Author Topic: Paperwork: Actor's Packets  (Read 7993 times)

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emyru

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Paperwork: Actor's Packets
« on: Jul 17, 2006, 11:50 am »
I am getting ready to stage manage my first mainstage show and recently, when I was cast in shows, I was given an actor's packet. I found it helpful as an actor and want to add it to my stage management. What all should be included in an actor's packet?

Thanks

emily
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:43 pm by PSMKay »

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ReyYaySM

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #1 on: Jul 17, 2006, 03:50 pm »
I usually put the following information in actor packets:

  • Updated contact sheet
  • Updated rehearsal/performance calendar
  • Updated cast list
  • Wallet card
  • Updated script pages (if there have been cuts)

I give all of this to our Company Manager, who puts together the packets and passes them out at first rehearsal during the Company Management Business Meeting.  Company Management includes the following additional information:

  • Welcome Letter from the Theatre
  • Theatre Information Packet (includes theatre policies as well as information about local restaurants, banks, etc.)
  • Complimentary Ticket Policy and Form
  • Fire Evacuation Procedures
  • Map of the buildings on the Theatre Campus

megf

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #2 on: Jul 17, 2006, 04:33 pm »
What is the producing context? Regional, college/university?

smtatertot13

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #3 on: Jul 17, 2006, 05:50 pm »
aside from all the good stuff listed above, here's my input:
-Emergency Contact/Medical Info Form
-Scene/Character Breakdown

i include an emergency contact/medical info form for them to fill out and get to me. this gives me information on who to call if something happens to them, what food/drug allergies they have, and any previous medical conditions. (i then type all that info into a spreadsheet & put a copy of it in my emergency envelope. i keep one envelope in the booth with me & one backstage with an ASM. that way, if something horrible happens & the paramedics are called, we can easily give them the pertinent info for the person, as well as quickly call their emergency contact. please note that this info should be kept strictly confidential and most likely destroyed at show close.)

also, depending on the size of the show/cast, i tend to give them a scene/character breakdown. recently i've been working on a lot of 3 man shows, where pretty much everyone is onstage all the time, so this hasn't been neccessary. but especially with large casts this can be helpful for the actors to have, especially if the cast is so large that the director plans on having people in a scene who aren't speaking (and thus, not in the script for that scene.)

Mac Calder

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #4 on: Jul 17, 2006, 07:51 pm »
When I put together actors packets, appart from all of the above, I also like to include some history of both the play, and the era and location it is set in. I don't like to swamp them in information - maybe 2 pages of text and a few pictures.

I usually have a 'welcome to rehearsals' type packet - given out on day one, it contains all of the stuff mentioned in this thread, however it does not have any THEATRE related information in it, only REHEARSAL ROOM related info. Then, a day or two before we move into the theatre, I hand out a 'Welcome to the theatre' packet - this includes the same sort of things, only it contains theatre policies, theatre evac plans, final production schedule etc. instead of rehearsal room information. That said, if I am rehearsing in the same place, the 'Welcome to the theatre' packet is rather minimal. The first time I put all the information in the one packet, I ended having to redistribute all of the theatre related information because it had been lost.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #5 on: Jul 17, 2006, 11:03 pm »
My actor packet list (also worked on these today)

1)   Welcome to STC Memo
2)   Production Calendar
3)   Contact Sheet – Please note any changes to Stage Management
4)   Company Information Sheet – Please return to Stage Management
5)   Company List
6)   Who’s Who
7)   Character Scene Breakdown
8)   Comp Policy (from the Box Office)
9)   Paycheck Memo
10)   Contact Card – for your wallet
11)   Contact Magnet – for your fridge
12)   How to Get the Daily Call Memo
13)   ID Badge
14)   Directions to the Theatre
15)   Rehearsal Room Key



AEA Info
1)   AEA Ballot
2)    First Rehearsal Questionnaire
3)    Deputy Information
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

smejs

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #6 on: Jul 17, 2006, 11:49 pm »
Quote
10)   Contact Card – for your wallet
11)   Contact Magnet – for your fridge

Ooh, I like the contact magnet idea.  It'd have to be a one-sided thing of course (I hate when I have to have my wallet cards be doublesided because of too much info).

