Author Topic: First time: First time Sming  (Read 4896 times)

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First time: First time Sming
« on: Sep 28, 2006, 10:18 pm »
I am new at Sming and really dont understand what my job is. I was asm 4 2 shows, but my SM sent me backstage bymyself w/o explaining what 2 do. I never knew what she did, hence I dont know what to do. My director expects me to know what to do and make sure everything is done. What is EVERYTHING? Please HELP!
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:54 pm by PSMKay »


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Re: First time Sming
« Reply #1 on: Sep 28, 2006, 11:30 pm »
To be honest, every director I've worked with so far in educational theatre has had a different idea on what exactly a stage manager's duties are, so what I would suggest is to ask your director if you could schedule a time to sit down and talk.  Once you've done this, tell the director openly and honestly that you aren't really sure of everything that falls under your responsibility and that you'd like to go over what he/she would like you to take care of.  Always ask questions if you aren't sure of something, a director or designer might seem to be slightly annoyed if you ask a question they consider to basic, but they would be considerably MORE than annoyed if something went wrong because you didn't have that answer.
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Re: First time Sming
« Reply #2 on: Sep 29, 2006, 10:10 am »
I agree with ThePretenderX: some of the directors I worked in in an educational theatre setting treated me as a glorified assistant whereas some used me in the traditional sense.  In addition to sitting down and having a chat with the director about his/her expectations, I would suggest arranging a chat with one or more of the following people, if available:

  • SM advisor/the person who makes SM assignments
  • Head of Tech/Design
  • Technical Director
  • Senion SMs in the department

Also, read through the boards; there is a lot of helpful info out there from SMs with a broad range of experiences.  I would also suggest picking up a copy of Thomas Kelly's Backstage Guide to Stage Management or Lawrence Stern's Stage Management, 8th edition.  Both are excellent books regarding the craft (if neither are available in your library, the Kelly book is the least expensive of the two, and I would suggest purchasing it). 

Best of luck to you!!


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Re: First time Sming
« Reply #3 on: Sep 29, 2006, 02:12 pm »
Both have said some great and helpful things. All I'd like to add is that you're on the right road. It's good that you're seeking out assistance. I hope you find some great things on this board- I have. It really is a helpful place. Another book I really like that you can possibly check out is Daniel Ionazzi's Book, which can be found here. I've found it quite useful.

Basically, very basically, you will be responsible for running and organizing all rehearsals and production meetings. KEEP EVERYTHING YOU GET OR ANY FORMS YOU MAKE!!!! Keep drafts of everything. Purchase or obtain a 2-4inch 3ring binder with tabs, and put everything into it. It'll get big, but you'll have everyhing for the whole show in it. Then you'll be calling all cues over a headset to the light and sound board operators.

That is a very simple explanation. I'd suggest you search it out a bit more. See what you can find. Break a leg, and let us know how it's coming along!!! Feel free to ask any other questions! (I'm better with more detailed questions.)


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Re: First time Sming
« Reply #4 on: Oct 01, 2006, 12:53 pm »
Definitely chat with your TD and Director about what they want out of their SM, but also talk to past SM's and see if they have any advice about working with your Director/TD.
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Re: First time Sming
« Reply #5 on: Oct 09, 2006, 08:24 pm »
It's hard being thrown into things, isn't it?

I am just going to re-state what everyone else has said thus far.  It is of the utmost importance that you talk to the Director or TD and find out what they want from you.  It is the worst feeling in the world when your Director expects you to do something and you don't do it because you didn't know.  It is their responsibility to tell you what they expect from you.  Of course there are some things that should be done automatically, like taking blocking notes, checking attendance, etc.; however, you should always double check to make sure that you are doing everything you need to be doing.

Best of Luck!  Sometimes it's hard to just go into something that you aren't sure about... but I'm sure you'll do just fine.
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."