Author Topic: What's the Difference?  (Read 1827 times)

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RuthNY

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What's the Difference?
« on: May 02, 2013, 11:58 am »
Students and Pros,

For the edification of our early career SMs, can you name some differences between running an Equity rehearsal and a Student or Non-AEA rehearsal? If a student or institution wished to run their rehearsals as if they were AEA, what would they have to pay attention to?

You examples can range from the first day of rehearsal in the rehearsal room, through the final dress rehearsal. 

Discuss!

Post Merge: May 02, 2013, 07:10 pm
Seeing that there have been no replies to this post yet, should our our early career members come to the conclusion that there are or should be NO differences between rehearsing and AEA or a Non-AEA production? This could possibly be an answer...
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 07:32 pm by RuthNY »
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PSMKay

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Re: What's the Difference?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 08:14 pm »
I think it may need some more time to formulate a reply than an 8 hr work day. Give it a little time and we may see some answers.

The main one that comes to mind for me would be the break schedule. Non-union rehearsals break when there is a reasonable moment to do so, rather than going by absolute time limits. The hours worked and days on/days off would also be precisely restricted, as opposed to staggered calls 7 days a week whenever you can nab somebody.

However, if you were doing AEA style in a college setting, you'd probably rehearse straight through any school vacations.

Working AEA style you cannot call the entire company for every rehearsal and then figure out what you're going to do with them once they arrive. The schedule needs to be set well in advance and specific calls need to be provided.

You'd have to warn everyone in advance if cameras were going to be present at a rehearsal.

Any nudity would have to be handled very very differently.

During tech & dress, you'd have to provide storage for valuables if you're running AEA style.

If an actor has a conflict for a paying gig, you have to let them go if you're doing AEA style rehearsals. Otherwise you'd just drop them and permanently replace them with another willing actor.

Some of the AEA provisions are tough to carry over without, y'know, AEA. If you really wanted to you could have a mock AEA deputy election at first rehearsal but it wouldn't really be necessary. You can't really bring AEA down on an actor who comes to rehearsal drunk, and can't have a union rep step in if the director is overworking the actors. So, you'd be able to TRY and enforce union protocol but it would be an approximation at best.

ejsmith3130

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Re: What's the Difference?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2013, 10:28 pm »
The Equity Deputy is a big difference as well. As I am not AEA, but involved in union productions, I understand that the elected role of an actor as the deputy is unique. This support and leadership position among the union memebers provides a check and balance to protect the actors and gives them a person to go to if they have work related concerns.

Also rules about using personal items in the show. Many college and community productions rely on the actors and technical staff to 'pitch in' and bring props/costume pieces. In Equity productions there are very detailed guidelines about compensation to actors if they have to use their own clothing/shoes/socks/etc. It is considered a rental of the actors personal property.

So, you'd be able to TRY and enforce union protocol but it would be an approximation at best.


I agree with this, as the University I attended did have a good approximation of some basic union rules. Break schedules primarily, and scheduling as well. A set of rules was signed at the begining of each show so that a sense of order was established and this was your 'contract'.  We had to aquire a specific amount of hours of tech work and/or rehearsal time for a graduation requirement so if there were situations where someone was penalized, hours would be deducted from your total.

At best this was a good way to get us as students to think about the benefits that would result from a more structured rehearsal/show setting. From personal experiance it didn't help me learn equity rules, but it did make me aware of a system with rules and consequences.

Jessie_K

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Re: What's the Difference?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2013, 10:50 pm »
One major difference in relation to AEA vs Non-AEA is the number of hours you can rehearse per day/ per week.

Lower tier AEA contracts often have limited rehearsal hours assuming that members must also maintain day jobs, the same not always be said for equally low-paying non AEA shows.

Aerial

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Re: What's the Difference?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2013, 10:51 pm »
I feel like beyond basics like breaks, "an Equity rehearsal" can vary wildly depending on the contract.  On some smaller contracts you have to have the whole rehearsal schedule announced at the beginning of rehearsals, and other larger contracts, as long as you stay within in your weekly and daily hours you can give 12 hours notice of what rehearsal will be. 

Quote
Working AEA style you cannot call the entire company for every rehearsal and then figure out what you're going to do with them once they arrive. The schedule needs to be set well in advance and specific calls need to be provided.
Yes and no.  You probably shouldn't call the entire company for every rehearsal and then figure out what you're going to do with them (makes everyone really cranky), but you can as long as you're within your hours.  Particularly in tech, I've definitely put out schedules that call FULL COMPANY for WORK TBA.

My university also had an AEA based rehearsal rulebook, that everyone had to sign at the beginning of rehearsals.  We followed the AEA break schedule, and we even had a deputy of sorts. 

Some of the biggest differences I can think of in an AEA setting, as others have pointed out, pertain to the media rules.  They are another thing that differ from contract to contract, and its the section that changes the most with every renegotiation as theatres and the union come to terms with the changing role of the internet/youtube/twitter, etc. in our industry.

RuthNY

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Re: What's the Difference?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 12:33 pm »
Thanks for the great answers! Just a couple of comments to clarify, since I am hoping that early-career SMs are reading this:

As already stated, calling the entire company for a day of rehearsal without telling them what they are going to rehearse, might be considered unprofessional, lazy, or a waste of everyone's time, but AEA really only cares that the company is given the proper notice of the hours that rehearsal will take place (10a-6p, etc.)  The details of the schedule are NOT mandated by the union.

As for conflicts for better paying jobs in the industry, this is called the More Remunerative Employment (MRE) clause, and it is not part of every AEA contract. LORT, for example, does not have an MRE clause. The production only has to release an AEA member for MRE if the contract has the clause, and if the more remunerative employment meets a specific set of criteria.

Working AEA style you cannot call the entire company for every rehearsal and then figure out what you're going to do with them once they arrive. The schedule needs to be set well in advance and specific calls need to be provided.

If an actor has a conflict for a paying gig, you have to let them go if you're doing AEA style rehearsals. Otherwise you'd just drop them and permanently replace them with another willing actor.
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
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PSMKay

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Re: What's the Difference?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 02:24 pm »
To clarify - this was something that I actually dealt with. A prior employer did a lot of experimental work, so their policy was to call the entire company for every single rehearsal. (42 hrs a week.) When they went from non-equity to their first starter AEA agreement they had some issues with the 20 hr/wk restriction on their 2 AEA leads, since they'd never had to do specific actor calls before. It's understandable to do a few days of "TBD - Full company" but not the entire 6 week rehearsal period as some companies are wont to do.

PSMKay

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Re: What's the Difference?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 10:12 pm »
More things that have occurred to me -

Fight captains and fight call have to be more formalized than they would otherwise. Supplies for injury care would have to be more robust than otherwise the case if violence was taking place.

Under the contracts I know best, the SM couldn't serve as child-wrangler, dance captain, or paycheck distributor.

Things that would be nice, but probably impossible to enforce - mandatory assistants on large shows. Wow that would have been awesome when I was working non-equity. Nothing like SMing a new musical alone. Also, it may be downright unhealthy for some intern companies to use the maximum number of hours available for rehearsal when the interns are also doing 8-12 hrs a day in the shop, hanging lights, working box office, etc.



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