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Production Tips! 
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Site Admin
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Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2002 11:34 am
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Post Production Tips!
Attention Production Staff!

What are your best tricks & secrets that you've used in your past productions?

For example:
  • Stage Managers - What are your strategies to keep the cast and crew in line?
  • Set Designers - How do you design a great set and stay within budget? How do you make it look as real as possible?
  • What have been your most creative uses of duct tape?
In general:
  • What are the biggest lessons you have learned?
  • What advice do you have for those just starting out?

Share your experiences, best practices, and horror stories!


Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:51 pm
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Chorus Member
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I have learned time and time again in all of the shows that you can never be too BIG!!! In the first one i was in, i was kinda reserved and hunched (which is bad because I actually have a hunchback, nothing like the hunchback of notre dames, but much less severe) and i wasn't very open about what I was doing. then in the next show I had to be massively bouncy and large andOUT THERE! so don't curve in on yourself. Even if you have a small part, make it HUGE

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:19 am
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Post Best Thing I learned...
By far, the best thing I've learned is patientce. And no matter what is going on, who your arguing with or what is going on in your life outside of the show your working on, when you walk into that theatre, life is good...and things will work out, the show will go on.


Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:45 pm
Post Cell Phones
I'm not really sure if this goes here, but it could I guess. I recently saw a production and before it started, the director walked out on the thrust stage over the pit and made the typical announcements. No pictures or recording blah, blah. Then came the cell phones. She announced, "Please turn off all cell phones. Do NOT switch them to mute, turn them OFF. Any cell phone that is on will mess the whole microphone and audio system. Please turn them off!" Everyone did it too. Now I don't know if she was just kidding or not. I did a production there a year before and it was one cell phone after another. And cell phones did not mess with the mics, so I think she was kidding. It did work though, so if you have a problem with them going off, try that tactic. It should work.


Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:23 pm
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Post Re: Production Tips!
Musicals.Net wrote:
What are the biggest lessons you have learned?


Memorize your lines ASAP and study them constantly.


Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:42 pm
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Tony Winner
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Having been a Stage manager the only word of advice I can give you is not to go to crazy if not everything goes exactly as you planned. Some things are out of your control, oh and if you need help don't be afraid to ask.

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Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:58 pm
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Tony Winner
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. Don't panic if the details aren't completely right. (But make sure they aren't totally off so the details, so they don't cheapen the effect.)

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Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:05 am
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A great technique I've seen used for keeping people in line is to bring everyone to an even level and making every single cast member count! However, if a cast member is out of line, (and tries to stand out on purpose more than their meant to,) I've seen shows where they get one warning. After that, that's it. They're out. I don't know if you want to use that method exactly, but I'd say that at least a somewhat strict order needs to be kept.
A thing I recommend for both newcomers to the cast and old timers is a "background check." Ask cast members different questions. Who is this character? What is his/her favorite color? And the like. This is a great way to get into the feeling of a character. Ask questions that have not been answered from information in the musical.
One more thing I'd like to say to both newbies and veterans is that purposely upstaging another cast member is likely to annoy the director. It doesn't matter if you get your moment in the spotlight from it, it's immature. Talk to your director about it before trying to pull anything. If you simply have more acting talent and the audience likes you more for it, I advise not to flash it in the other cast member's face. (I hope that made sense, as I can't quite fully explain. :) [/b]

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Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:00 pm
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Never drop a 5/8" shackle from the steel. I don't care how high it is, or isn't.

And no matter what, have your paycheck sent home. Live off your per diem.

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Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:54 pm
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Tony Winner
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As a student who volunteers backstage with a profession theatre company, I've learned a few valuable lessons in various departments:

-when working with wardrobe, never, ever comment aloud in an actor's earshot that something looks "odd" about their costume, no matter how kind of good-natured the actor may be.

-despite the fact they have thier own dressing rooms and the crew has none, the actors will believe the green room is "theirs" during intermission, and it's easier just to go along with it.

-always be willing to go a little further than you're expected to, because you never know when someone important is looking over your shoulder.

- SMs walk a fine line of being kind but firm with actors, too far in either direction and you will lose the respect and control of them. The SM is not the actors' friend, but nor is she a nanny.

-if you find yourself thinking that a prop, set piece, costume, etc is "good enough" to go on stage, it's not, and still needs some work.

- one of the most important: know the chain of command in a theatre, respect it and use it. Nothing will piss people off more than not going through the appropriate channels to deal with something.

- own up to any mistakes immediately. You accidentally broke a prop that needs to be onstage? Own up to it as soon as possible, and find someone to help you handle the situation.

-if you are ever unsure about something, ask, do not assume.

- this one may just be a me thing, but: write things down. You've been given a million duties at different times and places with various cues? No one will think any less of you for having to note them all down somewhere.

-learn when to hold your tongue. Especially when you're just starting out, be quiet and listen.

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Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:51 am
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If you want the set and costumes to look good, in the name of Jerry Herman, please do some research on the time period of the show. When we did Cheaper by the Dozen, which takes place in the 1920s, we saw somepictures of other company's sets and one was like neon green and blue with black checkers. It was horrendous. Our set had pictures of the actual family on the wall, old furniture, book titles that would have been around at that time, etc. It was a very well thought out set.


Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:25 pm
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Respect

Come off the book early

Commitment

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