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SM v. ASM

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Dean, May 15, 2004.

  1. Dean

    Dean Member

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    Just wondering, since i might be SMing this show and all -

    Is the ASM basically the SM's slave?
     
  2. megf

    megf Member

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    Depends on what the show entails, and the working relationship between the folks on the SM team...

    Do you have detailed info on the show?
     
  3. Dean

    Dean Member

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    School Musical -
    Return to the Forbidden Planet
     
  4. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    yes, usually 8O :D
     
  5. megf

    megf Member

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    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.

    Megf
     
  6. SMTashi

    SMTashi Member

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    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.
     
  7. Dean

    Dean Member

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    Thanks - I'm so pumped to SM this musical
     
  8. producer

    producer Active Member

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    Ahhh shoot.
    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).
     
  9. sallyj

    sallyj Member

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    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 tracking props and sets, the other costumes. ASMs need to be good problem solvers as well.
    That help?

    SJM
     
  10. producer

    producer Active Member

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    You guys are amazing. Turns out that we just use different names. SM is Cue Master and ASM is SM. SWEETTTTTTTTT
     
  11. JP12687

    JP12687 Active Member

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    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
     
  12. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    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?"

    I'm sure that we are different from most schools :)
     
  13. JP12687

    JP12687 Active Member

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    yes you are completly different from my school.

    Actors at my school cannot be trusted to do anything, honestly if we didnt have ASMs and "runners' with them at all times the whole cast would be drunk by the time they came on stage.

    We had the problem last year one of our ASMs would yell way too much, she was hated and theofore no one respected her. I would walk down ask nicely and everyone would shutup.

    Our SM is normally always on book and call the cues to lighting(and sound sometimes) because there are way too many cues to handle..most shows i write have well over 250+ cues.
     
  14. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    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.
     
  15. who_touched_the_patch

    who_touched_the_patch Member

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    Location:
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    :? 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.

    Rehearsals U/S
    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.

    ____________
    Stage Managers DO make coffee...
     
  16. EPAC_Matt

    EPAC_Matt Member

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    One of our ASM's main jobs (we had two ASM's) was to make coffee for the techs during the last production :D

    We had converted one of our box offices into a dedicated coffee room.
     
  17. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    I don't like the term "slave" to the SM.

    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.
     
  18. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    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.

    SM's aren't half bad this go around!
     
  19. Thranduil

    Thranduil Member

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    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
     
  20. JP12687

    JP12687 Active Member

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    Depends on the show, i once worked a show, where the SM was..how do i say this nicely...an idiot.

    IE- showing up to shows 5min b4 curtain.

    in that case, i was the ASM and basicly did all SM duties. I called all deck cues, he did everythign up in the booth(lighting+sound). I handled the House before the show.

    But in normal situations, yes hes the slave
     

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