Author Topic: PRE-PRODUCTION: Meeting the director for the first time  (Read 4289 times)

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What sort of things do you like/want to talk to a new director or one that you will be working with for the first time? Do you prefer to get straight into the business and schedules or not? What would be too-soon questions?

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth
« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2014, 10:09 am by Maribeth »
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Re: Meeting the director for the first time
« Reply #1 on: Dec 15, 2014, 05:42 am »
I think this really depends on your style.

My first meeting is the set-up for the entire relationship of the project.

Let's assume, for some reason, I am already on the project, but we haven't had a meeting yet.  (It happens).

This is how I start.

1) Why this show?
2) How do you feel about the cast?  Do you have any concerns?
3) How has the design process gone?  What have you lost or had to adjust?
4) How are your interactions going with the theater?  Producer? GM?
5) What do you want this final project to "be"?  (Look like, make the audience feel, what is this event?)
6) What do you want from me?  What do you like in past successful stage management relationships?  What do you hate?
7) How do you like rehearsal to be?
8) Good cop or bad cop?
9) I outline my "typical" style, how I can adjust, and what my process is like, and what I want/expect from the,.

I start in territory he feels comfortable talking to, and the turn it back on me.

But, this works for my style.

If you aren't comfortable engaging a director in artistic conversation . . . then maybe don't start there.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.


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Re: Meeting the director for the first time
« Reply #2 on: Dec 15, 2014, 12:21 pm »
My conversation similar but not exactly the same as Matthew's - I start with some of the broader artistic questions, and then focus in on the more technical things toward the end.

Why this project? What's your relationship with this show? Have you worked with anyone from the cast/design team before? What's your relationship with the theatre?

I do a lot of new plays, which often do workshop productions before a fully realized production, so I ask how the workshop went, and what the director learned from it. What changes were made? How involved is the playwright going to be in the process? Do you anticipate a lot of script changes?

If the project itself is a workshop, what is the goal of the workshop?

Rehearsal questions- Room setup up, breaks, rehearsal items needed, are any "coaches" being used? Schedule questions. Is there anything s/he needs in rehearsal? What can I do that will help you?
« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2014, 10:08 am by Maribeth »


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Re: Meeting the director for the first time
« Reply #3 on: Dec 15, 2014, 10:40 pm »
I always start with the artistic vision. I ask about the inspiration for the piece so I can go home and study up on the concept (after I get my emails answered/paperwork filed). If I'm coming into the process a little late I ask about snags in the rehearsal process thus far, and who the leaders in the cast are.

I ask if the director has used the venue before, and what he/she remembers about the experience. I ask the same for any of the production staff, too.

Then I can get down to the nitty-gritty. We can talk about the rehearsal schedule, changes to the text, rehearsal setup, rehearsal format, and how we can collaborate to keep the cast and production staff working like a charm.

This isn't a check list, though. This is a loose guide for a longer conversation that includes both yours and the directors background and experiences within theatre. There's no real format to the conversation, but it's important to show that you value the artistic vision, the various members working to achieve that vision, and the deadlines in place to achieve it as well.