Author Topic: PEOPLE: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?  (Read 4458 times)

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PEOPLE: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?
« on: Jun 30, 2006, 05:02 am »
OK...I'm a friendly SM but I also know that 98% of my cast and crew I'll never see or talk to after the tour ends (unless we tour together again) and I know not everyone cares to be overly friendly. I'm about to start a new tour and think it will be a really fun one! I have worked with 90% of the crew already but none of the cast.
How "friendly" do you get with your company on AEA tours? Little gifts? Hugs at rehearsals and sound checks? Or do you just say "Hey! How was your travel day?" and go from there?
After a couple of tours I have one or two crew I stay in touch with and about 10 cast I stay in touch with. So I do make a point to stay in touch even if not best friends.
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:42 pm by PSMKay »

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Re: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?
« Reply #1 on: Jun 30, 2006, 06:23 am »
I am not AEA, and I am not really a 'touchy-feely guy' until I know someone well, however I find there is nothing wrong with getting to know a cast and crew really well. It is one of the real joys of the job. It is always a sad time when the tour ends, but you get over it.

My second decent length tour I decided not to get too close to the cast and crew because I had a really hard time going back to living alone and often going for more than a week without hearing from another peron. So I made excuses while the cast and crew was going out for coffee, and I spent a lot of time doing paperwork quitely in one corner. The long and the short of it though, is I was miserable the majority of the time.

I generally don't keep in touch with performers and crew unless I work with them often. Occasionally there are one or two members of the cast that I get along with well, and we become good friends, but more often than not, at the end of the show, we have the after party and part ways.

It is all personal preference though. I mean you could keep in contact with everyone you have ever worked with if you wanted to, however the logistics of managing that sort of thing is logistically impossible. So my advice would be to keep in contact with the good friends, however at the end of the show, just let the rest go.


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Re: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?
« Reply #2 on: Jun 30, 2006, 10:36 am »
This is definitely a personal style kind of choice. Here's how I do it. I am not a very touchy-feely SM, but I do like making friends on shows and staying in touch with them. The 700 people in my computer address book are evidence of that, lol! The computer really is what makes staying in touch possible. Certainly, on any given show, only a handful of people are added to my close group of friends who I might idly email once a month, or get a drink with if they live near me. Beyond that, as I add people to my address book, I put them in my "Xmas Email" category, and that way I'm sure to add them to my list when I send out my yearly update email of what I've been up to. I think we all know that it's impossible to keep in close touch wioth everyone in this business cause we meet way too many people. But we also know we'll likely get a chance to see each other again. I just try to pay attention to who's where at any given time, and if I ever pass thru a city where I know some old theatre friends are at, I'll give them a call.

On the tour itself, I think everyone finds their little groups to hang out with, and if the tour's long enough, those groups will likely change over time. I'm a bit more laid back about the excitement of seeing people at sound check every week. I mean, the cast hasn't seen eachother for almost two days, but I've been their with the crew since earlier in the day, so it's not as big a deal to me. Nevertheless, there's always a couple people who I'm genuinely happy to see and whom I might make a point to go say hi. But that all develops as the friendships do. I certainly wouldn't buy people gifts at every venue, just like I don't buy my roommates back home a gift every week. I just treat friends on tour like I would real-world friends. And for me, it is important to be friendly and relax with my friends on the tour. I need a life and that's what keeps me sane, by having good friends. Mind you, I tend to avoid the big company-wide, group-hug, kumbaya parties, cause I'm NOT close friends with all of them. But I will generally at least make an appearrance at these events.

And yeah, it is hard to leave the tour after it's over. After my last 5-month tour ended, for the next couple weeks back in NYC, several of us stayed in touch almost daily. We just couldn't bear to be apart. But eventually you ease back into your normal routine, made all the richer for the addition of some new friends!
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Re: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?
« Reply #3 on: Jun 30, 2006, 08:46 pm »
The only time I have ever bought gifts for folks on my tours was either for their birthdays, or sometimes I'd get everybody something small on holidays.  Other than that, I never did any other gifts.  But that is also my stationary persona as well - even when going back out with folks that I knew, my daily greeting of them wouldn't really go past 'how was your travel day?' unless there was something specific to talk/ask about.  I think it depends on your personality.  Have you toured before with repeat folks?  Or will this be your first time with repeat crew?



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Re: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?
« Reply #4 on: Aug 01, 2006, 12:23 pm »
See I trying to be friendly and make friends with everyone I work with, cause you know down the line you never know who might be looking for an SM for something that so-and-so is in who remembers you from such-and-such show who will pass along your name.  I really think this question comes down to a personal level in that there are always going to be those people you become friends with who might show up at then venue and you are happy to see again who you hug and chit chat, and then there will be those others who for whatever reason you'll just be like "hey, how was the drive" and that will be the extent of it. 

In college for some of the dance shows I wanted to do something nice for some of the dancers but on a college students budget I couldnt afford real flowers for everyone (50+ people could hurt) and at the same time i didnt want to be selective and give them just to certain people I got along with better.  So ultimately I made up these little cards on my computer that had a picture of a red rose on the front and inside said:

I couldnít afford a real rose for everyone on opening night, but this one will last a lot longer.

Itís been a pleasure working with you.

            Your Stage Manager

Afterwards I had gotten many comments how that was really sweet and they really appreciated it.  Sometimes its the little things.  I know other people who stage managed the dance shows never did that, but then it could be one of the reasons the dancers always loved working with me as their SM. 

So do what you feel is right for the time. If you get along really well with your cast and want to do something nice and get them gifts, do it they might appreciate it.  If you feel they all keep things more professional and you dont feel the real friendship building then don't.  It really all depends on the type of person you are, the cast you are working with, and the way you all work together.  But ultimately preople remember the little things, so it doesn't hurt to do something nice every now and then. 

There is always some reason the have a cake one day (birthdays, anniversaries, hitting a certain show number, thursday afternoons, etc.), its sure to boost peoples spirits.


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Re: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?
« Reply #5 on: Aug 16, 2006, 01:47 am »
When I first became the senior person on the road I was worried that there would be alot of people within the company who would never get the fact that you can be both their friend and their boss and thought this could leave me really isolated on a long tour. However, I have realised that almost noone has a problem with this and that they know instinctively when we can be in friend mode and when we need to be more professional. There was one ASM who I was really good friends with who I had to sack (they really were v.bad at their job), however, because she was able to separate the friend/work thing, we remain really good friends several years later.

I think people generally also accept that some people will form closer bonds than others and that this will apply as much to stage management as anyone else. Having said that I always keep an eye out for anyone who is getting cut off from the rest of the group. I tend to find that a tour of around 15 people on the road is the happiest. Less than that and there will be some people who have little in common with anyone else and also if 2 people really dont get on they can divide the whole company. With larger tours it is easier for people to be isolated without others noticing and you can also get a bit of 'us and them' happening between the cast and crew.


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Re: Friend or "so nice to meet you"?
« Reply #6 on: Aug 19, 2006, 06:41 pm »
I've never been on tour, but I usually give thank you cards out for opening for casts smaller than about 10 saying something to the affect of "Thanks for all your hard work.  I'm very proud of our show..."  If the cast is larger, I might bring apples for opening night.  If I work with a crew for an entire season, I make record bowls for Christmas and give thank you cards for our last show together. At the very least, I write a card to the director to all my shows and then send them Christmas cards later.  Some of this is for friends and some of it is to keep the memory of me alive in the people who hire  ;D
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