Tuesday, 25 March 2025

Welcome



Why hello there!
Welcome to the website of the freelance theatre technician and stage manager Anthony Watson. 
Thank you for coming here, come take a look around.
Feel free to contact me via email at anthony@anthonywatson.com

Friday, 16 January 2015

Blogging SM's

A few months ago I contacted some stage managers that blog a few questions about there blogging habits. I initially contacted the ones I could fine via Twitter and then emailed them the questions. In honesty I've had the replys for a while and now had the chance to have a proper look at them and collate them.
The people I've emailed are:

Brendon Stewart - https://www.youtube.com/user/brandenscottstewart twitter @thebrandenscott
BrokeGirl rich http://brokegirlrich.com/ twitter @brokeGIRLrich
Catherine cooper catherinemcooper.wordpress.com twitter @cat2948
Mollie Tuttle - http://www.artsawardvoice.com/users/mollie-t twitter @molsandturtles
Patrizia Stiegler - https://trishastiegler.wordpress.com/ twitter @TrishaStiegler

1) What made you want to blog?

BS: I've been blogging since I was young. I think my first blog was about school, and I remember that it was really an awful blog. I have continued to blog, and slowly my writing has gotten (hopefully) better. As I grew into a career as a Stage Manager, I realized that it was easier to write about something I was passionate about, and I found that there weren't very many Stage Management blogs out when I started, so I was really able to find my niche.

BGR: I started blogging while I was finishing paying off my student loans. It got me into personal finance blogs and I realized that people who work in the arts don't usually get much of a personal finance education. We're all sort of told to expect to be broke, which I think is a bunch of crap. So I've kept blogging because I think it's important to spread the word to other people in the arts that the starving artist is NOT romantic and we can do better.

CC: To document my jobs and experiences within theatre and make it accessible for employers and friends to look at should they want to.

MT: I write for the online magazine Arts Award Voice and every month on the site we have a different theme we write about. Last summer, when I started writing for the website, the theme was Creative Summer a rather broad topic giving me lots of score to write personal piece about my own creative practices over summer. I was DSM on two shows at the time and so it seemed natural to blog about these as my contribution to the site that month. Not only that but it served as a great way to keep track of the experience I was getting in a reflective way which I could later insert into my portfolio when I was applying for drama schools.

PS: I started to blog, because we have to keep a journal for University. I was a big blog reader and once entered my second year, I thought: why not keep my journal as a blog? As I am also not originally from England, but Vienna, it was a great opportunity to  let my people back home know what I was up to.

2) How does it help you with your career?

There have actually been times I'm nervous to post something because of the way it will influence my career. Most of my advice comes from personal experiences, but I don't want to share the flaws of a company I worked for, or admit that I had an awful time at that contract. How would that make the producer feel? So often times when I experience a problem in my career, and I find the solution, I write a very generic post about it and schedule it for way into the future, so as not to risk burning any bridges. Aside from that, I've found that blogging and interacting with this niche is a great way to make connections.

brokeGIRLrich has helped my career in a few ways. By learning more about personal finance and especially side hustling, it frees me up to be able to take jobs I want to take instead of just working any gig to make ends meet. It's also a great networking tool since I get to meet lots of other people working in the arts when I'm interviewing them for different articles. I'm actually in the early planning stages to start a monthly video cast with my friend Stefanie over at The Broke and Beautiful Life where we interview others who work in the arts about how they got into this lifestyle and how they manage to balance their finances with following their dreams.

To be honest I don't think its got me a job or anything but the friends I have made through jobs that I have on Facebook occasionally have a read and like a post if I share it to Facebook/twitter which keeps them in the know of what I'm up to and sometimes uncovers mutual colleagues that you never know may need to further work. I think the strongest link for work is knowing someone.

