Author Topic: TOURS: Out On Tour  (Read 6074 times)

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Whitewater

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TOURS: Out On Tour
« on: Oct 20, 2006, 02:36 pm »
Sooooo . . .

Anybody here ever gone out on tour as a SM/Road Manager? Reason I'm asking is because there's an opp. to do just that near where I live and I was considering it. . . until I realized that I've never *been* on tour and don't want to just jump right in without learning as much as I can -- I don't want to drown!

What's it like? What's it *really* like? Tell stories! Share the good, the bad, the ugly :> I want to know all the lurid details about what can happen on tour. How much previous experience does one need to tour successfully? What was it like your first time? Is it easier or harder if the tour is more than one show? What about size of the cast? Does that make a difference?

And . . . what about the nitty gritty stuff? How to pack? What to pack? What to bring? What *not* to bring? Do you need a passport? Will you be driving? Or does the company provide transportation, generally? What about housing? And of course, the big question -- what changes between Equity and Non-Equity tours? What are the questions to ask in the interview?

Heh, as you can see, I *am* brand new. Have a lot of q's. Hopefully somebody (maybe lots of somebodys) here will take pity and answer :)

edited to add: Oh, and what's a 'TYA' tour? Job description says, TYA contract. Never heard of it. Help?

Thanks!

Whitewater
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:51 pm by PSMKay »
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Jessie_K

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #1 on: Oct 20, 2006, 03:35 pm »
Touring is a great experience.  It is tough and surprising.  It can be a challenge to adjust to always sleeping in a new place.  It can be a challenge to deal with SAME problems in EVERY venue.  But you meet lots of great new people and get to see places you might not see otherwise.

Your questions about driving, housing, etc should be addressed with your producer.  It varies from company to company. 

If the tour is traveling abroad you will need a passport.  You will also need to get the appropriate working visas.  The company manager may or may not be able to take care of that for you.  Something to ask the producer about.

Yes, the size of cast and number of shows make a difference.  The move you have to keep track of the harder it is no matter what.  More props or costumes that might get left behind.  More performers that might all get the flu at once.  But on the other hand, more people to hang out with you don't have to have breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday with the exact same person.

About driving.  If you are not willing to drive, say that up front. But just know, they might not give you the job if you are not willing to drive.

I have had amazingly wonderful experiences on tour.  I have met great road crews and bonded with my casts.  I also have focused lights curled up in a ball in a chair when I had a fever of 102 degrees but there was no one else to replace me.  You take the good with the bad and realize that no matter how good or how bad, in a day or two your are packing up and moving to the next venue.

Questions to ask on your interview:
-What would your title be?  SM/ LD or SM/ CM or SM/ props, there are lots of variations. Find out exactly what your duties will be.
-Ask about your housing.  Will you share a room?
-How long is the tour?  Are there weeks off between legs?  What kind of prep time do they offer?  What do you do during weeks off?
-Will they give you a cell phone or reimburse your minutes for work calls?
-How many crew members travel with you?  Who advances the scenery and lighting?

Ok, that should get you started.

Touring is great!  You should definately try it out.
Oooh, I almost forgot.  My favorite part of tour: hospitality.  Always remember to snag a few extra granola bars at the end of the day in case your next stop is bleak in the food department.  I used to stash granola bars and water bottles in my road box for emergencies.

RuthNY

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #2 on: Oct 20, 2006, 06:05 pm »
TYA=Theatre for Young Audiences, an Equity Contract category.  It generally means shows presented for kids, either in schools or theatres mainly during school hours, early evenings, and weekends.



Oh, and what's a 'TYA' tour? Job description says, TYA contract. Never heard of it. Help?
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smejs

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #3 on: Oct 20, 2006, 08:48 pm »
Quote
Oh, and what's a 'TYA' tour? Job description says, TYA contract. Never heard of it. Help?

