March 15, 2013

In Which I Have a Long Run with a Show

I call this: theatre — Posted by KP @ 6:23 pm

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you probably know that my luck with open runs is, shall we say, abysmal. In this post from 2007, I proposed a theory that Phantom sucks the long-run karma from everyone who works on it, taking whatever luck they had in their career to feed its insatiable appetite for a longer run. Six years later, I don’t see any real reason to change this theory.

Except, I’ve managed to get through six months as PSM of Silence! The Musical, and despite the fact that we’re not currently doing 8 shows a week, my job doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

I have some observations about my first experience of just getting to sit and relax into a run, in no particular order:

  • I just agreed to ASM a benefit. Not for the money, not for who’s performing. It’s ultimately a favor to a friend, but I don’t take every favor to a friend I’m offered! I said yes because I feel like I need to do something different to keep myself on my toes. I need to load in and tech a show in a day. I need to be backstage worrying about whether the right black stool is set for the next number.

    One thing I’ve been seriously concerned about for a while is how long it’s been since I’ve called a big musical. The kind of musical where you can kill people. Calling a small show has many perks (the biggest of which is not having to worry about killing people), but I wish I could get a little exercise at all the other types of theatre I haven’t been doing lately. The benefit won’t give me that exact experience, but it’s one variant of stage management to mix things up a little.

  • I’ve spent my whole life thinking my career is a journey to the promised land of sitting down on a show that will run for years and eliminate so much of the uncertainty and chaos that comes from starting a new show. I still think that’s a worthy goal, and constantly being in production isn’t my style either, but I find myself strangely enjoying my job when it gets “interesting.”

    I value my free time very much. I love having multiple days off a week. But when I have to put a new actor in, or go to a meeting, or coordinate something out of the ordinary, I always sigh at the prospect of having to do extra work, but also get surprisingly invigorated when I actually have to do the work.

    This is a totally masochistic career, but I’m conditioned to it, and when I have to buckle down and actually do the harder parts of my job, it feels right. It’s like how exercise is exhausting, but afterwards you actually have more energy.

  • Our happy home at Times Scare is growing, as we begin sharing our stage with the new show Fucking Up Everything. Which is an ominous title for a show that’s coming into a space you used to have exclusive access to, but has so far proven to be untrue!

    FUE is in tech right now (first preview tonight), and while I’m glad not to be in tech, I also kind of miss it. Silence! was in a bit of a transitional period when I took over, having recently moved to Times Scare, but I basically came into a long-running situation. The last show I teched was Triassic Parq nine months ago, which was a blast, and not really that long ago. But long ago enough that the prospect of going back into tech sounds fun rather than miserable.

    I spent about an hour at the theatre today before FUE’s final dress, working with their PSM and Production Manager to look at what they’ve done during tech and address any final concerns, and it was cool to hang out at somebody else’s tech. I don’t often get to spend time at techs that aren’t mine. In this case, I do feel a bit of personal investment in it, as I’ve been having meetings, walk-throughs and exchanging emails with their team (several of whom I’ve worked with before) for over three months, and can sympathize with anybody going through tech.

In short, I remain stunned that I’m working steadily in New York, as PSM of an Off-Broadway show, a show that would have been my top choice out of all the Off-Broadway shows that are running, and have been doing so long enough that I can safely say if anything happens, it wasn’t the fault of my infamous Show Karma.

I’m really enjoying finding out what it’s like to just do a show for a while. I hope this won’t be the only time in my career that I’m so lucky, but I’m just grateful that I’ve gotten a chance to learn all the things I’ve never gotten to do before. Out of the ten tracks in my show, I’ve already taught two of them three times each, which is definitely not something I’ve ever had time for before. It’s equal parts “didn’t we just do this?” and “oh that’s no big deal, it’ll be fun.” Which pretty much sums up everything I’ve learned!

March 5, 2013

Evernote for Resume Management

I call this: theatre — Posted by KP @ 8:18 pm

Earlier this week I had lunch with several stage management students from Ithaca College. I returned home with four resumes, which of course led me to consider the best way to organize these new documents.

Previously, I’ve kept a folder in the documents folder of my computer, in which I keep resumes of my friends and anybody else whose resume comes my way. If I need to write a note about who gave me the resume, I had to do it in the file name, which is kind of limiting. Also, it wasn’t on the cloud, which could be frustrating if I was out and about and wanted to reference or send somebody’s resume.

As I do in many matters, I thought of Evernote. When I got home, I scanned the paper resumes with my favorite iOS scanning app, JotNot Scanner Pro, which can also automatically send them to Evernote.

With these resumes, and the digital ones I already had in that antiquated local folder, I created a note for each person, with the title formatted as [name] – [job description]. The job description in this case being “stage manager.” I’ve created a notebook for resumes, as well as the tag “resume.” For people with whom I’ve done shows, I also added the tag(s) for the shows I worked on with them.

The best part of the whole thing, and what really makes it better than simply creating a folder in Dropbox or something, is that in addition to having the PDF or Word document, I can write some text about how I met the person, what I thought of them, what other people I know have told me about them, or really, anything. I could attach a picture or other related file if I had one.

Not to mention Evernote makes even scanned PDFs searchable, so a search for a person’s name, or a show they’ve done (maybe I can’t remember who worked on Wicked), will quickly help me to sort through the files I have.

I haven’t been so excited about a new workflow in a long time!