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Messages - RuthNY

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Articles from the Old Site / Re: A Midsummer Night's Explosion
« on: Jan 07, 2017, 07:04 pm »
This post may be almost 10 years old, but nonetheless, I'd like GNS BOXY to expand on their recent quote below, "Did you assess the fire hazard per protocol?"

What do you specifically mean? To what specific protocol are you referring?  Do YOU as a Stage Manager do regular official assessments of fire hazards, and what do those assessments consist of? Do you work in the US or in another country?

Thanks in advance for any clarification you can give.

This is actually my worst nightmare. Did you assess the fire hazard per protocol and shouldnt the ASMs have been better trained? Out of all the things in the theater that can cause fires bad gobos are up there with pyrotechnics and real oil lanterns.

Hire a pyro specialist!

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to create a small, non-damaging or dangerous explosive device? It needs to be an obvious explosion, and preferably not leave any obvious evidence onstage afterward.

The Green Room / Re: Kay
« on: Nov 09, 2016, 08:34 am »
I can't speak for others, but I check in here every single day. Still the most useful SM forum on the internet! Thanks, Kay!

The Hardline / Re: Getting In: Experience and EMC
« on: Sep 25, 2016, 09:24 am »
I'm not sure that there's a WRONG choice here. 

You want your card and there are two ways of getting it. Finishing up your 50 weeks and joining, or being offered an Equity contract. Either way, you have to research and be in touch with Equity theatres, applying for positions. The reason the EMC program is 50 weeks long is, so that after you have earned your weeks and are eligible to join, or when you've almost earned all your weeks and a theatre offers you an AEA position, you will have built your own personal network of colleagues who know who you are and willing to hire you. 

I do counsel you however, not to move to a city you don't really want to live in, without a job under your belt. You are only three years out of Grad. School.  You are young, and have lots of years to move around. Therefore, if you really like a city like NY, Chicago, Pittsburgh, etc., cities with lot of theatre, cities in which you WANT to live, apply for jobs there and pack up and move. Keep in mind that you have to be moving towards something. So there have to be opportunities in your chosen place of residence.

Your other option is to apply to every theatre with an EMC program, looking for EMC work or AEA ASM work, and move where ever you get hired. I know lots of SMs who have moved several times while they are in their 20s and 30s., following the work.

The most important aspect of any path is building yourself a network. Once you have that, you'll have choices.

I hope this helps a little!

Hi all,

I'm sorry if this is posted in the wrong spot, Mods please move if necessary :)

So here is my predicament. I am a working non-eq PSM at a theatre in Phoenix. I have been out of Grad School for 3 years, done a lot of work in varying environments (tours, ships, theme parks, regional, summer stock). I am EMC, and have 30 weeks. I have worked in AEA houses as non-eq ASM, and am experienced with working under AEA rules with guest contracts from actors at my current theatre.

I think it's time that I buckle down and look at my options for finishing my weeks and getting my card. A few SM's I have talked to say that after a certain point, it is difficult to get points because of the level of experience. The other option people have told me is to apply for AEA ASM jobs as EMC, and see if I can get sponsored in. Others have said move to NYC or LA and get my name out there, and see what I can do.

I'm a little at sea here. I finally am in a good financial place that I could go either way. I am willing to move and go where the next best option for me would be.

I'd appreciate advice. I'm at a crossroads, and I would like to make a well-informed decision on my next move. Thanks all!

I think the key to your post is "...just to match the calendar (which ProdMgmt created and numbered, not me)." If the PM created the calendar, I'd stick to the numbering s/he created and include in Perf. #15 that "Perf. #14 was cancelled."

I don't number performances on the calendars I create, so I'd skip the cancelled performance and use the next sequential number for the the next actual performance.

I'm not sure there's a wrong answer here, however.  To me this is a matter of "pick one, and move on."

Hello all,

Here's a fun question for you: When a performance is canceled, do you skip that performance's number OR do you pick up where you left off for the next performance (assuming you put performance numbers on reports).  For example, performances originally scheduled as #5 and #6 have been canceled due to illness in the cast.  Is the first performance back #5, as it is the 5th performance, or is it #7, as originally announced on the weekly schedule and production calendar?

In this case, production management has advised me to do whichever makes sense to me.  They did suggest if I want to skip the numbers of the canceled shows, I should create reports with those numbers which indicate the performance was canceled.  But, they're also on the side of ignoring the numbers on the production calendar and picking up where we left off,  as we're likely adding shows down the line and it might not be the best to have to have Performance #37.1 or something just to match the calendar (which ProdMgmt created and numbered, not me).

I know this is splitting hairs, but it's something my overly-concrete mind is mulling over.  Which would you do, and why?

The Hardline / Re: Calling a show for heat
« on: Aug 15, 2016, 03:08 pm »
I've always been under the IMPRESSION that if it is too hot (or cold), and the Deputy, speaking for the Equity Company, says that the company does not want to perform under those conditions, that Equity must be contacted immediately. If it's after hours, then the emergency number should be called.

I have understood from Business Reps. that unless members' health/lives are in jeopardy, a company may not refuse to perform. If a company (or an individual) refuses to perform without the permission of AEA, it may go very badly for them down the road. As one Rep. told me, "If they refuse to perform because they say their health is in jeopardy, they had better be right."

(I do not speak for the union or any employer. My words, memories and opinions are my own.)