Go to Equity's website on contract agreements and look up the TYA Rulebook and Addendum.
http://www.actorsequity.org/library/library.asp?cat=3

You would have to join Equity to do this tour.  See other discussions elsewhere on the board whether you "should" turn Equity or not.  It's a big decision.

Erin

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #4 on: Oct 21, 2006, 12:15 am »
Thanks for all the information . . .

I know I'm not ready to join Equity yet, but now that answer re the TYA contract brings up a HUGE question.

The ad says, non-union. How can the position be non-union if they also say that it's a TYA contract? I don't understand. Here's the text of the ad. in question . . .

Whitewater

Job location: Tour
City, State, Country: Fargo, ND   USA

Producer: Northern Prairie Performing Arts
Name of production: 3 productions in Rep on tour
Type of production: Play/ Musical 

Position(s) available:  SM/Road Manager

Union membership required: Not applicable
Contract in use: TYA

Remuneration: Salary
Salary: $1500 per Month

Other perquisites:
  Housing provided
  Per diem: 25
 
Dates-
  Job starts: January 03, 2007
  Rehearsals start: January 03, 2007
  Performance starts: February 20, 2007
  Performance ends: May 31, 2007

Please send: Cover letter, Resume, References

Production details: The Northern Prairie Performing Arts Touring Company, based in Fargo North Dakota, announces the call for a Stage Manger/Road Manager for the 2006-2007 Touring Season. This season will consist of three productions, the musical Schoolhouse Rock Live!, and dramas; Goodbye Marianne and The Orphan Train. 4 actors will be cast in this year’s tour.

Job requirements: The Stage Manager/Road Manager will be responsible for the Touring Company as the Stage Manager during all performances and rehearsals. They will run the show both as the stage manager and as the Sound Technician during each performance. They will be in charge of all load-in load-outs while on tour. The Stage Manager will also serve as the Road Manager during the tour. These duties include scheduling departure times each morning and evening while out on tour, paying for and being responsible for all hotel rooms and per diem on the company credit card. Planning and executing all stops and travel logistics once out on tour.

Job responsibilities: If you are hired as the Stage Manager/ Road Manage for the company, you will report to work at the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre in Fargo ND, on January 3rd and will be contracted through the 31st of May. The pay for the touring company is $1,500 a month totaling $7,500 for the 5 month tour. Housing will be covered while on the road, however a temporary residence in the FM area will not be covered. We also do provide a $10 per meal per-diem while on the road, if gone for three meals in a day the total is $25 per day. Please your Resume and Cover Letter along with three References to (names deleted)
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RuthNY

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #5 on: Oct 21, 2006, 10:27 am »
From reading the ad, I can see that the compensation is not in line with the TYA contract.  My guess is they are using the term "TYA" to mean "Children's Theatre" in a generic sense rather than referring to the AEA contract.

This seems to NOT be a union job. Maybe better for you at this juncture!

Ruth



Thanks for all the information . . .

I know I'm not ready to join Equity yet, but now that answer re the TYA contract brings up a HUGE question.

The ad says, non-union. How can the position be non-union if they also say that it's a TYA contract? I don't understand. Here's the text of the ad. in question . . .


(snip)

The pay for the touring company is $1,500 a month totaling $7,500 for the 5 month tour. Housing will be covered while on the road, however a temporary residence in the FM area will not be covered. We also do provide a $10 per meal per-diem while on the road, if gone for three meals in a day the total is $25 per day

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Whitewater

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #6 on: Oct 21, 2006, 03:52 pm »
Thanks for all the info :) Ruth, you're right, since it's non-union it might be better. On the other had, further research on my own doesn't paint a picture that I'm particularly interested in. This, you see, is a school tour, in winter, around the Dakotas and Minnesota. I think if I'm going to go on tour for the first time, I want to do it when the possibility of death by winter is a lot less. You may think I'm exaggerating, but winter in the Dakotas is nothing to laugh at. I don't want to deal with alternate routes, sheltering under an overpass during a blizzard, getting lost in a snowstorm, etc etc.

