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Messages - chops

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The Hardline / Re: IATSE house
« on: Dec 18, 2008, 06:01 pm »

You can "take the job" of the stagehand, but they must still be hired and present for the shows.

But please confirm with your local BA.

From my experiance it is the displaced worker language in the contract that you are going to run into a problem with.  Just a tip never say "take their job" or "shadow" or "dude sitting in a chair" but use the term "displaced" when dealing with this situation.  In most contracts you can technically not have IA guys do any work as long as there is someone present from IA who could do the job.  For example if I want to bring in a monitor engineer for a show who is not IA then I have to have an IA guy somewhere in the building who could be doing that job and who is on the clock.  In your situation the performers should be able to take the items off stage and move them around as long as there are an equal number of IA guys or gals backstage in the proper department who are not currently doing anthing and could perform that action during that time in the show with no problems.  But check with the BA and the steward. 

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Costuming the Crew
« on: Dec 18, 2008, 05:54 pm »
Personally I have no problem wearing a costume on stage.  However I have seen a few crews who would ask for a performance premium if they are to be dressed up in a costume and asked to participate on stage other than moving things on and off.  I have even seen it in a couple of contracts where it is stipulated that crew recieves performance pay on top of their normal show pay to be in costume.  On the other hand I'm about to hop into an easter bunny costume and dance around in the wings for the amusement of the cast members who are on stage during a very boring part of our christmass show. 

Employment / Re: Who toots your horn?
« on: Nov 28, 2008, 03:19 pm »
I normally get my recomendations and tips from producers. 

Tools of the Trade / Re: Going Green
« on: Nov 28, 2008, 03:18 pm »
I have stopped doing the ceramic mug thing, because my time has value and after a long day and a long rehearsal/show, I don't want to have to wash 30 mugs too. (costumes, etc).

One of my stagehands had the great idea that we implemented where the coffee is always free but the styrofoam cups are 5 cents.  It really isn't enforced but most people have switched to travel coffee cups and keep their own cup in fairly good condition (clean).  We also have a joke where a "Code 4" in the theatre is when someone can't find thier coffee cup.  It also has cut down on the random half full cups of coffee strewn around backstage and in the green room. 

Employment / Re: Education Required to get a job?
« on: Sep 23, 2008, 05:51 pm »
I have a BA in History also.  And I think I took one theatre class in college.  As long as you have the experiance you are good to go.  I just got a job TDing at a theatre and I was selected over people with degrees in technical theatre.  It was all based on the experiance I had and the dues I had paid in the field.   

Employment / Re: For employers: When do you call references?
« on: Sep 02, 2008, 02:48 pm »
Post interview also.  But I have never seen anyone who would put a reference down who would speak badly of said person.  You can still get a lot of info out of a reference but I always take what they say with a grain of salt. 

I have always enjoyed hiring those who are more qualified than myself.  It shows confidence in your leadership ability and gives you many resources to fall back on. 

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: What to do?
« on: Jul 24, 2008, 08:36 pm »
Just agreeing that college is not required in this field.  I have degrees in History and Poly sci but have no formal training in the profession of stage management.  Hit up some internships and put in the extra effort to learn what the SM and PSMs do.  You may put in some volunter hours but they will pay off. 

The Hardline / Re: IATSE
« on: Jul 24, 2008, 08:32 pm »
Each hall is a little bit different but the best way is to ask the local BA.  A lot of books are currently closed around the west but you can still get in if you know someone.  Many halls have an apprenticship program and to become an A list member many halls require 1,000 hours of work or 500 hours of training.  Membership information is normally not on the websites but just go down to the hall and ask.  Once you are sworn in you can start picking up bounce work fairly regularly.  Make sure to take advantage of the training classes and get as many cards as you can. i.e. carp, elec, rail, props, wardrobe, vid ect. 

There are some great belay gloves at REI that run about $30 a pair.  I used them for years when running a hemp rail.  But sailing gloves work just as well.

Employment / Re: Stage Management Salary
« on: Jun 30, 2008, 03:30 pm »
There is a wide range of pay for this field.  If you can find a nich in the industry you can get close to six figures a year fairly quickly.  But then again you will earn every penny. 

Tools of the Trade / Re: The Blackberry
« on: Jun 26, 2008, 04:00 am »
I just got my second blackberry last week.  And I mean that i have two blackberry's on me at all times now.  They are one of the greatest things in the world as far as communication goes.  Allowing one to instantaneously receive, send and reply to important emails is an essential part of the modern world.  Scheduling, meeting requests, internet and those handy applications such as metric to SAE converters are an essential part of the day.  However, realize that there are some people who email you at 6:30 in the morning.  It may be a time zone difference or they may be an actor.  I spontaneously respond to emails.  If the email is important I will respond to people immediately of course or when it is during regular business hours I will get back to them in a timely fashion.  A non important email may get a response four days later or within the minute depending on how I am feeling.  If you start being a crackberry addict people will expect a response right away and will get upset if you do not respond within 30 seconds.  I mean who has something better to do than type out a quick email.  But in all honesty I have typed out four messages on my blackberry's while typing this message. 


Just because people are paid, doesn't mean they act professional.

I think that this is true in every field I have ever worked in.  However I have learned that if you always keep your professionalism people will respect your way of conducting business even if they don't respect you. 

And the hard to work with artist does not stop at the collage or community theatre level.  Some stage manager or handler jobs become the act of allowing the artist to be "creative" and do what they do best.  Sometimes the artist can't comprehend the simplest things such as deciding what kind of bread they want on a sandwich.  This results in you ordering five sandwiches for one person and then they end up eating off the vegie tray all day and never touch the sandwiches.  It may seem trivial and annoying.  Especially after four months on tour.  However when they step up on stage and make a couple thousand people happy for an hour or two you realize that they just might know what they are doing.  But it is a very fluid relationship.  You wouldn't be there without them and they wouldn't be able to do what they do without you.  If you can make everyone understand this then you become a team.  Just remember that a good team is built off of respect and not freindship.  You may become friends later but start with the working relationship.  And start that out by showing everyone that you work with a lot of respect.  This includes the janitor because he has the keys to the theatre and will let you back in at night when you locked your keys inside. 

Employment / Re: Wanting to move up in NY ranks
« on: Jun 13, 2008, 08:22 pm »

Pay your dues on the road and then come in.

Agreed.  You need to have full confidence that you can handle ANY situation with a smile on your face before you step into the lions den or meat grinder or whatever you want to call it.  I've never worked on Broadway but it helps to know your stuff in Vegas.  And make sure that you are not easily intimidated.  Also you never really finish paying your dues.  They seem to be more on an instalment system rather than one lump sum. 

I agree to the short letter Theory.  Just make it quick and to the point. I also enjoy a quick list of a few shows which you have worked on.  That way I know that you are not just trying to get backstage.  I had a bad experiance with that. 

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