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Messages - thankyou5

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Thanks for sharing.  I definitely experienced this both in the push from grad school educators and from the reality of living in NYC.  Couldn't find work until I moved to New York and then spent most of the year working across the country while paying for my NYC apartment.  Quite a catch 22.

The Green Room / Re: Inside the SM Office
« on: Nov 06, 2012, 07:01 pm »
1. What is your favorite word?

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on?   
    An assistant who's on it before I even know something happened.

4. What turns you off?
 Someone knowing there's a problem and not caring to do anything about it.

5. What sound do you love?
   The silence of an empty theatre/rehearsal hall before anyone else has arrived for the night.

6. What sound do you hate?
      director chomping gum/sucking on candy sitting next to me in rehearsal

7. What is your favorite curse word?
     holy sh*tballs

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
     Mural painter

9. What profession would you not like to do?
    Lawyer/ politician

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
      Welcome home.

The Green Room / Re: NYTIMES: Actor Housing
« on: Aug 30, 2012, 09:28 pm »
Interesting.   All of those are far nicer then any of the places I've been put up.  My worst was a house with neon pink walls with black trim, no air conditioning, no microwave and a washer and dryer in a spider infested basement.  Of course In Western Mass. during the summer.  It was an adventure.

I too thought working for Disneyland would be a dream job.  I applied several years ago and ended up as an assistant stage manager on Fantasmic! and Aladdin for 6 months last year.  Though for me the reality was not quite as magical.

There are a few great things about stage managing at Disneyland.  The technology is great.  I was exposed to a lot of automation and special effects that I had never seen before.  You learn a ton in a short period of time if you work on the two big shows like I did.  Working with IA crews are also a very valuable experience.  The performers for the most part are also really great.

Some of the down sides.
Applying is not easy.  You have to either have a contact or apply at the main office.  They hired a ton of ASM's last season and I believe most stayed on, so there may not be any openings for years.

Disneyland only hires assistant stage managers and you begin as a casual temporary, which means no benefits, no guaranteed hours.  You could work 4 hours in one week or nearly 60.

While I was employed the ASM's voted to become part of IASTE, which means union dues, initiation fees and no benefits of outside work as IA has never before represented stage managers.

There is nearly no opportunity for advancement to become a Stage Manager who calls the shows (which is who you saw in the "booth").  It's almost entirely based on seniority.

You must fit into their way of doing things. There is next to no toleration for being innovative or coming up with new ideas.  The shows are very entrenched as well as the personnel.

I also found the environment to be very clicky.

Disney is also overly budget minded.  As a result things do not get fixed unless they break and then the fix is only temporary.  Equipment breaks down all of the time and as a result many artistic elements of the show are sacrificed on nearly a daily basis. The drive by upper management was for the show to go on no matter how badly the artistic integrity was compromised.

There are of course many people who I found were happy being with Disneyland for years.  I chose to leave in search of a more fulfilling position.

Employment / Re: How To stand Out
« on: Jul 22, 2011, 04:20 pm »
Unfortunately in this business many times someone who is unqualified in our eyes gets the jobs that we want or think we deserve.  It's not fair but it works that way many times.  I hate to say this, but the best person doesn't always get the job.  Too many times it's about who you know than what you know and how good you are.  I've seen people I thought were terrible get Broadway jobs.

My thoughts:

Do the best job you can every time.

Keep trying and stay positive.

Be willing to do whatever the job takes when possible, even if it is above and beyond your role.

For me, it's always about integrity.  No matter whether I get another job based on the one I'm currently doing or get the promotion I want, I always want to be proud of the way I do my job. 


The Green Room / Re: Missing AEA Actor
« on: Jul 13, 2011, 01:04 pm »
Good to know that word is getting out.

While I don't know this company or any of these people directly, I very much feel for them.  Through the years, I've had a few people go missing from various shows.  It is quite terrifying.  Luckily one ended up being in jail and another was sick and had lost his phone.  Unfortunately this is not always the case, I've also had to deal with suicide of a company member during tech.

I know this is very raw for those going through this, but I'd like to pose these questions for us all to think about.

How would you or have you handled this as an SM?  What do you tell your cast/company?  How do you carry on when someone has gone missing?

The Green Room / Missing AEA Actor
« on: Jul 13, 2011, 12:46 am »
Hi All,

Not sure where is the best place to put this. 

Lawrence Ellignton Street, AEA member, missing in Louisville, CO, while choreographing The Wizard of Oz. Graduate of Carnegie Mellon, nobody from Art Underground Theater has been concerned to look for him. Missing four days. Notified HRC, news media Denver, theater itself, and AEA. Help find him, notify the Denver/Louisville PD who feel that Larry's disappearance is not important..likely because he is african-american and gay.

