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Messages - NomieRae

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The Green Room / Re: Director in Booth!
« on: Jul 31, 2013, 07:00 pm »
The booth is a place for "booth personnel" only.  Just as you wouldn't let an audience member in the booth to watch and friends shouldn't watch from there, that should apply to the director.  The perspective of the show is different.  Booth personnel are used to it.  The director can observe if cues are late, early or on time just as well from the house.

THIS. Well, also I bring this up very early in the process that I do not allow non-technical personnel in the booth for my own sanity and rhythm of calling a show. But if they are pushing the issue I try the new tactic of "Oh you can't really see/hear the show in the way it is meant to be presented to an audience member while you're in here." or "All you'll hear is me calling cues for two hours, that'll mess with your focus on the show." Play to the side that you want THEM to have the best show possible and sometimes you can divert a diva director attitude.

Depends on the company, depends on the show, depends on the money.

I've done a one man show where I ran lights and sound because it was 55 minutes long and it would have been silly budget wise to hire more people. I've done huge musicals where all I have to do is call a show... and then all the permutations between.

I ask myself where my undivided focus needs to be - which is always the stage and the action happening there. I think it is a disservice to ask a stage manager to run a board during a show because it steals our focus from being fully in the show. Not to mention the logistical problems of what happens when something goes wrong. If I'm running lights and a dimmer is out or etc, I have no clue how to fix it in real time or how it will effect the show throughout the rest of the cues. My focus can't be split on trying to troubleshoot that issue all while the actors are continuing on.

As stage managers we often want to play a martyr and "make it work" by being all kinds of board operators (at least it has been my experience in the Off/Off Off bway world of NYC) but it truly undermines our job and the jobs of technicians who are highly skilled people who are just as valuable to the team as the stage manager.

Do I still do it from time to time? Sure. As long as I'm receiving an additional stipend for that role, and I feel the show is simple enough/only runs one weekend/is a friend's company then I'm happy to oblige. But as a career choice, it is not something I willingly advertise in my skill set, because it is meant to be a job for another person.

...and sometimes people are very touchy about any photos, ever. While I never take photos of my cast, crew, etc without proper notice, I have in the past taken pictures of (what I considered) innocuous things... such as my large coffee on my prompt book, silly prop table outlines, rehearsal furniture that is absurdly labeled... etc. and posted them to my personal social media sites as a smirking view of the process.

I am careful that it doesn't reflect on designers (such as a photo of a scenic piece in process), of course, but after one particular rehearsal photo was posted, a designer asked me to take it down as it was "disrespectful to his process." So down it came and now I just err on the side of not posting anything ever.  While I didn't understand his issue with the photo, it was a good reminder that what you think may be an innocent photo is actual a culmination of many people's collaboration and thus things can get out of hand quickly.

Call Equity and run as far and as fast as you can. No job is worth that nonsense.

Employment / Re: ARTICLE: How to Network like a Pro
« on: May 21, 2013, 02:14 pm »
Great article, and very important.

Networking is sometimes the only thing that drags me to that 20th staged reading in a month, because I know when it comes down to it that spending the two hours enjoying a new work and incidentally bumping into dozens of people I have worked with or would like to meet is worth it.

I will freely admit it is so hard for me to meet new people in a networking environment, but have tried to be better at asking current colleagues to introduce me as a buffer to smooth the transition. Sometimes it is awkward as hell, but better than kicking myself over it later for not making an effort. 

Very sobering indeed, but also is exciting to me that this is my 5th year in a row in making a living in NYC with no side job. Is it glamorous? Will I ever probably make those six figure salaries? Nope. But I have a wonderful apartment, network, and enough jobs to pay the bills... which is something to be truly grateful for.

The Hardline / Re: Unions and Circus/Cirque
« on: Apr 06, 2013, 01:19 pm »
For what it's worth - ZARKANA when it was here at Radio City was AGVA and almost all of the stage managers were AEA and AGVA.
(Also they will be returning to Radio City for awhile in 2013 - woo!)

In my career I have been plagued by the idea of taking non-union or other union work... the most confusing was when I accepted an AGVA show here in the city and called AEA about it to see if that was kosher. They just told me that I would have to join AGVA as well, but that I could still earn my health and pension through the Equity League. Also - AGVA doesn't have their own contracts and codes, they just directly reference AEA's. Confusion abounded - but I got AEA level pay, with my health and pension benefits through the League... it was almost exactly like working an AEA show.  (well, except that our business rep was much less helpful when it came to problems)

Will I still actively seek out AGVA contracts? Nah. (also, there are so few) but it was a good experience to learn about differing unions.