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Simultaneous Shows ?!?
« on: Jul 03, 2016, 01:12 pm »
Simultaneous shows are difficult enough to coordinate when they were written to go together, have already been produced elsewhere, and have proved to be possible. It sounds like you are working on new shows, that have never been done before. This is going to make the process much harder, as rewrites and business are added or cut, for the sake of bettering the content and drama of each of the separate pieces. The plays have to be good plays, as well as fit together, and one requirement does not necessarily help the other.  I hope you have triple the rehearsal time of a usual production. Best of luck!

Introductions / Re: Howdy
« on: Jul 01, 2016, 01:15 am »
J.B, who I know from (redacted) years ago with TWUSA??

Hello!  My name is J.B. McLendon.  I am a jack-of-all-trades, master of several ;).  Been/Am and Actor, Director, Choreographer, Stage Manager, Costume Designer, Prop Master, Set Decorator, and Light and Sound Op.

My last AEA SM gig was at the Waterfront Playhouse in KW doing OTHER DESERT CITIES.

Currently acting as Prop Master at the Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth NH.  (Key West is VERY hot in the summer).

Looking forward to what this site has to offer.

All the best,

Employment / Re: How far are you willing to travel?
« on: Jun 20, 2016, 03:12 pm »
Think carefully before taking jobs that require you to commute more than an hour each way. Being Stage Managers who arrive early and stay late, these commitments can eat up all your personal time. Indeed my term for a job like that is an "eat your life job."  However, if the money, benefits, professional networking, show, director etc. are worth it, then your mileage and tolerance may vary. Evaluate carefully how much of your personal time you are willing to give up to commuting.  For me, unless the gig is very special, my limit is a hour each way.

I've been thinking about this question for a bit, and I was just curious to see how you folks would answer - what is the longest commute you have done/would be willing to do daily (or almost daily) for a "decent" job?

I'm currently trying to decide if sending in resumes to the professional theatres in my state, which are all 1.5 - 2 hours away, is even really worth it since I wouldn't be able to move closer if I were hired. (Not specifically seeking professional advice or anything, just curious to see what the range of answers is and any other thoughts people may have on length of commute.)

The Green Room / Stage Management Resources: Articles and Blogs
« on: May 16, 2016, 09:30 am »
Let's start posting and collecting links in this thread, to articles and blog posts having to do with our craft!

Here's one I found this morning:

Great work, congratulations!!!  I only hope your school's SMs have a lot of time on their hands to read, prior to Stage Managing a show.  120 pages, wow!  Completely comprehensive. I salute you!

Have you researched theatres that have done these plays, and have you contacted their Production Managers or Artistic Directors?

I am researching rehearsal structure, practices, organization, and process for play with particularly difficult subject matter, i.e. How I Learned to Drive, Pretty, Pretty, or, That Rape Play, The Normal Heart, Angels in America So I would want to look at rehearsal and production reports, schedules, etc

I've always found it helpful to rewrite the calling script in my own style, as all our writing of cues differ from one another. If it's a musical, know the music cold, prior to your days of training.  Know WHY you are calling each cue, just as you would have if you'd been the SM who originally teched the show.

But, if you are taking over as PSM, meaning you are the SM in charge, calling the show is not the only thing you have to learn.  You have to learn everything about the company and theatre, about how to submit notes and reports, the individual personality of each actor and creative, and what each performance onstage should look like at every performance, and much more.  Calling the show is only a fraction of what you'll have to learn, if the Producer has designated you the Stage Manager "in charge" for the remainder of the run.

Calling the show. whether you are the original or a replacement PSM, is only a tiny piece of the job.

I've been hired as a replacement PSM for a show (the original PSM can't stay for the extension).  I've never replaced before and I was wondering if anyone has any advice before I go in to learn to call the show.  (I've also subbed deck tracks before, but never learned to call a show from someone else.)

The Hardline / Re: Applying for a Hiatus week
« on: Apr 26, 2016, 02:05 pm »
You're in Canada, right? A "Production registration" is a foreign concept to me, here in the States. Perhaps is you could explain in more detail what you need, we could all learn something new, AND perhaps help you with language.

Hi all,

  I am applying for a hiatus week for an upcoming production and have to add it as an addedum to my production registration. Does anyone have sample wording for this I could steal? I am really terrible at writing in legalize

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Mary Poppins HELP!
« on: Apr 11, 2016, 04:37 pm »
I did MP a couple of years ago, and although I cannot advise you on the set, we reduced the flying to Mary only (with one exception, below.) Bert and the kids never flew. No kids flying up chimney and no proscenium walk for Bert.  Mary flew up the chimney for the final scene of Act I and then flew away at the end of the Act. She flew in again (on the same track) at the top of Act II, and out again, over the audience, at the end of the show.

We also flew Miss Andrews on her final exit, but that was a choice of our director, not called for in the script.

Keep it simple.  The fewer flights you create, the less you will have to build them for effect, from simple to fancier to surprising. One or two flights should be enough.

Hi all!

My next project (after I finish RENT) is Mary Poppins.  We THOUGHT we had the budget figured out and could work in the flying effects and also have a really intricate two story set.

Turns out we might not.

We're currently scratching our brains about what to do.  My plug was to keep the flying effect and utilize lighting to help with the set issues that might ensue due to a lack of a practical second story.  Hardly any of the sets are stationary, and we planned on rolling them on from the wings (some of the house ones anyway).  I digress.

We're trying to think of alternatives to both the flying and the set.  Our show doesn't open until the last weekend in July, so we have time.   If you have any ideas or solutions or innovative ways to fake one of the two (or both!) I would forever be indebted to you.

Seriously.  I'll draw you a really mediocre dinosaur.  I'll write you a really average rap. 

Thanks in advance! :)

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