ASM doing almost all of SM work


here's hoping that someone can help with suggestions. I will be ASMing a show for my school starting in Feb. I am excited about the show and what not minus the SM. This SM is unbelievably disorganized, constantly late, and never prepared. She always "dumps" her work on the ASMs, and in the end, the ASMs have done about 90% of the work. Does anyone have any ideas as to how someone might go about dealing with her? Thanks in advance.
Here is something that I have learned-

There are some people which you just don't work with.

There are people that will make you life hell during shows, and often times you don't realize who they are until you are in the middle of the show- LEARN!

Don't work with people you know you won't get along with. Noticed I used 'get along'. I still work with plenty of people I don't like, but we do get along.

If you have to work with someone you don't get along with- put a buffer in between you. I know I am going to have to work on a show but I hate the director and there will be not tech director- therefore- I decided I will not design the show myself, but allow a friend to be the designer and I will just be the assistant there to help him- and I won't have to deal with the director.

Just a few suggestions for the future- guess they don't help much now.
Hrm. Well, does she know exactly what her job is supposed to be? I would suggest finding some sort of Stage Managers' Handbook and make her give it a read through. It might help her with tips for organization, etc. I actually skimmed through one and it was really cool. ^^ Ideas for lists, charts, schedules, etc. ALso, who's in charge? They might be able to help.

Anyway, best of luck.
is the adult in charge aware of the situation?

we have co-stage managers and an assistant stage manager. not to suggest that one of my SMs is bad, but that distributes the work between three people instead of two, so even if one SM does a terrible job there is still the other. so unless both SMs are terrible no one person does all the work. this also becomes very convenient during shows when we have a SR and a SL SM and the ASM is around to help.

it also helps if the co SMs are friends or atleast dont hate eachother or the asm really gets stuck in a bad situation.
i just realized i forgot to ask if the adult in charge would be willing to try something like this :p
I would talk to the director, and relate your opinion(supported with facts)and ask him or her to help make a better show possible!
to answer your questions; Yes. the adult in charge is fully aware of her behaviour and in fact recently has been encouraging her. My entire class was given several different handbooks to review and go through, and I guess my professor thought that it would help us, which for the most part it has. I just don't think she read them.

I will have a buffer on the show. A second ASM.

And I wanted to say thank you for all your great advice.

The director of this show is one of the largest names in my city. Both myself and the other ASM are trying to talk to him, but he's too busy. So, the soonest I could talk to him is after rehearsals have started.

But all of your advice is a big help.
Here are some suggestions to help you with your plight:

1. Tardiness by the stage manager is inexcusable. Let your drama advisor know.

2. Stage managing is a position that requires leadership skills that many high school students have difficulty implementing. It may be time for your advisor to sit down with your SM and go over some tricks to help her along. On another front, though, it could be misperception of what she is doing. Maybe she is delegating to others and they are perceiving it as her sloughing her duties.

3. Are you an organized person? If so why not try to help her become more organized. Do it politely. For example you could say...

I just found this neat way to organize the cues. Can I show you and see what you think?

A bad approach...

Listen, you unorganized twit..........(fill in any text here that won't be heard because of the initial insult).....

4. Really, the most important thing for you to do is to give honest, open and constructive criticism to both your SM and your advisor. Tell them your concerns and put it in a language that will help them see that your suggestions will only make the show better. After all... isn't that what you are all there for?

Best of luck,

Tenor makes some good points especially about the delegation. If the stage manager has asm's then they will be doing a lot of the work. The stage manager is a supervisory role more then a hands on one, when there are enough people to help. They should be following up to see that assigned tasks are getting done, assigning tasks, liasing with the director, and acting as problem solvers.

I would try and find out the reason for the tardiness before going to the advisor. Since you mentioned a Professor, is this at college. Does she have to work to support herself etc
f there is a genuine reason for the tardiness can you help them overcome it? E.g. If it is a transport problem can they get a lift with you etc

If you see this person during the day maybe you could ask if you could get your assignments during the day so if they are late you at least have work to get on with.

I know it can be frustrating but just keep persevering and think of it as a learning experience, so that when you are promoted to SM you don't make the same mistakes.
infortuantely i've always had the opposite, in my days of freelancing SM'ing i never once worked with a competent ASM sadly, its just fate probably but i would certianly let them know when they fucked up big time, descreetly ofcourse and i hope fairly because i never really had loyalty issues and stuff with them. but anyway as everyone has already said its best to talk it through with the, if this guy/gal's good they'll understand that its not personal you just want whats best for the show, if the persons an arsehole then youre wasting your time trying to be reasonable, just do the bestt you can in the end and make sure your the SM nect time so it doesnt happen again, has anyone ele complained about this crapp SM or is it just yourself? if theres a few of you maybe you could arrange a time for a meeting beetween the stage managemnt team and the director to get it sorted in a peaceful and civilized manner?
well, I would completely agree if we were in high school that leadership might be something she still needs to work on, but we aren't. In fact, she's in her third year of university, and I am in my 4th.

Both myself and the other asm are trying to get a meeting with her. I think that she knows that she's really bad at this, and therefore is trying to post pone the meeting.

Anyone got suggestions on how to deal with the prof who won't realize that this SM is a twit!!?
If your SM is not cutting it, you are not there to punish them for it.

Unfortunately, the people in charge sound like they refuse to reconize their problem. Iit's hard to fathom why such a person would get a SM's position if they give no outward signs of taking it professionally. Maybe the same attitude that won't fix the problem helped create it in the first place, lack of awareness of the skills demanded of people in that postion or of which people possess them.

That said, maybe this person is very competant when it comes to running a show, just not an anal list-making type.

But your job isn't only to assist a SM when they are doing everything perfectly (by whatever your definition might be).

You have two good choices,

One, decide everything is so messed up that it's better not to be involved, in which case find a polite way not to be involved while there is still time to repalce you. The damage from particiapting would have to be a lot worse than the damage from your pulling out. This would have to be a pretty extreme case.

Two, step up and do what you think needs to be done to make the show run properly. Organize everything in sight, keep the prompt script, attend all the meetings with or without the SM, learn the script by heart, work on the technical and personnel questions and take that as far as you can.

Draw the SM into whatever issue you are addressing: "I was thinking of XYZ and wrote this up (plan, schedule, assignements) . Do you think it makes sense? Should I change it?"

In short, the SM's poor behavior is the opportunity for you to demonstrate your talents.

Don't try to upstage her or suggest to her or to others that she is no good. Communicate your leadership abilities by your good example and the truth will become clear to everyone before too long.

And even if she is personally unpleasant, so what? You don't have to be best friends or friends at all. You'll certainly work with people you don't like again, whatever you do in the future. Don't let them bother you. Don't work with them again, but don't let them bother you in the meantime.
Darkfield is unfortunately right. I say this not because I have anything against him/her, simply because it is an unfortunate truth of these things. I try to be a good SM, but I'm not always, and when I'm not, I probably don't hear about it as much as I should. But whenever there's slack from the SM, it's the ASM who needs to pick it up. Lead by example. Sometimes the SM will learn from watching you. I know I've learned things from ASMs, and even stage hands. Or even if not, the director will recognize hard word when they see it. Good work rarely goes unrewarded.

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