Week 4 – The Intern’s Intern

So week four has to be my favourite week so far! I made a really lovely new friend and have finally, FINALLY got the hang of everything.

Monday was pretty uneventful, I did the usual answering  emails, the phone, updating the accounts and sending out some invoices to companies. I also emailed lots of press and tried again with getting through to the radio stations about featuring us, but unfortunately have still heard nothing back from them. I sent out loads more press releases to some newspapers and emailed some on-line journals, but no one seems to be getting back to me. Just keep trying I suppose.

I also was given the task of sorting out all the posters and flyers, updating the ones to be displayed and  making interesting displays for Camden Fringe. Here’s one is at the top of the stairs:

Image
(
It looks bigger and cooler in real life, promise!)

The rest of the week was great, as I was given my very own intern to look after! A sixth form girl was doing a week of work experience at The Etcetera  and I basically had to show her the ropes. It was a great learning experience for me (I found it so useful to explain everything to another person, it helped me remember stuff I hadn’t been through in a while, like how all the tech room and lights worked) and such a confidence boost to be a bit in charge of someone and helping them out with stuff like TicketScript (the website we sell our tickets through) and box office work. It also made me realise I know loads more than I thought I did. I feel so confident with all my responsibilities and I’m not afraid about messing up any more. I also had a couple of afternoons where Gabby (‘my’ intern) and I were totally in charge of all the get ins, getting together equipment for each company, box office work, cashing up and ushering. On one occasion, I even tech’ed for a Comedienne whose technician had failed to turn up to the show.  It was very hectic and stressful, particularly when the audiences were large and box office was manic and difficult to manage. I also did little things for the first time, like making the tannoy announcement that the box office/house was open. I was really scared about looking silly (which is  such a silly thing to be nervous about!) or unprofessional, so was very reluctant to do it. I’m a pro now, ha ha!

I also learned how to deal with difficult people. Every so often someone would be a bit rude to myself or Gabby, but on one occasion a man was so shockingly rude to us he actually really upset me. Even though I really just wanted to call him up on his behaviour, I realised the best thing to do was stay calm and polite to diffuse the situation and remain professional at all times. I’ve never encountered a situation like that before, so it was certainly a learning curve.

I had tremendous fun though, too. I became friends with Gabby quickly and really enjoyed working with her. I feel so much better about myself and my abilities after this week. It”s Camden Fringe next week and I can’t wait. I know I’ll be able to handle it.

Spot on.

Week 3 – A Little Late

Haven’t written for ages, been so busy! I’m actually in week four at the moment, so I’ll recap on last week before I do this one.

My third week was short and enjoyable. I only had to work three days this week and didn’t feel as out of my depth. I think I even did some really useful stuff!!

On Monday I tried to tackle some of the accounts stuff by myself. I spent a while updating the financial spreadsheets for a couple of shows, sending off invoices and answering emails. Charlotte is really keen for me to pretty much take over the Camden Fringe email account and manage it myself. I didn’t have to refer back to her about any of the emails and answered them all easily, so I guess that’s progress. I’m not worrying so much about saying the wrong thing, I think I’m on my way to the way things work becoming second nature.

I also had to do something a bit scary (but exciting!!) on Monday night.  I had to attend the Camden Fringe networking/launch party representing the Etcetera Theatre…ALL BY MYSELF!

Charlotte was meant to be going with me, but she had to rehearse for Second Class Parents, so I went alone. I was so nervous and really worried I’d look silly, unprofessional and not know what to do. I felt very young suddenly when I first went in; very out of place. Fortunately, I knew a couple of the people there and started off by talking to another intern who was there working for the ladies who organised Camden Fringe. I felt much better after that (the free Pimm’s may have also been a factor) and started to mingle properly. Even though I was nervous, I just braced up and made myself strike up conversation with people. After that It was really fun! I met loads of people who are coming to perform at The Etcetera during the Fringe and for the first time I really, properly felt like I knew my stuff. I answered questions and talked about posters and rehearsals and get ins; it stopped being scary and turned into my favourite day of my internship so far. Such a confidence boost!!