Not to mention having to drive in it . . . . I think, this time, it's going to be thanks, but no thanks. Particularly what I know about sound teching can fit in a teaspoon.

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kokobear

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #7 on: Oct 21, 2006, 10:00 pm »
Sooooo . . .

Anybody here ever gone out on tour as a SM/Road Manager? Reason I'm asking is because there's an opp. to do just that near where I live and I was considering it. . . until I realized that I've never *been* on tour and don't want to just jump right in without learning as much as I can -- I don't want to drown!

What's it like? What's it *really* like? Tell stories! Share the good, the bad, the ugly :> I want to know all the lurid details about what can happen on tour. How much previous experience does one need to tour successfully? What was it like your first time? Is it easier or harder if the tour is more than one show? What about size of the cast? Does that make a difference?

And . . . what about the nitty gritty stuff? How to pack? What to pack? What to bring? What *not* to bring? Do you need a passport? Will you be driving? Or does the company provide transportation, generally? What about housing? And of course, the big question -- what changes between Equity and Non-Equity tours? What are the questions to ask in the interview?

Heh, as you can see, I *am* brand new. Have a lot of q's. Hopefully somebody (maybe lots of somebodys) here will take pity and answer :)

edited to add: Oh, and what's a 'TYA' tour? Job description says, TYA contract. Never heard of it. Help?

Thanks!

Whitewater

Is that UW Whitewater?  If Oz still exists there, it should be quite a zoo by now!

Whitewater

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #8 on: Oct 22, 2006, 02:27 am »
Nope, sorry, my name is Whitewater, as in, white water rapids.

Oz?


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Mac Calder

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #9 on: Oct 22, 2006, 04:27 am »
Touring is great fun. However there really is no "standard" tour.

When SMing, I usually took on the mantle of "Touring Stage Manager"

As for some of your questions:

Passport - not unless you are going to a different country, HOWEVER, it is useful to have a couple of forms of photo ID with you when touring - just in case.

Driving - I would NEVER say "I am not willing to drive" - it is a skill that producers see as a nice safety net. That and I have often found myself being truck driver on small tours.

The roll of Stage Manager (in the absense of a tour manager) becomes an almost 24/7 job. Things like calling the next location ahead to confirm bookings, checking with venues before you get there that everything will be ready,  making sure the actors are comfortable yadda yadda yadda add to the already stressful environment that is touring.

Everything depends on the show. When I was touring, I usually worked with relatively small casts (<20) however often with rather complex sets, with very short stays at each location, so comprehensive check lists were a requirement. As was labling.

For example, I had every road case colour coded and numbered. I also had laminated cards of the corresponding colour which I would blue tack in the right areas, so unloading meant that everything was put in the right area at the right time for fast assembly.

When touring, I believe it is important that everyone knows what to do, in what order. Don't just have sound working independantly to lighting, working independant to set. For example, can LX rig the lights, then an actor follow along behind running the cabling, whilst sound sets up FOH, someone else assembling set etc.

I suppose the only real point I have is that when touring - organisation is key.

centaura

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #10 on: Oct 22, 2006, 02:18 pm »
It sounds similar to some of the non-union children's theatre tours that I've been on.  They're a great way to get started touring.  Don't feel that your lack of knowledge of sound would be a deterant - I was hired for a tour when I told them I was an SM who could double as lights - and I ended up in charge of sound for the tour. 

Sound is not as bad as it sounds, you'll probaby tie into as many venue sound systems as you can - where you can leave it all up to the venue person to hook everything up.  Pay attention to what they're doing and you can pick a lot of knowledge up.  For the size, they'll probably have their own wireless mics for their 4 actors, and maybe a tiny support package that they travel with (if they hit venues without their own sound systems).  Tell them that you have only a little sound experience, but would be willing to learn.  They probably have a crash course in sound that they give to their SMs as I bet they don't get many SMs who are sound whizzes.

