Author Topic: what is the best way to spread the word  (Read 3549 times)

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linka

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what is the best way to spread the word
« on: Feb 23, 2005, 09:59 pm »
without getting slaughtered in the process for saying bad things? I am pretty upset to hear that a former company has managed to start recruiting some excellent stage managers by pretty much blaming all faults from previous seasons on former stage managers (ahem, I'm one of them) and the AEA office (which okay, so it wasn't the easiest office to work with). Admittedly, company is SO "let's pull an allnighter" which is kind of fun, has some really great work with a half pro/half community set of players, and is such a quirky political place that you kind of want it to succeed... I hedged about returning... then I remembered all of the bad things that violated about every rule in the book and got me into oodles of hot water.

Maybe this is just a vent since I don't think much can be done.

smejs

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what is the best way to spread the word
« Reply #1 on: Feb 23, 2005, 10:34 pm »
I don't really have an answer, but can sympathize.  I was considered a bitch at one theatre, because when I tried to work with the schedule of hours they gave me, I noted it was overtime.  They still had me work, so I turned in overtime.  "They'd never spent that much money before in their lives."  Well, they'd also had no one note it.  I also had to move my own furniture into an apartment, and was asked for it to be taken out a couple days before I was due to leave...anyway, I did speak with the Equity Business Rep a fair amount.  And I don't ever want to work there again, but also know I never could if I wanted to and that the artistic director speaks badly of me.

That said, the next production manager who hired me even invited me to come a day early just to get away and stay in their housing for free.  And she continued to talk about how that previous place had treated me.  

I'm also going through a current situation where a verbal contract (sorta) wasn't honored....I was expecting to go back to a theatre and was informed with too little notice that they'd found someone else in the meantime.  The people I was currently working with, of course found out how upset I was, and sympathized.  And they all think of the theatre with a bad reputation now.  It's a fine line to have to play, and if it comes up in conversation I try to say I see their side of it, too (I mean I was gone...I proved too well they could do without me...plus new management...) though ultimately I do believe it was a bad business practice...and just hope that ultimately things work out.

SM_Art

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Overtime
« Reply #2 on: Feb 24, 2005, 02:35 pm »
The overtime topic is one that comes up ALL the time with Stage Managers.  Some believe you never put in for it without risking the opportunity of ever working at a theatre again, and some believe it's 'part of the job' and the reason we get extra pay.  Some believe you put in for it if you work it, and be damned if they don't want to hire you again.  Much of it depends on how they treat you otherwise, I suppose, but if you notify the management in advance that a certain schedule will put you in an overtime situation, and they say 'ok', then they have no right to bitch about what it costs after the fact.  That won't stop them, of course....

There will always be a debate about what duties are part of out job that we just have to do as part of our preparation for a show, and much of this discussion involves paperwork.  If you're not specifically asked to prepare something by a certain time by management, then much of what we do is going to be considered, by them, to be on our own time.  Yet we know it has to be done for the production to run smoothly and efficiently, and in those cases, I don't ask for OT.  As a matter of fact, I rarely ask for OT except in a rehearsal situation where any actors go into OT, but that's just me.  I know the extra work I do will help keep me in control, and reduce problems down the road, and I like that, so I think of it as part of my job.  IF IT BENEFITS THE PRODUCTION and makes it all better, it's my job.  Of course, there are limits to this... and drawing the line is a case by case situation.

Now, back to the main theme of your original post.  If someone is treating you badly, you can certainly vent... but remember that what comes around, goes around, and the producer you may want to kill today may have the idela job open tomorrow, so it's always best to limit your circle of venting a little bit.  Other SM's are great to vent to, but keep options open....

smejs

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what is the best way to spread the word
« Reply #3 on: Feb 24, 2005, 04:24 pm »
SM_Art posted a view on overtime that I feel I pretty much agree with.  The overtime in the particular case I wrote about was for rehearsal hours outside of the allotted limit, as well as asking me to run tech rehearsals on a daylight day of rest.  And for that tech rehearsal, I only reported the actual hours of the rehearsal with the crew and non-Equity cast, not my set-up time.  

At a different theatre, I always felt a little leery asking about overtime, but ultimately it only occured when either the choreographer wanted to overlap the lunch break, but no actors would hit overtime.  The production manager and I had a great relationship there, and she felt I wasn't abusing the rule at all, just trying to make things work best for the show.

And yes, please remember it IS a small, small, small world.  You'd be amazed who knows who knows who who heard....

Erin

linka

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what is the best way to spread the word
« Reply #4 on: Feb 24, 2005, 04:40 pm »
yeah, I know it's a small world. Which is why I keep guarding myself.

However, I just would hate to have another stage manager go through my experience without having a tip first ... kind of like how I wish that the AEA business rep had warned me before rather than calling me later with a 'yeah, just checking in because in the past, there's been a lot of problems with this company. I personally wouldn't have taken the contract, but know that I'm here for you." Then later, another business rep called and said, "the changes you fought for are why we need people like you in the union. You're not alone, but don't give in."

The issues of OT were just like 1/4 of the battle... On a plus sde, I learned SO much about my style and my strengths, weaknesses, and still got the experience that I went there for as well. And I made new friends and got to be in a different city. ...

Thank you for the advice.... I was just needing to vent my worries before it started to eat away at me.

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