Author Topic: Opinions on Producers  (Read 7764 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Ladytatooine

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
    • http://360.yahoo.com/
Opinions on Producers
« on: Apr 25, 2006, 11:06 am »
Maybe it's more of Producers or how to handle it or something: I feel like I'm alone in this, but I have hope that I'm not:

SM accepts a job with A theater. She calls A theater and asks the Production Manager for a meeting to discuss the job. The Production Manager tells her he doesn't have time because they're in the midst of another show. She asks again later and the Production Manager is on vacation. Rehearsals start and the SM sends out Preliminary charts (ligting, sound, set, etc.) and gets an e-mail from the Producer/Music Director of the show stating that all e-mails are to be sent to the Producers and they will decide who gets the information. Later on, notes in rehearsal from the director are forwarded to the SM and the SM sends out the notes with basic information as well to actors. The 2nd Producer/star of the show sends out a reminder e-mail stating that all e-mails are to be sent to the Producers and they'll decide who gets the information. Tech week comes and costumes are seen for the first time. The director, furious, stops the rehearsal and has a private conference with the costume designer, stating that's not what she suggested. Costume designer never got the notes. Also, the lighting designer is frustrated with all the changes and cuts in the show since the designer run. He never got the e-mails. So, being taught that my position is to be the center of communication and working in a theater where the controlling Producers have taken that away, and the first audience is tonight, how do I handle the 4 week run with such restrictions? I'm not even allowed to give out opening night cards or post reminders on the call board without checking with the producers first.

amylee

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 26
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://myspace.com/amylee1028
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #1 on: Apr 25, 2006, 11:24 am »
i'm sorely tempted to suggest that you do what you need to do to get information where it needs to be and copy the producers......

what's the worst they can do to you? not hire you again? is that necessarily a bad thing.........if there's more at risk (possible vindictive blacklisting or bad-mouthing, for example) then you have to weigh those risks for yourself.

when i've had situations where someone was trying to restrict information as a control method, i usually follow what i'm told to do and then sidle up to the people i know need information and pass it along orally (no record) - at the very least, i pass along "heads up" notifications such as "you need to ask so-and-so about some changes that were made tonight"........or even just suggest that now would be a good time for a particular production team member to "check in" with the producer "to see if there's anything i should know"

with the heads-up strategy, one of two things will happen - 1) the producer will get fed up with being bothered for information all the time and will just let you provide it or 2) they'll get off on having "control" and be happy that you're following the rules, even if they do wonder how the design team always seems to know exactly when to "check in for updates"

good luck!
amy lee
:)  :(

Mac Calder

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 962
  • Gender: Male
  • Plan for the future, live for the now
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Live Performance Australia / Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance
  • Current Gig: Technical Director
  • Experience: Former SM
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #2 on: Apr 25, 2006, 10:15 pm »
I gather you have production meetings?

If the producers are in charge of distribution of all this information, make sure you mention the memo's during production meetings - just on the side.

ie:

"So I gather everyone received the memo about script changes. Are there any major problems? Everyone understood them alright?"

Then when LX realises they did not get them, point to the producers and basically say "Ask Them"

Your PM's seem like real a$$es who want to have their fingers in every dish, and I think it may help that you sit down with them and explain exactly what your job entails, and how you cannot do it if they keep fudging you arround.

Ladytatooine

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
    • http://360.yahoo.com/
I thank you
« Reply #3 on: Apr 26, 2006, 12:50 am »
Production Meetings are held when I am not available. I've been to one and have been told from the beginning that the PM runs the meetings: not the SM. I was told, point blankly, that "a stage manager is a low-key secretary." I was disgusted.

Kimberly

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 21
    • View Profile
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #4 on: Apr 26, 2006, 01:20 am »
Damn.......that was a slap in the face! I'd be pissed for sure!  :x
Live well, laugh often, and love much!

jensparkingonly

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • http://jensparkingonly.com
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #5 on: Apr 26, 2006, 03:51 am »
Hmmm...I temp as a "low- key" secretary and often find myself taking and distributing meeting notes...

Another suggestion for getting the info distributed is to offer to help the Producer with their heavy workload by distributing notes. Suggest that you take a few minutes to review the days notes before he/she leaves for the night and politely offer to send out the information for them because you "understand how busy they are." That conversation might start by you saying, "We've made alot of changes today. I know you are really busy, would you like me to type those up and pass them to the designers?" Very rarely will some refuse a sincere offer for help, especially if the result makes them look good.

Good luck!
Jen Matthews
Stage Manager, AEA
jensparkingonly@hotmail.com

"In art we are once again able to do all the things we have forgotten: we are able to walk on water; we speak to the angels who call us; we  move, unfettered, among the stars." -ML

Mac Calder

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 962
  • Gender: Male
  • Plan for the future, live for the now
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Live Performance Australia / Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance
  • Current Gig: Technical Director
  • Experience: Former SM
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #6 on: Apr 26, 2006, 09:00 am »
If I was told I was basically a secretary, I would resign. Simple as that. I would probably rant and rave before I did so of course, and I would make sure my displeasure with the company was known - both amongst cast, and other people I talked to.

Whilst it is true that the PM often does run Production Meetings, and I have no problem with that, you are the hub of communication, you are the liason between departments, and most importantly, you ARE the one with your fingers in every pot, your hands touch every dish at least once and you know the names of everyone in the production. Production managers, as a general rule crunch the numbers, book the venue and rehearsal rooms and basically make sure you have all the tools required to get the show going.

So I guess what you need to do is figure out if you really value that job that much.

And what the hell do they think they are doing holding production meetings without the SM?!?

I am too worked up to rant atm, so I will leave this post at that.