On Tuesday I went through the Deputy Manager duties again. I’m doing alright, but kept forgetting lots of stupid little things still. I’ve mastered the cashing up system and FINALLY can use ticket script properly (I thought this was the case before; turn out I was doing it wrong). I did another press release and sent it off to all the papers and websites I could find who weren’t already on the press list (still not heard back from any I did before!) and put up pieces about ‘Second Class Parents’ on a couple of sites like RemoteGoat to advertise the show, as well as the standard Tweeting/Facebooking about Miller Theatre Productions and our show.

I also finished the poster for Second Class Parents. I did two versions, but this one was picked in the end:
:SECOND CLASS P 1
I used Microsoft Publisher. I’m very pleased with it, I think it looks interesting and stands out. We’re getting it printed next week!

Week 2 – Busy Stuff and Finally Getting the Hang of (Some) Things

I haven’t done a day-by day blog this week. Lots of what I had to do this week was the same stuff I’ve talked about before (Admin, tickets, Duty Manager stuff, updating the Etcetera website), so I thought I’d jut pick out the most interesting bits/bits I learned the most from.

On Monday we had our Technician for Camden Fringe come in. He set up some stuff and I helped to clean the second hand lights we bought the previous week. It sounds pretty boring, but I got to have a really good look at lots of different types of lights and talk to Ari the technician about how they worked and how they differed. Tech stuff is not my strong point, so this was an invaluable experience. While we were doing this, I also talked to Ari and Charlotte my manager about their degrees and their experience in the industry, which was really interesting. It made me feel really positive, like I could actually get somewhere in Theatre if I really tried.

I also made a really big mistake this week though. On one of the days I was given the responsibility of opening up the theatre for a company, but my tube had a fault in it and I ended up 15 minutes late. The Company were alright about it, but I was pretty embarrassed, I must have looked really unprofessional. I’m not going to make that mistake again!

Today, I drew up a contract, sent it off, got it back, and  put the show up Ticket Script and  the Etcetera website ready for sale. I’m spending more time on my own in the office too, so I’m getting lots of practice with all the Admin stuff. I feel really confident by myself now, even though I make mistakes occasionally. There’s just lots to remember!

I had a talk with Charlotte about my worries about being a Producer for Second Class Parents. I feel much more confident now. What she basically said was that I should just go with my instinct and do what I think is best. She gave me a list of stuff to start with and now I’ve done lots of stuff independently too.

I’ve been emailing reviewers, reworked the press release and have been contacting lots of radio stations to hopefully feature us on it. My idea is that, as issues surrounding parental rights have been in the news a lot recently, we could tie a discussion on that into our show. Talk about the issues raised in our play on the show that, that kind of thing. Fingers crossed!

Oh, I’m also working on the poster for Second Class Parents too. Hopefully should be done by Monday!!

 

 

Day 6 – All By Myself

So this was pretty easy actually! I made a list the night before of all  the things I was expected to do until my manager Charlotte came out of rehearsals at four. She was only in the other room, but I had to do all the admin work and answer the phone and talk to anyone that came in.

I started off by checking the answer phone, then looked at ticket sales, answered emails, updated the Twitter and Facebook for Miller Theatre Productions and for the Etcetera, sent out ticket sales updates, took ticket bookings and spoke to some companies who were performing later in later in the year who came in to see the venue.

All of this took me ages though! It’s kind of annoying how slow I am compared to Charlotte and Kate, but then again I’ve only been here a week.

After Charlotte finished rehearsing,we talked about some stuff to do with ‘Second Class Parents’, about her ideas for the set and how it went when she had performed it previously in 2006. It was very successful!

I feel kind of worried about producing this show though. I’m kind of not sure about what’s expected of me or how much control I should take. I don’t want to just run ahead and do things that people are already doing, or go ahead and do stuff wrong, or do stuff that’s of no use. I feel kind of out of my depth and I’m worried people wont take me seriously as a producer because I’ve only produced one show before and I’m only 20. 

I’ll talk to the director next week and see what she says.

Day 5 – Practice Practice Practice!

Thursday was mostly made up of going through the stuff I’d done this week and seeing how much I remembered.