Well as previously mentioned I used my blogs in part of my university portfolio, along with some reviews I had written. In fact the review writing was really beneficial in the end because some of the universities I applied for asked me to bring a review of a play Id seen recently to my interview and I was able to just pick one out Id already written! In terms of my carer, as a student I cant really say how much its helped me in that way. Writing a blog certainly encouraged me to read blogs by other stage managers, and generally read more about the industry as a whole, and being aware will inevitably help my career in the future.

As I am still studying I need to keep my blog updated. Blogging  has helped me the most in finding where I want to go as a Stage manager in the future. I find the future a very scary place and blogging has always helped me to realise where my strengths are  and what I still have to improve. Also once you have it written down it seems more real .

3) How have you found it has helped you get work?

It hasn't. Blogging about Stage Management hasn't led directly to any jobs; though I would argue my constant search for all things Stage Management has helped. As a freelance Stage Manager, I spend most of my time on SM job boards, so when I'm blogging about Stage Management, I often discover new websites or postings. Though I've made some nice connections from blogging, I haven't made any money.

My blog does help me get work, but not really in the arts. I get more opportunities to do freelance work for other sites because of mine, but I like it because freelance writing is an awesome side hustle for anyone trying to work in theater. I have deadlines, but I can decide when and even where I do my writing, which is pretty awesome.

No. But I've been in the same job since December so haven't really needed to look for other work yet. Also may be doing one more year touring with same company following this so I can get a mortgage! Therefore If I blog away someone may find it interesting that I have been in long contracts.

Not really, but it has got some twitter attention and I like to think my blogs show both people who know me (for example facebook friends I share my posts with) and those who dont (the twitter crew) how passionate I am about theatre and stage management and how much I love what I do.

So far I have been pretty much only blogging for myself and a secluded audience. So no I have not gotten jobs over it yet, but I know people who have managed that. I think one has to have a good tuning in with twitter and other social media as well as knowing where to blog  to get the right audience.  It is something I want to look into for the next four weeks.

4) How often do you try to blog?

I have an editorial calendar to help me with this. I try to post a video on my Youtube Channel every Friday, and blog at least once a week. It gets tricky, because if I have a busy week (like a tech week, for example), I sometimes have to choose between posting a video or blog post, just because of time limitations. I also have a handful of videos and posts that are my 'stock' posts. They're just two or three pieces of content that are not time-specific, so if I know I'm not going to be able to post for a while, I will use those.

I blog 3 days a week on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays and on Saturdays I host Financially Savvy Saturdays which is a link up where people who write personal finance related posts can link up their best post of the week so that my readers can check out other great financial tips from other writers.

I which I did more probably once every 3/6 months.

Well I write for Arts Award once or twice a month but this isnt necessarily a blog and definitely isnt always about stage management. We write articles, reviews, interviews, how to guidesthe lot! I get given allocations around the months theme and if I can write a blog about my work for that then brilliant! Otherwise it really depends on what Ive got going on at any given time especially now Ive just started drama school, I havent quite worked a schedule out so Ill have time to just sit down, write, and reflect. (The plus is that, being at drama school, Ill have a lot more theatre-y things to write when I do get the time!)

I try to blog once a week , but sometimes during rehearsals even that is not manageable, because I do not want to put up just some gibberish with grammar mistakes. It should tell a story, something I learned about or enjoyed doing.  So sometimes it can be up to 4 weeks and not post, but I am working in improving that.

5) What is your favorite/least favorite post that you've put up?

That's tough. I think my favorite post, as of now, would perhaps be the Job-Hunting for Stage Managers post. Though most freelance SMs likely already knew about most of the sites, it received a nice amount of positive feedback. The Unpaid Intern post is also a piece I'm proud of.

As far as least favorite goes, I don't think I have one. Any post that isn't up-to-par gets re-written until it is, or it doesn't get posted.

Can I cheat? I totally have two favorites and they are both directly related to stage managing. The post Im probably the proudest of is How to Stock a Stage Management Kit on a Budget. Also, since most stage managers are total caffeine junkies, I think one of the best posts I wrote for how SMs can save money despite their Starbucks habit is Gift Card Swapping: Why I the Latte Factor.

