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Why so unprofessional?

Discussion in 'Safety' started by The_Guest, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Currently I'm working on a production with probably the most authoritative SM I have ever experienced. Although I've only worked with a handful of SM's, this one really cracks me up. I have never seen her take a single note, I believe her only job is really to call the start, end black outs, and end of show. All the crews pretty much do their own thing, it's not even worth it for her to call cues. She is quite preachy, her announcements are always requesting the whole company to be patient with her explaining she may be snappy due to the show. Or constantly telling EVERY INDIVIDUAL involved in this WHOLE PRODUCTION to stay out of her box. First of all, why would anyone need to even converse with her, it's not like she actually has something to do to begin with. If she died, the show would probably not be effected at all.

    During pre-production she sat in the house and ate food, barely took notes. The only thing I actually noticed she accomplished during pre-production was creating a box surrounding the SM panel using a rainbow of spike tape, on top of it all labeled “Keep Out” and other suggestive phrases. Talk about a waste of tape/supplies.

    She and her ASM actually stole operating chairs from the booth just to setup some comfortable seating backstage in the pathetic little box? What in the world, no SM ever should be sitting down. The only time a SM should be sitting down (And maybe a small stool to conserve space in an already crowded wing. Think about it, there is a dining room and living room worth of furniture, along with a props table, access space to fly lines, and on top of it all a total of three light booms (trees) per wing w/as many as five fixtures per boom. I can't imagine the noise and accidents that could happen with a huge padded chair with casters) is when they have their nose in the script and they're watching the stage like a hawk calling out cues left and right. These chairs were bought for a reason so operators could adjust the height of the chair to access consoles quickly and easily, and comfortably as a minor perk.

    There is no excuse what so ever to wrongfully take advantage of your authority and preach such mindless crap to an entire company like that. This gets quite obnoxious with stage crewmembers and prop crewmembers that throw fits when they have to do anything that requires any extra bit of effort. They fringe and practically explode in the front of the entire company when something (ie: handing out props, candles, set changes, etc) was not followed out in the manner they have opted for, even though no policies or directions were explained. Quite frankly, I’m thankful all my work is in the booth and I don't have to experience the level crap that others have to work around.

    Sound actually used their own intercom channel (to give lights some courtesy, keeping wireless up and running requires lots of communication) for a while because there was actually no reason to keep in contact with the SM. While, I believe that there should always be a final authority during a show in case something happens to keep things under control. But, there is really no reason to even authorities on the level she does, she doesn't even know a third of what is going on in this production.

    Take for example tonight, which was opening night...My FOH tech/assistant was asked via headset from the SM backstage during the second act "what are those chords above stage?" A majority replied in synchronization "hanging mics", even members from other crews. The FOH tech replied laughing "They've been there for over two weeks." And the sound designer happened to respond with a long, witty, closing "Wowwww". It's quite idiotic that SM didn't even spend enough time during pre-production to actually notice these along with other things. It's not like she was stuck in meetings preparing the show's cue schedules.

    I don't even think she knows that there are spot cues in this show. What's horrible is she and her ASM don't even dress in black. Especially the ASM, he is in the sightline during portions of the show and he isn't even in black. The closest he's been has been black with overly faded jeans, and flip-flops. Is he insane, flip flops during production week?! Are you kidding me, do you have any idea how dangerous that is? It’s also setting great examples to the younger students (summer music theater, for incoming grades 6 and out coming grade 12) involved in this production. A few crewmembers informed me about inappropriate discussions over the intercom, right over the headset. Yes, a few jokes during an intermission are no big deal or something comparable, but there is a time and place for everything. And such casual discussions during a show are not it.

    Have you ever heard a human spoken ting simulating a bell ring ending a pre-show announcement? My designer and I fought pretty hard to get a character to record the announcement, it sounds great done in accent/ in character. Sounds way more professional. The SM opted to do it live, we would not let that slip by considering the crap we've seen gone on in the past few weeks. Also, considering every channel was occupied on the console, CD playback was ideal.

