Lots of #10’s

This post is a follow up to 10 Things Actors Can Do To Get Off To A Good Start With Stage Managers.

Shortly after I posed the original 10 things post with the request for readers to add their own thoughts, a friend cross posted it to the forums over at SMNetwork.org.

There were a lot of comments over there and I wanted to repost them here because I think its really interesting to look at what these other stage managers wanted to add as their personal “number 10’s”.

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10) Remember that when the SM says “Could you please do xyz now please” they don’t really mean “could you please”, but rather “go and do this now. Thanks”… Could you please is just our way of being polite.

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Number 5 is my pet issue – Especially as I am currently doing crew scheduling. A call time of 10:25 means that you are to be onsite and in position ready to start at 10:25… It does not mean walk through the door at 10:25 in your casual clothes, get change, make a cup of coffee, have a quick chat and think about getting ready some time soon

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10)  Clean up after yourself.  A stage manager has a million things to do more important than picking up your half empty water bottles, but if you don’t pick up after yourself, they have to do that, too.  Want super-extra brownie points?  Pick up after other sloppy cast members, or remind them to do so.

I will always love and adore a particular actor I worked with two years ago.  We were in four different rehearsal spaces, sometimes all in the same day, and after a week of taking five minutes, every time we moved, to clean up water bottles and candy wrappers, I issued a lecture about respecting rental spaces, cleaning up after yourself, the fact that I would also like a break when we moved shop, but I can’t take one if I’m cleaning up their trash.  Out of a cast of five, ONE picked up his garbage, and everyone else’s from that point forth, AND asked if I needed help with anything.  I’d work with him again, on any project, in a flat minute.

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10) Do not tell me how to do my job. I’m a stage manager because I know theatre better than most, so the day that you want to tell me how to do my job properly, is the day you better be SMing a broadway production. PERIOD.

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Remember–when a stage manager asks you to do something, it is usually because a) you were supposed to do it anyway and forgot, b) he/she doesn’t want you to look like an idiot, or c) something is about to impale you. Bottom line: your life and ours will run more smoothly if you do  Wink

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10. The stage manager really does know what they are talking about.  If they ask you to do something, it’ll be for a good reason, so please just do it – it’s not a starting point for negotiation!

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10.  Please and thank you are the magic words.

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10) On the first day of rehearsal, take a moment to introduce yourself to the SM if you don’t know them already.  Remember that the actor only has a couple names to learn (of the SM team), and the SM’s may have as many as 100.  Also, please don’t be angry if we can’t remember your name and need to be reminded.  It should only take a day or two.  (Bribing us with chocolate or coffee will usually speed up the process Wink)

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10) Don’t lie. Stage managers are detail oriented, and they usually know when you’re lying (perhaps better than you know). I remember that your grandma “died” during the last show, so don’t try using that excuse for missing rehearsal on this show. I can check traffic conditions on my phone, so I know that’s not why you’re running late. I’m here to make things work. Tell me the truth and we’ll try to work out the problem

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10. Help out.

Just lending a hand makes you seem so much more hard-working in my eye.  Even if it’s helping sweep, volunteering to clean, or just asking (even though I don’t have anything for you).  It shows me that you’re aware and open to the whole show.

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10.  Tell me if you would like something preset a certain way.   Unless it is absolutely impossible, I will make it happen, but I cannot read your mind.  Until I hear otherwise, I set things up in what seems to be the most logical way to me, but I am not the one dealing with the props in the course of the show.  Speak up, and things will be as they work best for you each and every time.

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10. Remember Stage Managers are people too. We have feelings, bad days, and limits. While we may never let our personal life interfere with our work, understand that outside of rehearsal and performances that we have lives and other people we care about.

While I do hold a dear spot in my heart for my casts and creative teams, there’s only so many hours in a day to take care of everyone Wink

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#10. Introduce yourself to the Stage Manager.

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#10. Don’t be annoying at auditions. First impressions go a long way.

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#10. If the cast is going out after a rehearsal, invite the SM/crew.

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And there you have it folks – things that stage managers suggest in order to get onto their good sides, and to remain there.

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About Lois

I am a Vancouver-based Stage Manager and frequent theatre goer. After graduating from Trinity Western University I spent two seasons as the resident stage manager at Pacific Theatre. Now I am working as a freelancer with various companies in Vancouver.

One Comment

  1. So many words to say be a human being and do your job…

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