Author Topic: Auditions: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info  (Read 4929 times)

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megf

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Auditions: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info
« on: Oct 05, 2006, 10:56 pm »
I've recently come up on a new thing - a producer has asked me to make the initial phone call to offer a part to an actor. I am not a resident with this organization - nor have I worked with them before - and, while this is not an Equity situation, there is some pay involved, in addition to the usual fun of company norms, which, of course, I am still learning.

All in the space of this afternoon, the producer decided (without the director) that a certain actor would be appropriate to cast. No one had mentioned this actor to me previously - and I don't know him from any previous work - and no one had his contact information. It was left to me to rustle up some kind of contact info, call, offer the job, "bring him in" to the company and furnish him with a script. When I called the producer just now to let her know that I could only dig up what might be his home number, and that I didn't know if I was indeed qualified to introduce him to formally offer him the gig, she spent twenty minutes giving me the third degree because this is all "part of my job."

I understand that setting the tone for work, knowing the important and immediate aspects of the company dynamic, being aware of scheduling/conflicts, collecting and verifying contact info... all these fun things, and plenty more, are part of my job. But is it standard practice for stage management to make the first call - where (and this is, perhaps, specific to this context... we start rehearsal in a few days!) salaries and union business have to be discussed? I'm not a member of any unions, so there is only so much I can bring to the talks in that department, and I honestly don't feel it is appropriate for me to know the details of what the actors are paid. Fortunately, this is a reading... but the performers are all members of various unions, and will almost certainly have questions about what agreements and norms are adhered to by this organization.

Is my gut instinct in conflict with industry norms? Or is this a bit odd?

Help?

Many many thanks -
Meg
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:55 pm by PSMKay »

smalltimeSM

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Re: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info
« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 2006, 02:09 am »
I'm pretty new to the whole SMing thing, but I have many good friends who are SMs.  From what I have observed/been told over the years,  SM's don't handle show casting.  Normaly the director,coreogropher,musical director, producer, and or a casting director makes that decsion, and makes the phone calls.  However, if it is a small company and they don't have the many positions listed, it can be placed in your shoes to a certain degree.  The Director should ALWAYS be included in casting.  Now I do know of cases where the Director, Producer, ect.. have asked SM's for any ideas on who to call to fill a role. (wether from someone dropping out of the show, or an injury.)


lydiaelaine

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Re: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info
« Reply #2 on: Oct 06, 2006, 02:46 am »
I also am under the impression that SMs don't handle the casting. Also, doesn't the director have some sort of say of who is in his cast? I don't know, something about that doesn't sit right with me, but I'm not sure if it falls out of your "job description." I will ask my director tomorrow(who is also a great friend of mine) and see what he has to say.
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fuzzy_7

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Re: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info
« Reply #3 on: Oct 06, 2006, 09:19 am »
Although the Director might have some say, a Producer can do pretty much whatever they want, especially in non-union work.
Derek A. Fuzzell

hbelden

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Re: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info
« Reply #4 on: Oct 06, 2006, 04:26 pm »
I was absolutely screaming NO! NO! NO! when I started reading your post - until I got to the part about this being just a reading.  Then I calmed down a bit.  But, the producer is still absolutely in the wrong.  It is NOT the Stage Manager's job to negotiate contracts.  And, when you make the first call to offer a part to an actor, that means you are opening negotiations for a contract.

Now, giving the producer the benefit of the doubt, maybe she's done past readings where the person they hired as stage manager had the experience, information, and confidence to do contract negotiations as well - we all can wear many hats in our lives - and that's led her to believe that it's something we all do, like calling actors with the schedule.  But her telling you it's all "part of your job" is like telling the head carpenter to do the show's laundry.  An individual may be able to do both jobs, but you never hire a carpenter and, when they show up, tell them they have to wash the clothes at the end of the day.

I said I calmed down when I found out this was a reading.  That's because the usual limitations of a reading force a kind of yes/no negotiation process.  You would end up saying something like "Will you come in and read Romeo for us in this new adaptation?  We rehearse 10 hours next week and the reading is two weeks from Thursday at 7pm.  The producer will pay you $50 total.  Do you want to do it?"  The actor either says yes, or says no, but very rarely says "maybe, if...".

I think this producer was totally out of line in reading you the riot act.  You have no context!  No history with the company!  No experience in negotiating!  Don't let her get you down.  She had no business expecting all that from you.
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megf

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Re: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info
« Reply #5 on: Oct 07, 2006, 01:46 am »
Thank you, hbelden, for your response. Makes me feel worlds better.

An update - grab your pencils, folks, this is a good one: today, another company member called me, at TWELVE MINUTES TO FIVE - and it's Friday! - to "remind" me that I was responsible for calling the Equity rep in charge of the reading code to request copies of company-specific paperwork.

I will always be grateful to the lovely folks at Equity who not only helped me find the best person to talk to, but made a point of calling me back after their work day had officially ended to make sure I had the info I needed. Don't know what I would do without the calm and clear-headed people I spoke with this afternoon...

Many thanks to the SMN -
Meg

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Re: Offering jobs, casting, sharing info
« Reply #6 on: Oct 09, 2006, 08:34 pm »
This is definitely not your fault!  I'm just amazed that no one had his contact information.  Obviously he had done some kind of previous work with someone because they know that he would fit the part.  It's not your responsibility to magically produce contact information for someone you don't even know.  But at least you handled it well and you got through it, right? Kudos to you!
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."

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