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Learning, as you go.

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by TechieTom, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. TechieTom

    TechieTom Member

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    So i was stage Manager for the first time this past few months, i managed to pull it off not really knowing what i was doing, but it was a fun experience. anybody else do the same thing?
     
  2. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    I've seen it happen on shows I've been a part of. It always fails miserably.

    If you're in a high school setting, or low end community theatre... it's probably fine. The operators won't know what to expect, and they can probably learn to follow your way of SMing. In proper theatre though, the operators have an expectation - calls to be called in nearly the same way by every stage manager. Sure there are always some variations, but the general format is always the same.

    SMs generally learn a lot of theory first, and you'll generally find a lot of them come from a technical background, so they know what goes on in each department. After they've learned some theory, the other best way of learning is to shadow a professional stage manager - or just pick it up while they call your cues.
     
  3. underdark27

    underdark27 Member

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    Yep, I have to be SM for my school next performance.
     
  4. nick2401

    nick2401 Member

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    The first time anyone calls a show things aren't going to be perfect and you will be flying by the seat of your pants, I"ve seen it done and have done it. As for SMs calling exactly the same way that is simply untrue, every stage manager has their own unique way (thought they use the same words timing and notation can differ) But I believe in a professional theatre with sufficient tech rehearsals techs should be able to adapt, it is what we do for a living, adapt to a given situation be it light blowing, some cable unplugged or a sm calling a show in a way you are not familiar with we should learn. And if on the off chance it does fail we learn more from our failures then any of our successes

    ~Nick.
     
  5. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    I recently helped out on a local community theatre show as board op where the SM had never SMed before. She called her standbys precisely 2 pages before the cue (at least 1-2 minutes in advance) and didn't say the G word - she just said "Light 21" and that was my cue to go. In one show, there were three incorrect cues because she would say something like "Light 21 will be coming up after..." and I would have already hit the button. I'm just glad there weren't any critical bump cues or it would have been much worse.
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    There is more to being an SM then just calling cues, a LOT more.

    Just a few questions for the OP to flesh this out a bit...

    What did you learn in terms of managing people?
    What about how you worked with your directors/designer/fellow crew? What did you take away about organazation?
    How did you keep your book?
    What pointers do you have to help a new person run a tech rehearsal?
     
  7. BurnsvilleTheatreGuildSM

    BurnsvilleTheatreGuildSM Member

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    I just did the exact same thing this summer! My director gave me the opportunity to stage manage the summer show Sweeney Todd. It was absolutely frightening, because the old SM graduated, and left me completely on my own. Not just that, but we had to move to a different venue (my school is without air conditioning for the summer).

    It was a professional theatre ("proper" if you prefer, although I truly don't agree with that term), and everyone who worked there was super willing to help me out, without doing my job for me. Everyone was surprised that my company was able to exceed the expectations of professonalism that previous shows set before us (My company may be in high school, but we don't do high school theatre). The show was a huge success, and I built strong ties with the "professional" crew. In fact, most of them are going to come over to our high school during the year to help refine our skills. :)
     
  8. Tedbear12

    Tedbear12 Member

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    When I first started stage managing I didn't even know it was a position. Our high school didn't really have anyone stage manage, just student directors. I enjoyed hanging out at rehearsals and started helping out with whatever was needed. After that show the high school director split out the student director and stage manager and started leaving me resposible to take care of all the tech. Each show I did and theatre I worked with after that give me a better idea how to stage manage. Now I work professionally without having ever taken a class. If I'm not stage managing a show, I still watch the stage manager to see if something they do works better then what I do. You never stop learning.
     
  9. XwildeyX

    XwildeyX Member

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    I was SM a lot at college, and i just got dragged into it! but i found a website that really helped me. If you've got an hour to spare, then this is good reading :)

    Stage Manager's Handbook


    hope this helps :)
     

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