Author Topic: Dealing with Panic Situations  (Read 10342 times)

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Re: Dealing with Panic Situations
« Reply #15 on: Oct 26, 2015, 08:55 pm »
I can definitely relate to this concern. I get really worked up in high-stress situations that hinders my ability to perform well. As others have mentioned, experience is a good way to work towards better problem solving. You'll be able to find out what works, and what doesn't work. Closing night of the only show I have ASMed we had a wardrobe malfunction right as I called places. One of the lead actresses' dress tore right on the zipper in the center of her back and we had to hold the show for 10 minutes in order to sew her into her costume. It being my first time ASMing I really didn't know exactly what to do. I knew I had to be the liaison between my SM and head wardrober, but I had no idea what to do as far as what to specifically say or ask. In the end, it all worked out fine and wasn't the end of the world, but the situation could definitely have gone better. I'm looking back on it as a great learning experience, and now I know how to better handle those types of situations for the future! Don't beat yourself up for making mistakes, they're gonna happen ~ after all, nobody's perfect!

Michelle R. Wood

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Re: Dealing with Panic Situations
« Reply #16 on: Oct 27, 2015, 06:49 pm »
I agree with everyone: it can be so stressful to run into problems, but now that I have several crazies under my belt I find I'm not nearly as fazed by the occasional mayhem that may crop up. It's like muscle memory: you learn how to respond to certain stimuli under pressure in tight situations.

Per children in shows: I was a children's theatre board member for many years and know first hand that some parents can be difficult, plus they're all still learning (as are we all, they're just earlier in that process), so expectations have to take that into account. It sounds like you did the best you could under the circumstances, and even if you had found a solution on your own, you definitely want to let your SM know what happened and what you did. I one time had an injury backstage that I didn't find out about until much later because my crew members didn't want to "bother" me. I quickly explained that I needed to know about such matters in real time.

Working under good SMs is another way to get a lot of practical advice/experience for how to handle things; I've definitely observed and modeled behavior that I find helpful. Even negative experiences may help, by teaching you what not to do. :)
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." -- Thomas Edison (Harper's Magazine, 1932)


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Re: Dealing with Panic Situations
« Reply #17 on: Oct 28, 2015, 03:54 pm »
As so many others have said, take a deep breath.

When I feel the need to panic on a show, that's when I bring all my acting skills out to play. If you can ACT calm - even if you're faking it completely - you appear calm. This keeps everyone else around you calm and lowers the overall stress level. Not only that, but just like smiling on the phone makes you sound happy, and often become happier, pretending to be calm will actually calm you down (the weird ways that our physicality and our emotions connect).

I also try to prepare, at least in my head, for any emergency I can think of. What if this set piece breaks? What if an actor is sick at the last minute? What if there's a rolling blackout and the electricity in the theater shuts off? I find that when I've prepared for the expected, I'm less shocked by the unexpected. Usually one of the solutions I've already prepared can be modified, but if not, at least I've started the thinking process already.

I've made countless mistakes - but I've never made the same mistake twice. 

Make this your goal. None of us are perfect. All of us will make mistakes. Just don't repeat them.
Science without art is sterile.  --Albert Einstein