Please Help!!!! I'm the new stage manager.

Pleas help. My director just selected me as the new stage manger for our spring musical. I have always been the sound operator and this is a big step for me. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. :arrowr: :!: :!: :!: :!: [/u]
Hi Soundguy - SM is certainly not my area but in the time between now and when someone with the knowledge to help comes along, I suggest doing a forum search. I know there have been various discussions on this topic, so you should be able to find some useful posts.

Good luck!
SuperCow said:
trust your instincts, and never be afraid to assert yourself, and you should do fine

^couldnt have said it better myself.
i too am a sound guy, but prior to tech week (and even during tech week) i help with sets etc. anyway, supercow is completely right it is all about asserting yourself and keeping control of the crew. there are probably people who know more than you about set building and stuff and let them use their knowledge but have you approve the design, dont be a dictator but be in control. confidence is important, it is your job to keep people organized!
The key to keeping other people organized is ot be organized yourself. Know what's going on at all times. The stage meneger should be one part control freak (know what your crew is doing at all times), one part spy (know what your crew is thinking, and root out any dissention) and two parts dicator. I know this sounds kind of Machiavellian, but it works!
The key to keeping other people organized is ot be organized yourself. Know what's going on at all times. The stage meneger should be one part control freak (know what your crew is doing at all times), one part spy (know what your crew is thinking, and root out any dissention) and two parts dicator. I know this sounds kind of Machiavellian, but it works!
Organization is important. Lists of everything, schedules, but use pencil.

Search the web for Stage Manager - I found a few useful sites out there.

Go to the library - there are several stage management books out.

Remember, you can't do everything, so let people do their jobs. Since you are already involved, you probably already know who you can count on and who you have to watch.


Bearing in mind what has already been said - all great comments - be aware of what your specific needs are. What is said in some of the books, for example, does not apply to educational theater, so take it with a grain of salt. If you can roll with the punches - and keep the show on track - you're fine. Best of luck.
I think one of the most important things to remember is that the audience doesn't know what the shows supposed to look like.

If you do have a problem, accept the fact that a problem does exist, then try to find a way around it. NEVER (and I can't stress this enough) try to investigate a problem while a show is running - save it for a note session after the show.

And remember to look after your ASM. He/She'll LOVE you for it!
the stage manager is a leader of people. Every leader has their own style to how they organize the work getting done and their own way of keeping it under control. In addition to the organizational and relyance skills when under your control, you must look deep into your self as to how and why you were trusted as this leader in keeping to your personal style of leadership and to the most adventagous method of extending that same leadership role you have already asserted into a more broad way of getting the job done on a larger aspect of it.

In other words, organize as you will, note what needs to be done both within your ability to supervise properly and not, but a good leader of people does not need to organize and specialize as much as communicate what they need to be done and by whome.

This especially becomes tricky if only a good tech person but not a leader of a crew. Still rely upon your style and what is most fair in balance with what's necessary to get the job done.

In addition to organizational skills to a lesser extent, I say a stage manager is a good leader of people by way of their own style for doing so. Work and emphisize on this and you will lead.
Why is Ship so much more eloquent than the rest of us? Maybe its the 707718 words he's typed? Hmm....

Anyway! I always find that it's important that at ANY point in the production ANYONE, be it cast or crew, can approach you for a quick chat about any concerns they have.

Always try and give everyone in the production an easy way to contact you or leave you a message. And try to get a reasonably fast turnaround on any messages that you do get .


while the dictator thing can work at times, remember you also have to work with the cast for over a month, and the crew for that whole week or so, so don't piss anyone off either, you have to keep that balance, and don't be afraid to say no, or to deligate tasks, that was one of my big problems at first, i tried to do everything myself, and it didn't workout, just lead to more stress for me. You have a crew use them.
very true techieman and avkid, our crew spends countless hours lying around and chatting, the stage managers get mad that they dont work, but they dont bother asking cause they dont expect anything to get done. the people on crew volunteered for this, they are there because they want to build/paint sets or buy props or whatever their particular job is. keep that in mind
ha ha ha

another thing to ALWAYS keep in mind is a sense of humor.

