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Messages - SMSamone

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Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: PreProduction time
« on: Sep 26, 2007, 10:19 am »
Thanks for all your input.  I guess I'm just overeager.

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Prompt Book
« on: Sep 12, 2007, 04:57 pm »
There are several books available at Barnes & Noble - some specifically for Stage Managers, others like general stagecraft probably have a section on stage management.

For quick advice, look around the table at your next production meeting.  Every department should have it's own section in your book (set, costumes, lights, sound/music, etc...)

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: PreProduction time
« on: Sep 12, 2007, 12:24 pm »
Can you give some examples of what the theater has asked of you?   

Could it be that theyíre just communicating with you about tasks that need to be done by first rehearsal, and they donít really expect you to do them immediately?  If the tasks theyíre giving you have deadlines that fall before your official employment starts, I think you could negotiate compensation for doing them.  And if theyíre asking you for enough things that you find yourself counting the hours your putting into the project ahead of time, that might be a sign right there that itís too much.

I've worked on SPT shows where Iíve attended production meetings well before my official employment starts (without compensation, though I suppose I could have argued for it).  Iíve also met or talked with directors ahead of time to get their ideas about scheduling, and called actors to find out about their conflicts before Prep Week.  Often Iíll start paperwork, such as rehearsal report templates, sign-in sheets, and a preliminary prop list, before Prep Week.  But aside from the production meetings, which the theater has asked me to attend, the other things I do are for my own benefit, my ďpre-prep.Ē  It helps me to have some extra time to wrap my head around the play, and starting a few things early makes it less likely Iíll get overwhelmed during Prep Week itself.  If the situation allows it, I also like to work 5 days rather than 6 during Prep, so I figure my time balances out.     

Most of what I do is what you've described above: create templates, preliminary prop lists, calendars, etc...  However, sometimes I've been asked to check in with the actors, schedule production meetings, distribute schedules & contact sheets.  I can't recall getting deadlines from people and I ususally take my time.  By the time preproduction week comes around I'm about 75% done with my prep.  Do you think I'm setting a bad precedent?

One director/producer I worked with wanted me to come over to her apt. weeks before rehearsal started to help her with stuff.  She wanted to teach me "Producing 101."  That line was very clear.  I refused and had AEA back me up.

I am usually hired well before the contract & official "preproduction" week.  Typically, I am asked to perform tasks weeks in advance of the contract dates.  Small tasks don't bother me much, as I like to be in the loop as the production ideas evolve.  But how early and how much should one give before the paychecks start rolling in?  I'd like to think 5 hrs/week is about the max for me until the contract starts.  Does this seem reasonable?

Employment / Re: Is NY Fringe Work worth it?
« on: Sep 10, 2007, 02:35 pm »
I would say don't do it! Unless you are looking for something on the side, I find that Fringe and festivals in general are not a good choice if your strapped for cash, you may end up losing more than you started with! However, if you are just starting out, it can be a good choice because it gives you experience and will improve your networking.

I agree completely.  I've done two NY Fringe shows.  The first I did early in my career for networking purposes.  The show was fun and the people on my production were great.  The second show, I did for a friend.  Never do the NY Fringe to make money or break even.  Expect little to no help or support from the NY Fringe staff.  I had to supply, set up & run everything myself.  It seems to me that their philosophy of "treating everyone equally" means to give nothing to everyone.

On the flip side, I just returned from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  This show was well financed and our company was paid reasonably well.  All our travel & housing expenses were covered.  In addition, the staff at my venue was more than helpful.  I came to this festival expecting nothing (like the NY Fringe) and was pleasantly surprised to find everyone backstage and front of house was professional & qualified.  Some of them were even OVERqualified.  This is a very well run festival.  In addition, as part of the Assembly company, I got to see dozens of shows for FREE and eat at a discount at many local restaurants.  It was a blast.

Overall, my philosophy is, if someone is paying me to travel abroad I'll do it.  I'm not going to lose money on a show.  Festivals can be great fun as long as it's a team effort & you're not losing your shirt.

I know this is late in the thread, but I worked at the Goodman this past spring.  We used one herbal cigarette per show.  This was posted on numerous signs throughout the lobby.  I knew of no other legal hurdles at the time.

There are two main brands that I have used, Dream & Ecstasy.  My actor prefered Dream (said they were less harsh), but only Ecstasy was available.  Both smell terrible.  But if the ventilation is good, the audience won't notice for long.

While preparing for this tour, I discovered New York State passed a law prohibiting the import of herbal cigarettes.  Since then, I've traveled out to Hoboken, NJ to purchase them.  For this particular production, the Goodman purchased a carton of Ecstasy cigs online.

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