"reset your props!"

adventures in stage managing

4 notes &

There is the ingrained stereotype that artists can’t run a business. They’re too flaky, too “out there,” too self-involved. Not true! We manage ourselves as a business so efficiently that people on the outside aren’t even aware of it. The myth that artists are bad with money and couldn’t possibly manage a budget. Not so! Arts professionals are used to doing things on the cheap, know how to squeeze everything out of a dollar, are well connected and recognize the value in sharing resources. What about the notion that artists don’t understand “the bottom line”? The curtain going up in three weeks —that is an unforgiving bottom line! Bottom Line: Artists are excellent collaborators and problem solvers. They are adaptable, agile, trustworthy, ethical, productive, disciplined, flexible, intuitive, risk-takers, and have outstanding public relations and human resource skills. We must bring the artist as a number one resource to the center of any arts organization.
Nello McDaniel, Arts Action Research

Filed under Quote of the Day food for thought inspiration theatre arts business

4 notes &

deal-with-it-byotch asked: I'm prod. Manager for our college end of year show, my tutor is being a dbag. He constantly mocks me about it saying jokingly 'I'm going to have a great time' and also saying shit like 'a production manager would notice that.' But otherwise is there anything major I mustn't forget I'm also managing 8 other students my age (17-18) and I fear they're not going to listen to me

PM is one of those jobs you really learn best from doing, and it’s going to be different every time depending on the show and context….that’s unfortunate your tutor is being unhelpful and rude, is there anyone else who can mentor/help you? Don’t let it get to you. You’re a student so you are allowed to mistakes, and this should be a learning experience for you too. So don’t stress and remember to breathe!

Just remember that the PM has the big picture in mind. While everyone else is focused on their individual departments, you are the only one (except maybe the stage manager) who can see how all the parts have to fit and work together to get to that opening night deadline. Making those schedules and running those meetings are all geared towards the big picture and thinking ahead. Always keep that in mind, and share that big picture with the people on the team so that everyone is on the same page.

The other main piece of advice I would give, from my own mentor, is to insert yourself into every conversation. It’s all about keeping communication open and flowing. Making sure that people are not only talking to you, but also talking to each other. Again, so that everyone is on the same page and no unexpected surprises emerge. Seek out the information you need, don’t wait for it to come to you. It’s okay not to know everything, just say “I will get back to you on that” —then go find out what you need!

Finally, regarding the other students listening to you —remember that everything is a conversation. Or, everything STARTS as a conversation at least. It’s not about you telling them what to do, or worse, telling them “no”. Work together, and let them know you are there to help. It’s definitely tricky when you’re working with your classmates in an “authority” position, but don’t make it about that. Remember you’re all working on the same show —as PM, you facilitate and motivate that process:)

Also, it’s okay if you screw up, trust me. That is how you learn. Oh, and you ARE going to have a great time! Let me know how it goes or if you have any other questions. Good luck!

Filed under ask box production management PM theatre theatre production

24 notes &

SM Pro-tip: Economy of speech

This one’s from my coach!

Take the extra 5 seconds (especially when you are tired during tech week!)to think about the information you want to convey so that it is clear and concise when you say it the first time. Then you don’t have to spend an extra 15 seconds repeating or re-explaining or rambling.

Also, no “ums” if you can help it (looking at myself…)

Tech week #2: go forth and communicate!

Filed under Stage Management stage manager what SMs do what SMs say SM pro-tip theatre theatre production tech week communication

48 notes &

SM Pro-tip: Saving

The other day in our levels session I announced at break “Designers, please take a moment to save your work.” My director had apparently never heard that said before, and was impressed.

So yeah, do that.

My head of program also suggested I change it to “Designers, please take a moment to save yourselves.”

This could become a thing.

Filed under stage management SM tips stage manager theatre theatre production levels save your work save yourselves Tech Week