See more in the Denver Post Article below:

The Hardline / Re: SPT SM Overtime Tech Week
« on: Nov 30, 2010, 09:08 pm »
So it's finally been worked out.  After several discussions with the AEA business rep and the producer, the producer agreed to pay for all of hours worked.  This includes before the actor call, shortened meal breaks, notes after tech; basically all hours I am at the theatre working.  I'm very glad I put up with all the stress of fighting for this.  While the producer may never work with me again, at least I have paved the way for future SM's to be paid for their extra hours during tech, which were significant.     

The Hardline / Re: SPT SM Overtime Tech Week
« on: Nov 19, 2010, 11:17 pm »
I have spoken to the producer about this and expressed my understanding that the rule book requires me to be paid for tech notes.  The producer said that it was part of my job and therefore it was not considered overtime and that they have never paid for tech notes (slightly concerning since they've been around for 10 years).  However, the producer will look over the rules again.  I have put another phone call into Equity, but our rep did not respond.   I'll ask the producer before tech notes tomorrow night if they want me to stay or not until we can come to an agreement.


The Hardline / SPT SM Overtime Tech Week
« on: Nov 19, 2010, 03:10 pm »
This is my first show on an SPT contract.  The other contracts I've worked under provide an SM bump during tech and allows for more hours than the regular rehearsal hours.  SPT does not. 

So my question is how do you determine SM overtime during tech?  One person at Equity told me "any time you are required to be at the theatre," but I'm not so sure about this.  I know the hours the actors are called will be counted for SM's as well, but do tech notes count as work hours?  LORT specifically excludes "production meetings" during tech week to be counted as work hours but LORT also has the SM bump.


Here's an update to this situation. 

I chose to speak to the Production Manager/General Manager and not the director.  I wanted someone of authority to know my concerns in case something was to arise during the rehearsal process, while maintaining a working relationship with the director.  During my conversation, I was informed that my concerns were not the first and that the producer would be notified and that I should speak directly to the producer should anything else happen.   

Due to unrelated circumstances, the director will now be present minimally and an African-American associate director has been brought in to oversee the rehearsal process with the original director maintaining artistic control.

So here's a situation I'm dealing with and unfortunately it's not the first time; previously I refused a job due to similar circumstances.  So I thought I'd put it out there for you all to voice opinions. 

I'm preparing to stage manage an all African-American musical.  The director and I are both white.  While discussing logistics of the very short rehearsal process, the director felt it necessary to bring up the "fact" that the cast may need additional wrangling.  "Fore when dealing with an African-American cast it can be a bit like "Sunday at Church"", implying that they would be more focused on the social aspects of being together rather than being professionals and that getting work done would be difficult.

I found this very offensive, but have thus far refrained from saying so, due in part to the fact that there were several people in the room when this was stated and I did not want to pick a fight in front of others, some of those present are being mentored by this director.

Thoughts?  What would you do? 

I'm thinking of confronting the director privately about being offended by these remarks, but another part of me feels that holding my tongue is better as the process is only 2 weeks; the director leaves at opening and I have no plans of ever working with this person again.

Edited subject line-Rebbe

I would go for the Equity Theatre, but am completely biased when it comes to those two theatres as I'm friends with the SM that usually works with the Equity company as well as the Artistic Director.

Besides that, what are you looking to get out of the opportunity? 

In general Asming will give you a chance to learn from an SM and perhaps gleam new ideas to incorporate into your SM style.  While SMing will give you a chance  to put your own ideas/style into action and see where you succeed and where you may need to improve. 

When I was new to Chicago several years ago, I ASMed for quite a bit just to meet SM's for networking purposes.  Then I started to get offers to SM sent my way by SM's I had worked under who couldn't take the job. I'm doing the same thing now that I've moved to New York and it seems to be working.

MODERATOR'S NOTE:  theater names have been removed from this post.-Rebbe

The Hardline / Re: equity tier II seasonal showcase
« on: Apr 15, 2010, 09:13 am »
You really need to ask Equity about this.

But my understanding from other contracts is that if you are non-Equity, the Equity rules do not apply to you (payment requirements, working hours and rules).  So if Equity allows for a non-Equity SM on the code the theatre is not required to pay you the minimum stipend that is due to Equity members.

Please someone else correct me if I am wrong.   

The Hardline / Re: equity tier II seasonal showcase
« on: Apr 14, 2010, 05:56 pm »
It's not a simple answer. 

According to Equity's Seasonal Showcase Code there is a formula that is used based on each individual theatre's gross income and the number of AEA members on the show.  It's explained in better detail on page 2 of the code.  If you don't have a copy of the code you can find it on Equity's website under Agreements - Codes. 

Your best bet would to be to call Equity directly and ask for the minimum with the specific theatre.

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