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Dear Professor Production
Confetti Confusion

The Dear Professor question this month brings up an interesting scenario. At an election campaign event for George W. Bush in New Hampshire, event workers were told to fire off confetti pods when President Bush said, "God Bless," his normal closing line.

But five minutes before the end of his speech, Mr. Bush offered a "God Bless" to Arlene Howard, mother of George Howard, a Port Authority of New York/New Jersey police officer killed in the World Trade Center. BLAM!!!!! Everyone first ducked - hard - then looked up to see confetti falling. Mr. Bush looked momentarily stunned, then plain unhappy, then just went on with his speech as the confetti rained to the floor of the Verizon Wireless Arena.

How does the stage manager recover, both professionally and personally, from this mishap?

Professor Production comments on the incident:

The first thing is that the stage manager must immediately figure out what went wrong and how it will affect the rest of the show. What steps are needed to get out of this mess? Once that dust settles, and the show is over, the after effects begin.

What script was the stage manager looking at? Any good stage manager would follow along and would know when the confetti was supposed to go off. You must have a script with written cues.

After all is done, one might just want to run into a cave and hide and never call again. Well, guess what? We all make mistakes; we all are human. The trick is to not make the same mistake twice, and to really learn something from it.

Professor Perfect once called a house light cue on Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones three minutes early. How? Because Professor Perfect thought he heard "go" when he really heard "no" over the walkie talkie. Boom! Seventy thousand people were lit up like a candle, including the band. I thought I would never get over that, but I did and so will you!

Make mistakes, learn from them, and get back up on that horse! We need you to call another show!

"Dear Professor Production" is available to answer your questions. Please forward them to

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"Professor Production" is available to answer your questions. Please forward any questions to