I'm ASMing a musical right now - basically, the SM keeps track of blocking, choreography and anything the director requests, and I watch over the deck. If this were a more complicated show (we only get 25 hours of rehearsal, it's a concert reading), I would probably be managing the deck and on book for sections of dialogue.
I usually get my ASM to do anything that I don't have time to do. Does that count as slavery?? =P Nah, I try to be good to my ASM but he does end up doing a lot of the work that I just don't get the time to do... checking props (we don't have Props Managers), giving actor warnings, getting the running crew into position for scene changes, etc.
Just when i thought i knew who was incharge of what, you guys bring up ASM (i take it Assistant Stage manager?) Whats the diff (other than what we've allready discused)? I thought the SM was the person on the floor "directing traffic" (as we call it at my old school).
In most instances, the SM should be "on book", calling all the cues, including deck moves and directing traffic. Because of the concentration needed for calling cues, an ASM will often take over traffic control backstage and make sure everything is running the way it should be. An ASM also could be considered something like a stage manager's understudy- able to step in and call the show in the event of an emergency. At our school we often have two ASMs. One will take care of trackingprops and sets, the other costumes. ASMs need to be good problem solvers as well.
Normally my stage managers sit up in the booth with the LBO calling cues, and relaying cues over headset to backstage ASMs backstage we have 2 one on each side, they are responsible for all actors, props, and costumes on their side
SM's and ASM's at my school....SM is always the person who gets really really really mad at everyone for no good reason at all, complains profusely of a lakc of sleep, and is always asking if anyone has anything with caffeine in it. The actors actually do pretty well about knowing when they need to enter, they just walk over to the entrance, and see where they are in the play, an look and see when they need to be up there, ready to go on. SM's in the past have always been girls. This year, we have a guy. ASM is like, usually we don't have one. Someone is drafted a few weeks before production to stand on the other side of the stage and make sure the actors are ther eon time. This year we have a real ASM, and she is working in tandem with the SM. ASM, SM and me, the TD, are allworking to gether to design the set. I think we are also building it too.
And ofcourse, SM or ASM are always, , before shows, like "yeah I'm gonna be yelling at you" and it's like "oh, great. I'm a good actor, I'm doing my job ,I'm the one that's handling when I need to be up there and ready, the sound and light people are handling their own cues, and we actors are staying quiet backstage. Remind me again why you are prepared to hate us? is it beccause you cannot act or run a lightboard?"
our lighting is very simple, just 14 Par's. So, we don't have lots of cues anyways, and the director is usually the one running lights (even though she knows diddlysquat about alot of the lighting)
well, our SM does have to tell us to be quiet...mainly, right before the play, ,and right near the end. But yeah,b ecause of their attidudes, I don't like them a whole lot usually, though sometimes they are needed to quiet actors down.
:? Its all really confusing.
My theatre company has two stages - a small one downstairs and a larger upstairs.
During Rehearsals D/S-
My ASM takes all blocking notes and gets most of the paperwork regarding to tasks done. I'll usually call out: "<Name>, make a note of such and such."
That afternoon they create and print/email the notes sheets for that day.
During Shows D/S
My ASM starts props checklists at 1/2 hour call and then I'll usually ask them to take over calls at about 20-15 mins. I then make sure that the tech crew is set, review any problems that haven't been fixed from the previous performance and we start.
During the show, my ASM is usually in the dressing rooms giving actor warnings or helping with quick changes backstage.
The US space has a dedicated SM desk and control booth, uinlike the DS theatre. My ASM will usually take blocking and other paperwork, similair to the job they do DS.
During shows the ASM sits prompt side at the desk and runs FOH communications, CueLX and has direct access to Backup DMX.
(In tech week and during shows i usually call in what i call the 2ASM, or 2nd Assistant Stage Manager (confusing I know) I usually have them at a spot OP or in the dressing rooms.
Basically, I find that the ASM is there to make the SM's life a whole lot easier.
I usually put the SM in charge of cue calling and keeping the SR crew organized. The ASM is in charge of the SL crew. This way I know that there are two people, one per stage side, with brains keeping everybody else on task.
Plus it is helpful if you don't have crossover lanes, or in our case, crossover lanes that cannot be traveled timely.
crossover lines?? like, a way betwen the two sides of the stage?? our thing is like a U. the _ is the backstage, with the || things the hallways to the entrances. In the middle of the U is the stage
This play is gonna be different I am TD, and together with the SM and ASM, we are all working on things. It's gonna be a better play, and with the best tech ever!!!
PS: my school JUST bought a new sound system, Mackie VLZ1604Pro, two SR1530's and two SR450's. That makes this even better! and to boot, because we rent a church's space for our school, and we use their older crappier sound system, we cannot put ours in anywhere, I'm storing it.
For us at berekely high, the way it worked last year was the stagemanager was on SL calling cues, the ASM was also SL(where the backstage ie dressing rooms are) taking care of the actors and props ect, and then on SR we had a techie who was ASM, flymaster, and making sure actors dont go into the patch. so for us SM calles cues, and ASM watches the stage, backstage, actors, props