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Topics - Branden

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Tools of the Trade / Is Valuable or a Gimmick?
« on: Feb 05, 2015, 08:21 pm »
Hey all!

So, I've been playing around on, using my email I created for fun.

As I'm looking around and uploading test documents, I'm curious if anyone has made this work for them in SM world.

I have worked corporate contracts, where there's a big old shared server and everyone is editing excel documents in the application together, and I love the functionality of this. I've been obsessed for the past 14 months or so with figuring out how to get this high form functionality into freelance theatre.

I don't mind Google Sheets, but the formatting options are limited; and I can't make sortable tables, which is my bread and butter. And in Dropbox, excel files that are edited frequently end up with conflicted copies.

I know Dropbox is releasing a more collaborative in-application system, but until that comes I need a high functional way for multiple users to edit one document at the same time.

Has anyone had success with Or is it glitchy and gimmicky?

(Sorry for the rambly post)

Hello all,

To make a long story short, I'm working at a summer stock that doesn't have a PM, so I've been taking on some PM responsibilities.

We have a copious amount of filing cabinets in the booth, and when I arrived, there was nothing in them, and it was hard for me to create a schedule and a base for things because there was nothing to go off of, and just about everyone here was new.

SO, I'd like to set up a system so that PSMs here in the future can look back and see how the schedule was structured, and documentation for past years.

Aside from leaving my prompt books in the cabinets at the end of the season, I've also set aside folders for this season's performance reports, and an attendance folder, which will contain the sign in sheets and an end-of season attendance report.

My hope is that PSMs here in the future can compare the Daily Calls with the many versions of the full production calendar, and the attendance reports, so that they can see how we worked out the rehearsal process, the promo events, and the other shows in the other space.

Any thoughts on things that I should leave to be filed? Or other ways to allow future PSMs to access my books and notes?

Just wondering what this looked like for you guys and what tips you had.

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

Tools of the Trade / Social Media and Self Promotion
« on: Mar 21, 2014, 03:50 am »
I'm a green Stage Manager, so I grew up with social media and the zillion things you can do online.

I know self branding is important, and I try to maintain a viable online presence [mostly to get the most out of networking]. I have a .com with an about me page and my resume, a Wordpress Blog, a Twitter, and a Facebook.

All of these things help me to stay in touch, establish new connections, and sometimes even get work.

With social media sites like Facebook, many times well-known actors would establish a second account for themselves, so they could keep the private separate from the public. Now, with my generation, we face a unique challenge. Facebook does not offer an easy 'clear posts and photos before a certain year' function, so many professionals my age find that their Facebook feeds contain a lot of information from Middle, High School, and College that they would rather not carry as baggage for networking.

The point being, it is more and more common for actors and designers to create a separate Facebook page for professional uses. A lot of actors who even just pick up a few gigs a year have their own account.

Is this a trend for Stage Managers? Should it be? Why not have a separate Facebook account for all your work as a visual CV?

What do you all think about this?

I was starting to print out some materials for summer stock, and I had a thought.

I'm probably going to put each show in a separate binder, since the shows are consecutive, but I last year, I did rep, and I wanted to see what you all prefer.

If you're doing a rotating rep summer stock, do you place all your material in one large binder? How big are we talking? Or do you separate it?

Also, with a two week turn around, there can't be that many reports and materials. Do you think I could get away with a 2 inch?

I think I'm going to keep everything separate, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth

Hey all!

Due to some personal complications, I can't work as the Stage Manager-so I'm posting it here!

A Fine Line
A two-act play, with a small cast and unit set.

The show has been cast, and all the pre-production paperwork has been created. The cast has had one rehearsal together.

The rehearsals are in the evenings from 6:30-9:30, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 12-5.

Tech starts April 5th (11a-7p), and 6th, and from 7:30-10:30 that week, to the opening on April 11th, and runs until strike on 5/4.

Stipend is $400.

If you interested, you can PM me or email me at

Moderators: This post will expire March 15th, or as soon as the position is filled.

I'm working on a scenic breakdown for The Wizard of Oz.

And the libretto has no consistent way of numbering anything. There is no musical No 7, and there are two No 23s.

Also, there are two No 14s, both 'We're off to See The Wizard', but the happen about ten pages apart, and are slightly different musically.

