Author Topic: POLICIES: Are you always completely honest?  (Read 4476 times)

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Tempest

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POLICIES: Are you always completely honest?
« on: Oct 09, 2009, 01:44 pm »
So, how honest is everyone in their show reports?  Do you always put EVERYTHING in?

My reports always include any differences from an "average" performance.  More laughter, less laughter, audience talking back, garbled lines, a particularly "on" scene, low energy, etc.

But, depending on the producer, I get really tempted not to include things that are, in the long run, irrelevant.  I know they're going to have histrionics about something of no consequence.

Example: an onstage actor dropped his prop, earlier this week, which was a wireless mic he was pulling out of a stand.  It happens, human beings are fallible and we drop things, from time to time.  A look at anyone's drinking glasses cabinet at home will confirm that.  This was the only time it has occured.

But I was really tempted not to include it in my report, because my producer tends to think that one dropped prop is evidence of a continuing underlying problem that needs to be fixed.  "The mic stand must be rigged wrong and the mic must be slippery.  We can add some clamps on the stand and grip tape on the mic and maybe add more light in that scene so he can see the prop better!" when the reality is, the mic and stand and lights are fine; it was just an accident, a clumsy moment.  One dropped prop out of six weeks of show.

Of course, I put it in my report because I'm a good like that.  But the temptation to save the ME and props folks from likely, unnecessary trouble was really there.

Is everyone else always honest, even when they know the result of such honesty is going to, in the end, negatively impact the show?
« Last Edit: Dec 15, 2009, 01:30 am by Rebbe »
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MatthewShiner

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #1 on: Oct 09, 2009, 01:57 pm »
I think there is always some sort of editing in typing up any report.  But, it's probably best to error on the side of being honest and fair reporting.  What if the dropped mic is a rigging issue, saying, hey, we dropped it three times, maybe there needs to be some work.  Then you are going to want to the documentation to back it up.  Although you think your producer is over reacting to things in the report, some SM's would love to have such an attentive producer - as opposed to a producer that ignores issues that come up with trends in reports.  So, enjoy the attentive producer while you can.

On option would be to keep show notes that you keep on file, and edit those into a show report, although I think that is adding a layer like that would be a problem.

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

Scott (formerly Digga)

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #2 on: Oct 09, 2009, 08:44 pm »
I agree with Matt. I've often thought it would be simpler not to include things in the report that at the time seem irrelevant. I've even considered emailing the Production Manager separately so things get reported but so that not everyone sees it.  In the end, I always just put it in the report, regardless of the ramifications. It's easier, keeps your butt covered, and in the end it's part of the job and everyone reading the reports should understand that. 

Like Matt said, some things may develop into a pattern and you want that pattern documented or it will come back to bite you later.

kiwitechgirl

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 09, 2009, 10:36 pm »
My show reports get pinned up on a noticeboard in the stairwell - so everyone in the building sees them.  Mostly I'll write everything on it, but very occasionally there is the odd thing which I don't want all and sundry to see, so I'll e-mail the production manager or admin or whoever needs to know.  For example, I had an actor wearing a radio mic pack down the front of his very tight trousers (don't ask why!) and after a while it began to cause him some pain in his genitals due to the constant pressure.  Normally if there's an injury during the show I'll make a note on the show report in general terms, but this one I really didn't think the whole company needed to know about, so I left it off and e-mailed the production manager and the admin staff member who deals with company medical issues.  Mostly, though, I try to be honest and put everything on the report!

missliz

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #4 on: Oct 10, 2009, 09:43 am »
Example: an onstage actor dropped his prop, earlier this week, which was a wireless mic he was pulling out of a stand.  It happens, human beings are fallible and we drop things, from time to time.  A look at anyone's drinking glasses cabinet at home will confirm that.  This was the only time it has occured.

But I was really tempted not to include it in my report, because my producer tends to think that one dropped prop is evidence of a continuing underlying problem that needs to be fixed.  "The mic stand must be rigged wrong and the mic must be slippery.  We can add some clamps on the stand and grip tape on the mic and maybe add more light in that scene so he can see the prop better!" when the reality is, the mic and stand and lights are fine; it was just an accident, a clumsy moment.  One dropped prop out of six weeks of show.

