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PG Dip Production Managment Help?


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Hi,

 

I realise this question has probably been asked in many forms but I'm looking for some specific answers to questions I can't seem to get a straightforward answer for online, as well as some general insight from people who may have studied this course or similar....

I'm looking into studying the PG dip in production managment at Bristol old Vic, I've been working in theatre professionally for 5 years across most technical departments, most ly lighting and stage crew as well as some freelance stage management and I would like to take this further and move up into the world of touring and stage/production management, and this seems to be the best course for it.

What I'd really like some help with are the following questions:

 

1) Am I eligible for student finance, considering I have used 3 years worth on an unrelated degree (english)?

2)Are there any bursaries available other than the John pitt ( as this covers only £4000 of the £6000+ fees, not including living costs assuming I wouldnt have time to work outside of the degree?

3) Has anyone done this course, and is it worthwhile, or am I better off continuing to crew locally and hope I get a chance to prove myself with touring companies, I just feel there is a lot I can't learn as casual/freelance crew, and does this qualification hold its weight in the professional world?

 

and just any general information/knowledge/advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I'm just looking for a way forward, I understand getting good work in this industry is rare and difficult, I just want to do my all to get there.

 

Many thanks.

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Josie - this perhaps sounds agist, but you're 33 now, and you're looking at nearer 40 than 30 when you finish, if you get funding, which to be honest, I doubt.

 

The industry really doesn't care about qualifications for older people, for anybody 30+ the expectation is experience. Early twenties folk don't have experience, they have qualifications which get them in at the bottom. At your age, you would normally have already moved up the ladder. Are you in the States at the moment?

 

The ex-students of mine who were any good are all doing what they want to do, and the less good ones have done something else. At your age I guess I'm asking why you are still doing local crewing. Normally this is the good starter, but then people move on - getting an extra qualification might well look like you are one of the eternal students - those who love education and hate work. The ones who end up doing Phds and avoiding real work along the way.

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oops, I don't know where my age is on here, but I'm 23 not 33...also in the UK... does this help? haha ( changing my settings now)

 

Josie - this perhaps sounds agist, but you're 33 now, and you're looking at nearer 40 than 30 when you finish, if you get funding, which to be honest, I doubt.

 

The industry really doesn't care about qualifications for older people, for anybody 30+ the expectation is experience. Early twenties folk don't have experience, they have qualifications which get them in at the bottom. At your age, you would normally have already moved up the ladder. Are you in the States at the moment?

 

The ex-students of mine who were any good are all doing what they want to do, and the less good ones have done something else. At your age I guess I'm asking why you are still doing local crewing. Normally this is the good starter, but then people move on - getting an extra qualification might well look like you are one of the eternal students - those who love education and hate work. The ones who end up doing Phds and avoiding real work along the way.

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In this case - ten years is pretty important. One thing that has been said on here quite often is that one of the critical features of modern education is a course with contacts. Almost anyone can run a course. Some are 'real' universities, who have moved into our area of work, while others are industry businesses, who have moved into education. Whilst I love technology, I suspect it's what is done with it that is important. Three years in a fantastically equipped place with the chance to get placements really doing the job makes contacts and gives you useful skills. Other places seem to work in isolation, and seem to be delivering art instead of craft. Only you can decide. There are a few very useful people on the forum who could be worth talking to - have a read in this section and maybe drop them a PM?
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It is worth emphasizing that production management (probably more than almost every other theatre discipline) is about real world skills, experience and contacts. Whilst there is a certain element of spreadsheets, paperwork and staff/work management theory you can be taught at a theoretical level 95% of the work involved in production management is things like remembering that welder 20mins away who can fix anything and will come out at 2am for a pint, knowing that the weird prop you need can be made by gluing together 3 things available from a pound store on the high street which will take much less time than having to get it ready made from that shop 40 miles away, knowing that that particular light/smoke-machine/actor is a bit temperamental but that sticking a bit of wood under it in just the right place will make it work long enough for you to get a proper replacement in.

 

Bristol Old Vic is one of the better training centre's and everyone I've met or employed who has been through there has been a well rounded theatre practitioner; but by definition the subject you've chosen will mean that once you've graduated (with all that expense) you are still going to have to spend several years doing sucky low level jobs so that you build up the practical skills actually needed (and expected) for anyone to function as a useful production manager or senior team member on a salary you would expect for the expensive education you've bought.

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Another thing to consider is to look for a "little theatre" in your local area (I think there are two in Bristol if I remember correctly). Amateur owned and run but almost certainly would be interested to hear from someone working towards being a production manager and this environment is one where you can start to practice your skills on a relatively small scale to see what works, and what doesn't. Apart from that, when you go after a first professional job as a PM then this shows three things to a potential employer: 1. You have done the training, or are still doing it so know the theory. 2. You have got out away from your place of education in your own time (local crewing also helps here) and 3. You have some real experience for which you can obtain references. Hopefully potential employers can back me up here!

 

From the Little Theatre Guild website these are the two I was thinking of if you want to do some research about them (and distance from city centre):

 

 

Kelvin Players Theatre Company

Distance 2 miles

www.kelvinplayers.co.uk

 

Nailsea Little Theatre

Distance 8 miles

www.ntc-online.co.uk

 

I don't know either of these places and there may well be other small theatres about which aren't in the LTG.

 

Just a thought...

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