Author Topic: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off  (Read 5153 times)

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ljh007

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Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« on: Dec 30, 2008, 08:52 am »
The following has been posted on behalf of a member who wishes to remain anonymous.

Quote
"I have a situation where I'm booked into two shows back-to-back at the same theater. It has always been clear that someone would need to take-over calling Show 1 for me when rehearsals for Show 2 began.  The thing is, I can't get a straight answer about who will take-over, and have reason to suspect the theater may not be planning to put the potential SM on contract, but were just expecting him to train for free or something (I believe this would be his first AEA show, or one of his first, and he's supposed to travel with the show later in the year).    I don't feel I can let him call shows without my supervision if he's not actually signed to a contract for this show; I've asked when his contract starts, so that we can firm up my last day with the show, but that's where I get the run around.  This potential take-over is also unavailable for some performances, and the PM, who is also in AEA, has said she could call those shows.  But again, it doesn't sound to me like she would be officially signed to an AEA contract to do this.  I think it's not enough to be an AEA SM to call a show, you need to have signed an SM  contract for that particular show, even if you are theater staff.  What do you think?"

sievep

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #1 on: Dec 30, 2008, 04:40 pm »
It depends what level contract you are on, how long the takeover is, etc.

I have called an Equity show without an Equity contract, nor am I a member of Equity . . .I was a sub for less than two weeks at the end of the run and it was allowed by the SPT rulebook (I checked myself to make sure).  Had the show extended one more week I would have had to be signed to an Equity contract, etc.

As always, if you have questions, your business rep is the best place to start.
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

nmno

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #2 on: Dec 30, 2008, 06:09 pm »
Yes, as always, call Equity, but...

I concur that it depends how long a time we are talking about.
I've subbed in on shows and the SM just paid me under the table.  However, SHE was on a contract and I guess that's what I'd look for - that SOMEONE is on the contract.  I would say that if it's more than a week then a new contract should be issued - thought process being that if a person is doing it for the week, they should get the points for health insurance.  Without knowing all the details, I'd say the man replacing you should be on contract but the PM could sub in under the table.  Grey area but that would be the battle I'd fight. 
When is this all supposed to happen?  Is it in two months, where there's time and they just haven't figured out the details and are still keeping dates fluid, hoping he can work out his conflict dates, etc? or is it next week and they're dragging their feet.

ljh007

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #3 on: Dec 31, 2008, 09:12 am »
I'm curious about what the people involved here are doing by failing to arrange for a takeover SM. Is this just classic, stupid, head-in-the-sand stuff? Are they trying to sneak in a non-AEA SM at the last minute "because there was no time to arrange a proper Equity contract"? Are they hoping you will magically generate a clone enabling you (or the PM) to be in two places at once? Are they trying to be cheap by keeping the takeover SM off contract as long as possible (ie until after he has been trained)?

Just curious whether you thought this is more sneaky or more stupid.
Or both.  :P

Still, I guess it doesn't make so much of a difference in how you try to handle the situation.

ljh007

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #4 on: Jan 10, 2009, 04:07 pm »
Here is a response from the original Dear Abby poster:

"Thanks for the input.   A combination of wishful thinking and cheapness on the producers part made for a frustrating situation, but it has been resolved.  About a week before the take-over needed to happen, the incoming-SM was able to clear his schedule and do the entire end-run without another sub needing to come in.  He was signed to an AEA contract (indeed his first) for at least his full-solo week.  I’m  less clear about what deal was struck for the training time/my overlap period, but in the end was just stretched to thin (and relieved that one competent person would do the take-over) to really push the issue.  So after training the new SM for half a week, I left the show in his hands for the other half of the week.   It may be that they did sign him on a pro-rated basis for that weekend, or it may be that they’d  say I was still technically on contract (since I did not have pro-rated overlap pay, though I turned over the show mid-week).

Sievep, I’m not familiar with an SPT rule that would allow a non-eq to take over as SM.  Can you point me to it?"

J

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #5 on: Feb 21, 2009, 09:06 pm »
I can't remember the name of the rule, but my understanding from my business rep, when there was a possibility of a non equity SM on a show at a company I worked for, is this:

A non-equity Stage Manager can be assigned to an equity show.  They have 30 days to work on the equity contract while refusing to join the union.  After 30 days, they must either leave the contract or become a union member.  And, they can only do this once in their career.

That's what I remember.

Amy877

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #6 on: Feb 21, 2009, 10:20 pm »
It's not an AEA rule, it's a law: the Taft-Hartley Act.  One time only, you can work on a union (AEA, SAG, AGMA, etc) contract up to 30 days, and not join.

J

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #7 on: Feb 21, 2009, 10:22 pm »
YES! Thank you Amy877!  I knew I had the essence of the idea, but that I had forgotten a portion of it.

ericjames

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #8 on: Feb 21, 2009, 10:43 pm »
I was in a similar situation where I almost had to take over a show as a non-AEA member.  The Equity SM walked out on the show on Tuesday of tech week (Friday opening).  I was the ME/ LBO on the show and was asked by the producer to take over.  It went so far as him calling his Equity rep to figure out logistics.  Thankfully, another SM was able to take over.  (although I did end up running tech for 3 days)


nystagemanager26

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #9 on: Feb 22, 2009, 04:34 pm »
AEA is clear - when the stage manager under contract is not available, the replacement has to be an AEA stage manager - so to the SMN member who has called shows and is not an AEA member the theatre was in breach of contract and can be sited for same.  Don't do it again -- unleass it's an emergency - in the middle of the show and the SM has passed out.

If the PM wants to call for the replacement SM, they need to be under a contract. 

Call AEA and let them know you are having problems.  Let them sort it out for you.

Lots of AEA members don't want to rock the boat, but sometimes, when it seems like you are being ignored, you have to take a stand. 

stagegal1

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Re: Dear Abby: AEA issues with show hand-off
« Reply #10 on: Feb 22, 2009, 08:12 pm »
It's not an AEA rule, it's a law: the Taft-Hartley Act.  One time only, you can work on a union (AEA, SAG, AGMA, etc) contract up to 30 days, and not join.

This is true, however they must still be under an AEA contract.  They don't have to join the union, but this does not override the producers' obligations.  This law has absolutely nothing to do with the producer - they are required to have their SM sign an AEA contract and need to make all payments (P&H) that go along with that.  Also, the working dues would still be deducted and given to AEA because they are still protected by the contract even if they don't join the union.

Allison

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