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Headset Etiquette?

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Anonymous067, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    Two nights in a row now, our SM has been distracted by things in the booth or on stage, (and consequently been talking about it on the headset) and has missed cues.

    Can we review basic Headset Etiquette on here so I can review it before our next show?
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  3. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    Well obviously, a fake bird, irrelevant to the plot, falling off of a wall BACKSTAGE is more important that sound effects.
     
  4. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    That's funny, I don't remember you doing a show in my amphitheatre.:confused:

    Oh wait! Our fake bird lives on a sprinkler pipe.:lol: Dont get me started on the mouse, the moose, and the alien.:rolleyes:
     
  5. TimOlson

    TimOlson Member

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    your SM really dropped the ball - repeatedly! if the talent on stage is able to focus and perform, then the talent that's backstage needs to do so as well. if he can't hack it, he should give it up and let someone else have a chance.

    if this is a school, then everybody is expected to make mistakes and learn from them. more than one mistake means that person is NOT learning.

    in my experience, if someone that was being paid repeatedly missed cues, they might get yanked from the show but most definitely would never work for that entity again.

    peace, Tim O
     
  6. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    1. Booth distractions should be non-existent. If the crew(/booth monkeys) is(/are) having trouble focusing, the SM needs to get serious with them and tell them to cut it out. Works for me.
    2. Fake bird. It didn't just randomly fall. Either someone caused it to or it was never stable in the first place. Either the crew/performers need to be told to watch where they're going, or someone needs to be put in charge of making sure the bird is in such a position that it will not fall.
    3. Headset, if it's not a cue or something to do with one, it shouldn't be mentioned. Save what you wanna say for when the show's over.


    Really, I agree with Tim on this one. However, as a high school student, I'll say that in my opinion, one mistake is 1 too many. Even taking into account that we learn from our mistakes, we should also look before we leap.
     
  7. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    For one thing, it should go w/out saying. For another, it's in the glossary... then again... so is not "passing wind"...
     
  8. WestlakeTech

    WestlakeTech Active Member

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    Didn't really mean to imply that, but for the most part, I stick with it. Not meaning to sound harsh or anything. Just think the entire crew needs to stay focused on the show while it's going on. The 2nd to last thing I wanna do is suck the fun out of a show. The last thing I wanna do is mess up a cue because I, or anyone else, lost focus.

    I'm not going to reprimand anyone for saying a few senteces back and forth, but if people start to lose their focus (or get loud as my last sound board op was kinda bad about), I'll put 'em back on track and ask 'em to be quiet.
     
  9. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    Not that I stage manage, but I agree more with WestlakeTech. Comm chatter should be related to the show 95% of the time. A few lines here and there are fine, not* during standbys, but excessive unrelated chatter shouldn't happen. Full stop.

    * - Edit. Whoops.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  10. soundop

    soundop Active Member

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    i agree, talking up to the 5 minute warning in shows, and during intermission is acceptable, however talking on the com system during the actual prefromance is only acceptable to give cues, or state that there is an issiue. our sm and asm got yelled at for discussing callsigns last night, which also are not used during shows.
     
  11. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    I know this thread has been quiet for a couple of months, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in! My current show, a professional production of La Cage aux Folles has only me (the SM) and the operator (who is operating LX and also sound playback) on coms (the MD, sound op and ASM have coms but they're only on them at the beginning of each half, or if there's an problem). It's quite a complex show, with a good number of cues, including some music cues (the music is partially tracked) which have to start at exactly the right moment due to there being a bar of click fed to the band before the actual music starts. If we were to restrict our conversations to show-related convos or calling cues, we'd both be bored out of our trees (we're nine weeks into a 12-week run), minds would wander elsewhere and cues would be missed. As it is, we have conversations about anything and everything under the sun. I call the standbys at the correct time, and the conversation stops wherever it happens to be; we have silence until the cue, and when the cue has gone, the conversation continues. True, we didn't do this at the start of the run; conversations were limited until we were both familiar with the show - this wasn't ever "agreed" between us, but the conversations just grew as the familiarity did. It also helps that I've worked with the operator a lot and we understand each other very well, and have a fantastic working relationship, but certainly as an SM I can have a conversation on headset, keep one eye on the monitor (I call from backstage) and the other eye on my script without any difficulty. Should there be more people on headsets, I'd probably have to be stricter, but I'm not one for keeping headset talk to the absolutely necessary only. So long as people shut up during standbys, and don't talk too loudly, I don't object to coms conversations. I have a vivid recollection of one show (probably ten or twelve people on headsets) where we had some very long gaps between cues and the head flyman read us Dr Seuss stories on headset every night....
     