I join in the chorus of "ENJOY IT!" and hope it runs forever. A nice show like this with low stress is many stage managers dream, other people it drives insane cause it has no excitement.

Personally in this situation I take the time to re-work or perfect my paperwork or calling script. A lot of times in the heat of it you don't get to do things exactly the way you'd want them (especially a quick tech process into preview, sometimes your book looks less than ideal) I've taken that extra time to clean it and make it gorgeous.

Or if you and your cast is especially festive you can coordinate some pot-lucks during two show days, once a week lotteries (a venue I work at a lot has Dollar Saturdays for all the theaters in the building and its fun and silly - won $65 once!) or something as simple as a once a week trivia or treat. During what seems like a boring run things like that can keep it fresh for everyone all around.

Stage Management: Other / Re: Dance First Aid
« on: Mar 20, 2013, 02:07 pm »
Agreed on tiger balm or similar item

Single use liquid bandage sticks - magical for foot splits and whatnot

Manicure kit & alcohol wipes - may seem kinda yucky and personal put having manicure scissors, nail clipper, tweezers all in one handy kit will come in handy for the one dancer who forgets their stuff or needs them. Also if you buy a quality set they're more likely to stand up to daily sanitizing.

Ibuprofen - buy the economy size. Some dancers pop it like candy.

Not quite first aid but a few things that may make you the favorite backstage:
- tennis balls (for working out muscles and feet)
- small sewing kit (especially if they're wearing ballet slippers that need constant mending)
- tissues or hand towels, also a large garbage can on each side of the stage for the spitting/etc folk... (it happens..haha)

The Green Room / Re: Show me your mugs! (Or water bottles)
« on: Mar 15, 2013, 12:28 am »
My christmas present to myself this past year that is now my fave mug:

It seems every show has one murky area...

Worked on a show that used an extensive amount of song clips, and when we performed on TV we had to cut certain songs out because we couldn't get the rights to perform them on TV... which sparked a conversation about how we could perform them 8 times a week without a problem, and, well, that opened a can of worms that I am glad I don't have to deal with anymore.

Also spent a long haul on a show where we dealt a lot with international cast members and their visas and the limitations around them. While company management is ultimately expected to do all the legwork on this, it is nice to know (for example) that a performer in your cast can't travel for an out of state event and perform because their visa won't allow it.

A big one is workman's comp claims - often we are one (or the only) witness to an injury, are expected to provide much of the information for a report, and can have our reports subpoenaed to verify a claim. Once I was event questioned by my employer because I insisted that an actor fill out a report for a minor injury just in case they needed to see a doctor in the future. Where I saw it as covering our bases and having a report on file of an injury, they saw it as coercion. Sigh.

it's funny though, how many, many shows have a sound mixer that mixes the shows without our calling (and on a lot of musicals . . . takes their own sound cues) - and we have been fine with that for years.

Interesting indeed! Can you imagine if you had to call every mic cue for when people enter and exit....? I get a headache just thinking about it.

The Green Room / Re: Sleeping in your theatre
« on: Mar 12, 2013, 01:57 pm »
Under counters, on packing blankets, and very rarely on the equity cot. Often we did PR the morning of a two show day so everyone would drag ass back to the theater and nap instead of going home before the matinee call. Was hard to do my preset in the dressing rooms because the floors were all actors... haha.

In each venue I've had a few spots, the best was once the back of the booth had a nice warm area to curl up in and was away from actor land.

One of my PSMs was well known for his 'Dad naps' and would just disappear to unknown areas and nap for awhile and reappear for call. For the longest time I couldn't figure out where he was going, had to ask... turns out he found an unlocked door to an unused spot booth. Dark, warm, unknown to most. Best spot ever! I was so jealous.

The Green Room / Re: SMNetwork fundraising drive 2013
« on: Mar 10, 2013, 09:18 pm »
Donated! Wish I could have done more, but every little bit helps :)

The Green Room / Re: Thoughts on Director Acting in Show?
« on: Mar 07, 2013, 11:05 pm »
better the director/actor/writer/producer combo.

yes. be glad you don't have this combo to deal with. The amount of projects I have done like this... my temples start to throb. The only upside is sometimes they're such vanity projects that budget isn't an issue, and they just throw money at it. That can be nice.

As people said before, communication is key. I'd set a protocol from day one about notes that was transparent to everyone in the room. Also here is hoping you have a director/actor who is privy enough to understand when to compartmentalize their roles in the production (i.e. things that appear in the rehearsal reports or production meetings are not things that need to be rehashed with other performers in a casual setting)

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