    Due to the fact that this production is at a venue w/equipment not all of us regularly use the recording was postponed. The announcement was done live at the matinee, using the console audio engineer's talkback mic feature. My designer wrote the announcement and got it approved by the TD and Directors. I had the announcement exactly memorized, I used the same announcement in another production this past spring. Luckily she talked into the mic correctly and no one bumped into her in the crowded wings. I had my hand on knob ready to fade out and mute directly after the last word. "Thank you, and enjoy the show"...I began to fade down when suddenly I hear her voice again thinking the announcement was not over, I realized she added in a cheesy "ting" simulating a bell. It sounded bad with the ting being faded out like that. The announcement was eventually recorded and was play-backed tonight the way it should be, although there still was an obnoxious "ting." We didn't have time to cut it out, but tomorrow night it will be muted out respectively. I don’t think the directors got a chance to closely listen to the pre-show. While many opera houses and some theater do their pre-show live from a stage manager and it works out fine, but this is High-School Theater for god sakes. Live is dangerous. Particularly in HS Theater, people don't have their salary/family/homes riding on their actions, they don't have a career to protect. There is a reason why they call it educational theater, and that's why you have to overcome such things.

    I realize communication is the key, but you can’t win it all. There are much larger things to worry about in this production, particularly mixing the show with my best efforts and using my experiences to my advantage. But, I’ll have to deal with these people no matter what. Anyone with similar feelings/stories/comments?
     
  2. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Well - there would be the health and safety issue. Someone may trip over her and injure themselves. :roll:

    Aside from my black humour, I don't really know what to say. Other than what you have mentioned, has either the SM or ASM done anything that has been detremental to the show? I know that it is only opening, but if you document such things, you may have a case to present to whoever is in charge.

    Other than that, I guess you and the rest of the crew just have to grin and bear it and show them both how to be professional. You never know, some of it may rub off on them.
     
  3. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    that person wearing flip-flops needs to be notified by demonsrtation, the effects of a 10 lb counterweight falling on ones foot , they will never want to wear them again!
     
  4. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Haha, not quite mayhem...No one could trip over her body, she'd be in her box. Heh. That is really the only perk about having that box of hers. Heh.
     
  5. sallyj

    sallyj Member

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    Is there anyone in charge of this production at all? Do they see what is going on? I am with Mayhem. Document everything.
    By the way, what do the people in the control booth sit on if their chairs are gone? Usually SMs do sit on stools. Less space.
    As for the pre-show announcemant, we have ours pre recorded. That means it is and stays consistent and does sound more professional. (my opinion).

    Are the SM and ASM on the same side of the stage? Do they both live in the rainbow box, or are there two boxes? Who preaches to stage left if they are both together?
    Sometimes people think that SMing is all about the power. So they do the power thing and accomplish nothing. These people are irritating, and they never really go away-there are always more waiting to take their place. Not much you can do about it (nothing legal, anyway) but bide your time and stay professional. Which sometimes is more challenging than doing the show!

    As for flip flops, well maybe he will learn the hard way. I have seen it happen, and it isn't pretty. 8O

    Good luck, and hang in there. The true techies will prevail!

    SJM
     
  6. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    I like the SM that I'm working under now. He is the correct mix of jokes and seriousness. We're doing summer stock with kids--anywhere from 7 to 15 or so. He has all his notes, he calls the show well. He makes a few mistakes (yesterday in a dress rehearsal we got off the cue sheet, we thought we were at set move 9 when we were really at 6 (out of 13). However, we got all the notes, got our cue light to work, and it today during the dress rehearsal it worked out fine.

    On the com's we have lots of jokes, jokes about how HORRIBLE the show is, or about the kids, or other horrible theater jokes. However, everyone on the coms understands that whenever he says standby for a cue, the jokes stop until after the cue has run. He knows what is going on, and if the director has a problem with something that happened, or a question of why a cue was late or didn't come (for some reason the cue light stopped working halfway through the run today) he gives the answer, and figures out how to fix it.

