This section is devoted mainly to my own experiences as a Stage Manager.


I can't say I was always right, since that's an outright lie, but I sure have learned a lot on the subject of
DEALING WITH PEOPLE.



Learning

I have met some really, REALLY good stage managers in my short time in the business. Just about every actor I have asked said the SM is the one they rely on the most in a production. While attending Ball State University, I took a course in Stage Management taught by an experienced SM named Clint Mahle (great guy). He posed questions that were real situations he had dealt with over the years. I learned more from that class than I did in the first two shows I worked on. From Clint I learned that patience is the most important value and mediation is the most important rule.
-- Thank you Clint --



Allies

It's really important to have allies on a production, I learned this the hard way. While SMing a production of Richard III, I ran into some potentially huge problems that were solved in a very efficient manner. At the time, I worked for a group that was renting out a facility for that show. The resident Youth Theatre was putting up a show at approximately the same time. We were sharing the stage, dressing rooms, etc. As you can imagine, there were some problems. Luckily the facility has a Technical Director (TD) named Eric Koger who loves theatre. He has done more shows already than I will probably do in a lifetime. This has given him a lot of insight into how people work together. He bent over backwards to help accommodate us and even turned the laundry room into a temporary dressing/storage room so we could have somewhere to lock up our costumes and such. He was able to be a mediator between the two troupes and eventually worked out a deal that suited both sides very well. I don't have to tell you I was more than worried that that situation would turn out badly and we would not be able to rent the facility again. Instead, it was a good experience for everyone. We were lucky that a person in the theatre cared about more than just his own troupe. From Eric I learned that allies can be very valuable -- just remember it's up to the SM to forge these relations.
-- Thank you Eric --



Persistence

After I graduated from college I expected to quickly find a job in the "real world". As you can imagine, it didn't happen like that at all. I moved to Florida to live with an old college roommate who is a professional dancer working on cruise ships. He gave me some names and numbers and I started calling....and calling....and calling. Four months later I was getting really discouraged. I had a regular job as a Manager of a check-cashing agency and was on the way to corporate, but Tod kept telling me to follow my dream. One day in late December he and I had a heart to heart and I said I would give the "theatre thing" one more chance. The next day I called the Orlando Shakespeare Festival for the 10th time (yes, really). Amazingly enough the Production Manager called me back later in the day and offered me a job. Long story short - the gentleman said he admired my persistence and even though he didn't have any SM positions open, would I be interested in working Stage Crew with the possibility of and ASM position later. I said yes and that job led to the Utah Shakespearean Festival, which led to Milwaukee Rep...well you get the idea. The lesson here is: Don't give up. Get your name out there. If you work hard, people will remember you.
-- Thank you Tod --



Friends

Making friends has never been hard for me. As a Stage Manager you need good people skills. I have met a lot of really good people but a couple of them have gone out of their way for me as I embarked on my professional career. One of them is Ty Morton. He offered to let me live with his family (thank you to his wife and son) while I was working for Orlando Shakes. This saved me a lot of commute time and money. He also got me on the subscription list for the Monday Memo (this is a listing of jobs and shows in the Orlando area)so I could branch out. Another is Scott Hodges. He sent me his copies of the Blue Sheet (this is a Florida listing of theatre related jobs) when I couldn't afford my own subscription. Without people like this in my life, I don't think I would still be working in the theatre world. Really. As I have progressed, I have met even more wonderful people like Elise Knowles and Brett Ihler. Keep in touch with your friends. I can't stress that enough. Who knows when they might email you with a great job possibility.
-- Thank you so much, I love you guys. --




Travel

When you work for Regional theatres for a living, you do a lot of traveling. I am going to devote a whole section to seeing the States with a picture diary, so look for that link soon. I have been going to Utah for 7 summers now. Each direction is 2500 miles. Yeah, so I have seen a lot of rest stops and gas stations. I have also stayed with family and friends countless times. My Uncle Wally and Aunt Carol have housed me on the way there or back every single year. They have the cutest singing Chihuahuas. Yeah, really. Soon I will have some picture up of the road trips. (I got a digital camera for Christmas last year and have already taken thousands of photos. Someday I will clean up this entry and properly thank everyone....promise....
-- Thank you so much Wally, Carol, Gruber, Ben, Jen, Ogg, Nick, Jillian, Amy L, Jamie, Dad, Lysa, Barry, Elise's aunt, Helen, Justyn, Samantha, KatieBear....et al. --




Roommates

Traveling for a living has another interesting aspect ~~roommates. Most theatres that house you want you to have one�..and if you have to find your own place, you need one to help with bills. I have been lucky in that I live with my husband in Orlando and Utah lets me choose my roommates - - to a certain extent. ...So I tried just cleaning up after everyone and that was bad. I tried not cleaning up and that was worse. Then I got wise�I just started cleaning while my housemates were home. They almost always pitched in or promised to do something later on. This is a great way for everyone to do stuff and for no one to get angry.
-- Thanks to some really great roomies: Tod, Elise, Karena, Kelly, Amy, Leah, Jamie, Emily, Samm and Debbie! --

Listen, don�t sweat the small stuff�you will go crazy and take the people you live with down as well!




...more to come.....

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