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Messages - Mac Calder

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Introductions / Re: Just Found SM Network - Yay me!
« on: Nov 20, 2022, 06:56 am »

Tools of the Trade / Re: Samsung Tablet for Prompt/Cues
« on: Sep 10, 2022, 11:15 pm »
I tend to find that a tablet is not the best for marking up documents - I don't SM traditional theatre much any more, but I do undertake many similar tasks in my day to day - including marking up of construction documents, documenting meetings etc. Paper is still the best when it comes to  markups that need to be done quickly and accurately. Where a tablet comes in really handy is for all that stuff you may need to quickly reference.

OneNote  is excellent for pretty much everything you would traditionally keep in the front of your bible - it can also be shared with password protected sections - so you could make it generally available and then lock specific sections for just you - or your SM team for example.

My tablet is at work, so I will check Monday to see what one I use, but an app that lets you annotate over PDF's and photos is really handy. - the ability to take a quick photo and then draw some quick arrows on it and send it through along with a request is really handy... or even just for keeping notes yourself.

Introductions / Re: I've been away for a long time
« on: Jul 11, 2022, 08:58 am »
Welcome back

Tools of the Trade / Re: help with prop
« on: Jun 06, 2022, 12:50 am »
Mercury is very liquid... so you probably don't need to thicken if all you need it to do is poor. If you want to bead like mercury, you need to increase the surface tension more than the viscosity - which you can do with salt...
I would probably use silver mica powder for colour. It's a little bit magic-potion-esq, but from a distance, it's silver.

Depends on how many scene changes there are - and how critical placement is. If you can get away with not spiking - don't. Some shows it doesn't matter if everything is precisely placed. Colours are good - but you don't want your floor to look like a jackson pollock painting. If you have moving head lights in the rig, lighting can give you spikes if you are setting pre-show or behind a cloth/scenic piece.

Employment / Re: Covid-19 cancelled job on resume?
« on: Apr 19, 2020, 02:59 am »
In the resume, no - absolutely not!

If you worked the job but it never opened, then yes, because you worked the role (although I might note that the show never opened).... but if you were successful in getting the job and then the job fell through for other reasons - you don't list it. You gained no experience from it.

It is certainly something that can be talked in within the cover letter for a few months. Maybe a year, at most. More to do with how excited you were to be selected for the opportunity and disappointed that it did not eventuate due to COVID-19. Maybe a sentence or 2 at most.

Every employer is expecting to see a gap in peoples resumes over this period - so having that gap in the resume is not an issue.

The Green Room / Re: Search error on website
« on: Jan 30, 2020, 04:26 am »
I generally go to google for searching any site to be honest - if you put "" in the search box it will limit results to pages that come from SMNetwork - which won't refine your results too much with this particular forum, but can really help with more popular forums/sites that you want to search.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: rehearsal spaces
« on: Nov 09, 2019, 09:05 am »
I don't know how ubiquitous they are in the US, but in Australia, Lawn Bowls club houses are often times a good place to get a space. Also, scout halls/club rooms, churches and sporting club rooms are often good options too.

You may not be able to get it for free... but you may be able to get it for a tiny fee. If you are the sort that has the potential to engage sponsors for advertising, another option which I have used before is to talk to find a hotel/motel to sponsor your rehearsal space... quite often they have meeting rooms that are unused after about 5pm - and there are always staff on hand - so they don't need to ask someone to stay back to lock up, or deal with the issues of key pickup and drop off.

In the real-world, it is called professionalism. Hopefully both director and designer will have it. I have disliked (and even hated) colleagues in the past. Does not stop me from working with them professionally,

Whilst the SM is there to lubricate the lines of communication, the role is not to manage the director or the designer and mediate their relationship. You can help to reduce contact between the two - and even sanitise nasty comments that come through you "Director says XYZ looks like sh!t" becomes "Director would like to re-evaluate XYZ as they are not cognisant with their artistic vision" etc.

