When it comes to preparing students for the professional world, technological advancement presents us with difficult challenges. It’s hard to imagine a day going by without some of these questions being debated in every university across the country:
Lately, we've talked with a lot of students eager to get their hands on Propared. We love this enthusiasm (and secretly blush a bit!).
However, simply exposing students to new technology can miss the bigger opportunity. Technology, used correctly, also has the ability to reinforce underlying core techniques and skills being taught. This means that it's important not to simply teach technology in a vacuum but rather to incorporate it into the larger curriculum.
This can be a challenging thing to do.
Inspired by these discussions, Melissa and I are working with educators to incorporate Propared's management platform into theatre, arts, and event management curriculums.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
Aristotle must have been an event planner. Or stage manager. Or production supervisor. Or at least worked part-time in events. How else could one explain his assessment of the industry so succinctly?
If you happen to be the one in a leadership position, you’re the one shepherding young professionals along. This mentoring is part of your responsibility. Sure, your first job is to execute the event. But a close second has to be train and nurture young staff. Not just because it will help you grow your event business. But because that’s the world in which we work. Those that preceded you did it for you. Now it’s your turn to pay it forward.
The 2016 installment of USITT is finally here! For those of you who've never attended or are thinking, "Umm, what's USITT?" let me explain. According to its website, The United States Institute of Theatre Technology is "the largest full production event in America." That means event production gear and a lot of it. Once a year, the organization hosts its three-day trade show and conference (Salt Lake City). Attendees can choose from a litany of exciting engagements including classroom training, new technology exhibitions, certification programs, and networking at special events. We on the Propared team have been attending USITT for years. Long before we were even a company! It's a special time of year that reminds us how many talented people are working in events and entertainment.
Explaining what I do is always a strange experience. Especially to those who aren’t in the industry. Stage Managers are in charge of so much and coordinate so many aspects of a production. It can be difficult to explain the full spectrum of responsibilities and jobs that they do. I found Broadway stage manager Michael J Passaro’s description best:
“The role [of as stage manager] is really a hybrid of a chief executive officer and chief operating officer in our version of a Fortune 500 company. With those two role models in mind, we’re in charge of setting the tone, atmosphere, and culture for the rehearsal space. There’s also the day-to-day logistics of delivering that show to an audience eight times a week.”
Sound exciting? See yourself making a career in stage management? Wonder what a day in the life looks like (and how much coffee is consumed)? Read on.
We're pleased to introduce a new contributor to our blog, Kirk Laing. Kirk is a current graduate student, pursuing a Master's in Stage Management at Columbia University in New York City. For his first article, he shares his thoughts on the pros and cons of the technical theatre graduate school experience.
Choosing to pursue a master’s program is never easy. It is a significant time commitment and the expectations only increase from what you experience in undergrad. But for me, as I approach the end of my own grad school journey, I can honestly say it has been the most valuable experience I’ve ever had. It has helped me develop the key skills I need to be a better collaborator, artist, and leader. Skills that can allow others to more readily trust in me to take on new challenges.
But nothing is perfect, right? And you’ve got to make your own decision. So here’s my unfiltered take on the good, the bad, and the miscellaneous takeaways that come with choosing to get your master's in stage management.
Last week, I had the privilege to attend two amazing educational events. The first was the inaugural Broadway Stage Management Symposium, a packed weekend of discussions, networking, and panels with some of Broadway’s most seasoned professionals. The second was Tinc Productions’ Management Intensive, a weeklong, hands on program designed to provide a glimpse into the world of producing and managing live events. I’ve come away with a few practical tips for stage managers and other aspiring event professionals that have already started to make an impact on my daily work.