Nick Hern Books (New Edition)
Recommended Price: 14.99
ISBN: 9 781848 420144
Review: Rod Dungate, 23 June 2010

Simple, Marvellous, Simply marvellous.

Gail Pallin’s book is out in a new edition.

It lives up to its title – an essential guide – but it’s more too. I’d add comprehensive, to-the-point, user-friendly, a good dollop of humour added in. You could read it all through (as I did) or keep it by you for ready reference. A stage-management student will find this invaluable.

The book is organised in two main sections – the first deals with roles and processes, the second with managing the processes and roles. (It makes sense when you read the book.)

The Essential Guide is crammed full of sensible and practical advice; guidance on how to create a To Do list, for instance, or a Budget Analysis sheet. I particularly like the hints and tips that appear along the way, too; you are certain, as you read them, that these grow from real first-hand experience. And I gave up counting how many times I thought: ‘That’s brilliant, I must remember that one!’ Hints like putting a damp cloth on a tray to stop things sliding about.

Pallin is strong on the big things as well; she leaves us in no doubt about the importance of proper research. She is outspoken about the importance of putting together a more than just adequate set of props (she points out how creative this can be.) It seems she misses out nothing – team building, unions, job hunting are all included.

Health and Safety gets a bad press these days. But we all know how important it is – and how hazardous the events or theatre business might be. There’s a superb example of a risk assessment template here. Pallin’s examination of process management includes managing yourself. She breaks this down, into, among other things, good food, good health and relieving stress. And here good sense and sense of humour still hold sway.

The book concludes with a set of concise and revealing Case Studies.

It’s a delight, and anyone in SM putting its ideas into practice will be a delight to work with.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon

2010-06-23 10:22:15

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