Find out the whole itinerary before you assume that you'll be up north the whole trip - but also know that you won't spend a blizzard under an underpass.  In both the Dakotas and Northern MN they close down the interstates and don't let anyone leave town if there's going to be a bad snow storm.  Also assume that, as the company is based in ND, they will understand about weather delays and missed shows due to road closures - they probably have polices and procedures in place for when you hit bad weather.

And its not always bad weather - I took a tour to Montana once in Feb. and was making my plans for being trapped at hotels when the roads shut down, and it was 60F the whole time.  But assume right now that driving will be one of your responsibilities, you'll either have a 15 van or a small box truck.  Box trucks are actually not too bad to drive in snow, the set gives them enough weight that they stay on the road well.  It'd be the 15 passenger van that you'd have to worry about a bit more. 

And don't assume that bad weather is restricted to the north - down south you get ice storms in the winter, which can be worse some times.  Later in the spring it becomes hurricane season on the gulf coast, and Feb is the month that it rains in CA.  Summer is tornado season all through the midwest, and an earthquake can happen at any time on the west coast.  These are all things you'd have to be aware of, and have plans for dealing with, on any tour that you were in charge of.  And don't forget the nor'easters that hit the east coast.

I noticed that they don't cover housing during rehearsal - that'd be a question to ask them, if they had any reccomendations, or staff who rent out rooms to tour folk.

I know you sounded like you weren't interested in you last posting, but I'd say that this job, or type of job, would be your best introduction to touring.  It gives you a taste of what different types of venues are like, while having only a small number of actors and set pieces to be responsible for.  I like the small tours as they also give you a bit more flexibility in movement - if you want to detour to see the world's largest cow (in ND if you're interested) you'll have the power to adjust things.  You could make a detour on a day off and spend the day at the Mall of America.  That type of thing which you can't do on bigger tours with stricker schedules.

Please don't take this negatively, but if just the thought of bad weather and possibly hard challenges (learning sound) is enough to really put you off, then touring itself might not be for you.  If its just the sound part and you're interested in the tour itself - I can give you a few pointers via PM on things to watch for with wireless mics and you can ask them if they'd show you their system.

I'd say go for it - I think everyone should tour at least once in their lives, even if they never do it again.  My 2 cents.

-Centaura

Whitewater

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #11 on: Oct 23, 2006, 01:21 am »
Heh, actually,  I live in Minnesota, about two hours SE of Fargo. So I know about winter here. And I know what happened to me getting caught out in a blizzard and having to spend the night in a church sleeping on the floor in their pre-school classroom under donated blankets that were supposed to go to Russian orphans . . . because I (along with my friends) were stranded miles and miles from home. Call me paranoid, but there it is. I'd rather not become another statistic.

And anyhow --

Even *more* research, most of which I'm not interested in sharing in public, strongly suggests that this position is not for me.  The theatre has a website and the website is pretty candid -- more candid than the ad.

Basically, it's a rural community theatre going out to schools to bring theatre to even more far-flung rural schools. This is their first year of this brand new program. Naturally, they're all excited about it. Me, I know this isn't the position for me. Particularly after reading the above post! I am not *that* organized :) And I'm sure I'd forget something vital, or something.

Nah, I'll stick to one show at a time that doesn't move around, for now :) Thanks for all the info!


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centaura

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Re: Out On Tour
« Reply #12 on: Oct 23, 2006, 10:47 am »
No worries - you're doing the right thing in doing your research.  I was wondering about the company - I hadn't heard about them and I did a lot of children's theatre.  While it might be fun to go out with a company on their first tour, I probably wouldn't reccomend it for a first-timer.  If I was available I might have tried it - to help put together policies and things, but alas I have a stationary job now.

I'm also a fellow minnesotan - currently transplanted to out of state.  I didn't realized that your comment was from personal experience - I deal with a lot of folks who guess about what northern winters are but don't really know.  You know - so that makes sense.  Good luck on your other job hunting!

-Centaura

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