Author Topic: COMMUNICATION: Being "Written Up"  (Read 3560 times)

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jspeaker

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COMMUNICATION: Being "Written Up"
« on: Oct 14, 2007, 01:50 am »
Alright...

In your professional experience (because obviously it is different in college and community theatres), have you ever "written up" an actor?  If so, what did you write them up in??  The rehearsal/performance report??  SM weekly report??

I had an incident this week with an actor pushing another actor during a put in rehearsal.  I did not witness the event but several actors told me that she should be written up.  I guess I am just lucky that I have never really had a reason to write up an actor...  I have had outstanding casts over the years.

(PS.  The situation is on its way to being resolved through mediation with no need of writing up, down, across or diagonal :) )
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 01:16 am by PSMKay »
Jess W. Speaker, III
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Mac Calder

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Re: Being "Written Up"
« Reply #1 on: Oct 14, 2007, 02:57 am »
Sure. I have given written warnings etc. I don't place them inside an every day form, if it is something that needs to be noted, I either fill out a company incident form, or I write a letter/email, which I CC to the parties concerned and the producer/company manager.

My opinon is that even if an issue is being resolved through a process like mediation, it still needs to be documented and forwarded to the appropriate parties.

I would write something along the lines of:

On the 27th of Marchuary, 2007, at 1330, an incident occured during rehearsals resulting in James Smith pushing Jane Doe. This action did not lead to any serious injury, however it has lead to tensions amongst the cast. Both parties have agreed to undertake mediation as a means to resolve this issue. It is my belief that upon sucessful completion of the mediation, no further disciplinary action need to be taken.

Then I would sign it and send a copy to the Producer/Company Manager and James Smith, and I would file it away, just in case an issue between these people arises in the future (even after the show closes)

jspeaker

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Re: Being "Written Up"
« Reply #2 on: Oct 14, 2007, 03:15 am »
Its been documented.  The pushed actor filed an accident report that described the incident and it was in the performance report.  Not to mention the deputy and dance captain witnessed the incident and gave thier statements.

The mediation is just about the last two weeks of this part of the run not being a nightmare for everyone involved... not even about the inciting incident.
Jess W. Speaker, III
Equity Stage Manager
DC Area AEA Liaison
(301) 335-1498
 
http://q5go.blogspot.com/

sievep

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Re: Being "Written Up"
« Reply #3 on: Oct 14, 2007, 09:05 am »
Jess,

For what it's worth, I think that your producers need to know about the incident.  It goes without saying that pushing someone is elementrary school behavior, but as a wise Production Manager once told me, "If you have any problems with the cast, let me know.  We only deal with those kinds of things once."  While you'd hate to ruin someone's chances for being hired at a particular company again, the behavior that you are dealing with is completely unnacceptable and the actor made the poor decision, not you.  I wouldn't feel guilty for a moment for reporting the incident to everyone at the company you are at that needs to know (production manager, artistic administration, etc.)

I hope things get better for you!  Isn't this supposed to be "Happy"?
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

stagebear

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Re: Being "Written Up"
« Reply #4 on: Oct 14, 2007, 09:43 am »
I've had to write up actors before. I never put the details in a reh/performance report. I do a formal write up letter and make three copies - one for the actor, one for me, and one for the producer to put on file. I also inform the PM of the situation.

KMC

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Re: Being "Written Up"
« Reply #5 on: Oct 14, 2007, 11:05 am »
I've had to write up both actors and crew before.  It was always within a corporation so there was a set process followed within company Human Resources, however the basics are fairly universal.  It should be on a separate form and should not be made public.  In a theatrical setting I'd recommend it stay between yourself, the offending actor, and your immediate superior.  If that person decides to share it with others, that's their business.

As far as what to put in the form the basics are a description of the incident, a statement by the offending employee if they choose to make one, and corrective actions to be taken to ensure a repeat does not occur, also date/time/place and all that great stuff that we SMs love to put everywhere ;) .  When presenting to the employee it's best to be in a private setting.  Explain to the employee why they are receiving disciplinary action, explain that the behavior he/she exhibited is not acceptable and explain why it is unacceptable.  Let the employee read your warning, offer them the chance to write a statement, and after they have done so they should sign the form acknowledging that they understand.  You should also sign the form in front of them.

If you anticipate any potential conflict it can be helpful to have your superior there. It can help ease tension between you and the employee, reassuring them that it's the company's view on the incident and not your personal view. It can also be beneficial on your end to have a witness present.


For situations below where you deem a warning is not required, I've found it's still a good idea to document the incident.  If a future incident happens it's helpful to have a paper trail.  In these cases I'd still include the offending employee on the discussion, and inform them that the incident has been documented. 

It's not fun to do, but as a manager it's part of the job.   

I hope you find this helpful!
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

LiLz

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Re: Being "Written Up"
« Reply #6 on: Oct 15, 2007, 02:36 pm »
Hi!  I ditto all of the above.  Documenting the incident is one of those things the PSM should just do as part of the record.

Cheers! LiLz

Celeste_SM

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Re: Being "Written Up"
« Reply #7 on: Oct 16, 2007, 01:50 am »
Just to give a community theater voice to this thread, I have also written up actors.  In my case, I usually do it via email, but I have done it with a letter when the actor didn't have email.  The director and producers were always notified in advance of the write-up and copied on it.  I make the reason for the warning clear, and also the next steps and consequences.  In my case, I'm warning actors who are virtually volunteers, and it feels mightly strange to be threatening to fire someone who is working for nearly nothing.  However, there are good reasons to do so, and when the behaviour affects other cast members or the show, it has to happen.

Documentation is critical, almost more so at the stipend-only/community theater level.  With actors under Equity contract, the expectations are clear.  In the community theater context, there can be a lot of benefit gained from clarifying expectations when the participants might be less clear on what constitutes acceptable behaviour.

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