Inexperienced SM

falcon

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
For our musical production this spring, our SM doesn't have a clue about what she has to do. Recently, we had a test about the chain of command during a production and one of the questions was "What are the roles of the SM?", she had a blank page :( . Anyway, I offered take the job of SM, but my TD wants me to be available to run the sound board (10 lavs, area mics, and pit band mics) for it, if I can't find anyone to run it. If I do find someone, I become the ASM. If I am the ASM, then there is no big deal at all since I will be backstage and we can leave her to call the cues and I can take care of the rest. But, if I have to run the board, how can I make it easier on her for SMing? The sad part about this is, next to me, she is the best for the job. And she knows almost nothing compared to me, but still more than the rest of the class. I still have to come up with a lighting design, mic placement, tech cues, set changes, any effects we want and so forth, (pretty much everything but the stationary set) in one month. Any suggestions to make this easier on all of us? (especially me)
(I also have to make sure we don't break up because of any of this)
 

cutlunch

Active Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
First talk to your TD because you are going to need help simple as that. I am not knocking your skills but trying to do to much means a large chance of things getting stuffed up and you won't be happy with what you do. Ask your TD to mentor one of your class on at least one of the jobs, they should be helping with training. They could even mentor your friend the SM. Other people have mentioned stagemanager handbooks.

A quick google search for "stage managers Handbook" brought over 500 hits so I haven't had time to go over them all heres a link to one that seems to be helpful

http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/Stage/2203/SMhandbook.html

You may have to modify some of this to fit in with your situation.

Amazon.Com is selling a book called "the Stage Managers Handbook" maybe you could check in local libraries for it. You could even earn some brownie points with your friend by buying it for her. Maybe someone who has read it can tell you what they think of it.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0896760073/102-4754802-9086561&tag=controlbooth-20

Checkout the other books on the subject listed on the page as well.

You can get your friend on the computer to do a search like I suggested then she can have a read of the stuff available and pick what she finds most understandable to her.

Just for your self if you are still doing a lot of the work, get yourself a gopher. They don't have to be a techie but someone with brains and common sense, you can give some basic jobs to do. E.g running a cable to a mike, once you show them how they plug in, they should be able to do it for you. It is all a matter of saving your time for the jobs only you can do.
 

falcon

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
yes, that does mean we are going out.

for getting a gopher, everyone in the class that i could get are all idiots and need someone to "hold their hand" while doing everything. And think these are 17 and 18 year olds. This sucks.

My best choice would be someone who constantly gets on my nerves and everyone hates, but he is the only one who can use a drill properly. That probably won't be the best thing to do though.
 

falcon

Active Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
almost all of them need tons of help, the only ones who don't are in the musical as lead roles so I don't want to put any more onto them
 

SuperCow

Active Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2004
Location
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Well, quite the little conundrum you're in, aren't you? I think you might have to resign yourself to doing the bulk of the work. As regards your SM, who is also your girlfriend, you enter into an emotional quagmire of quite some depth. I personally only go out with people not involved in theater. I broke that little resolution once with disastrous results. I would just talk to her, un-threateningly, about your feelings. And do it in a positive way, with encouragement, not criticism. And don't do it on a date!
 

cutlunch

Active Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
falcon said:
yes, that does mean we are going out.

for getting a gopher, everyone in the class that i could get are all idiots and need someone to "hold their hand" while doing everything. And think these are 17 and 18 year olds. This sucks.

My best choice would be someone who constantly gets on my nerves and everyone hates, but he is the only one who can use a drill properly. That probably won't be the best thing to do though.
As they say beggars can't be choosers. You also know that once you leave school / college and are working for a living you will have to work with people you don't like. I say give this guy a chance, get him to work on the scenery it sounds like he might be capable. Just set him a list of tasks and leave him to get on with it. If you give clear instructions you won't have to hold his hand. You might find he is a an asset instead of a liability. Every job he can take off your hands makes life easier.
 

ccfan213

Active Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2004
Location
Maryland
not knowing your gf or how serious your relationship is i cant really comment. i really think your on your own as far as what would cause a problem with her in the way of getting an ASM who could do alot of the work or something... girls are really strange sometimes and tend to overreact to things in a relationship. just be careful of what you do!
 

TechWench

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Chicago
girls are really strange sometimes and tend to overreact to things in a relationship. just be careful of what you do!
8O WHOA!! Easy there cowboy!

ok, kidding. your right. Especially in a working environment with you techically under her. A safe way to go about this would be to bring something up to her as a "new" way of doing something.

Ex: "Hey, I just found this awesome way to ___, isnt it great? we should try it!"

ok, ya, its corny. but hey, give it a go! and if you say it in a happy up-beat way, then she wont take it as an attack.

what is it she is having problems with? If its her paper work, then show her a "cool" new way to layout her notes etc... Or say something like...this guy i know said he does blah blah blah when he SM's, that sounds like something we should do.

once again corny, but you never know!

you are in quite a pickle here, but if you go about it in a sensitive and professional manner, you should be fine. If she takes it as an attack of her skills, then just sit her down and explain to her that it is indeed for the best of the show! It will be dificult, just dont give up. There really is no easy answer for this.
Best of luck.
 

nate

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2004
Location
Rock Creek, Ohio
This is my second year as SM. When I took over the job I had no clue what had to be done. The director (our teacher/coach) and his wife (the producer) were very helpful in pointing me in the right direction. The former SM also came back from college a couple of times so that she could help me on the learning path. Most of what I know now is because I had people helping me, I did a lot of the things, and I listened to the advice that people with experience gave me. Maybe you could just help her along and give your advice when you can. The more you help her out, the more she will learn and the faster she will learn it. In that aspect it is almost as if you are ASM or even SM because of all the help and advice you dish out.

-Nate