Hey girl hey. I’ve compiled some tips for you (and hopefully others). Things I wish people had told me.
Tip 1: Breathe; it’s all gonna be okay. Please realize that I include this because I forget it on the daily. Almost everyone does. Nobody’s perfect.
Tip 2: At your leisure, look these two books. I would consider them to be some of the best.
2A) Back Stage Guide to Stage Management by Thomas Kelly - it’s the first SM book I read and I went into my first gig way over-prepared for the situation. I consider it a worthwhile book, because it guides you through the basics of the role and how things ideally work.
2B) Stage Management by Lawrence Stern - considered the Holy Grail by some. It’s more textbook style, I suppose. So if that’s your bag, then head here. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listing/2689327650181?r=1&cm_mmca2=pla&cm_mmc=GooglePLA-_-TextBook_NotInStock_75Up-_-Q000000633-_-2689327650181
FYI - the link is for the 9th edition, as opposed to the most updated 10th.
Tip 3: Register at smnetwork.org because they are fantastic over there. Especially starting out, it was nice to lurk and see other people’s opinions and what they’ve done in the past.
Tip 4: Be ready to make mistakes. Even more importantly, be ready to own up to them. It makes things much easier to move forward if you can accept responsibility and work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Tip 5: On a similar note, be ready to forgive others for their mistakes. It’s hard at times. Sometimes it just sucks when you know you were right and they should have listened to you and if they’d planned ahead they would know better and excuse after excuse after excuse. But if letting it go will ease the process along (and it will), just do it.
Tip 6: If you are an ASM, always be aware of your surroundings. Be listening and watching every single thing happening in the room. If something needs to be done, get to it. Be willing to do what needs to be done. Listen to your SM/PSM/DSM and follow their lead.
Tip 7: If you are the lead stage manager, learn to delegate. For the love of all things holy, embrace this. You will be quickly overwhelmed if you don’t get this down. I’m saying this because I care about your mental well-being. If you don’t trust your ASMs or PAs enough to delegate to them, consider taking a few moments outside of rehearsals to train them in an area of improvement.
Tip 8: Learn to love your SM/ASM relationship, no matter which role you’re in at the time.
Certainly, I will think of other tips later, but for now, that’s all I have. For me personally, most of my experience has been learning what I’m doing on the run. You can do this!