    He also trusts the crew for what we say. He asked us if we could hang a flying ball in the center of the stage. We said we couldn't because of where the light instruments were, and we gave him an alternative place to hang it. He understand why we couldn't hang it, and after the director agreed, we hung the light further DS.
     
  7. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    They see what's going on, but this is high school theater you can't overly critique students learning. A lot of it isn't always seen, the chair episode were taken right before a rehersal. I came back stage, neither the SM or ASM were in their respectful positions (SM panel and surroundng box). I told the props people nearby that "the chairs should not be back there, and they're needed in the booth." And I took the first chair immediately because I needed it to operate my console sitting down. The ASM took a hint and brought up the other chair about ten minutes later. He remarked sarcastically "Here you go, some extra chairs", in his cranky lispy voice. There are lots of very nice chairs in the booth, but only a handful rise up high enough to get full access of consoles. Plus storing stuff back there is how stuff gets broken, people play on those things and they could easily get stolen. Those chairs are expensive office drafting style chairs. The casters on the bottom are meant to slide around in short range such as a cubical or office, not to be raced across an entire stage. People in generally idiots, they'll break things. In conclusion, prevention helps.

    Hahaha, who is preaching the other side of the stage? No one, it's not like the SM actaully has any cues. There are four or so headsets on the other side of the stage: sound, props, stage, crew. The headset communication really is only needed for sound and lights during this show, the needs for props are just unnecessary. Oh btw, yes, both the SM and ASM are next to each other.

    The people in charge of this production don't really have the time or completely understand, they witness the mindless annoucements but it's not a big deal. The props people are pretty funny, they annouced to keep props of their tables because it was blocking their cues. Some really strange stuff goes around.

    As for the preshow, you're right Sally it helps to keep things consistent particularly for something like this that doesn't normally get rehearsed for weeks like an actors lines.


    As for her little obnoxious "TING!", was muted out tonight, respectively. As in respect for the production.
     
  8. __WWW__

    __WWW__ Member

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    Wow that was long

    HAHA, if you erase the stupid "ting" someone is going to be in trouble.. and its going to be you. She does that every show, and she even writes it in her bio. Have you ever seen b**ch heather? I have.

    Our stage manager at stony is awesome.. she is running spot for fiddler with our assistant stage manager from stony... Rachel Harbin and Kayla Duane. They are awesome.

    Also nick bieng ASM... he dosent know ANYTHING about tech, he just sits there with heather, actually im not sure if heather knows anything

    Let me just say, i will also be glad when i get back to theater at stony...

    Oh yea atleast heather is somewhat nicer than Mandy.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    With some tact and a lot of forethought, I would play games with them in ways such as making her little box 3" smaller every night, rolling the chair's casters over some threads of string so they get tangled and don't move that well, loosening the nuts holding the table legs on slightly so the table becomes a little more wobbley every night, switching the hi/lo switch on the belt pack to the opposing position, and other less obvious things that can be done which will not ruin anything, just give satisfaction less than breaking someone's toe with a well aimed stage weight. Perhaps to the extent that for closing night, you take apart the XLR connector feeding their intercom and either loosen the strain relief holding the cord to it, or bend say the wire feeding pin three to the extent that there are only a few strands still attached to the pin. At some point during the show, their mic or something goes down and they go into panic mode.

    Again, such things need a lot of tact and forethought into what's reasonable to do which they won't suspect anyone of doing to them - them things that just happen naturally without anyone messing with them but give tremendous satisfaction to the doers. Granted it's not very professional, but neither are they, and some times it is good to vent. The inside joke on them will give a lot of satisfying hours in working with them otherwise frustrating.

    By the way, these are just some thoughts, not that I have ever done anything like this or would ever do anything like this, nor advise others to do anything like this at times when it could hurt a show. Will have been much better if done in rehearsals etc. if at all. Just some stated deviousness into things which fall either on the level of making one's stage manager's do not enter box a wee bit smaller given they will note it but not know what has been done, or more interesting and normal things such as a table which should not have been used becoming loose with use and in no way making them assume any crew out to get them.
     
