|One of the lessons I
teach, when I teach, is "Advice from the Tech Crew." Actors sometimes
think they are the show. They forget about all the other people it takes
to make a show happen. I have been talking to tech crews for a number of
years and here is some of their advice to actors:
|Producers, Publicity Department and
from the Producer
If you know people who can do back stage jobs,
let the producer know. We are always looking for new people to work
tech. Sometimes the best tech, have a family member in the show.
Advice from the
Tell everyone you know that you are in a play.
All the survey's done at Master Arts Theatre tell us what we already
know: 50% of the audience heard about the play from a friend, a family
member or a cast member. Word of Mouth is still the best advertising.
If you have a business where you can
hang a poster in the window, hang a poster. It is an easy way to support
the arts without spending precious advertising dollars.
Ask your boss to advertise in
Advice from the Box Office
You don't get special privileges because you
act in the play. You must buy tickets like all normal civilians.
Don't corner a director or stage
manager during practice and ask for tickets and expect them to jump.
Make a call to the box office like everyone else.
Call early. If you call on the
day of the show, don't expect you will get someone tickets in the front
row because you are in the cast.
|If you are a producer, work in publicity or the box
office, and have any advice to add, please email your advice to Master
Arts and we will include it this article.
|Directors, Stage Manager and
|Advice from the
Avoid being seen in costume
by the audience before the show. All theater is an illusion. If you
break the illusion early, by appearing in costume and out of character
before the show, it makes the show less enjoyable for the audience.
Ditch the diva status.
You can be replaced. Thinking you are more important then the rest of
the cast and crew only causes problems both off stage and on stage.
Be on time for your
cue. Pay attention back stage for your cue. 99.9% of missed cues are due
to an actor that isn’t paying attention.
Eat some good fruit
and vegetables to give you some real energy before a performance. Avoid
caffeine highs, the down will probably come during the performance.
The Laugh Formula – It
is important that you leave room for an audience to laugh. If you do
not, the audience will stop laughing. Not that it isn’t funny, but they
don’t want to miss a word, so they will stifle their laugh. There is a
laugh formula. When the audience starts to laugh, stop talking. Let the
volume hit its peak. When the volume begins to drop, let it drop to 50%,
then begin your next line. If you let the laughter die each time, the
audience will get bored.
Advice from the Stage
When arriving for
performances, make your presence known to the stage manager as soon as
Warm ups are necessary. If the production you
are in, does not have group warm ups, find a way to warm up by yourself.
If the Stage Manager is leading warm ups, please be kind and do what you
When the Stage Manager comes into the room and
shouts out a time, “Ten minutes!” it means that there is ten minutes
until curtain. When the Stage Manager shouts out the time, reply with,
“thank you ten.” This tells the Stage Manager that you have heard
him/her and acknowledge the information.
“Places!” – say, “thank you places,” and get
in place as soon as possible. This does not mean that it is time to head
for the bathroom; it means the show is about to start.
No talking back stage.
If you have to talk, move away from the entrances.
Advice from the
Take care of your
voice. On cold days, wear a scarf and breath through it to keep the cold
air from your throat.
Always warm up your
voice. Do not think you can come in and be ready immediately. Warm up
slowly, taking time to ready your voice without wearing it out early.
Watch what you eat
just before a performance. Milk products are not a good idea before a
performance. That includes milk, cheese, and (sorry) chocolate.
Costume, Lights, Sound, Props and
Advice from the
Please use deodorant,
antiperspirant and/or dress shields to protect the costumes. Gentlemen,
please wear t-shirts under your costumes, this helps protect the
costumes from sweat.
Do not eat in your
After the Show, put your things away. Hang
your costume up when you are done. It will help to protect it. Your job
is not done until you’ve put things away.
If it needs to be
washed, ask the costumer if you can take it home to clean.
If your costume needs
to be ironed, ask the costumer if you can iron it yourself.
Advice from the Make
your face. Scratching your face just leaves lines in the make up.
When you are sweating,
don’t wipe your face. Use a paper towel and dab the sweat off.
Advice from the Light
Find the Light. When on stage,
know where the light is shining and be there. Most lights don’t move.
They do not follow you, you have to step into the light.
Don’t tell Light Crew
if they made a “mistake”. Assume that they know what really happened,
and that you don’t.
Light switches are a
nightmare on stage. The actors gesture toward the light switch and
wonder why the light cue is always late. Light switches should be a
group effort between actors and light crew. Actor should make the
movement of turning on/off a light totally obvious so the light crew
knows when the cue is and the actor needs to keep their hand on the
switch until the light crew can change the lights.
Advice from the Sound
Work with the sound crew. Actors should make
sure their cues are clear so the sound crew will know when to come in.
If the sound cue doesn’t come, don’t pretend like you heard it, Improv
your way through the scene.
Phone ringing should
be an actor’s control, not a sound crew mistake. When a phone rings, it
isn’t a constant ringing; there are pauses between rings. Actors should
pick up the phone between rings.
Advice from the Prop
and Set Crew
If something is wrong,
tell them right away.
If you bump, move, or
break something, tell the crew as soon as possible. Some sets are very
precise, and a slight movement can cause problems.