Author Topic: PROFESSIONALISM: PreProduction time  (Read 3850 times)

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SMSamone

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PROFESSIONALISM: PreProduction time
« on: Sep 11, 2007, 11:38 am »
I am usually hired well before the contract & official "preproduction" week.  Typically, I am asked to perform tasks weeks in advance of the contract dates.  Small tasks don't bother me much, as I like to be in the loop as the production ideas evolve.  But how early and how much should one give before the paychecks start rolling in?  I'd like to think 5 hrs/week is about the max for me until the contract starts.  Does this seem reasonable?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 01:07 am by PSMKay »

VSM

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Re: PreProduction time
« Reply #1 on: Sep 11, 2007, 12:32 pm »
I notice you list AEA as an affiliation so you know the rules.  That said, are you speaking about production meetings?  I regularly go to prod meetings whenever they are held.  Doing work however, should be under  contract; that's why we have pre-production pay.  If you are being asked to do specific tasks before the contract begins, perhaps the explanation of pre-pro pay would help ease any tension and help make your case?  If producers say that the contract doesn't require pre-pro pay, that could be the opportunity to say that it also doesn't call for unpaid work before the term begins either.  Best of luck...
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nmno

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Re: PreProduction time
« Reply #2 on: Sep 11, 2007, 02:21 pm »
(For reference, I typically work LORT.)
In general, before being on contract, I will do a little "getting ahead" work on my own -reading the script, making some general notes, etc.- but all done on my own, in my own time. 
If THEY want me to do any work before my contract starts (such as submitting show paperwork or attending production meetings), I expect to get paid.  However, I am fine to be in the email loop earlier than my contract start date (theoretically, I could just be saving them to read once I'm on contract but it doesn't take me any time and it does keep me in the loop.)

The one time I broke my own rule was I was working on a staged reading festival.  They wanted to have a brief meeting with everyone involved in the 7+ shows to discuss logistics but were really tight on money (a few regional theatres I know of have abandoned these kinds of projects b/c they are not profitable - so how do playwrights get to see their work so they can continue to develop?!)  They provided lunch for everyone so I figured we were even...

Rebbe

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Re: PreProduction time
« Reply #3 on: Sep 11, 2007, 03:34 pm »
Can you give some examples of what the theater has asked of you?   

Could it be that they’re just communicating with you about tasks that need to be done by first rehearsal, and they don’t really expect you to do them immediately?  If the tasks they’re giving you have deadlines that fall before your official employment starts, I think you could negotiate compensation for doing them.  And if they’re asking you for enough things that you find yourself counting the hours your putting into the project ahead of time, that might be a sign right there that it’s too much.

I've worked on SPT shows where I’ve attended production meetings well before my official employment starts (without compensation, though I suppose I could have argued for it).  I’ve also met or talked with directors ahead of time to get their ideas about scheduling, and called actors to find out about their conflicts before Prep Week.  Often I’ll start paperwork, such as rehearsal report templates, sign-in sheets, and a preliminary prop list, before Prep Week.  But aside from the production meetings, which the theater has asked me to attend, the other things I do are for my own benefit, my “pre-prep.”  It helps me to have some extra time to wrap my head around the play, and starting a few things early makes it less likely I’ll get overwhelmed during Prep Week itself.  If the situation allows it, I also like to work 5 days rather than 6 during Prep, so I figure my time balances out.     
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SMSamone

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Re: PreProduction time
« Reply #4 on: Sep 12, 2007, 12:24 pm »
Can you give some examples of what the theater has asked of you?   

Could it be that they’re just communicating with you about tasks that need to be done by first rehearsal, and they don’t really expect you to do them immediately?  If the tasks they’re giving you have deadlines that fall before your official employment starts, I think you could negotiate compensation for doing them.  And if they’re asking you for enough things that you find yourself counting the hours your putting into the project ahead of time, that might be a sign right there that it’s too much.

I've worked on SPT shows where I’ve attended production meetings well before my official employment starts (without compensation, though I suppose I could have argued for it).  I’ve also met or talked with directors ahead of time to get their ideas about scheduling, and called actors to find out about their conflicts before Prep Week.  Often I’ll start paperwork, such as rehearsal report templates, sign-in sheets, and a preliminary prop list, before Prep Week.  But aside from the production meetings, which the theater has asked me to attend, the other things I do are for my own benefit, my “pre-prep.”  It helps me to have some extra time to wrap my head around the play, and starting a few things early makes it less likely I’ll get overwhelmed during Prep Week itself.  If the situation allows it, I also like to work 5 days rather than 6 during Prep, so I figure my time balances out.     


Most of what I do is what you've described above: create templates, preliminary prop lists, calendars, etc...  However, sometimes I've been asked to check in with the actors, schedule production meetings, distribute schedules & contact sheets.  I can't recall getting deadlines from people and I ususally take my time.  By the time preproduction week comes around I'm about 75% done with my prep.  Do you think I'm setting a bad precedent?

One director/producer I worked with wanted me to come over to her apt. weeks before rehearsal started to help her with stuff.  She wanted to teach me "Producing 101."  That line was very clear.  I refused and had AEA back me up.

nmno

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Re: PreProduction time
« Reply #5 on: Sep 13, 2007, 03:42 am »
Most of what I do is what you've described above: create templates, preliminary prop lists, calendars, etc... 
This doesn't seem so bad, especially if this is just stuff you are doing on your own, ie. the theatre hasn't requested that you have this completed/submitted before your contract start date.

However, sometimes I've been asked to check in with the actors, schedule production meetings, distribute schedules & contact sheets...  Do you think I'm setting a bad precedent?
For this stuff... Yes, I think you are setting a bad precedent.  If this is work that needs to be done, then the company manager, production manager, casting director or staff PSM should be doing it until you are on contract... 

Lola

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Re: PreProduction time
« Reply #6 on: Sep 23, 2007, 06:26 pm »
I have to agree with VSM although, if I am attending production meetings before the contract starts, I expect to be paid.  If you are doing more than reading the script for your own edification and doing your own work because it's more convenient then you should be paid.  Creating preliminary props lists is something you should be paid for.  It's not just a selling yourself short, it sets a bad precident for you and for others later.
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SMSamone

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Re: PreProduction time
« Reply #7 on: Sep 26, 2007, 10:19 am »
Thanks for all your input.  I guess I'm just overeager.

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