November 2014

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November 2014

News From David Grindle, USITT Executive Director

We See the World Differently

Even Muppets have someone behind the scenes making the magic happen. From a Stage Management Day tribute.

"Well there's an association for everything, isn't there?"

The number of times I hear that statement when I talk about USITT is amazing.

Representing a group of people, the majority of whom spend their lives trying not to be seen, presents a challenge. Our members "make it look easy" I am told. But when I point out the various jobs that must be done to make an event or show happen, the reaction is always a new understanding of all that our members do.

We see the world differently.

I walked into an awards banquet recently and knew immediately who would be "surprised" to win the big award -- based on where they were seated and the camera angles for video. How many times have you seen a production where everyone was in awe over an effect that you spotted the mechanics for? You were appreciative of the effect, but more appreciative of the designer and technicians that made it happen.

Our members see the world differently. A costume designer friend once witnessed a robbery. She was useless in regards to what the suspect looked like, but her physical description included height, suit size, and shoe size as well as a spot on description of his clothing. She saw the world differently.

I challenge you to share how you see the world. Our people are a collection of random knowledge of art, science, and engineering all in one. Don't discount yourself. Instead, share the complexities of the work we create. I've made it my mission to educate my family and friends about stage craft so that they can appreciate the work and planning required for even the smallest event or production. It doesn't take away from the magic; it helps others see the artistry behind it.

October 10 was the second World Stage Management Appreciation Day. It was started by our friends in the United Kingdom. It's a fun way to honor the work of stage managers. But why do we take only one day to do that? We must be our own ambassadors and share the great work of our colleagues and ourselves. Be an ambassador for USITT and our industry. Speak with pride about the products that are made in America and the art that is created by our colleagues.

Perhaps, with a little evangelism from everyone, parents won't cringe when they get told their kid wants a career behind the scenes, and people will know that art and engineering blend every day. It happens in front of their eyes without them realizing it.