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Stage Manager, Show Caller and Producer. What’s the difference?

October 25, 2022

Show Manager, Show Caller, Producer

When planning for the staffing of your production team, you should have three key positions on your team. However, some event professionals find it a little confusing as to the differences between the three key positions of a Stage Manager, Show Caller or Producer.

Here is your guide to these individual positions and some clarity on what they can add to your team. Unfortunately, these positions often get combined on smaller events, which can lead to some confusion and frustration on the team when there isn’t clarity on your expectations for the contractor or supplier partner.

STAGE MANAGER

Stage Manager
Stage Manager

The Stage Manager is a position that works on the stage with your speakers and presenters. Often called a Deck Manager or Assistant Stage Manager (ASM for short). This specific position is meant to work closely with the backstage crew and presenters to ensure entrances are made from the stage, making sure the backstage area and surrounding walkways are kept safe and easy to use. They also take on the primary responsibility of placing stage furniture along with stagehands and spike marks and guiding your speakers through the navigation of the stage.

In this position, you always want a calm, personable, supportive team member who is cool under pressure. They are often the critical point of contact for your presenters backstage and will have a direct line to the right solution.

Their favourite tools backstage are a wireless COM headset, a multiview display so that they can see what is happening on stage and access to some water and snacks to make the presenters feel comfortable.

SHOW CALLER

This position is often lumped in as a stage manager, but this position is unique. A Show Caller is the person who calls the cues working with the front-of-house operators to manage the show from start to finish. They work closely with the Stage Manager in constant communication and take charge of the formation and ownership of your cue lists and running orders.

In this position, you need someone who is a stickler for details. They love lists and want to update them constantly to ensure they have the most up-to-date information. Additionally, as they coordinate many different streams simultaneously, you need someone in this position who can multi-task seamlessly and is adaptable to change.

Some great tools to make sure you have for this position are a COM base station so they can communicate on multiple channels, a really good desk lamp to help them see their list, access to a printer so they can update cue sheets on the fly and director view monitor so they can see the bigger picture.

You can also use a platform that we particularly like, SHOFLO RUNDOWN, which allows the Show Caller to update the cue sheets in an online digital platform in real-time.

PRODUCER

The Producer should be a separate position on your team from the show caller and stage manager. They are the main point of contact and leader of the event’s creative direction and technical execution. They need to be able to move from the front-of-house, throughout the space and backstage to help with creative problem-solving while working with your key stakeholders throughout the process. Not having them tied down to the FOH desk or working with speakers and presenters allows you to have an intelligent and focused team member guiding the ship.

This position requires a highly creative person who loves managing a project from start to finish. This will be the team member who spends the most time with you and the team before the event, helping to develop your stage presentations, entertainment and panels.

The best tools for the Producer are a wireless COM headset, clipboard or iPad loaded with the SHOFLO RUNDOWN and perhaps a radio to help them relay critical information to non-show related departments.

If your event is of a smaller scale, often, these positions can be combined into a single person. However, before you combine them, be aware of these separate roles, and be clear with your contractor or partner on your expectations.

We create Exceptional Production Experiences, by gathering the right people and the right resources, paired with meaningful design and elevated production value. Because when experienced planners get pulled into the day to day of their event production, taking care of their stakeholders and audiences becomes impossible. At Byrne Production Services, we direct the technical production of each event, using our Production Framework™ so you can be free to focus on the event experience.

Getting started on an Exceptional Production Experience is easy.

Book an exploration meeting with us, let us create a customized plan, then let’s work on creating something exceptional, together.

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