Generally there are pretty clear reporting lines within a company. IF your production is suffering significantly owing to the tensions between these two parties, then you need to talk to their higher ups - the artistic director, company manager, whoever. Not to "tell on them", but to report your concerns. This person will then make the call as to what they want to do with it. If you inject yourself in the middle of it, you run the risk of ruining your relationship with one or both parties. That is not good for anyone.

At the  end of the day, if the production is at risk of failing due to this pair (or there is risk of people getting injured, hurt or ...), and you have aired your concerns and nothing has been done, then you have 2 choices. Put up with it, or walk away.

I tend to use booklet printing, double sided, but leaving odd pages blank.

 Alternatively, I print to PDF and then shrink the page to 70% and position the page top-left - leaving large right and bottom margins for notes.

I generally work corporate shows though - so these scripts are being used for 1 or 2 shows, so saving paper is worth it.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Difficult director
« on: Oct 01, 2019, 07:25 am »
What's your companies context - amdram, educational, professional - non union, professional - union?

Are you the only one experiencing these issues? Are the rest of the cast and crew feeling it too?

You said that she feels like everyone is questioning her - does she seem to react poorly to anyone in particular? is there someone she seems to trust?

The best method is to have a discussion away from the rest of the cast and crew if you feel you have the best rapport. If you believe the relationship has devolved too far for a frank conversation to have any effect, then maybe you need to go up the chain.

The one thing you _NEED_ to get across - either yourself, someone she trusts or the production manager - is that you are there to support HER. You can only support her if she works with you, allows you to do your job and etc. Also emphasis on the fact that whilst during the rehearsal and design phases changes are certainly possible, in order to get the production running to track it is important to try and maintain a given course in design. If the design isn't working, then there is room to change. But it should be done in consultation with the other departments to ensure that the changes made are possible.

Employment / Re: Time Off
« on: Aug 20, 2019, 05:28 am »
I guess we have it good in Australia -

For full time employee's:

Code: [Select]
45. Ordinary hours of work and rostering

[45 varied by PR506471]

45.1 Weekly employees

(a) The ordinary hours of work for weekly employees will be 38 per week.

[45.1(b) varied by PR506471 ppc 02Mar11]

(b) Ordinary hours may be worked on any of the days Monday through to and including Sunday between the hours of 7.00 am and 12 midnight. Provided that a Production &Support Staff employee engaged specifically as a cleaner may be rostered to work ordinary hours between 12 midnight and 7.00 am and will receive an additional loading of 20% of their ordinary hourly rate for such work.

(c) The number of ordinary hours to be worked on any day will be a minimum of four hours and a maximum of 12 hours to be worked in no more than two periods,each period to be continuous except as to meal hours occurring therein.

(d) Full-time employees will be entitled to two rostered days off work for every period of seven days,which will be consecutive wherever reasonably possible,provided that such rostered days off may by agreement accumulate up to a maximum of six days.

(e) Weekly employees must be notified seven days in advance by the employer of their working shifts by means of a roster placed in the staff room for each employee?s perusal. At least seven days?notice must be given to the employee should any alteration of the working hours be intended,except in the case of emergency.

(f) Cyclic rostering

(i) The implementation of cyclic rostering (that is,working hours other than as provided for in clauses 45.1(a) to (e)) will be determined at the enterprise where the employer and the majority of employees concerned agree. The ordinary hours of work will be an average of 38 per week and will not exceed 152 hours over 28 consecutive days.

(ii) Different arrangements may apply to different areas of operation within the enterprise.

(iii) An agreement pursuant to clause 45.1(f)(i) will be recorded in writing and be available to all employees.

In addition, 4 weeks paid leave per year, 10 sick days/personal carers leave and various overtime provisions.

The Green Room / The Rut...
« on: May 14, 2019, 05:45 am »
Felt like posting a stream of consciousness/request for advice/mutual commiseration post.

I have had a pretty lucky career - where I have worked with some big names, on some great shows and generally have had a steady salary for most of my career (and generally a pretty decent salary at that) - I started by studying engineering (for all of a year and a bit). I hated it, but found theatre.

