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Jul. 18th, 2009 @ 12:47 am Damn directors
I'm getting sick and tired of this director I'm working with treating me like a child
I have five years experience of be a stage manager and damnit I'm good at it
I'm sorry I'm not"your stage manager" but your s.m. ran off
So please just let me do my job

I know you guys have dealt with directors like this right?
I just feel a bit attacked being compared to a woman who worked with him for ten years and I'm trying my best to fill her shoes
I just can't seem to do anything right regardless of my resume
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Date:July 18th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
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Oh, yikes. I haven't been there exactly (my cross to bear seems to be control-freak-former-SM directors), but it can't be fun. If the director starts actually getting in the way of your doing your job, you may need to speak to the producer...
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Date:July 18th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
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Deep breaths!
Of course you can't do it "right." You haven't been the director's assistant and minion for ten years! But you can do it RIGHT. Do your job properly, and keep your cool. Eventually your efforts and how you do things will come to be accepted.

Or, sometimes not, people are occasionally jerks that way. But, if you are doing things RIGHT, take pride in that, especially under adverse circumstances.
Good luck!
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Date:July 18th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
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"Of course you can't do it "right." You haven't been the director's assistant and minion for ten years! But you can do it RIGHT."

Great phrasing!!

I'd also like to suggest the book Difficult Conversations. It's helped me, not just in having those conversations, but thinking about where other people are coming from - it talks about things that I knew, but it's sometimes hard to remember (you can't know what the other person really intends; what you're really talking about is how x makes you feel)

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Date:July 18th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Been there, so sorry.

I think there are two things to remember:

You can't take things personally. What he's saying to you really isn't about you; he's just venting his frustration at the person filling the job, and in your direction because you're the closest target.

Your responsibility is to the whole show, not to him. Do your job the best you know how, keep the actors safe and comfortable, and don't take the bait when attacked. Have a sympathetic ear available -- someone who isn't involved with this show -- and use that person as needed.

Break a leg.
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Date:July 18th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)

Take A Step Back

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I think there are a couple of things to do to help this.

One, saying you have 5 years experience as a stage manager and you are good at it . . . it sort of sends out a vibe that you know everything there is to know about stage management, and may be closed off a bit to doing things differently. I have been doing this for almost 22 years, and I still find that I have to constantly learn, adapt and change my style for every project I work on, with every director I work with. Stepping into the situation where the director had a relationship with a SM for ten years is an impossible situation to "WIN" at.

I think often we forget the amount of "trust" a director needs to have in a SM, and how that "trust" needs to be earned. From the director's point of view, it is very difficult to loose someone that has ten years experience, ten years of of trust, ten years of shared history. I wouldn't belittle the director's insecurity.

As a resident PSM for a large theater company, every director that comes in thinks "I am the side of the theater" and not "on the side of the show", it's just a paranoid feeling the get. Every time I start a new show, even with directors I have worked with for 5+ years, I have to prove to them that I have the show's best interest at heart.

My advice is to second thatwasjen, and say, don't taking it personally. It's a job, and he is taking out his insecurities on you. The question you have to ask yourself is the crap he dishing out an acceptable amount of crap for you to deal with or do is it abusive. (I find that stage managers have different levels of accepting of the crap - I have a VERY high crap tolerance - and things that I accept as normal, other SM's would cry foul or just walk out.) If it is acceptable crap level, then you need to forge forth, continue doing the good fight. I would suggest, outside of rehearsal, maybe approaching the director (if you think it might help) and saying something like "I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot . . .". When I work with a new director - I ALWAYS schedule a two hour meeting to listen to them describe how they work, their ideas about the show, their hopes and fears - and try to get that hook into them . . . and let them know I am on their side. If the crap level is abusive, you need to talk to your production manager or producer and have it end immediately.

I also might want to point out this might be an ageism thing. Saying you have 5 years experience as a stage manager, it seems as if you may be on the younger side (and I apologize if my assumptions are showing my ageism). But it is often VERY difficult for young stage managers to get the respect the deserve from older directors. I had a difficult time all the way up to my mid-30's to sort of not get talked to down to, or even worse, just talked over. But trust me, with age came wisdom, and the job gets easier, not only because you have more experience to draw form, but people do respect you more . . . no matter how experienced you maybe as a young stage manager - and trust me I had plenty of experience and education - without gray hair, some people never take you seriously.

Let us know how it all plays out. I wish I can say, 17 years down the line from where you are it your career, that things will be easier, but you will continue to find this happening over and over in your career. It's all about finding the way in your own personal style to figure out how YOU will deal with it.
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Date:July 19th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
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I don't take offence to the age comment
I understand how it came off and for that I'm sorry
The whole age thing is the problem it seems with him.
I went to him today to talk about the situation and tension between us.
He automatically started off with I'm sorry you feel this but your just so young and don't know much.
The whole five year experience qasn't meant as I know everything it was a statement to show that I have experience in the field and know a good deal to be able to handle a 12 week run.
However if I put the age thing aside we were able to deal out everything needed for the show and tomorrow I'm off with my props guy to pick up the first patch from the warehouse so the actors can start off first read with them.

We have our fiorst practice tomorrow at 6
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Date:July 19th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)
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But thank you everyone for their comments
It did make me feel better
And the stage hands at the company encouraged me to know he's a good guy his ego just hurt because the last sm left him high and dry a week before the start of the practice and they had everything planned out to the T.

He's lucky that I'm a glutn for punishment and will work long long long hours to make this show as kick ass as I possibly can
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Date:July 19th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
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In general, it's called rehearsal not practice. Your practice sports, you rehearse plays.