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Messages - LexieTaylor

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Self-Promotion / SM Inspired Mom Blog
« on: May 03, 2017, 04:14 pm »
Hey SM friends!
Sometimes being a stage manager feels a whole lot like being a mom, am I right? :-)
Now that I am a new parent, my stage management skills really come in handy when dealing with my home and family. In both roles, we need to be as prepared as possible in order to be flexible when dealing with all of the crap that comes our way - sometimes  literally!
I have channeled this idea into a mom blog called Mommy: Home Manager. I would love for you all to check it out. It is geared towards parents, but there are organization and budgeting posts on there that anyone may enjoy.


P.S. If you do enjoy it, I would love some help sharing on social media.

I know that shadowing stage managers is a frequent topic of discussion around here. This article has some great advice about how to prepare for a great learning experience while shadowing a stage manager.

Tools of the Trade / Re: ETC CueSpiders
« on: Mar 14, 2017, 05:43 pm »
Regarding your concern about operators not paying attention: if they miss their cue because they're not paying attention then you need new operators, not new cue lights.
Good point!

Tools of the Trade / ETC CueSpiders
« on: Mar 14, 2017, 10:28 am »
Hi All,
At USITT, ETC featured a "CueSpider" system that is used to replace (or enhance) cue lights.

I think they seem pretty cool - I like the idea of individual stations for cueing, I like the screen that allows you to label your cues, and I love the acknowledge mode. I think I would worry about the unit being so small. The lights could easily be missed if operators aren't paying attention. Also, the words being available, but not easily visible may create more of a distraction than help in some cases.

Overall, I think this seems like a neat new gadget, and I'd like to hear how they work in a show setting.


Employment / Re: Backdoor Reference Checks on ACTORS
« on: Mar 10, 2017, 09:59 am »
Do you generally get resumes sent in cold or do they come in response to job postings?
You could try adding "please include references" or a similar statement on your job or audition postings to let actors know that you expect them to include contact information.

The Green Room / Re: Oscar Night 2017: How to teach from it
« on: Mar 02, 2017, 10:28 am »
Here's an interesting article to throw in to the mix. Interview with the stage manager:

I like that it's an honest account of what happened from his point of view. I think that it's ok that he explains that the blame lies mostly with PwC. I personally do not agree with the last sentence.

Here is the closing paragraph:
It was very upsetting to us, he said. It still is. You work really hard on a show, and then something like that happens. You feel bad about it, even though its not your responsibility.

I do not agree with a stage manager saying blatantly that something was not his responsibility. I would say that as a stage manager, everyone involved in a production is a part of your team, and you are the team leader. Everything that happens and how it is reacted to is partially your responsibility.


That's the hard part! You will be best off if you know how each department refers to things.

Actors - make sure that you listen to how the director communicates with your actors in rehearsal. Anytime that you hear "let's take it from XXX" write down what he calls "XXX" and where it is in your script/score. Familiar pick up points will be your best friend.

Orchestra - if you have a score with measure numbers and/or rehearsal figures, check ahead of time that your labels match with the conductor/orchestra director.

Crew - Have a system of knowing which cues your are between for every crew department. I like to keep this info on the back of the page opposite the page I am using. In my call scores, each back of a score page has the LQ at the top of the page that it faces in the top left corner, what spot lights are on which performers, and any other cues (rail, deck, elex, etc.) that are currently happening.

If you know of sequences that will be challenging and will likely need to be repeated, ask your director ahead of time if there are pick up points that he or she will suggest. Write all of the info that you will need to communicate to your cast and crew on a sticky note and have it ready in your book.

Happy Tech!

Introductions / Re: Hey there !
« on: Jan 30, 2017, 12:42 pm »
I did the lighting design and performed in "And" when I was in high school! I loved anything with deep, dramatic content, so I loved it.
Have fun and welcome!

Sounds like you have a great situation worked out!

