Please Be a Second Me
Thank you so much for your interest in taking on the role Production Assistant for (my company’s) upcoming world premiere of (current production). You have asked what the job entails and I am only too happy to share that information with you, as it is a very valid question! I don’t have an exact job description on hand, and realized now would be a great time to write all this out for the next time you, or some other extremely generous individual, poses this question.
What does this job entail?
I am the Producer, which means that any and all things that must be done for the show are, ultimately, my responsibility – and now yours! How exciting! When feeling overwhelmed, try to imagine yourself as a wizard, wielding a sword of ultimate power. Or, more appropriately, imagine yourself as the one hobbit who has to get that ring into the volcano no matter your size, qualifications, battle-tested skill, or the amount of current staff to assist you. Choose whatever visualization works best for you! Essentially, I’m asking you to be my Samwise Gamgee.
Naturally, we have hired a top-notch group of professionals for many of the tasks involved in creating this production, so you won’t have to worry about things like, say, designing the lighting plot, or directing the show, or acting in said show (except in cases of dire catastrophe). However, pretty much any part of the production that does not have a very specifically chosen individual to handle it is up for grabs!
No, but seriously, is there a list of tasks?
Of course! I’ll send it to you.
However, that list is not comprehensive, because this is theatre production. Being a producer involves wearing many hats, and being a theatre producer means wearing many hats without the money for said hats. (Here is where you can use your training in utilizing your imagination. Make those imaginary hats as fancy as you want!) Tasks may include, but are not limited to:
Promoting the show on social media channels. I’m already doing that, but you can never have too many folks shrieking into the void in a constant attempt to rise above the collective noise of self-promotion, “what I ate for lunch”, and “look how cute my kids are”.
Running out to grab extra ice.
Organizing volunteers to run concessions, and/or running concessions.
Helping to construct a time-intensive prop that will ultimately not be necessary for the show.
Running to the convenience store right before the show because someone (me) forgot the bank and begging the cashier for as many ones as possible.
Diplomatically asking the venue manager to keep people from moving our lighting instruments/drinking our concessions/hiding our props or costumes somewhere weird, as a panicked stage manager attempts to put everything back an hour before the show.
Helping the stage manager put everything back before the show.
Fielding calls at 2am from an enraged designer because the venue door is broken, and they’ve already called the venue manager, and they know you can’t do anything, they just wanted an extra person to yell at.
(Just kidding, I will field all yelling-at responsibilities).
It’s probably just easier to think of the job using this handy algorithm:
Is there something that needs doing?
YES (it’s always yes)–> Am I (the Producer) already doing that thing?
YES -> Cool. Proceed to next thing.
NO ->Do you know how to do that thing?
YES -> Do the thing.
NO -> Figure out how to do the thing.
In compensation for this role, you will receive an amount of money that is far less than you deserve and somehow also far more than I can afford at the same time, and my eternal gratitude. I am also happy to give you whatever title your heart desires or that will seem believable on a professional resume. Want to be the Wizard of Production Management? Great! The Empress of Stage Development? You got it!
“Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure imagination…”