My manager Charlotte started me off by having me go through my Duty Manager responsibilities with her as though I were opening up the theatre for a theatre company’s get in. Although it’s a fairly simple job, there’s lots of little things to remember, particularly to do with the lighting and sound desks, so it took me ages to remember everything. I did it all in the end, but I kept second-guessing myself  and ended up making more mistakes that way than if I’d just gone with my initial thought.  I just don’t feel very confident yet, but it’s only the end of my first week.

Charlotte then explained to me about doing the Box Office properly (we hadn’t had time for me to properly go through it all with her in the rush the previous day) and we went through what to do in various situations I may encounter. This part was actually very fun. I was given a scenario, like an audience member being difficult in some way, then had to react appropriately to defuse the situation or solve the problem.  Something that always worried me was that I’d encounter a problem and not know what to do, do I’d just be stuck or make it worse by doing or saying the wrong thing. I learned lots from doing this exercise and feel better equipped to take on roles like this now

Another reason why I’m quite worried abhout having to do stuff like this on my own is that I feel really un-used to having so much responsibility. Although doing DM-ing is simple in theory, a show could be ruined if I make a really simple mistake like forgetting to turn the noisy  air-con off or if  I  lose the show money by counting change wrong doing  box-office. I also find it a bit weird when people come to the office when Charlotte’s not there  and ask me stuff like I’m in charge of things. I’m so used to always deferring to someone it feels odd that I’m actually in charge of something, telling theatre companies when their get-ins are or answering questions about their publicity materials. I’m sure I’ll soon get used to it though!

Oh yeah, I also learned how to do admin on the Etcetera Theatre website, so now I can add shows there when I see they’ve paid their deposit and signed their contract. I think I’m doing really well, admin-wise in the office. I know how to do most things now, and only have to refer back to Charlotte occasionally if people want to do big stuff cancel shows or get extensions for payment. I’ve also done lots more settlements and contracts today, but they took ages! It’s quite a fiddly job and not one of my favourites, I much prefer stuff where I can talk to people.

Should be doing lots of that on Friday though. I’m all on my own in the office till four. Eeek!

Day 4 – Duty Managing Lessons Pt.2 & Answering the Phone!

Wednesday was a really busy day! This was the most responsibility I’ve taken on during my time here by far.

The morning started off by looking at contracts again and understanding how to make one myself. This was so useful; I used to be really worried about having to draw up contracts for my cast and crew next year and assumed I just wouldn’t understand, but to be honest it turned out to be pretty simple! I then had to draw up a contract for one of the shows which will be on during Camden Fringe and send it off to them. Exciting!

I was also told by my manager that I would have to start answering the office phone, since I understand enough now to respond to general enquiries. I was a bit scared about doing this at first and felt quite silly, but I didn’t make any really big mistakes. I’m still not 100% comfortable with it yet, but by the end of the week I should feel more confident!

I also did some technical stuff today during the get in for one of our shows. I was shown all the different cables, what they were for and how to use some of them. Techy stuff isn’t something which comes naturally to me, but I found it surprisingly easy to grasp. The act performing that day initially tried to set up a wireless mic,  but it didn’t work. Although it would have been a really good addition to the show, it took up quite a lot of time during the short tech and left us pressed for time. This made me realise the importance of trying techy stuff like this beforehand and how on the ball everyone has to be to meet the very fast turnaround times in the Etcetera. It got a little stressful!

Immediately after this, I had to go and man the Box Office for the 6pm show. I felt a tiny bit out of my depth at first, worried in case I messed up the money or people’s tickets, but I actually really loved doing it! It’s my favourite thing I’ve done so far. I really liked chatting to the audience members and answering their questions and I didn’t make any mistakes with the cashing up. I’d happily do this again!

Tomorrow I have to do a practice run at being Duty Manager. Looking forward to it 🙂

Days 3 – Contracts and Duty Managing!

On Tuesday I came in much later in the day so I could be around when  a show came in and observe  the Duty Manager at work to gain a better understanding of the role. I found this very helpful, but was surprised when my Manager said I would be doing the same thing all by myself very soon!