for the show im about to SM, im having everyone do things differently. (im sure many other people do these, they are just new to my school.)


when I call places or fifteen minutes to curtain. i am expecting a thank you fifteen, or thank you places. (im sure others do this too.)

also on the crews if there is a problem, im having them say this is awesome, or i love this show soo much. something along those lines. it keeps the director on his toes too. ha ha ha...

another fun ting to do is before shows, have a shake down, or do the hokey pokey. it REALLY loosens everyone up!

and definitely do cast/crew gifts or give a really awesome pre show chat. i love doing cast/crew gifts on opening night, or decorating the dressing rooms. it pumps everyone up, and gets them into an awesome mood!

well thats all for now, GOOD LUCK! :D
In my opinion, it all boils down to one word. That word is respect.

Respect your crew. Respect the work they do. Whether you jus tell them they did a good job, give them a pat on the back, or buy them presents, they need to know that you appreciate what you're doing, or else morale will take a nosedive. Don't shout at them, and never, ever, publically belittle them. Praise in public, but punish in private. It may make you feel good to rail at someone in front of their friends, but it makes them feel like crap, and it makes you look like a Colonel in a Bananna Republic.

Respect peoples' skills. In your case, you're a sound person, but this applies to anyone with a specialty, be it LX, carpentry, etc. You are not omniscient. You need to be willing to acknowledge that people know more about something than you do. Your lighting tech knows more about lighting than you do. Never forget this, and don;t try to pretend that's not the case. Save yourself countless embarassing situations and a huge loss of credibility by leaving specialized things to people who specialize in them, rather than trying to have your fingers in every pie. Likewise, when you are wrong, know it and admitt it. There are people who know more than you who you are in charge of. This is an asset, so don;t pretend that you know more than them.

Respect the show. Some author worked to write the show, so try not to make it suck and cause him or her to turn over in their grave!

Respect the cast. I know, but actors are frustrating, tiresome, and often have less than exemplary standards of personal hygene. But remember, nobody watches the booth. They came to see the show, the actors are the visible part of the show, so they're a necessity. So treat them nicely, and they'll be nice to you. Then cut their heads off after the show is over.

Respect your superiors. Or else they'll turf you out. Nobody likes a kid that thinks they're an adult with said powers. This is the one guaranteed to end your SM career.

Respect the equipment. Chances are, that's not a table. Nor is it a trash can. And those light's aren't "pretty" unless you want your head cut off by the LD.

Respect... well, this one dosen't start with "respect"... but is sure deserves its own paragraph. Yelling is a tool, not a way of life. If you yell at people for everything, then they get used to it, and it loses its effectiveness. Also, it's a surefire way to piss them off. It also makes you look terrible, despotic, and often infantile. A well placed shout can be good, but only in extenuating circumstances. Not for when the set crew misses the spike marks (unless they were on the wrong half of the stage) or when the lights are a bit late or early. A cool head will win the day, and people respond better to it. But if people are persistently doing something wrong, you might want to up the ante a little bit.

Respect peoples' love for what they are doing. This is HS theater, not Broadway. People are doing this because they like to do it, not because it's profitable. 99% of the tiume people are doing what they do in good faith, because they like doing it. Respect that, and recognize that without them volunteering their time, just like you do, there would be no show. Likewise, you don;t have a reputation or a future job on the line with this one, so relax. Que sera sera, my friend, you have to learn to roll with the punches.
WOW your Lucky

Wow at my school they wont let the lighting and sound people go off to be SMs
Re: WOW your Lucky

yvfd82t said:
Wow at my school they wont let the lighting and sound people go off to be SMs

Hehe, that's often the case, but some schools just don't have enough techs for that to work quite well. ^^

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