I love how you ask about my least favorite too. Honestly, there are some times where I can totally tell I didnt put my best effort into things or where the post just flops. I think one of my biggest flops was How Much Do Stage Managers Make? because I was really hoping to start a dialogue on our salaries I even made an anonymous survey and even though the page got some decent traffic, it didnt get any replies. I actually wrote a follow up called How Much Do Stage Managers Make? Part II where I sort of mused about why we dont share our salaries a little more and how I think that hurts us especially if we wont even reveal them when its anonymous. Also, my entire first month of blogging I wrote this series I called Doin It By the Decade and it was pretty terrible. You gotta start somewhere, right?

I don't really have a favorite, for me it was about getting what I had done onto a virtual screen not just on a black and white CV. Including pictures and experiences making it more real.

Oh gosh I dont know! Some of the pieces I write for allocations I struggle with because my heart isnt necessarily in it my best works are ones when I am writing about something Im passionate about, for example my piece why I think its important to study the arts (http://www.artsawardvoice.com/magazine/blogs/dont-study-arts-theyre-not-real-subjects) and the blog I wrote in Arts and Health month about youth theatre (http://www.artsawardvoice.com/magazine/blogs/youth-theatre-second-family). If you care about something a lot then that definitely translates into our writing.

My favourite post, was when I explained why I was a stage manager. My least favorite was as quote I found in a rehearsal room.  I know it had a wide audience, but I did wonder if people actually understood what it means to a stage manager.

6.) What reaction have you had to your blog?

For the most part, my experience has been positive. When folks do interact, it's often times other Stage Managers sharing their two cents. I have left out all company names, and try to retain some sense of anonymity in that area, so I haven't had any negative responses on that front.

I think Ive had a pretty good reaction among other personal finance bloggers, but I sort of fly under the radar in the performing arts community, which Im trying to change. I think part of that problem is that there really arent that many stage management and performing arts blogs and our community really isnt that strong.

         I get great responses though from people interested in stage managing on cruise ships. I worked out on one for 5 years and can talk about it ad nauseum. I specifically try to move my posts away from that topic since I figure people must be sick of it by now :0P

Not huge mostly friends and family.

Ive had lots of positive reaction to my blogs over twitter and from friends. Being put on the SMA list of stage management bloggers was really lovely and having them retweet my writing to a wider audience is great! As someone just starting out in the field its really empowering to have your writing respected and taken seriously.

So far only good ones. Often I find that, depending where you blog, audience seem to like small posts better. Also I still can't say if a blog post will be successful or not, because whenever I think it will be it won't and when I think it should nothing special it gets reblogged like made. Very strange.

7. What advice would you give to your fellow bloggers?

I'd tell them to keep writing. It gets hard to generate fresh content regularly, but the more you do it the easier it will be, and your followers will thank you for it. I'd also tell them to not be afraid of social media. There are a lot of Stage Managers out there who are afraid they will be seen as unprofessional, so they lock their Twitter accounts, or they blog about something that they're not interested in. Go for it! The world we live in is so based in social media that you can't be afraid of it if you want your blog to be a success.

I think my advice to other bloggers is to just keep moving. I mean, that Doin It By the Decade series was terrible. The next one was a little better and I can definitely say I write a lot better after a year of blogging. It also took me a little while to really find what I wanted to say and who I wanted my audience to be, but I think if Id just stopped instead of continuing to flounder on my way to figuring those things out, I wouldnt have kept blogging.

I also think its important to remember who you want your readers to be and to make sure you write for them. I think blogging is all about your readers and how you can help them and build a great community.

If it is about around your career I think you still need to keep some sense on professionalism.

Always check your spelling and grammar this is something I struggle with and have been caught out on resulting in a very embarrassing incident And always be prepared to stand by the views you write; once its up on the internet its got the potential to reach a massive audience so make sure you dont say anything you wouldnt want to shout to that audience in real life. Its just about having fun, but still staying professional, because a future employer can easily do a google search on you...