It kills me, because it's clearly noted in the script. Right before musical No 8, it reads "*Note: There is no musical Number 7". And after the second No 23, it reads "*Note: There are two musical Number 23s."

It's awful, and frustrates me. Just wanted to share.

*Rant OVER*

First of all, I'm not exactly sure if this fits in this thread or under the discussion of unions, or the paperwork. I posted it here, but feel free to move it if it better fits somewhere else.

I'm approaching my first show Stage Managing an AEA actor. I'm pretty familiar with the operating rules, as far as breaks, safety, and scheduling.

However, I'm curious as to how I should modify the report to represent this. The actors are paid based on stipend, so I don't need to track hours worked, but because AEA only allows so many hours, I'm thinking of including an hour-tracking formula that will calculate hours worked.

Is there any way my reports, or any other paperwork should reflect anything in particular to accommodate this? 

I know it's a silly question, but I wanted to make sure there weren't any obvious things overlooked.

Edited to add topic tag. -Maribeth

It's that awkward point in my career.

I've been working as a Stage Manager for a little while, having done a few months of corporate work and working for a Light Opera Company.

At risk of this whole post sounding narcissistic, I've worked as a SM on some decent quality productions.

Now I've been offered a nice Stage Management job in Chicago. It's an original work at a storefront theatre.

I think I'm ready (career-wise and financially) to make the move to the city. The gig doesn't pay incredibly well, so I'd pick up a part time job too.

The other offer I've been made is as a Stage Management apprentice at a small theatre on the other side of the country. It pays very little monthly, so I'd have to pick up a part time job as well. The only plus side is that it includes a few months of housing.

My problem is this; am I too far along to take an apprenticeship since I've been working professionally for a while?

The jobs are slightly different, and neither is enough to pay my student loan payment, so I'd pick up a day job.

Option 1)
Get an apartment in Chicago and work a day job.
Stage Manage Original work for 3 months for $450.

Option 2)
Drive/Fly Across the country and live in supplied housing.
Work a day job.
Apprentice a Stage Manager for a year and make $150 a month.

I'm not sure which to take, and where to go from here. Though I suppose it's a good thing to have two offers, I'm not sure which offer to take.


Employment / Blog Post: Job Hunting as a Stage Manager
« on: Dec 03, 2013, 12:52 pm »
As I've been job searching for a gig after this contract ends at the end of December, I thought a post with some SM job hunting resources would be useful.

I've included OffStageJobs, ARTSEARCH, SMA, and the LORT Member theatres page.

Do you guys know of any other useful sites for SM job postings?

I'll include them in the post.

So, I'm currently doing some corporate Stage Management.

The place I'm working has two 'Santa' events. One is an interactive meeting with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and some elves at his 'workshop', and the other is a more traditional short play done in 'dinner theatre' style.

Our Mrs. Claus and Elf swings go between venues, and they are required to swing both positions so that everyone gets a break. That means that the SM of each venue will drive them back and forth in a golf cart.

Now, I can't seem to find a good document to illustrate my ins and outs. There are five Santas that rotate out every hour, and two elves, as well as two Mrs. Clauses, who also rotates between venues.

I've tried all sorts of crazy excel templates, but none of them really help organize it in a way that makes sense.

Any tips?

Tools of the Trade / Office Phone and Cell Phone in One
« on: Jul 28, 2013, 10:07 pm »
I spend a lot of time at my home desk (mostly sending out resumes and trying to get a job).

And I also watch a lot of The West Wing. So I get jealous of their fancy office phones.

I don't want a landline, because I travel and I don't want the expense.

But then I saw these babies...

I mean, I'm totally geeking out here, and I know I don't 'need' one, but they seem really cool, and would make me feel all warm and fuzzy (until that consumer guilt sinks in).

Just wondering, do you guys think something like this would be useful? I could imagine they would if you were a Production Manager, but as a SM, we spend a lot of time at meetings and at the tech table.

I still kind of want one...


Introductions / Hello World!
« on: Mar 04, 2013, 04:38 pm »
Hello all!

My name is Branden Scott Stewart, and I'm currently a student at Otterbein University, working on a B.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technology with a focus in Stage Management.

I've looked through the forums before, but thought it would be a good time to join. So here I am! I'm looking forward to getting to know you all!

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