I mean I always knew theatre - used to travel to Melbourne once or twice a year to see a show - however locally I grew up in a town where the amdram society performed outdoors on an oval once every 2 years, our schools 'performing arts centre' was the canteen which had an 8m x 4m stage that we could almost squeeze the full band onto and our drama class (which was an elective we could take for up to half a year if enough people wanted it) consisted of the 4 girls who liked to make up dance routines to bad 90's girl/boy band songs (that all looked the same). So I found Theatre at uni and I redirected myself - into the amateur, youth theatre world as a technician and stage manager which eventually became paying gigs.

I did that for a year making little money and skipping uni classes for rehearsals and production meetings before getting a job in corporate AV. I managed to keep my arts going on the side, but corporate paid the bills. Then I got a job on a cruise ship doing lighting. Did that for a couple of years then came back to land. Back to corporate.

24 months in, I got an offer from my company, more $$, more opportunity and paid relocation to the other side of Australia - so I took it. Worked, promoted, worked harder, promoted. Now an operations manager, not really doing theatre because I have no contacts over this side of the country, but my work is interesting and highly creative - and still occasionally extremely theatrical.

We loose a big contract (my venue) - however there is a theatre on site and their operations manager is leaving - mild paycut, no dramas - so I agree to take over for 6 months. 2500 seat theatre as operations manager - there is so much I loved about that job - but a lot I really hated. Opted not to renew my contract after 6 months of rostering 120 casual staff using excel as my rostering tool and where I had to act as a middle man between management and 6 full time staff who had been there >20 years each and believed that overtime was an entitlement not a perk. I found my replacement, trained her up and she is still there. Currently I regret not staying in that job.

Went back to corporate. Promoted to project manager for my employers parent company - they paid to move me back home with the lovely lady I had been living with for a couple of years. Worked as a PM for a 18 months, partner wants to move back - not enjoying Melbourne. Find a 6 month contract on the other side of the country - and at a $15k pay cut - move across the country again with my partner - paying out of pocket this time. Partners parents offer us her grandmothers old home - provided we make it liveable - lack of rent payments make up for the pay cut - although my savings are blown renovating this house. 4 months of heavy renovations later and I have made a liveable house. We are now 9 months into my 6 month contract and my employer and I agree on an end date. Economy is cr@p, and I don't want to work for peanuts. Spend a month out of work before finding a new job at a $10k pay cut from my last job. Can make it work... A day later get an offer for a better job - only a $2k paycut from my last job. I take it. A month later, Partner leaves me - we remain 'friends' (aka she occasionally wants to go to 'things' with me, or do things or catch up and I torture myself by accepting). I move out of the house I renovated. She doesn't want the cat, so the cat comes with me. Have to get a place that will accept cats then - find a 3br unit that accepts cats. Furnish it. Paying rent, and full utilities now, no splitting it. Feeling the $17k reduction in income now.

Now I am here, other side of the country to where my family are, my ex is just down the road and I am hating my job. Last theatre job search turned up 1 job - got down to me and 1 other and apparently the fact that he was born and bred local but lower skillset where I tend to move every 3-5 years and was probably slightly overqualified for a 400 seat theatre, scared them a little. I got the "Sorry, you are over qualified." speech.

So I sit here, ranting, wondering where the hell to go next. My first instinct was "I could move back across the country and find something I like there" - but that is expensive - there are certainly more opportunities there - but I probably couldn't afford it at this point. Next instinct was "Maybe I could sell everything and go back on cruise ships - but maybe as a production manager instead". Next thought was "maybe I could just sell everything and emigrate?" All the while, I rock up to my 9-5, (7-4 actually, but whatever) and I can just feel myself rocking back and forth within the rut. And I know I am in a rut, but at the same time I know I am lucky. I am living in a 3br house, I can pay all my bills, I am not saving money, but I am not going into debt. I get a pay cheque every week. But frankly, I am bored, a tad depressed and just generally in a rut.

