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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Insurance for Musical Instruments
« Last post by megf on Jan 18, 2018, 09:19 pm »
There is a precedent within several Actors Equity contracts for insurance coverage and rental fees paid for use of an actor's personal property in a show. The most detailed schedule for these payments that I have personally worked with is an appendix to the LORT contract, and covers mostly costume and wig-related items. That said, a local or nearby chapter of the American Federation of Musicians may be able to provide guidance that takes into account the unique risks, wear and tear, and maintenance needs of musical instruments. I would be surprised if AFM is unable to help your fellow students come up with a suitable agreement.

And the philosophical approach the school seems to have adopted just... bothers me. Would the school ask a carpenter to use personal tools, without any evidence of insurance? I think not. The instruments should be treated with the same care. If nothing else, the school should wish to minimize the risk of exposure to future legal action or complaints. Oy.
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The Green Room / Re: Dear Abby: Box Office Misbehavior
« Last post by Juarbe on Jan 16, 2018, 08:26 am »
I agree with Megf. Be very careful with this. I've heard people being fined through their nose when caought doing this in Europe. It all depends on the local laws though.
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Does anyone have a word doc of Love Letters? I have to copy and paste the script for prop letters and figure this would be easier than typing!

Thanks!
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Insurance for Musical Instruments
« Last post by Tempest on Jan 15, 2018, 11:33 am »
I work with a professional composer/music director/performer who always brings his own instruments. He played those exact instruments for years, and knows which one(s) will work best for what he wants to accomplish, the space he'll be performing in, and will play nice with our sound equipment. While he has occasionally asked us to have a back-up guitar on site, just in case, I think he'd be insulted if we asked him to play something other than his own.

I believe he carries his own insurance for his instruments, since they're part of his livelihood (and as someone who used to play an expensive instrument, I'd recommend that for all musicians!) which still covers them in all performance venues.

We do provide plenty of his preferred type of strings (one set per week of performance, but we do 13 shows a week), batteries for anything he needs them for, sound cables, DI boxes, contact cleaning supplies, etc.

Thinking back on all the shows I've done where performers play an instrument, the only instruments my theater has ever provided are a keyboard, and small hand percussion, whizz whistles, kazoos, etc. (though there was one performer who preferred his personal kazoo!)
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Saving Prompt Books
« Last post by Tempest on Jan 15, 2018, 11:24 am »
I'm with PSMKay and MadisonSchultes; the final book belongs to the producer.
I do keep personal digital copies of all paperwork I produce, and sometimes PDFs of the script in an archive hard drive, at home. Just in case. I'm a resident SM, now, and in a theatre that does a TON of remounts. They had a server failure in the past few years, and some of the old SMs did not create very good physical books (or create them at all!). So its nice to know that I can pull up a props list from that show we did three years ago and e-mail it to whomever needs it, no matter what!
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Saving Prompt Books
« Last post by RuthNY on Jan 15, 2018, 08:29 am »
The prompt book actually belongs to the producing organization, and should be left with them  If you purchased the binder and the tabs with your personal money, put the book's contents in a large envelope, inquire where or with whom you should leave it, and walk away.

Now that being said, there is no reason you can't photocopy or scan your work prior to turning in the book, and keep a copy. I like to scan my calling script and keep the virtual version with all the virtual paperwork in a computer file. I keep no blocking records whatsoever. Sure, if I KNOW a show is going to be remounted or tour and that I am going to be involved, yes I would keep the blocking as well. But not otherwise.

Your mileage may vary, but I see no reason to keep old scripts.  Except maybe one to show in interviews, if anyone ever asks for that anymore.  But, once i'm done with a show, it's time to move on.

I've been a stage manager for a little bit now and I've collected quite a collection of prompt books. I've always been taught to save them, but I never knew why. I understand that if we ever work the show again, it might be helpful, but when I've worked on a show again, I usually just use all my digital files, and thats it. (I would also love to re-use some of these binders/tabs that are collecting dust in my closet to save some money)

I guess my question is what does everyone do with their old prompt books? Do you save everything? Do you just save the script? And if you do save them, what is the reason?
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Saving Prompt Books
« Last post by PSMKay on Jan 14, 2018, 01:56 pm »
In my experience they always became property of the producer when the show ended.
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Saving Prompt Books
« Last post by MadisonSchultes on Jan 14, 2018, 01:34 pm »
I've been a stage manager for a little bit now and I've collected quite a collection of prompt books. I've always been taught to save them, but I never knew why. I understand that if we ever work the show again, it might be helpful, but when I've worked on a show again, I usually just use all my digital files, and thats it. (I would also love to re-use some of these binders/tabs that are collecting dust in my closet to save some money)

I guess my question is what does everyone do with their old prompt books? Do you save everything? Do you just save the script? And if you do save them, what is the reason?
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Insurance for Musical Instruments
« Last post by LauraF on Jan 13, 2018, 06:38 pm »
My instincts say that instrument insurance is overkill for a university production. It is likely that the cost of the insurance plus the administrative costs to set it up are too high to make it worth it for a short show run. However, I think it is not unreasonable for the students to get a written contract from the university saying that if any damage occurs during a rehearsal or performance the university will be responsible for the repair/replacement costs. In addition, spare guitar/ukulele/[insert your show's instrument here] strings should be purchased by the production and kept on hand during rehearsals and performances for when a string inevitably breaks. That is really the most likely thing that will come up on the standard wear and tear front, so as long as those are available then I think wear and tear compensation is unnecessary.

KMC does bring up the good point of who should provide the instruments. I have worked on several professional non-equity shows where the actors have provided their own instruments. I would argue that it's different from standard props or costumes in that using a different instrument than someone is used to can affect their performance, so many people prefer to use their own. I don't believe any of the actors I've worked with who brought in their own instruments have asked for a rental fee; they all simply offered to bring their own in. However, if your university is requiring your actors to use their own, I think it would be reasonable to offer some compensation. And in either case if the actor is expected to leave their instrument in the theater for the full duration of the run (rather than bringing it home every night if they choose) a rental fee would be even more necessary.

It may be worth approaching your school's music department to see if instruments can be borrowed for the run of the show. These would already be covered by school insurance, and the music department may even provide extra strings, etc. along with them.
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Stage Management: Other / Re: Blocking Notation for Opera
« Last post by AndyS on Jan 13, 2018, 10:33 am »
I usually do pretty comprehensive blocking notation (just use bar numbers in place of line numbers, with a second column for repeats) since - as mentioned - you're going to have people whose characters are receiving blocking when the performer is not in the room, so you're going to have to do some heavier-than-usual sessions catching people up. If I can afford to stick an ASM on table I'll usually have them cover prop-tracks, which is more relevant to what they'll need to know, but which can be matched up with blocking notes for confirmation - e.g. if the prop notes say that the vase exits USL, and my blocking says the maid carrying it is exiting DSR, then we know we have a problem ;)
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