Ladytatooine

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
    • http://360.yahoo.com/
Love
« Reply #7 on: Apr 26, 2006, 09:36 am »
I love you guys for making me feel inclusive. For the past couple of months I"ve felt like I was the only one going through things like this and that I was crazy. Thank you, thank you for your comments. I take them to heart. Last night's volunteer show (all the volunteers for the theater are in the audience) went well with some interesting mess-ups. I am awaiting the time when the PM will remind me that i am the one that does the laundry every night and puts it in the dryer the next day for every show. I'm getting $100/week to do this until the 28th of May - and that's $100/week to SM. One hour commute. Never again, my friends. Never again.

loebtmc

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1556
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, SAG, AFTRA, SMA
  • Current Gig: Caroling, caroling now we go — and looking for my next gig!
  • Experience: Professional
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #8 on: Apr 27, 2006, 02:35 am »
and you can, with a clear conscience, say that, no, laundry is NOT your job and has never nor will ever be a an SMs responsibility. Direct the producer to the costumer since that is their pervue....

You need to decide where you draw the line and start standing up for yourself and your profession. If they want a glorified secretary, let them hire one. And if they want a stage manager, let them let you do your job. Once that happens they are usually so grateful.

Good luck. And as for them, good riddance

(rant over)

Ladytatooine

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
    • http://360.yahoo.com/
Continuing on ...
« Reply #9 on: Apr 27, 2006, 04:02 pm »
Today's e-mail from the producer/musical director explained that the stage manager does the laundry - 2-3 loads a night before I leave. 20 person cast. No ASM. I wrote her back and asked her if someone else could possibly do it so that I may concentrate on being a stage manager. As it is, I have to change the set, set props, make calls, find the band, check with house, set tables, change table tops and pee in the 15 minute intermission. The other night when one of my actors fell offstage carrying a huge drum, the lighting designer was by my side and told me to go ahead and go see him. I did and rushed to get anticeptic (sp) and a bandaid. Then returned to the booth. The next day the PM told me not to leave the booth regardless of what happened. I am looking at a definite vacation.

Mac Calder

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 962
  • Gender: Male
  • Plan for the future, live for the now
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Live Performance Australia / Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance
  • Current Gig: Technical Director
  • Experience: Former SM
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #10 on: Apr 27, 2006, 08:31 pm »
What contract are you under?

It may be worth talking to your union rep.

As for not leaving the booth - It is an OH&S requirement in most places that the person in charge (By definition, as SM, that is YOU) be free to deal with arising problems as they come up.

I will reitterate what I said before - stand up for yourself.

Maybe you should "accidently" email them a copy of a stage management Position Description.

Ladytatooine

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
    • http://360.yahoo.com/
Non-Union gig
« Reply #11 on: Apr 28, 2006, 11:09 am »
This is a semi-professional house by Atlanta standards. They pay weekly, which is why people call them semi-professional. It's a Non-Equity contract, similar to the contracts given to the actors. In legal terms, it's more of a Letter of Agreement. And I totally agree that i should have full reign to insure the safety of my cast, especially if I don't have an ASM and have requested one from the beginning. Lesson learned: never work for A Theater Company, Duluth, GA, now moving to Lawrenceville, GA. I did stand up for myself yesterday in e-mail to the producers about not wanting the responsibility to do 2-3 loads of laundry every night. Laundry is not in a Stage Manager's description, especially when I have close to two pages worth of pre-show, intermission, and post-show stuff to do. Plus I get up at 6:30 a.m. every day for a full-time job that pays rent and bills. I thought about getting them the most recent Lawrence Stern SM book at the end of the run so that ignorance is cured. Still thinking about it.

loebtmc

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1556
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: AEA, SAG, AFTRA, SMA
  • Current Gig: Caroling, caroling now we go — and looking for my next gig!
  • Experience: Professional
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #12 on: Apr 30, 2006, 12:01 am »
Although this is a nonAEA show or house, there must be someplace clearly written out the responsibilties of the SM - and if they need help, go to the AEA website and download from, oh, let's say the LORT contract the definition of the Stage Manager's job description.

And, if I may humbly suggest, part of standing up for yourself is, instead of saying that you suggest someone else does the laundry and explaining clearly and rationally why it makes no sense, you rather say "NO, that is not part of my job, and this needs to be done by a wardrobe person or other member of the costume dept." Period. And as a follow-up, if they want still you to do laundry, they need to compensate you appropriately for your time. Say, for example, a figure equal to the income from your day job which you will need to miss doing their extracurricular tasks.

If they can't pay you a full-time salary, they cannot expect you to work there full-time. And under any conditions, you should not be responsible for personally taking care of jobs outside your arena.

Good luck....

Ladytatooine

  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
    • http://360.yahoo.com/
Fired
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2006, 10:50 am »
Just to let those that have been keeping up know, the Producers fired me with two weekends left on the show.

Se la vie and I am healthier for it.

So I'll post another question...

Tigerrr

  • Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 52
    • View Profile
Opinions on Producers
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2006, 11:08 am »
I agree with what everyone else has said.  It's entirely within your right to refuse to add to your workload duties that you are not responsible for.

That said, I found it interesting that the Canadian Actors' Equity regulations say that SMs CAN do laundry (it's included as additional duties), but I just checked the LORT and laundry is explicitely excluded as a duty.

Hmmm.

As for the "low-key secretary" thing, I think rather than politely offering Lawrence Stern's book, I'd throw it at them and walk away!!

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
1227 Views
Last post Nov 17, 2010, 03:03 pm
by On_Headset
4 Replies
1250 Views
Last post Apr 21, 2016, 03:57 pm
by KMC
4 Replies
1468 Views
Last post Jun 04, 2017, 01:50 pm
by hbelden

riotous