Do not stop, because you do not get reblogged. You write for your audience and yourself .Have fun!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

John Butler trio brixton LX

A couple of months ago i saw the amazing John butler trio at Brixton acadamy. I was blown away by the music but also the lighting design. It was kept very simple and subtle changes throughout the set. The color choices were chosen well to reflect the themes of the songs. Here are some photos from the gig.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Lessons of Latitude festival 2014

A couple of weeks ago I spent five days in a field at latitude festival. What's very nice about latitude is that it is more than a music festival more an arts festival. It's a bit like ed fringe but instead if you don't like something you can walk out when ever you want. I was very lucky to go with the wonderful Almeida theatre as technical manager for the show 'last words you here'
As much of a great time I had I did learn some things. Here are my top three lessons.
1) make sure you measure your set:
This was a easy mistake. We had three porter loos as our set. The measurements that were given to us when we bought them were near enough but of course there is the odd centimetre difference which in the grand scheme of things is a big difference. in the measurements we had and the van dimensions it would of all fit. Of course there are things like rails on the side in the van which make it smaller. In the end once we came to the conclusion on a wednesday morning on upper street Islington we decided we could only take one. The PM did a great job sorting it all out and drove to and from Latitude till all three were there. As they were going to be dumped we were going to destroy them to get them back but the lovely organisers of Latitude decided that they would keep them.
2) Tape, tape and more tape:
You can never have enough rolls of tape when your on a site. These items easily go for little walks and a couple of times i was the only one out 5 people coiling cables that had a role on them and on one strike i even forgot the tape so had none to tape the cables.
3) Fun and work can mix:
It is weird that somehow when at a festival you can party to the early hours in the morning, have very little amount of sleep and still be a functioning human the following day. We did combine the two on a nightly bases and have fun and party each night and still have a show that went well and smooth everyday. It was pretty amazing and shocking. We all agreed that in the real world we could not do that and it wouldnt be possible but the magic of a festival saw us through.

I would also like to list the top three things that I saw at Latitude.
1) Scroobius pip, Poetry performance.
2) Young fathers.
3) Josie long.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Find the funny

Find the funny is a term that people use to find the humour in a bad or everyday situation. Im sure you have done this yourself.
I have just finished my last tour of Oily carts 'tube' our third tour of the UK and fourth outing in total. This tour we all seem to agree was our most successful not only in shows but our relationships with each other. Of course there are times on all three tours that things have just all gone tits up at first you just dispair but in the end you just cant help but find the funny and just laugh about it, this tour was no different.
The storys normally come in the form of digs, we all have them in this industry and im sure most of yours are better than mine but this show has created a couple. In honesty we have been lucky with this show that they have been booked for us and are mostly hotels like travlelodge or premier inn's which are fine as you know what your going to get. This tour there was the town of Grimsby, Im sorry to say Grimsby but your not a great town, im not sure what came first the name or the place, I did not see anyone smile in three days. This Hotel was alright very outdated and looked like an office block outside. The carpet looked like the old school orange and brown seats on buses. Nothing out of our digs beat Bolton. When i went into a shop in Bolton and asked what to do round there the reply was 'leave' when in the digs themselves in the middle of the evening we discovered there was someone else staying there, we were not told. When we came home one afternoon we discovered a very large man without his top on sitting on the sofa watching tennis. Thats just the start of Bolton.
We had one show were at the end we had literally been defeated by six autistic children, the cast collapsed onto the floor and nearly fell asleep 30 seconds after the last child left. I ended up acting as security for the musician and it was just mental, I hope one day I will write more about that crazy show.
One theme that runs throughout all these situations is that we couldn't believe it at the time but we found the funny in each situation and had a laugh about it sometimes quicker than others.
Just remember that when it all goes to pot and it seems like its all going wrong just remember to take a deep breath and laugh.