Author Topic: Books Books Books  (Read 7508 times)

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LexieTaylor

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Books Books Books
« on: Oct 09, 2014, 12:39 pm »
Hi Everyone,
I know that most of us are on the same page about sm books - How much can you actually learn from reading? Don't you learn more on the job?
That being said, are there any books that you would recommend from some free time (hahahaha) reading?
Books about design, theatre in general, bios, novels, educational books. Anything that adds perspective or is interesting that involves theatre, ballet, music, the arts in general would be great to hear about. =]

SMMeade

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #1 on: Oct 10, 2014, 07:18 pm »
MY SM teacher recommended The Stage Management Handbooks by Daniel Ionazzi, so I bought it super cheap from Amazon and have flipped through it a few times. Bachstage Handbook is also great, and getting a primer in all the tech areas is also good-- I've seen someone recommend "Technical Theatre for Non-Technical People" on here before but I can't vouch for it. I honestly learned a lot by just googling and finding paperwork examples from SM's websites, etc.

kellyaksm

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #2 on: Oct 11, 2014, 09:00 pm »
I agree with "The Stage Management Handbook" by Ionazzi, a professor gave it to me before my first show at my university and I found it to be a helpful resource. "Technical Theatre for Non-Technical People" is also a good one, gives basics on all the technical areas that I have found useful when trying to better understand aspects of design areas I wasn't as familiar with. I also really enjoyed "The Stage Manager's Toolkit" by Laurie Kincman. It had lots of ideas for how to set up forms and some of the smaller details on paperwork among other things.

shanakathleen

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #3 on: Oct 12, 2014, 12:29 am »
Aside from some of the technical books, my former Stage Management teacher passed along her list of books for the current students in her Advanced Stage Management class. Here are her choices:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Stephen Lundin and others
One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard

She also has her Production Management Students read:

Production Management: Making Shows Happen by Peter Dean
The Power of a Positive No by William Ury
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson


Personally, I used to teach workshops on the FISH philosophy at my old non-theater job - it has helped me in every job I've held, and has had a huge influence on my management style.
Shana Kathleen Ferguson
shanakferguson@gmail.com

little_owl

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #4 on: Oct 12, 2014, 11:59 pm »
My favorite SM book is Stage Management by Lawrence Stern. I reread it sometimes before starting a another sm job and it's good to read about some things that I could maybe do better or to add things that I haven't done yet to the job coming up.

And I think it's good to read any books on technical theatre, as well as any books on directing so you have more of an understanding of what the director is maybe dealing with. With directing books I like On Directing by Harold Clurman and A Sense of Direction: Some Observations on the Art of Directing by William Ball.

LexieTaylor

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #5 on: Oct 14, 2014, 10:43 am »
I definitely agree with getting to know all areas of tech theatre. I actually have a degree in lighting design/tech, so something like "Technical Theatre for Non-Technical People" would probably not be the most satisfying read. (On that note, the "Illustrated Theatre Production Guide" by John Holloway is halfway between that and the Backstage Handbook. I keep it around as a reference book, and would highly recommend it.)
I have read the Lawrence Stern Stage Management book, and also have that around as a reference tool....I've never used it that way though because I think a lot of it is a little one-sided and a little outdated. I do think it was a great outline of "here are all of the things that you could at one point be responsible for as a stage manager" when I was in SM class in college.
I have not read the Ionazzi book or "The Stage Manager's Toolkit." I will have to look into those, and the sort of alternative books that shanakathleen recommended.
Thank you for the recommendations.

NJ.JerrySmith

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #6 on: Oct 21, 2014, 09:41 pm »
The Backstage Guide to Stage Management by Thomas A. Kelly. Make sure you pick up the 3rd edition, it's the book that I was taught out of at school. There is an appendix at the back with great examples of paperwork to boot.

Also a second to SMMeade's nomination of the Backstage Handbook. I take book of these books with me to each gig.