  10. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Just hypothetical eh Ship? :twisted:
     
  11. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    That box idea was great. I would have loved to reverse the speaker and mic on their headset. Great ideas ship, but retaliating is just as bad, if not worse. They're just doing their jobs, they don't know any better, and probably never will. Tonight was closing night, my Designer brought it up with the TD and I could tell he wanted to say how stupid it was, but he help back since it's educational theater. You can't be too critical when you teach, or make people overly suffer due to their mistakes. But he approved of it, he replied "You're the designer, it's your job, you make the decesion." It was muted out once more. We were testing the track before the show tonight when the SM actually requested to listen to it with the ting. She explained that we would get if it wasn't played. During the preshow annoucement I muted the sidefill/wing monitors and muted the "Ting" like it should be. Directly after the annoucement the SM questioned "I didn't hear my Ting?". The other well reherased crew members knew exactly what to do, "I heard it, it was there". And this wasn't sound it was actually lights who joined our side. Well anyway, I no longer have to deal with these people. The production is over, sold out everynight, huge lines waiting for reserved tickets that were not purchased by the cut off time. Great show, turned out awesome, all is left is the strike on monday. Sound striked almost all of the equipment after the show. Everything turned out great.

    BTW, as for flip-flop boy he recieved such comments as "I see you're practicing your professionalism, your attire and flip flops really reflect it compelely." He embarassingly remarked back in his whinny lispy flambouyant voice "I knowwwth, I'm thoo professssionalll!" Anyway, til this day, neither the SM or ASM showed up in proper attire. It's their reputation, not me that's on the line. I guess we all know in the real world that we all would still have our jobs by the end of the night, not them.
     
  12. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    You said it, I won't even admit to that. Nope, no responsibility for anything done to spike a production. Let's see here, if they use pens and this might take some work, you can do a lot of scribbling to the extent that the thing runs out of ink. Otherwise and especially if it's the pull off the cap style of pen, some amount of sideways pressure on the tip of the pen should be sufficient to allow ink to escape the capsule and leak all over the pen inside of the cap. Once the top is taken off, one is assured of a semi-perminant ink stain on the hand. This can also be done with the ever popular Sharpees and highlighters in a different way. Either leave the cap off for a few hours before the stage manager gets there or take a similar color of ink stick and coat the area someone touches sufficient they will than be holding a freshly inked area of the marker.

    Much better than the constantly disapeering pens in that this would presumibly be from natural causes. Another devious thing would be to introduce a slight bend to the tip of a mechanical pencil. This will otherwise be un-noticed but very sufficient to constantly break the lead advancing thru the tip. Have a extra of similar type available in case the tip completely breaks off. These constantly breaking parts of the lead are much more fun than dropping the pencil enough that the lead sticks become wee little pieces within the storage area.

    Other ideas... a light adhesive such as the type used when photocopies of a script is glued into a stage manager's binder can be used early on to sort of stick pages together, or perhaps one shows up missing given they constantly work on the script. This is very dependant upon the presence of mind of the stage manager in thinking they lost a page or were un-careful with the glue instead of someone doing something to their bible.


    Should they be a fan of bottled water, I wonder how clear and water soluable Exlax as a product is, much less what amount of it would be minimum enough not to taste yet sufficient to work. Might be worth looking into should they be heavy drinkers early on in the show. Now remember, Everclear is a bad thing and only to be done (at least talking theory) to adult performers - usually the lead role people.

    Should the SM or ASM do their job instead of giving it to the stage crew in mopping the floor, some amount of say brown or other colored dye especially in powder form can be added between the bristles of a mop sufficient that they won't be seen until it's too late.

    Given a work light to work from, say two bad lamps before a show especially if by the second time that lamp is not in stock would probably be a bad thing. It would be better if such a lamp were new and exposed to a calculated higher voltage such as 145v for a sufficient and calculated amount of time that the lamp itself naturally blows in having lived a good long life of operating over voltage during a show say more than once. Such things as a lamp blowing happen all the time, it happening especially during a show is just bad luck when it blows during or just before a show. A short in the fixture is dangerous and should be avoided, but the lamp itself should be considered very devious and fair game - as a theory at least.