  12. Nikgwolf

    Nikgwolf Member

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    So, I remember seeing a book specifically on theatre etiquette in the bookstores. Of course this was a few years ago. Has anyone else heard of this book? Unfortunately, I don't remember the title, but I'm sure it would be handy at this point.

    Nik Robalino
     
  13. bwhiteford

    bwhiteford Member

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    I love the headset etiquette "dirty dozen", i'll definitely be sharing that with my students for our upcoming production. It's amazing to me how many "kids" assume that no one is on, and you pick up a headset, and you're being talked about. Although, that does give you the opportunity to suddenly turn your mic on, and "surprise" them.
     
  14. rchu3149

    rchu3149 Member

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    We have SM and ASM split cues, SM usually calls Lights and Sound while ASM calls Deck and Fly... but they both have all the cues so if one needs to deal with another problem they can still have all the cues called...
     
  15. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

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    I think that "headsetiquette" depends on the stage manager. Anyone that comes from my high school won't care about chatter, as most people play headset battleship during our shows, or we talk about totally inappropriate things, and nobody's really distracted. Nobody eats on headset, locks their headset (unless s/he is the SM), yells on headset, or laughs on headset.

    When the SM says silent on headset or gives a ready everyone shuts up regardless of what they're doing. Oh, unless someone is dying backstage.

    However, we do follow all "headsetiquette" rules if school is still in session. Our intercom system is connected with the blackbox theatre, our costume room, and the sewing room. Someone had a conversation with me once on headset, and she said some pretty funky stuff that even made me go, "WHA?" Very suddenly, we heard another tech who had sewing during seventh period come on and say, "Twenty-eight kids just heard what you said guys."

    Unless other people could potentially hear what we're saying, we kind of chuck the rules out of the window.
     
  16. MSLD

    MSLD Active Member

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    if telling them to shut up doesnt work just give them more work and tell them why they are working so hard. its mean but they will remember not to talk anymore. i have tried it and it does indeed work.
     
  17. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    Everyone keeps saying "oh..well we all be quiet when a standby comes on". What if the SM is distracted and misses the standby?

    And don't say its never happened, because we all know it has at some point.
     
  18. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    You get a new SM! I am not kidding. It is the SMs responsibility to keep the show running, if the SM is distracted by chatter he should be asking people to be quiet.
     
  19. raythespy

    raythespy Member

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    While I do agree with most of the "Dirty Dozen", I find that keeping chatter on the headset to only show-related comments takes away from the fun of the show. Granted, if this chit-chatting causes missed cues, distraction, etc. then yes, it should be stopped by all means. But if that is not happening, and the show is running smoothly, I feel that the crew should be allowed to have side conversations as long as they keep their main focus to the show. At my highschool, that's the case. We always have a few new freshmen who skirt the headset rules, but after the first few shows, they've all gotten into line and (more importantly) aren't making mistakes during the show. At that point, unrelated chatter isn't all that forbidden. As long as you aren't missing cues, aren't getting distracted, and the audience can't hear odd whispers from where they're sitting, I say it's ok to talk about non-show topics. Of course, there is absolutely no talking during a stand-by, no matter how smoothly the show is going.
     
  20. TechWeek

    TechWeek Member

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    I have had this problem all throughout high school and college. I've SM a few productions for our college and the crew chiefs(run crew, light board, sound op, MD, flys) are always on com. One of the best ways to get people to be quiet is simply to say "please be quiet. " or "Clear the channel". Although once this didn't work and the the run crew chief kept talking and missed his cue that i had called (during a rehearsal) i marched backstage with a roll of Gaf and tapped the mic to his head. I told if you need me, tell the ASM learn how to use the equipment responsibly or leave this stage right now. He was so shocked that i did that he nearly burst into tears (he was a 9th grader, i was senior). I never had a problem again.
     

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