Author Topic: Videos of stage managers mid-show  (Read 1256 times)

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leastlikely

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Videos of stage managers mid-show
« on: Mar 21, 2018, 03:11 pm »
I've seen a handful of videos floating around on Facebook and Tumblr where a stage manager has filmed themselves (or been filmed by someone else) calling a performance. I've also seen videos of backstage footage such as transitions and quickchanges. I've seen this type of video posted by the SM, or by the producer/company as a PR thing, or I think I've even seen one that appeared to be a clip from a documentary of some sort. I assume in the case of a documentary that everything is cleared by all appropriate unions and everyone involved in the show (since the doc producers will be making money off the footage), but I'm wondering about companies and individuals sharing things like this.
 
There are plenty of specific rules about what photos and videos can be taken of the cast and of the production.  Is it okay for a stage manager to share a video of themselves calling cues, provided the camera is focused on the SM? What if the show is audible on a monitor? Is this a valid form of promo material that can be shared on an individual's or theatre company's social media or websites? Do specific permissions need to be requested from AEA, from actors whose voices are heard, from the sound designer/USA, etc?

How about a video of an intermission shift where the set and crew members are visible? On a non-Equity show I did recently, the company shared a time lapse of the intermission shift on Instagram. Or a quickchange video where an actor is on camera in costume, like the video of Kelli O'Hara's THE KING AND I quickchange from the Tonys a few years ago? I've also seen personal QC videos shared by actors - for instance, a friend of mine who played Fiona in SHREK posted a video of her own ogre transformation.

It seems like these "behind-the-scenes" videos are getting more popular (or at least, I'm seeing more of them lately). So I'm just wondering about the legality of these sorts of things.

VSM

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Re: Videos of stage managers mid-show
« Reply #1 on: Mar 22, 2018, 11:25 am »
so am I...
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megf

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Re: Videos of stage managers mid-show
« Reply #2 on: Mar 25, 2018, 08:40 am »
When I've been part of shows where a behind-the-scenes video (or Instagram takeover or similar) was created and used for promotional purposes, we followed the terms of the AEA contract. In LORT, for example, there are rules governing the duration of footage, the timeframe for notifying involved parties, the way in which the footage is subsequently stored or re-used, and more. Each contract may have unique stipulations, so legality in this case is murky if you're seeking an industry-wide policy. I am sure that some producers have explored ways to add contract riders that would preempt disagreement from AEA company members regarding backstage footage, but there's no way to know if these riders made it out of discussions or what clauses were inserted, absent a ton of digging around in polls and phone calls to AEA.

It seems like your post touches on two questions: first, a moral (or perhaps ethical) question about revealing potentially intimate, personal moments offstage; and two, a question about adherence to the relevant labor contracts and state laws that may impact the words, images, etc. that are rightly intellectual property. Is this interpretation of your original post correct?

leastlikely

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Re: Videos of stage managers mid-show
« Reply #3 on: Mar 25, 2018, 04:22 pm »
Yes, I think that sums it up well. I guess I'm thinking both about what can be shared, as well as what should be shared.

Michelle R. Wood

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Re: Videos of stage managers mid-show
« Reply #4 on: Mar 26, 2018, 05:28 pm »
These are great questions, and ones that are only going to become more relevant. I think a lot of rules regarding media as they exist now are very out of date, or at least out of touch, with the way pictures and video are now a part of people's daily lives. It used to be you'd need to schedule a time with a photographer to get pictures of a show; now, cast members and crew alike take pics with their phones at all given moments.

There is a need to determine how much recording is appropriate, but I think it needs to account for modern practices. For example: I've been asked before to film choreography with phones in order for dancers to practice with out of the normal rehearsal time. I've also filmed a dress rehearsal to send to a designer who couldn't make a run. Each of these instances has occurred in smaller, non-Equity theatres, so we didn't come up against any rules on the matter. But it begs the question of what the proper response should be?

We also have take into account the issue of copyright: how much can you get away with sharing before you run into rights/royalties issues? Unfortunately so much of modern copyright law is being hammered out via litigation instead of legislation, so clear guidelines are difficult to come by and in a state of flux. It strikes me as something that would be useful to add to rights contracts so people are aware of what is and isn't allowed vis a vis MTI, Samuel French, etc.

Unfortunately
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