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time awareness rant
time is twisted
One of the tasks in my job is writing schedules.  This involves being aware of the maximum hours we can rehearse according to the union (per day and per week), finding time for fittings or other non-rehearsal tasks the actors have, knowing when other groups may be sharing space with us, figuring out what we're specifically doing each day, and how much we need to accomplish in a day to reach set goals (like say, opening night).  Depending on the director I may just be typing up what they've worked out, or I may be creating the schedule from scratch.  Then there's the part where the best plans can all go to hell with one accident on a local bridge that your actors need to be on the other side of, so there always has to be the flexibility to create plan B on the fly.  Scheduling is a giant puzzle and honestly I think it's fun. 

Now I realize that I hold dates and times in my head (and scene numbers and who is in what, and designer schedules and whatever else) to a degree that just doesn't work for most people.  I'm the girl who has a conversation with a friend where they casually bring up seeing some movie on its opening next month, and then calls them the day before said movie begins to ask when we're seeing it.  Things, especially dates, just stick.  I know most people don't work this way.  And I know that creating a schedule is different that just reading it - of course it sticks in my brain more.

But depending on the day chances are good that anyone involved with the show has access to the schedule in at least two of the following four ways (and most have all four):  a calendar with an overview of the start and stop times, it's posted on the callboard onsite, it was emailed to you at the end of the previous day, and there is a recording available of me reading the schedule on a hotline.

So please understand that on the days when you are the fourth person who asks me "what's next" or "when is dinner / are we done" or "what are we doing today"  I would cheerfully cause you intense pain.

What is up with that?  Am I really so nice that you just want an excuse to talk to me (and I guarantee that is not true if this is your question)?  Does hearing it out loud make it more real (there's a damn hotline)?  Can you not be bothered to walk the six feet back to the callboard / your book to look at the papers I've given you?

It's been ten years and I've never figured out how to fix it.  I try very hard not to snap at people asking the same damn question again and have accepted that no matter what I do (and I've considered tattooing) people are going to ask.  I've thought about not publishing calendars to save paper, or not recording the hotline, but you know the day I take away one of the methods of communicating the schedule some one person who relys on it is going to scream.  It simply is exhausting some days, creating work that is (apparently) ignored.

I'm sure every job has a task like this, that you have to do and well but that no one else seems to really pay attention to.  What's yours?
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You touch on something I don't miss at all about stage managing. I would put a note at the bottom of the schedule that said, "Not doing this for my health, but for yours"

heh, I like that. I've managed to find a mostly zen place about answering the questions, but I don't think it'll ever be not annoying.

I get this in lab all the time. What we are doing that day is in the lab book, which I unrealistically expect my students to read. I also go over it at the start of every lab (seven times a week!) and still almost as soon as I stop talking someone will call me over to ask what they are to do.

I know it's going to happen, and while it makes me sad, I still want those students to do the work they need to do, so I often go over it with them again. Sometimes I find out that they have a more specific question, but wanted to start generally- although not always.

Once I asked a prof a question, thought I understood the answer and several days later realized I was still confused. So I asked the same proff the question again by e-mail and he responded "I already answered that in class". It was such a snotty response, and unhelpful. In some way that gave me the peace and patience to cover the same ground again and again with my students.

I don't know what to suggest in your situation. Maybe answer their question and then remind them that type of information is posted on the board. They might eventually take the hint?

There was a show a few years ago where every time I was asked any schedule question I would answer "look at the callboard". Which worked until the day I forgot to post the schedule. It was a quick way to learn some humility.

These days mostly I just answer as deadpan as possible and go back to whatever else I was doing. Angsting about it too much isn't worth it.

You put it so well, that's exactly what it's like to me. I loved solving schedule problems, it felt like things just fit. And I can make a hair appointment in 6 months and remember it. And yeah, WTF is people's deal with asking you when they are called tomorrow when they are standing TWO FEET from the fracking callboard?? The only answer I've come up with to the last question is that if they figure it out themselves, they are then accountable for getting it wrong. But if the actor asks you, and you tell them, YOU are now responsible for them getting it wrong (or so they believe in their heads). That's my theory on that. :)

The responsibility idea makes sense, that they're wanting to pass it on. Now that I've started emailing the schedules out every night I get fewer questions from the cast which is nice. At least on this last show it was the staff members I wanted to strangle.

I absolutely hate scheduling.

But, we've started to use a website. Have you tried that? It's far easier than paper. And since almost all actors seem to have I-phones, it seems to work far easier. For some reason, the email never seems to work for me.

God, I hate scheduling. I hope the director this summer does her own schedule. She already has gotten into that not telling me what I need to know.

I haven't tried a website, though I've heard of other companies doing that. I'm sure once I got past the learning curve it wouldn't be so bad. All the I-phones are why I've started emailing the schedules, for a lot of folks that seems to be simpler than dialing in to listen to the hotline.

Well, the schedule can only be as good as the information you're given to build it with. That is something that directors never seem to fully understand.

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