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How is Technology Effecting the Role of an ASM


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I suggest you make sure you have spelled the title of your dissertation correctly before asking for help.

 

Could you give us an idea of why you are researching this topic, where else you aim to gain insight from and how this survey is going to help structure your dissertation?

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I've done your survey, but you seem to be very certain technology is impacting on an ASM's work. Frankly my experience is that ignoring a computer in the office and a mobile, technology does NOT impact at all on traditional ASM roles. For example, I offered both my panto ASMs a receiver so they could hear the show being called, to make life a bit easier. Both rejected them as getting in the way, and no actual need to hear the show being called - something I find critical to my role as company manager. One of the two ASMs was also book cover, and she didn't find it something she wanted to listen to, simply because they were very effective doing what they did with paper.

 

Only recently people were talking about replacing the DSM's book with an electric version - very few were bothered about changing what works to something with batteries!

 

Maybe you are thinking about specific software or devices? If the type of production makes technology useful, it could change the answers.

 

At the moment, I'm not sure how you can process the survey results because you haven't been specific on the type of technology, and people are guessing what you mean.

 

It also assumes the reader is an ASM, which isn't made clear at the start. I've not been an ASM for years, yet I responded as I have them working for me.

 

Last point is about the genre - this will change the results significantly.

 

Propping - I answered the question. Some local sourcing will always be needed, and sometimes it's down to time. My Amazon and ebay accounts got considerable use at Christmas for sourcing all sorts of stuff, and the savings were often considerable. OK if you have the timescale available. Lots of local prop sources are closing down, or have already gone at many town centre/city centre venues, so on-line is the only way. I think I went through three or four orders of Chinese fans, twenty or so at a pop, plus all sorts of sundry items like hessian sacks. Odd sound effects, audio tracks and even the odd bit of software come via on-line sources.

 

I'm not even certain that affecting is the right word for the title - perhaps impacting would be a better one? Traditional ASM duties really don't involve lots of technology at all for most shows, I'd think. Sound, lights and other departments are increasing their technology input, but apart from a computer and printer, what ASM roles would benefit? I'm a bit stuck thinking about it, to be honest?

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Impacting is a far better word to use.

And basically I agree with what Paulears says.

There is at least one other recent discussion on these forums about using ipads or similar instead of a paper book for calling shows to which the general consensus was ; "why?"

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You're certainly right that recently there has been far more use of technology in theatre, but I agree with those above that the ASMs have seen the least of it. It used to be that if it was 'set' it was the ASM's job to look after it, but now it may be "automation" (not an ASM's job) or "Stage LX", or a physical backcloth replaced with a projection (not SM). Props are still needed, chairs and tables still need to be shifted and so on, but technology isn't really needed to deal with these.

 

In many ways it's quite good to know that if you've not fully embraced the digital march of progress, there can still be roles open to you in theatre!

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Once again proof that a survey/questionnaire is almost always the wrong method. Actually strike almost...

 

Other posters are right. I recently toured a well known producing house and the paraphernalia of Stage Management on show from a current production would have been familiar to any SM from any time since I started training even one who hadn't done any such work since 1972!

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