance since I graduated and have never had to negotiate pay. Is there a specific format I should send this in as? Do I put in a specific number at all or leave it at negotiable? I know the minimun that I need to pay my bills and such, but I'm afraid of putting a number down and having it be too low or too high and blow my chances at the job.

Also- should it be stated in terms of by hour, weekly, or a yearly salary? I have only worked hourly and weekly thus far in my contracts.

I am more than qualified for this position, but I'm afraid that I'm going to blow my chances with this salary requirements thing.

Thanks guys for any insight!

12
Tools of the Trade / Awesome Staples Sale!
« on: Jan 02, 2013, 10:13 am »
I just got an e-mail from Staples with their sale this week. I'm floored- they are offering 100% back in staples rewards on a bunch of stuff- including up to 4 Heavy Duty View binders!

Here's the link to their ad: http://weeklyad.staples.com/Staples/BrowseByPage?storeid=2540912&promotionviewmode=2&promotioncode=Staples-121230&listingid=0&sneakpeek=Y&pagenumber=1

... I promise I don't work for Staples and am only sharing because I know how awesome free stuff is! And we are probably all rewards members already anyway  :D

Happy Shopping! I know where I'm going today!

13
So today I was looking at ultrabooks because my computer is probably on it's last legs after 6 or so years. I've been torn between the idea of a tablet or a laptop, and thought that an ultrabook would be a really great compromise... that was until I walked into the store and was introduced to the convertable laptop:

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/10/26/ultrabook-convertible-5-tablet-notebook-windows-8-computers/

I think it looks so super promising- you get the best of both worlds, and it isn't that much more expensive than a good laptop.

Has anyone else heard anything about this?? I'm so excited and would love to hear if anyone has actually used one. I know that they all come with Windows 8, but I'm a PC person anyway, and I can't avoid the upgrades forever. The sales guy showed me how to use it, and even though it looks so different cosmetically, you can still switch over to a traditional desktop view if you want.


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The Green Room / SANDY!
« on: Oct 28, 2012, 06:59 pm »
Funny story... while I'm making preperations for hurricane Sandy, I keep finding myself raiding my SM Kit for supplies on the suggested lists- it's always good to be prepared! I've found lots of flashlights and tap lights and extra batteries, as well as all my first aid kit supplies and some extra lighters!

Stay safe anyone else who is in the northeast!

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Stage Management: Other / Tosca Recording
« on: Sep 17, 2012, 06:48 am »
Hey all!

I am going to be ASM for a production of Tosca later in the year, and wanted to know if anyone knew of a good recording of the Recordi score. I found a copy of the score online, and wanted to practice following it.

I am willing to go out and buy the opera on cd, but an online version would work just as well.

Thanks!  :D

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