Well SM Network - I guess the question part - what would you do? would you be grateful that you were gainfully employed and just work the rut until something comes up? would you make a radical change? Are you in a rut? Been in a rut? Want to blurt it out on a web forum for no real reason other than to put it out there?

I am sorry that things did not work out - however I believe you made the correct decision. When a situation is poisonous, you need to walk away.

I would certainly not bother replying to the email.

As far as "can this occur in the real world?"... Yeah, sure. Happens all the time. It may not be articulated, but generally whoever is senior and bought in early in the process often ends up with a lot of veto power. But if someone is a big d!ck in the real world, that word spreads - and often has a greater negative impact on the employ-ability of the d!ck than of the person on the receiving end.

An example from my younger years - I was a light tech for Royal Caribbean - I joined a ship the same day a charter came on board who booked out the whole ship. Throughout that week long cruise, I never got to see a single production show run or even play with the rig, because every day was spent running conferences or in training. The guy I was replacing left the same day the charter left (typically I should have had a 2 week handover, but for some reason I only got the one). So the FIRST show I did, I messed up the cruise directors introduction - I managed to get the rest of the show visually flawless, but the cruise director (my bosses boss) felt I embarrassed him. From that day forwards he did everything he could to try and get me fired. I didn't DO anything that could be considered wrong - in fact I worked SO hard that cruise. My employee appraisals by my manager came back 5's across the board (outstanding). Professionally, this should not have happened. Drove me to the brink of jumping over the edge of the ship a few times. When I left that ship with a new contract for my next ship (which I ended up declining and going back to land), his contract ended a month later. I found out from a friend that he was not offered a new contract - that a number of staff had mentioned to others how big a w@nker this guy was when they moved to other ships and word had gotten around - none of the other ships wanted him.

I suggest you take solace in the fact that in the end, karma will bite them in the rear end - or perhaps it already has - and start looking for other opportunities - either with other directoral staff or non-school related dramatic societies. Time spent in school is great starter experience - but every show you get outside the school environment is worth so much more in the mind of a future employer - because outside of school, any perceived safety net is removed.

There are a few potential options.

1) You can approach the HoD Director and just tell them your issue. Do not be argumentative - tell them that you have been working really hard and that you and your friend are feeling like your efforts are being constantly belittled. You need to give and take - give them an out for their attitude (no matter how bullsh!t it is) - "I understand tech is high stress from all sides, we have put a lot of effort in, and I know you and your directoral team have an artistic vision that you are invested in, but we would appreciate a bit more courtesy - in some instances we have followed the brief - and then been called out because of reconsidered artistic decisions. We want this show to work and help achieve your vision, so would really appreciate it if instead of calling us out, you could just articulate the changes you wish to have made politely and acknowledge that this is a change to the brief". If that does not appear to work, proceed to #2.

2) Resign. Do it politely. Take the high ground. After the rehearsals, approach the directorial team "It appears that you are not satisfied with our services and it appears we have reached an impass, with regret I am afraid we need to part ways." - This potentially brings you back to point #1 with some negotiation.

3) Everyone has a boss. The HoD has a boss. Perhaps talk to that person. I don't really suggest it, because either they will be bought into line (and then potentially harbour dislike after being talked to by their boss) or they won't.

4) Pull them up. When they say something rude and disrespectful to you, "Can I have a moment over here" and take them over to a private area and call them out; If they start down the "Well this is how it is in the real world" - hit back with "And in the real world I would have called you out in public instead of being respectful and talking to you in private." Could result in reverting to #2.

Unfortunately, as with the real world - when your boss is being a jerk and the relationship has devolved to the point that you cannot work with them any longer, there is little you can do except stick with it or walk away. But never storm off, never shout "I quit!" and storm out. ALWAYS take the high road, always be respectful. Because if you arc up and start shouting and screaming, you will be the one that is painted in a poor light. If you do it respectfully, even if they start to badmouth you in front of the ensemble, it is them that look like the arseholes.

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