PSMKay

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #7 on: Oct 22, 2014, 06:57 am »
The 3rd edition of Tom Kelly's book was the first to include mention of SMNetwork. (2nd edition came out in 1999, roughly a year before we were born.) I definitely agree with NJ.Jerry. :)

If you're looking for something a little more fluffy, try the Starship Troupers series by Christopher Stasheff. It's a relatively quick SF trilogy about a theatre troupe that hires a spaceship and goes interstellar to escape censorship on Earth.

ambrosialx

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #8 on: Oct 22, 2014, 10:04 am »
if you are Canadian Stage Managing the Arts in Canada by Winston Morgan is great is sits on my desk constantly full of post it flags!
"I will prepare and someday my chance will come"

Jonas_A

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #9 on: Nov 26, 2014, 07:56 am »
I cannot recommend getting a copy of Technical Theatre for Non-Technical People highly enough. I nearly bought a second copy because I keep lending mine to people, or photocopying passages. It's great for people who know nothing ("What? Tech? But we're a dance school...") and for people who have departmental tunnel-vision ("I'm a sound engineer. What the hell is DMX and why won't these cables work for me?!") It's also a great cheat-sheet for yourself. When I was younger I used to grab it and skim the necessary chapter before I met with someone from that department. Having some basic knowledge not only saved my ass on a frequent basis, it also made communication so much easier and respect gained faster because I could speak at least the basics of everyone's language. Think of it as a phrase book for theatre.

As for other books? Pallin's guide to stage management is great, Thomas A. Kelly's guide is also good and Peter Maccoy's Essentials of Stage Management should not be overlooked. Combining those with Lawrence Stern's gives a really well-rounded introduction to things. My only concern with the Stern book is that it's a bit biblical; he writes as if it's his way or certain doom. That said, it's very thorough and very useful.

Don't overlook the content available for Kindle; a few of the good textbooks are readily and cheaply available in a digital format, and nothing beats being able to carry most of the books I named above around with you on your phone.

I recently read Ed Catmull's biography; "Creativity Inc., Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration" and it gave me a lot of food for thought as a manager of creative people. It's written about his experiences at Pixar, but the problems will resonate with any SM or PM.

SMMeade

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #10 on: Dec 08, 2014, 12:43 am »


I recently read Ed Catmull's biography; "Creativity Inc., Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration" and it gave me a lot of food for thought as a manager of creative people. It's written about his experiences at Pixar, but the problems will resonate with any SM or PM.

That sounds really interesting. Thanks for the recommendation!

Melissitchka

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #11 on: Dec 12, 2014, 06:45 pm »
I'm definitely part of team Lawrence Stern. His book was my college text book and I still use it as a reference point.

A few that aren't stage management related but really helped me as a stage manager were:
The Art of Speed Reading People by Paul Tieger & Barbara Barron-Teiger
Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey
The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Kenneth Blanchard
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VilleSM

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #12 on: Dec 12, 2014, 09:56 pm »
Some of my favorites include:

A Sense of Direction by William Ball (I think it's really important to understand directors... or at least to try to understand them)
How to Run a Theatre by Jim Volz
Theatre Management by David M. Conte and Stephen Langley (not so much about Stage Management, but the whole structure of things)
Running Theaters: Best Practices for Leaders and Managers by Duncan Webb
The Empty Space by Peter Brook

And, of course, I highly second (third?) The Backstage Handbook and Technical Theatre for Non-Technical People. The latter is on the homescreen of my Nook for instant access. I'll admit I'm awful at remembering what certain tools, etc. are called, so these two books help me a LOT when I go to send e-mails to TDs, Carpenters, Riggers, etc. to translate from "director-ese" to techie.
"The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life." - Oscar Wilde

DeeCap

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #13 on: Dec 17, 2014, 10:22 am »
I third (or fourth) recommend The Backstage Handbook and Technical Theatre for Non-Technical People. I teach non majors at small college, and this book clearly explains design and tech.

I also have the book Theatrical Design and Production by J. Michael Gillette. It's a bit advanced for theatre 101, but I like how he organized the book and goes into depth on the design process.

smejs

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Re: Books Books Books
« Reply #14 on: Dec 18, 2014, 11:52 am »
I need to think a while on other books to recommend, but I agree with the endorsement of Laurie Kincman's book, fairly new to the field of SM book authors.