Author Topic: Equity Courses  (Read 5712 times)

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fuzzy_7

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Equity Courses
« on: Sep 18, 2006, 06:59 am »
I was just wondering how many schools have courses that deal with Equity issues either in a particular course or in a separate course altogether.
Derek A. Fuzzell

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #1 on: Sep 18, 2006, 11:21 pm »
We didn't have a specifc course for Equity stuff, per se.  We had a strong, written out production policy in my college, that was based on Equity rules.  I took Theatre Management twice (1st time for credit, 2nd time I audited for a new teacher's perspective). In this class the final project was the "create" our own new small professional theatres.  The first time I took the class, the professor wanted us to fully take into account the restrictions of the SPT contract.  So I read through that then.  I let the rest of the team be more creative, and I was the nay-sayer in terms of policy, and budget.

Independently during college, because I had an interest, I also read the LORTand NEAT contracts.  We had no formal instruction in it, but I sought it out.

Libby

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #2 on: Sep 19, 2006, 02:57 pm »
My college didn't have a specific course that dealt with equity, but we ran rehearsals and performances as if the cast was. (ie- proper break time, span of day rules, etc), though there wasn't really any penalty if some of the rules were overlooked. Other than that both my stage management class and theatre management class had sections that dealt with equity rules and regulations, and I know that I was expected to learn Equity issues/policies. But I did leave school with a rather firm understanding of the rules and different contracts that are under equity....now if I could just put my knowledge of production contract rules to good use I would be a happy girl  ;)

Balletdork

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #3 on: Sep 19, 2006, 05:47 pm »
When I taught Stage Management we had I believe 1 1/2 hours devoted to Equity issues. Just one class meeting. The entire class (usually MW 1.5 hour classes a week fo 10 weeks) is designed to be for students facing a professional career; so the idea is that you're learning the AEA standard.  :)

I hope this helps  :)

KC_SM_0807

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #4 on: Sep 19, 2006, 11:57 pm »
My University tried a SM course for only one semester and I couldn't take it due to scheduling issues.  However, I have learned a lot about Equity rules on my own time by really looking at the information on the website.  I am currently working non-AEA professionally, and have also learned a lot about equity rules through the people around me.  I really think that you can learn a lot on your own by research and talking to the people around you who may be Equity or be familiar with the rules...although it would have been nice to have a class where that's all you learn about for a specific amount of time.
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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #5 on: Sep 20, 2006, 08:35 am »
I am just not sure what to teach in regards to Equity, as the rules do change, and contracts vary so much.

A full Semester on the Red/LORT book would make me tear our my eyes, but two hours going over the rules that effect stage management and performance/rehearsal rules would make sense. 

I have a quiz that goes with the red book which is a lot of "What ifs" - taking the rules and thinking the next step, or comibing the rules . . . (Like if you have a AEA stage manager and two AEA assistant stage managers, how many hours a day can rehearsal be going on?  Well, 24 hours a day, as long as no single actor/SM worked more then 8 hours. . . . things like that.)  It's not meant to be an actual quiz, but start a conversation over the rules that are more complex then they seem or how to make the most complex rules make sense (WHY DOES A STRAIGHT SIX EQUAL 8).

But, I would find it hard to structure a class to cover every AEA contract and feel like you had a comfortable working knowledge of all contracts - I feel it is something you learned while doing.  I think you can learn a lot just by sitting down and reading the contract book as well..
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BeckyGG

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #6 on: Sep 20, 2006, 05:49 pm »
My college SM courses dealt some with Equity.  The first stage management course was more broad in what it taught and many non-stage managers took that course.  It briefly touched on the some of the unions (AEA, SSDC, IA).  The Advanced Stage Management course is geared towards those interested in stage managing professionally and we dealt more heavily with Equity.  As many of our graduates move to Chicago, the teacher (who is an AEA stage manager)got copies of the CAT contract for all of us and we spent many classes learning about some of the rules and how to apply them to real-life situations.  I found it quite helpful and to gain a basic understanding of how the union works and how to learn to understand the contracts.

Also, we had a production handbook that followed some of the more basic Equity rules in regards to breaks, tech rehearsals, etc.
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SMJorge

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #7 on: Sep 20, 2006, 06:23 pm »
There was no specific class on equity at my school, but the PM was a very knowledgeable member of Equity and talked about it and the other unions in his classes. We also had a rule-book that was based on Equity Rules. I believe they were based on the SPT agreement.

RachelTaylor

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #8 on: Sep 22, 2006, 10:22 pm »
In my BFA Stage Management program, we do not have a specific class about Equity but we do discuss rules and contracts in our stage management class.  We follow Equity rules concerning rehearsals and also recently started using the same form that AEA uses for problem actors to submit to students' advisors.  I don't know if a class devoted entirely to AEA rules/contracts would be entirely effective since the Equity rules really stuck with me after working for an equity theatre company connected to our school this past summer.  Experience always beats classroom.

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #9 on: Nov 04, 2006, 03:15 pm »
I teach a course on Equity at the University of Iowa.  I offer it every other year for the graduate stage managers and a couple of the advanced undergraduate students.  Matthew is absolutely correct that the students want to tear out their eyes by the time they are done.  The course is focused on American regional theatres: we spend the first 6 weeks studying the history of AEA and the regional theatre scene and individual companies.  We then use the last 10 weeks of the course to go through the AEA/LORT agreement line by line.  I supplement the readings with older copies of the LORT agreement to show how the regulations have evolved and I use the production contract to show how items will filter down from that set of negotiations.

One of the goals of my class is to be completely familiar with the handbook.  I don't expect students to memorize the rules since they will vary by contract and will evolve through negotiations.  The class final is a timed open-book test: I give you a show and you write how you would handle situations ranging from workweeks through raked stages through personal wardrobe rentals through mistakes on the houseboard, etc. (I don't want to go into too much detail as my students read these threads.).  There is no substitute for apprenticing in an Equity company, but the course hopefully the course will reduce the intimidation of opening the book and to see it as an evolving agreement rather than rules written in stone.

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KC_SM_0807

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #10 on: Nov 04, 2006, 07:01 pm »
We have no Equity course where I am going now.  However; I have recently been looking at schools with MFAs and almost all of them have at least one course on Equity Contracts, Rules and Regulations.
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."

Aerial

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #11 on: Nov 04, 2006, 11:45 pm »
Recently, my production manager handed me and the other PA the proposed performance schedule for our giant Christmas show, and said: "find all the overtime violations".  The show is done with two casts.  They like to balance the overtime between the two casts.  Now, she and her assistant had already proofed both of them, but she wanted to see if we could spot all of the violations.  So we sat down the with the schedules and looked for all the 9th and 10th performances in given weeks, 6 shows in 3 days, and non-student-matinee performances before noon(complicating this exercise was the fact that the two casts have different days off, so that we can run this show 7 days a week).  This exercise really pounded in the rules in way that reading the book, or listening to a lecture couldn't.

fuzzy_7

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #12 on: Nov 05, 2006, 10:01 pm »
Thanks for all of your input. It has been extremely helpful and really appreciated.
Derek A. Fuzzell

JenniferEver

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Re: Equity Courses
« Reply #13 on: Dec 03, 2006, 09:50 am »
I learned exactly zero about equity when I was in college

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