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Production Tips! 
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Off-Broadway Lead
Off-Broadway Lead

Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:23 am
Posts: 190
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
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- Always, always, always admit your mistakes. Don't try and claim it was "gear problems" when you stuffed up. If you tell me that the sound cue system crashed, when in fact you pushed the "GO" button twice so it skipped a cue, then I'll write it on the show report and someone will probably spend a lot of time unnecessarily trying to find the non-existent problem.

- Stage managers have to be a friend to everybody and a friend to no-one at the same time. You can't play favourites.

- Make sure everything you do is written down. If you (God forbid!) get hit by a bus, someone needs to be able to step in and take over at very short notice.

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Currently: Sound designing On The Rocks
Upcoming: Stage managing The Perfumed Garden, Don''t Mention Casablanca and Cabaret


Thu Jan 11, 2007 6:58 pm
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Supporting Player
Supporting Player
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Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:34 pm
Posts: 153
Location: Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory
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stay focused! durring my last production a baby was crying and screaming durring the first act, thankfully the mother took the child out. It shows you how focused you have to be and ready to overcome any obstacle

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what is the difference between a mouse and a clarinet . . . . . . . . .
-you cannot hear a mouse squeak over the whole band


Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:12 pm
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Fresh Face
Fresh Face

Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:17 pm
Posts: 3
Location: New York, NY
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I find that working in theater means working with many different personalities and temperaments. To inspire people to work with you and buy into your vision, you have to figure out how to motivate each individual person because everyone has something different that makes them tick. Simply commanding somebody or pulling rank is the weakest way to gain support, because that person many not respond favorably or to the best of their ability. Take the time to study personality and work with it, it will pay off in the end.


Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:09 pm
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Directing: Be organized. Have your blocking and rehearsal schedule mapped out before production begins. Be thoroughly familar with the script, the prop list the costume requirements, and set requirements so nothing creeps up on you at the last second. Be mindful of wasting your cast's/crew's time. Be patient, be encouraging, be firm.

Actors: Write your blocking down. Pay attention in rehearsals. Socialize off stage. Be patient and respectful of your castmates and director. Be kind and respectful to the tech crews. Respect the set and your costumes. Learn your lines. Be prompt for reheasals.


Sat Feb 17, 2007 6:39 pm
Broadway Legend
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 7:01 pm
Posts: 1331
Location: Minnesota
Current Obsession: writing songs
Main Role: Performer
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Actors: do NOT treat your fellow actors like crap. It CAN hurt feelings, and bring down a performance. (Despite whatever feelings you may have of "suck it up.") It doesn't matter if you have a bigger role than them, and if you ended up with a big role that you don't want, than you shouldn't have tried out. Don't complain about memorizing your lines. There are other people who cry over not having the part you have.

Directors: Same. Don't treat your actors like crap. If they have trouble memorizing, HELP THEM. It is your neck on the line. Recast if necessary, but explain why. If you end up with a small play to direct, make the most of it.

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Upcoming:
-August 17th @ The Beat Coffee House in Minneapolis, open for Danielle Ate the Sandwich
-September 1st @ The Beat Coffee House in Minneapolis, 25 minute set in show line up


Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:36 pm
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Tony Winner
Tony Winner

Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 289
Location: Lost in a great forest
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For stage managers:

-stay calm and cool, no matter what it happening. Fussy actors, problems in the pit, even your own mistakes, take them, deal with them and move on. There's a story I heard about one of the great stage managers around here: she was SM'ing POTO and there was an issue with the pyro, leading to a small fire starting right in front of her. She calmly finished calling that batch of cues and very politely asked for a fire extinguisher to be brough to SR.

-always have a stop watch, cause you never know when or what you may asked to be timed.

-(this one may be obvious but it tripped me up badly on my first show): have your standbys already in your script BEFORE you hit tech week, trust me on this one.

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Stage Manager: Wizard of Oz
Assistant Stage Manager: Music Man Jr, Turning the Tempest, The Gull, Emily the Musical.


Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:18 pm
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Fresh Face
Fresh Face
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:42 pm
Posts: 7
Location: North of Chicago, Illinois
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Topless Technician Tuesday's are bad Bad BAD idea!


Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:28 pm
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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:46 am
Posts: 961
Location: Oregon
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Iskweldog wrote:
Topless Technician Tuesday's are bad Bad BAD idea!


A hard lesson to learn.

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Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:56 pm
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Fresh Face
Fresh Face

Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 8:47 am
Posts: 9
Post Science Tricks add to the onstage performance
I'm a scientist at a local university medical school and by my high school aged daughter I've become the Technical Director for our nationally recognized High School Theatre.

During our production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast we created Maurice's wood chopping machine on a 3-wheeled scooter (like a hoveround or something a senior citizen would use). Turning radius was fantasticly small and the unit was set up for 500 Watts of power including all the whistles and bells (lights and sound devices). We made it look like a steam generated movement by adding dry ice to a large plastic cup of hot water and a small computer fan inside a small smoke stack. The ax chopping mechanism was driven by a cheap 18V cordless drill ($29). The whole thing worked like a charm.

Also, in that show I was able to teach the tech kids some science magic. The rose petals had to fall. Our rose was under a large plexiglass dome. I measured the refractive index of the plexiglass dome and then ordered plexiglass rod with the same index. We attached the petal to the rod and pulled it down through the bottom of the table. The dome was lit by a small landscape lighting spot. The kids were amazed that even with the light they could not see the plexiglass rod. I had great fun explaining the concept.

I'm just a dad learning from all those who are kind enough to teach me. I learned more from a master carpenter and professional set designer in my first show construction than I had my entire life. I now live for the theatre and the young people who have that extrodinary talent to let the audience see with their minds!

TD, New Albany High School Theatre - across the river from Louisville

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Technical Director / Production Manager


Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:10 pm
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Supporting Player
Supporting Player

Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:13 pm
Posts: 153
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EBay can be a wonderful source for period props! Just make sure you order them with enough lead time to get them when you need!


Sun May 06, 2007 9:21 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Southern California
Main Role: Fan
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We found a great tool to use for inexpensive three dimensional set design. It is called "sketchup" and is availabel as a free download from google. It only takes a couple of hours to learn how to use it, and has many tutorials available.

Because it's free all the members of the production team can load a copy on their PCs. We can then e-mail various models of set pieces around as we create the look of the show.

We created a model of our basic stage to scale and are now able to add sets and see how the product will look from various angles as the sets are moved on and off the stage.

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Set_Buildin_Dad


Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:44 am
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Broadway Legend
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:45 pm
Posts: 1420
Post Re: Production Tips!
what_the_heck013 wrote:
Musicals.Net wrote:
What are the biggest lessons you have learned?


Memorize your lines ASAP and study them constantly.



This is for production staff.

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Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:54 am
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