Author Topic: Non-equity contract question  (Read 2982 times)

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Non-equity contract question
« on: Mar 02, 2007, 03:57 pm »
I'm not equity and that's why this is in here instead of Hardline. I GOT A JOB!!! It's for the summer, doing musicals in an amphitheatre, and I don't know any details yet. My question is, I know some of you have people sign contracts when you get hired. Could I possibly see one or get some suggestions about what should go in it?

Thanks a ton :)



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Re: Non-equity contract question
« Reply #1 on: Mar 06, 2007, 08:49 am »
Non-equity contracts are usually short and leave a lot left to resolve through mutual agreement in ongoing conversations.

You'll probably see a contract that says
- dates: of arrival, of first rehearsal, of performances, of end of contract.
- fee, and a payment schedule - be sure it's clear and that it's what you want. If you need a cash flow, talk with them to get a weekly or bi-weekly payment. Talk with them to be sure that they can hand you a check instead of mailing it home (if you're not at home) - this is a little detail that can mean tragedy for your bill payment if no one catches this. And don't let them mail you a check after the show closes. They'll want to do this because they'll have received income from ticket sales at this point. But it leaves you way too vulnerable. Have your check in hand when you walk out the door.
- general job description that may or may not comprehensively list your SM job duties. Get familiar with the clause "and other duties as assigned" - much as you'd love to have that deleted to protect you from having to do things like purchase props and do laundry, it will probably stay. As long as you have a good relationship with the PM, you probably won't get too burned with not-my-job duties.

Maybe your contract will clearly explain your travel and housing, if the company is providing that or if they're giving you a stipend for these expenses. I usually like a contract to name my direct supervisor by position ("The SM will report directly to the Production Manager") - this clearly establishes the chain of command, which is good for you and good for the company. You probably won't see a health insurance or pension contribution if this is non-union (ha!). It's extremely unusual for any but the biggest companies to offer these benefits to SMs, and they're usually union anyway.

Make sure you have a clear understanding about:
  • supply expenses (are they stocking the show straight out of your personal kit? will you be given petty cash to buy tape, etc?)
  • crew activities (will you be asked to help build/strike the set? will you be expected to jump onstage - in performance even - to execute scene changes?)
  • ASMs (how many will you have?)
  • work day length and days off (so they can't work you 16 hours-a-day for two weeks straight)
  • local transportation (you might be tacitly expected to bring your own car)
  • prep work (will the company mail you a script/score in advance? will they provide a photocopier and computers for printing reports, etc.?)
  • reimbursements (how do you get petty-cash purchases approved? if you make your cell # available, will they reimburse you if you go over your minutes?)
You probably won't see the list above covered in your contract; the company doesn't want to be bound in writing to provide these things. And that's usually fine, as long as you have the answers you need and a good mutual understanding as you sign the contract. Maybe it's a very small company and of course you will use your own car and offer your own couch to be part of the set and even host the cast party in your own kitchen. And that can be fine, but you should know what you're getting into ahead of time.


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