    Ink Sticks, lamps, tape on the floor, table legs, chairs, what are the other devious things that can be done to a stage manager that does not play fair with you which won't effect the overall show and won't lead to suspicion as a theoretical type of thing?
     
  13. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Reversing mic/headset pins would have an interesting effect, so would bypassing the on/off part of the belt pack so they are always on no matter what the little light says about it. If not just locking the always on button so they can't turn it off for an entire show.

    Having the entire crew involved in a "we heard it" type of way is also necessary in such things. The crew is a team of which the stage manager is either a part of or not. The director, TD or Designer where I was raised will have enforced policy on flip flops much less blacks but they are all right in viewing the limited nature of the show. This is absolutely correct and my intent is not to foster revenge but to spark interesting comments on the concept of it.

    Don't get me wrong, no matter how many stage managers I have worked with, it's very rare I played games with them and normally they did their best to do their jobs. Playing games has only been with those that could both do their job and play games with me also. While I did get my TD fired in high school thru games - you meant that stair case, we thought you meant this one, much less work slow downs to get her in trouble in that her crew was performing without sufficient supervision and thus did not make magic without it.
    My time for the last .... let's see 20 years or so has always been far too busy to do much in the way of doing things to people short of to actors in high school. Lots of work with rubber chickens such as "Super Chicken" that had a way of "Savwa Fair is Everywhere" appearences when least expected - especially in dresser drawers opened on stage, much less just flying above stage from wing to wing above the sightlines of the audience. But it's been about 20 years since such a bird flew.

    Universally for the most part stage managers by the time you go pro do learn their jobs or find greener pastures as control freaks looking to box off their area of privolige and have the ASM gofer next to them as a cohort in private jokes they make of themselves. There is exceptions but those normally will have interests in the show and not have time for the crew's view point. They still function. For the most part considering such people as the joke they are in a short term problem is very sufficient enough that games between the non-rating and the crew are not worth the chance that you will be caught, much less the effort. They will be gone in a few weeks anyway, you on the other hand if caught with such a game at hand could risk your standing. Such thoughts of games one can consider is no more than what things are often considered over the "hooks" between crew members and before the show. Games to play in deviousness.
     
  14. __WWW__

    __WWW__ Member

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    i dont know how nick gets away with wearing flip flops... I mean you know jaffe about flip flops, and espically glaser and flip flops, but i guess glaser is on SL and they are on SR.

    He didnt have that "flamboyent voice" for long, i dont know where that came about. I have known him at church since 6th grade and i think it might be fake.

    Awesome with the ting thing. Yea it wasnt there.

    You got a little horse for the directors/tech gifts right????? i dunno but i dont think that has anything to do with teching, and horse mule.. ok thats weird.
     
  15. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    I just want to remind everyone of a rule that has sort of disappeared in the last few weeks/months. Please, do not use names when talking about people, unless it is a compliment.

    Think about how bad you would feel if you came to this website and saw your coworkers venting about you, by name. You can just as easily say "my ASM and my SM" as opposed to say "Sally and John". Also, unless you know someone on this board personally, no one else has any idea who Sally and John are.
     
  16. The_Guest

    The_Guest Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Zac850, no violations here. The only names used have just been responses from other replies (ie: Sally: Sallyj, Zac850, etc)

    Yeah I came into the meeting late because I was labeling this DMX cable, the TD doesn't realize he keeps throwing a DMX cable into the XLR supply. I've grabbed that 5pin cable way too many times, it's such a bummer when I climb up to the mezz level to hook up a clearcom pack and realize the cable won't connect. So I labeled the cable, and I walked into the meeting not realizing that gifts were being handed out. I thought it was some kind of tradition or something that the last one to a meeting received a plastic mule. I wish someone would have explained this whole thing beforehand.
     
  17. __WWW__

    __WWW__ Member

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    Ahhh sorry, it was me voililating it
     
  18. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, don't take it personally. I just wanted to point this out. I've been seeing this throughout the entire website, not just this one thread.
     

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