I spent most of the evening catching up on  bookings for Comps and press tickets via email.and having a good look at  the contracts and forms theatre companies have to fill out to hire space.  It gave me a much better understanding of how the Etcetera works to see the agreements that both parties must stick to in order to put on a show. I was also surprised, when answering general enquiries, how many of the companies did nto appear to have read through their contracts properly, if at all! This often created confusion, both for the companies and for the theatre. It made me realise the importance of properly paying attention to your contract and in doing so see the problems that arise when a person does not.

I also got the opportunity to see a show in the Etcetera Theatre for the first time!! It was really nice to see the stage in use and I really got a feel for what this space could offer performers. I loved the cosy, intimate feeling of the theatre and had a good look at the kinds of lights they had available ( a good selection!).

Tomorrow I’m in all day till after six to do Duty Managing, box office work and learn how to cash up. Lots to do!

Day 2 – Spreadsheets and Stuff

 

Yesterday was my second full day as an intern; I really feel like I’m getting the hang of some the administration stuff here.

The first part of my morning was spent looking over the money side of things. I learned how to update and send off the various companies’ settlements after their show had finished, look at the income and expenditure of the theatre, send out sales reports and update the ticket sales folder. I also answered various emails and found I can reply to  most of them without help, which made me really pleased! I found the settlements a bit tricky; I’m not that great with spreadsheets and had to remember all the different types of tickets that there were and put them into their respective categories in the settlement (cash tickets, YPlan tickets, TicketScript tickets, comp tickets , press tickets, staff tickets and members!!) so I think I’ll still need help with that one for a while! I also went out for lunch with one of the ladies who runs the theatre and had a really nice chat about shows we’d done and theatre and Camden Fringe. Lovely!

I’ve also been busy updating the social media for the Etcetera and Miller Theatre Productions, the theatre company I’m Producing ‘Second Class Parents‘ with.

Speaking of Second Class Parents, I think I’ve got a photographer sorted for our rehearsals. I’m just talking to her about dates she’s available, but she’s really good and is kind enough to do it for free, which is amazing! 

I’m not working in the day today, I’m doing my very first evening shift in the Box-office. I’ve never done box-office work in a proper theatre before, so I’m going to be shadowing a lady tonight who will show me how it’s done. After that I should be okay to do box office work on my own. Yaay!

I’m loving this placement so far, I feel very busy and professional and the people I work with are so nice. I’m very excited for the rest of the summer; I think I’ll learn so much and have loads of stuff to put on my CV as well, which will be so helpful when I graduate. It’s also so great to be so immersed in theatre in this way and to be around people who love it as much as I do!

Definitely very happy 🙂

Starting Work at the Etcetera Theatre, Camden!

So, the last two days have been very exciting having just started work with the lovely people at The Etcetera Theatre, a small receiving house located above a nice pub in busy Camden High Street. I was very nervous to start with, but I’ve loved it so far. I’ve already learned lots!

Before my internship officially started at the theatre, I was given the very exciting opportunity to Produce a show for the Camden Fringe Festival, alongside my work at Etcetera! The show, ”Second Class Parents’ , is to be directed by one of the managers of the theatre, Charlotte, who is also going to guide me through the process of  Producing the play. The thought of having to Produce a ‘real’ show (not one just for my friends/family and not with  the purpose of it being an assessment at school/college/university) was very scary at first, I was so worried I’d mess everything up! However, after expressing my worries to Charlotte, her absolute confidence in me made me feel much better. After reading the play, I now cant wait to get started!

My first day (Thursday), was spent just getting to know how The Etcetera operates with Kate, who also runs the theatre. Social Media is a really important part of how the Etcetera advertise their shows, make contacts and promote themselves, so  to start off with I got a crash-course in MacBooks and their use of Twitter. I had never used either before, but pretty soon I was Hashtagging and ‘Cmd + V’-ing like a pro! I also learned all about their bookings system for tickets, their policy on space hiring and booking shows, answering emails, keeping  track of ticket sales and sending out press releases to their press contacts. My mind boggled by the end, I just hope it all stays in my head!