Here's my unsolicited additional advice. :-)
When I was around 36/37 weeks pregnant I became very diligent about writing down EVERYTHING. I left the pile of lists on my desk in case one day I just wasn't able to show up. You will never be disappointed that you were over prepared for the "what if.."'s

Congratulations and best wishes for your birth and baby!

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Master Cue Sheet
« on: Jun 09, 2016, 04:15 pm »
It sounds like what you are looking for is what Ben described. You could also call it a "Master Run Sheet". I have used them before that include carpenter, rail, elex, prop, and sometimes wardrobe moves. For me it is a document that exists for reference and/or archiving. Otherwise, it can be used as a run sheet for ASM's who just need to highlight what they help with and take their own notes on that sheet instead of creating their own separate run sheets.

PM me if you want me to try to dig up a couple of examples.

The Green Room / Re: Hiring a Friend
« on: Apr 29, 2016, 01:40 pm »
Interesting - I've been there and had it backfire, but not in the way you think.

In other cases, I have hired my ASM from the ballet for two different jobs/companies (one as my assistant PM and another as a technician). Both times she's been amazing. And it's been really helpful in making me feel more at home in new places, by having her around.

I like this situation the best. A "work friend" that you know that you work well with, but isn't necessarily a close personal friend outside of work.

The Green Room / Re: ARTICLE: Why we get frustrated . . .
« on: Apr 24, 2016, 07:45 pm »
I really like this... I feel like it is missing one step though. The article focuses on the "let it go" aspect, but sort of glosses over the middle step of "is there anything that I can do to make this situation less frustrating?" Sometimes there honestly is something you can do, and sometimes all that you can do is put your attitude in check.

The Green Room / Culture Shock and Moving Abroad
« on: Apr 20, 2016, 10:33 am »
This post about jobs in Dubai has been really interesting to me. As an American who is not very well traveled, I find the idea of living in another country really fascinating and I would love to hear some stories!

From SM's who have lived in countries outside of their first home - What was your experience like? What sort of "culture shock" experiences surprised you the most? Was there anything that you thought would feel really different but didn't?

I know this is very a broad topic, but I would just like to hear about other people's experiences.

Introductions / Re: Hello from Northern Virginia
« on: Apr 11, 2016, 01:13 pm »
Hi Steven!
Sounds like you are diving in head first, which can either be really overwhelming or a lot of fun! (maybe both.)

If your battens have lighting instruments on them, we call them "electrics." In your case, I would keep it simple and just call them "over-head electric" and "front of house electric." Normally, we number electrics working away from the proscenium. The downstage-most electric over the stage (closest to the proscenium) would called the "first electric" and then next one upstage from that would be "second electric" and so on.

Hope you enjoy the production!

One thing I've noticed that's different with a ballet company (or at least this one) is the SM does nothing if a dancer is injured.  I saw someone sprain their ankle during final dress (with an audience) and the maestro briefly paused to give two other dancers time to get her off stage and into the arms of the PT.  Then, without the SM saying a word to facilitate this, another dancer immediately stepped on stage and finished the solo instead.  This allowed everyone to move on with the show (and the cues remained unchanged), and the new dancer received a modest round of applause.  I was in awe of how normal all of this seemed to everyone!

But, yes, dance companies have multiple casts for each role, termed "responsibilities". If someone goes down, and you're responsible for that role, you go in. Unfortunately the smaller the company is, it creates what we lovingly call "the domino effect". As someone gets injured, you end up having to cut roles because you just don't have enough covers/responsible dancers.

We had sooo much domino effect for our Nutcracker this year!
But yes, I feel like in the dance world we are more prepared for injuries than in theatre. The way these performers work just causes more opportunities for things to go wrong.
I am also amazed by the things that adrenaline can do for the body. I have watched dancers come off stage after finishing an act and collapse in tears before telling me that they were injured up to 20 minutes ago! For our company, the policy is that all covers need to stay in the building until the curtain has gone out for the last act just for this reason. Also, we always have medical staff (a PT or doctor or both) backstage.

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