Of course, warn people to NOT put the magnet in their wallet.  I kid you not.  I make business card magnets for opening nights sometimes, and have learned to hand them over with a disclaimer after I had one lovely gentleman ruin his debit card with it....

Erin

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #7 on: Jul 18, 2006, 10:41 am »
I’d definitely communicate with the production manager and/or company manager to see who usually assembles the actor packets.   Most of the theaters I’ve worked at have the PM or Company Manager put together the bulk of the packet, and the SM just submits the schedule.  You wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, or have the actors get multiple packets with different information in them.   
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

emyru

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #8 on: Jul 18, 2006, 04:15 pm »
Oh-right. This is for a university show.

megf

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #9 on: Jul 19, 2006, 10:32 am »
On the shows I've done at my college, most of the hospitality and welcome-to-the-area can be dispensed with - I imagine that most or all of the folks involved in this show are attached to the school, and so would already have access to the local resources as far as medical, transportation, etc. Although, if you have new students or "walk-ons," and will be holding late-night rehearsals, etc., a listing of nearby all-night coffee shops, Internet cafés, restaurants might prove helpful. If you are at a school where few students have their own cars, or in a place with unsafe public transit, or (as is the case at my school :-) ) are scheduled to work past the last campus shuttle time, collecting info from your cast on who drives and who can give others rides home could be useful.

Two things that I feel are important in educational (especially university) theater - dramaturgical resources. Even just a short bibliography/reading list for the cast to use in preparation for and during the rehearsal process. University libraries will usually hold books on reserve if you have the approval of a faculty member or graduate student. Providing these resources helps keep the educational part of educational theater present in the show, and (ideally) encourages a fuller understanding of the show.

The second thing - a handout or basic contact listing for the Ombuds/campus conflict resolution services. Sometimes, as a student stage manager, it's hard to mobilize the company when there are conflicts between individuals or groups - depending on university policy, you may not technically have the clout to call for department- or staff-supported intervention, should there be a need. If you make this information readily available, you can let everyone know that you are not overstepping your bounds as a student, but that there are unbiased third party resources for conflicts.

Best of luck, and have fun!!

megf

Tigerrr

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Re: Actor's Packets
« Reply #10 on: Jul 19, 2006, 10:59 am »
  • Company list (cast & designers, etc.)
  • Contact List (I usually only print one copy and update it myself, then distribute it the next day)
  • Company policies (I'll get one from the Co. manager - if there is one - then add things like whether or not there's a fridge or microwave available, if there's a refreshment fund, emergency exit maps, etc.)
  • Scene Breakdown
  • Master schedule
  • Performance schedule
  • Health info sheet with an envelope
  • Phone card
  • Comp ticket policy (from box office)
  • A coloured piece of paper with their name on it to fold it all into

If there are any script revisions (or as in the case of my last two shows, entire new drafts!), I like to hold off until after I've done my little speech about the packages and stuff.  That way I'm not bombarding them with stacks and stacks of paper.  Remember, we're the paperwork fiends, not the actors!  Sometimes it can be pretty daunting to get it all at once.

I also create a production package that includes all of the above as well as:
  • initial lighting/sound/props/wardrobe/WB accessories (i.e., if a costume needs a pocket), SFX, etc.  information
  • initial production schedule

Only one more thing to add: double sided photocopying!  Saves paper and, again, less paper = less daunting for the actors.

SMeustace

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Re: Paperwork: Actor's Packets
« Reply #11 on: Aug 26, 2013, 06:00 pm »
In the past, at the first rehearsal (which is always a full cast read-thru) I hand out scripts and folders that contain:

Rehearsal schedule
My and my ASM's Contact info
Director's contact info, Office hours (if they wish to have it distributed)
Set design copies (and costume design if they exist at that point)
Background info on the play
Scene shop calendar
Make-up kit purchase forms
Dialogue/Accent notes w/ links to video references (if a character needs to have an accent)
Sharpened pencil
CD of the music (if its a musical or dance involved)
Script changes notes
Photocopy of script (w/ good margins on both sides)
Scene breakdown

Sometimes this list is shorter and longer, depending on how much material I can get, the director want's to add and If the department is willing to spend a little extra cash on things like this.


"On the first day the lord said....Light cue 1, GO! Then there was light".

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