Author Topic: Some wonderings...  (Read 3560 times)

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malangsaap

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Some wonderings...
« on: Nov 23, 2006, 03:31 pm »
I am currently finishing up a semester in a Stage and Theatre Management class and now have to write a research paper. (Gag, I know.) So, I was wondering if I could get some personal opinions about being an Equity or Union Stage Manager. Would you reccommend it or not? Why or why not? What are some of the pros and cons? Thanks for the help

LiLz

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Re: Some wonderings...
« Reply #1 on: Nov 23, 2006, 04:56 pm »
Now that I teach I've gone inactive with my Equity membership, but when I was out in the world I was glad to have someone watching my back, especially when I was on the road.  There were situations when I wasn't always treated as nicely as I'd been promised before the tour began - I'm not sure that I would have had a recourse except for quitting had I not had a union making sure I was being housed and given per diem.

Mac Calder

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Re: Some wonderings...
« Reply #2 on: Nov 24, 2006, 02:53 am »
Cannot give the union POV, because I have never worked from it, but sometimes I wish I was union. Unions are, as Lilz mentioned, a great way to scare off the "Right, you are mine now, I will make you dance for your supper" type bosses (experience from other industries). Non-union SM, you have to make sure that your contract is extremely specific - because you do not have the backing of the union's rulebook. Thankfully I cannot dance, because I know a certain company (which I will not mention, but am glad to say has closed) was run by a man who believed that everyone owed him because he employed them, and he was not afraid to make people do tasks well outside of the norm (he proposed I also understudy one of the main actors, which would have involved dancing - see the link to the start of the sentence and my comment before... clever  ;D). In other situations though, I imagine being a union member would be rather limiting, if you enjoy working with small companies/ad hoc performances. I am of the opinion that it all depends on where you want to be down the track - if you want to be on broadway eventually, then union is the only way to go as far as I know. If you want to work fringe - I doubt many of them would be union.

Scott

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Re: Some wonderings...
« Reply #3 on: Nov 24, 2006, 09:13 am »
If you want to work fringe - I doubt many of them would be union.

I don't know how exactly it works in other US cities, but in New York it is fairly easy for Equity members to work on smaller scale productions -- the Showcase Agreement is very easy to use.  When I was heavily involved directing in the downtown scene, I was almost always able to work out a way to use union talent.  And now the Fringe Festival itself uses a "special" Equity Showcase Agreement.

centaura

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Re: Some wonderings...
« Reply #4 on: Nov 24, 2006, 10:21 pm »
It depends on where you want to work and with what you want to work.  I loved touring with small-scale, hands-on tours where I could do a whole bunch of things.  So I never went union.  I've also never wanted to live in NYC, LA or Chicago - the three places were there are a lot of smaller shows that are union.  I have nothing against the union, and have seen occurances where it does good things, but then I have also seen the union rules twisted around to suit a producer's needs disregarding what the intent of the rule was.  So my opinion is that the union does its job, but its not for everyone.  I think a person really needs to consider what they want to do with their lives and their careers and then weigh whether that means Equity or not.

-Centaura

malangsaap

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Re: Some wonderings...
« Reply #5 on: Nov 25, 2006, 11:10 pm »
Thank you guys very much for your information, it's been very helpful!

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