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Messages - ljh007

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Students and Novice Stage Managers / SM resume
« on: Jan 31, 2006, 01:32 pm »
And I'll share mine as well. (Send me a PM)

In most SM resumes I have seen, you simply list the shows you have done, usually in chronological order (most recent first). Definitely include: show name, your position, theatre name, city/state. You might also include the director's name if they're particularly notable. Or if you've SM'd a concert, tour, or event, you might list a headliner or two. Things to fill out the resume to make it more than a list of shows include: theatrical employment (if any), professional affiliations (unions, associations like the SMA, or regional groups of which you might be a member), education (include special camps or programs in which you've participated), and other theatrical skills (props, wardrobe, carpentry, sound, light, etc.). If you have any specialized skills - playing a musical instrument, speaking a foreign language, definitely include those as well.

Employment / Visa types
« on: Jan 24, 2006, 12:41 pm »
The most important thing to clarify here would be whether you seek a paid or unpaid internship. If it is unpaid, excepting a stipend or living expense reimbursement, you will probably need a B-1 visa. This is a basic business visa that would be required for anyone entering the country to work with a company on an UNPAID basis. It allows you to enter the US for 6 months, even if you need less time.

If you are getting paid, you might consider applying for a O-1 visa. The O-1 is for a temporary worker "of extraodrinary skill or ability." This is not to say that everyone isn't special in some way, but this visa application requires that you go into great detail about why you are the only person IN THE WORLD that should enter the country to engage in a particular project. O-1 is the visa type that foreign artists (famous architects or singers, for example) need in order to enter the US to work on a project. This application benefits from ample submissions of press releases and photocopied news articles, and it also requires a letter of support from a relevant domestic union (AEA, AGMA, etc.). You will have to pay for such a letter, and submitting for that letter can add an extra month to your application process.

With both these visas, you really must have your employment arranged in advance. You stand a much better chance of being approved if you are entering the country for a specific reason, on a project with a specific schedule. If you apply for a visa because you think you might like to take on a project in the US and just want to be ready, your chances of getting approved are slim. To that end - apply well in advance! Getting a visa approved can take three months or more (often more) and there's nothing you can do - short of paying $1,000US to expedite the process. Remember that if you are in the US under an O or B visa, you cannot engage in any academic or educational programs - that would require a separate student visa. For either of these applications, you'll be filling out the "Nonimmigrant visa application" with relevant supplements. Read that website carefully to be sure you have included and completed all supplemental applications!

If you're really lucky, the company that you plan to work with might take care of the visa application process for you - a benefit because any visa issued from a company as opposed to an individual might actually be processed more smoothly. Applying for a visa is tricky the first time you do it, so be prepared to do lots of homework and get very familiar with the US government website: Yes, the website is confusing - but not impossible!

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Doodles
« on: Oct 18, 2005, 08:27 am »
I guess doodling is not really bad (seems a little rude to me, but I'm a bit stuffy that way), but perhaps you could better harness that nevous energy. Maybe you could make lists of SM supplies to buy, or jot down the day's notes to each department (props, wardrobe, etc), or you could tidy up your calling script, plan out your cue-to-cue in explicit detail, or list tech problems you have yet to solve. If, instead of going into idle in rehearsal downtime, you get those little paperwork chores accomplished, you can find yourself way ahead of the curve later. I usually try to get rehearsal notes done this way, and often I can leave rehearsal with much work already done. It's a good feeling.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Great ASM
« on: Oct 18, 2005, 08:18 am »
In my experience, being a great ASM is more about an attitude than any tricks or gadgets you might have up your sleeve. I hope that any ASM I work with is enthusiastic, calm, level-headed, diplomatic, confident, smart, and always interested in learning more. I like to work with people who work daily to surpass their own limitations and are always interested in improving their skills. Instead of hearing "I don't know how to do that," I hope they'll say "I'll figure it out!" After a few rocky experiences, I've also come to value a calm, even temperment. It's hard to trust that wacky (and usually young) ASM who loves to climb a truss barefoot or bust out their new mini-welder when a little black gaff would do just fine. An abundance of this kind of enthusiasm can actually make me feel unsafe. A good ASM will keep their eyes and ears open, asks questions when they need to, and is always ready to take on the crisis of the day. Eventually, an ASM with smarts and a can-do personality will evolve into a first-rate PSM.

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Shellacked turkey
« on: Oct 13, 2005, 08:46 am »
A great shellacked turkey was used in one show I did and was stored backstage between performances. One night the custodial crew had themselves a feast and were all too ill to return to work for the next few days. How they even tore apart the prop is beyond me - they must have been really hungry! ... Just wanted to share the funny story.  :lol:

Stage Management: Other / From an opera PM and ASM
« on: Oct 05, 2005, 11:56 am »
I have worked nearly exclusively as a production manager and ASM in opera for the last few years, after working exclusively in "straight" (dramatic) theatre before that. I am a musician, and an ability to read music is absolutely essential in opera stage management. I have heard horror-stories of folks working in opera (including directors!) who don't read music, and it just baffles me. Everyone on the production team in opera reads music - including the lighting designer. Not only must you be able to know F-A-C-E, E-G-B-D-F - you must read music fluently and be able to scan a score as you would a script. In my town, we are constantly looking for additional ASMs to work at the opera, and if they can't read music or if they hesitate and say they read "a little", I simply cannot hire them. If you cannot read music, you cannot stage manage opera. It is common in the opera industry to hire ASMs from across the country, simply because the applicant pool is so shallow. I encourage you to learn to play an instrument and become fluent in reading music. Don't waste your time learning the languages - Italian, French, and German mostly. If you have a knack for sounds and if you spend plenty of homework time before rehearsals learning the arias, you'll be able to jump right in the rehearsals when the director wants to pick up after "Meta di voi." The balance of power between the maestro and the director is a new flavor that you won't find in other disciplines. As Matt mentions, there are many different concerns in opera when there is an orchestra involved - eventually, you should learn the AFofM, AGMA, and IATSE union rules so that you can run rehearsals most effeciently. There are a ton of tricks I've learned from opera stage management that are also helpful in other fields: 30-second timings throughout the score, script tabs with aria/scene first words, and many other stage managment rituals that make the whole production smoother for everyone. Opera is a truly unique field and, I have come to believe, a discipline of stage management where if you can do this, you can do anything. Please PM me if you have any specific questions - I love stage managing opera and am excited to share any experiences that might be helpful to you.

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