For instances like that (nd really, in general when things go wrong), I'll put after why it happened and how it was fixed OR needs to be fixed. IE

"Jason forgot to turn off the radio in II.vi- Meghan got it later in the scene. "

"One worklight was on TOS...Cat turned it off, and I held the blackout longer to let actors enter."

This tends to appease people, as they know it's not a big deal.

It's interesting you brought this up, because I'm ASMing a show, and the SM doesn't put many things in the performance report that I would. She doesn't tend to watch the stage (granted, it's a cue-heavy show, but I was surprised!) and ends up missing things that happen onstage and doesn't put them in the report. Boggles my mind.
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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 10, 2009, 12:25 pm »
MisLiz
Do you not confer with your SM after every show to see if there is anything that you have to add to the report?
This might be a very good way to ensure that anything she may miss that you don't, gets reported out.
I have found it to be a very good system. It also bonds you two as you can laugh (or cry) about what happened that show...
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centaura

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #6 on: Oct 10, 2009, 01:46 pm »
Quote
It's interesting you brought this up, because I'm ASMing a show, and the SM doesn't put many things in the performance report that I would. She doesn't tend to watch the stage (granted, it's a cue-heavy show, but I was surprised!) and ends up missing things that happen onstage and doesn't put them in the report. Boggles my mind.

You might be able to help the situation by offering to tell her things after each performance, that you noticed and thought might be important to put into a show report.  You can approach her with the comment that you've noticed that during periods of heavy cueing, she's not always able to watch the stage and might miss thing that you could help her notice.  I've had some heavy cued shows, and have had points of the show that I never got to watch because following my script was too time consuming.  Once I became familiar with a show and could call some of it from memory, things would improve - but then I've also had shows where I ran a board as well as called cues.  There were definite points that the board had the attention and not the stage.

-Centaura

missliz

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #7 on: Oct 10, 2009, 02:23 pm »
Thanks  to both of you. I have been mentioning things that happen, and sometimes they make it into the report, sometimes not. I'm not sure what determines that to her (ex: an actress had a mild injury as she was exiting, I mentioned it to the SM who didn't see it, and it wasn't in the report), so I don't want to step on toes.
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

SMrose

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #8 on: Oct 10, 2009, 03:30 pm »

If the action/line etc. catches your attention as the SM, then it belongs in the report.  I agree that as SM you can follow up the note with: " and here's how we took care of the issue..."  to let the producer know it's been handled.

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #9 on: Oct 10, 2009, 04:19 pm »
it is vital that the asm and sm connect after each show - there will often be things to report and if not, it's good to just check in with each other to keep those lines of communication headed in the right direction

and -I have been taught that everything goes in the report. If it must be openly posted (which has happened to me as well) you need to find a tactful way to allow folks to read between the lines for some things, but the paper trail is essential for everyone - to track damage, perishables use, actor issues, director's notes, general repairs etc - it's vital to know if something continues to be broken or gets broken again and again, if the actors cd get hurt by not following the fight blocking or if something is discovered in performance that didn't come up in rehearsal (had one of those recently, easy solve, but hey, it happens) - for legal protection of the cast, crew, producers, designers etc - and the SM!

NomieRae

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Re: Are you always completely honest?
« Reply #10 on: Oct 11, 2009, 07:37 pm »
I agree with much that was posted--I tend not to write too much on my report as far as audiences, etc unless it was especially different than usual "Full house, lots of new laughs" but covering even the very small things in a report becomes important if down the line there needs to be a paper trail to back it up.

Quote
It's interesting you brought this up, because I'm ASMing a show, and the SM doesn't put many things in the performance report that I would. She doesn't tend to watch the stage (granted, it's a cue-heavy show, but I was surprised!) and ends up missing things that happen onstage and doesn't put them in the report. Boggles my mind.

I agree the SM and ASM need to be on the same page as far as notes. The last show I did I was running LX, and calling a quite cue heavy show and couldn't possibly see every little thing happening in the wings/etc and my ASM was integral in letting me know.

Although to play devils advocate-on short runs or shows with very little staffing (i.e. it's me and 3 other people reading the reports to begin with) there are a lot of things that don't necessarily go in the report. A broken prop for instance, if we fix it before it hits the stage and there are no further issues, and I follow up on it after the show...I don't mention it in the report.

--Naomi
"First, I honor life, and with it my life in theatre." -- Jacques Burdick

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