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Topics - NomieRae

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I was once in a sticky situation, and was wondering what everyone's tactic would be if they had this problem.

Worked a small regional theater which happens to have an IATSE crew, I'm an AEA SM. When I published the tech schedule for our production, I was asked by my boss to remove someone from the e-mail distribution because they were "no longer on the show." That person, it turns out, is the IATSE steward for the theater. They were very much still the steward for that space.

So, I reached out to the steward to find out (surprise, surprise) there is a very long and tense history between producers and IA.  I decided to still be in communication with the steward because it best served the crew who I had to work with on a daily basis. I  removed them from the general distro, but sent them schedules so they were still in the loop about crew hours/calls.

In my opinion it is ethically responsible to be forthcoming with other unions, even if my management is not. However, this may sour any future employment with me and this company in the future (which doesn't really bother me).

I know labor disputes are very common, especially with small companies. Do you often just choose to not get involved? I know if this was a SDC or designer dispute I would feel weird about it, but for some reason because it is IATSE crew that I worked with 8 shows a week, I felt the need to keep in communication.


Employment / Anyone work for Gateway Playhouse in the past?
« on: Mar 06, 2012, 10:35 pm »
Hi all -

Tried BTDT but didn't pull up any results so I thought I'd start a thread here - I'd love to hear from anyone who has worked for them in the past (the good, the bad, the ugly)

If you'd like to PM instead of air any dirty laundry, please feel free.


Recently I've been getting to know a lot of people outside of the theater realm (crazy concept, right?) and find myself having to re-explain my job and what I do and every time I hear myself tell a story I think just how incredibly odd some things are to other people.

Very often I get asked "You get paid to do...that?" which always makes me laugh.

So what are everyone's oddest stories of things they did on the job?

My personal favorite from the last year:
- Undressing a male stranger in under 30 seconds, 8 times a week (I never even get to know their names!)

Hi All--

I am planning on calling my respective unions in the morning but wanted to see if anyone knew if AGVA or AEA members qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that was instated in 2008. I have an ailing parent, and the only thing I can find in writing in my rulebook is that I am allowed 3 days of unpaid leave. FMLA is more of what I will be needing to take (it allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave)

Has anyone been in this situation? Currently I am in an open discussion with my producers about the future. I have two subs who can run my track indefinitely, but do I need to get something in writing that ensures that they won't just let me go? Is it weird to even ask that? At the end of the day I just want to be able to return to work when I am able to, is this just a far fetched dream in our line of work?

Any advice or info is appreciated- I will let everyone know what my AGVA and AEA reps say tomorrow.

The Hardline / AEA SM offered an AGVA contract
« on: May 16, 2011, 07:16 pm »
Hi All--

Wondering if anyone out there has joined the sister unions through AEA... I am currently planning on signing an AGVA contract for an off-broadway show and was wondering if anyone had advice, warnings, etc about transitioning from one to the other.

Of course my big questions (health, pension, etc) I am calling the office in the morning to clarify, but wanted to hear what people had to say..


The Green Room / Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark
« on: Oct 29, 2010, 06:03 pm »
Hey All--

I've been told I'm such a worry wart when it comes to these things but these two posts regarding accidents over at SPIDERMAN have ruffled my feathers.

And after hearing similar accounts from shows like XANADU and TARZAN it just constantly makes me wonder what safety measures are really in place, what research into long-term effects on the performers' bodies is being done, etc. I know that accidents can, and do happen, but at what point do you say "it's not worth the risk?"

In my career I've reported to AEA, then walked off two productions when I felt that some of the things they were doing were unsafe to the performers. Some people said it was a little too extreme, but I don't want to be a part of a company/project that values the bottom line over safety.

....maybe this is why I don't like working in commercial theater.

So I ask my fellow members here at SMNetwork - do you have stories of where you stood up for safety of your crew, yourself or your performers and got some resistance?

I'd also like to hear what people's thoughts are on the SPIDERMAN accidents. I really don't even want to see the show after reading the articles--sorry Miss Taymor.

Tools of the Trade / iPad: What do you think?
« on: Jan 27, 2010, 07:45 pm »
Thought I'd start the ball rolling to see what stage managers might think about the new iPad that Apple is putting out...

personally I was way excited about it until I realized it is more of a huge iPhone and wouldn't replace my laptop in that there is no camera built in, and no cd/dvd drive. If apple creates a docking station with the keyboard that includes a cd/dvd drive I will probably be first in line to get one ;)

I love how light it is, that it would allow me to take it EVERYWHERE. also there's the interesting possibility that you might be able to run Word/Excel/Final Cut/etc on it and edit/and use it for electronic scripts and paperwork on the fly.

Just wanted to hear what other people thought-pros, cons, wishes, etc.

The Hardline / Staged Reading--AEA Day off?
« on: Oct 02, 2009, 06:21 pm »
I'm heading up my first staged reading, under the standard 29 hours as part of NAMT here in NYC and the only rehearsal constraints it gives are the following:
-29 total rehearsal/tech/performance time
-14 days of total rehearsal/tech/performance time

but says nothing about a standard day off after 6 this an exception, or should I try to schedule one? Granted we're only doing 2-3 hour rehearsals, but currently the calendar reads 8 days in a row.

Can you tell I'm new to AEA? ;)

Hi All--

Quick question..planning on calling a business rep in the AM but wanted to pick your brains as well...

Under our NYMF Showcase Code we are given during the last week of rehearsals either three eight hour days or two 10 of 12's.

So the way our calendar breaks down the last few days is:
Tuesday 9/29 - REHEARSAL 6-11pm
Wednesday 9/30 - REHEARSAL 6-11pm
Thursday 10/1 - TECH 12-6, Dinner 6-7, Half Hour 7:30, Performance 8:00

My question is this... since it is limited to 8 hours in the code, does our day of tech/first performance count as one of our 8 hour days?
Also, My director wants to do a 10/12 on Wednesday 9/30...and possibly one 8 hour day on 9/29. From how I read the code it seems that it is an either/or situation and not a mix and match. Or is it just a numbers game of total hours?

Thanks for help in advance!

The Hardline / Treating all actors as AEA in a showcase?
« on: Aug 30, 2009, 07:49 pm »
Hi All--

So I'm doing a NYMF AEA Showcase where only 3 of 13 actors are AEA. So of course we've tailored all scheduling/breaks/meals/etc to the showcase code we're operating under.

However, my director is under the impression that the other 10 actors can be called for longer hours, with less notice, less rest time, etc...etc...etc and is essentially treating the AEA actors like the "exception" rather than the rule.

I'm gently nudging the director in the direction of treating everyone equally and not trying to resist the code's guidelines--if not only to avoid the potential hazardous scheduling that would arise, but to try and treat everyone's time with respect and professionalism.

While I do understand only 3 actors will sign the signature page with Equity on first rehearsal I feel it's unprofessional and sure to start a riff among the cast if we start treating the groups so differently. (It doesn't help that the leads are the AEA members..)

How do you feel on this issue? It's so murky to me...

Employment / Unemployment Benefits Claims??
« on: Feb 06, 2009, 03:18 pm »
Hi All---

Just a long shot because I'm seeking some advice in a battle with a previous employer over claiming benefits... If anyone is familiar with NY state unemployment benefits and how they relate to a non-union freelancer I would love to hear your advice on this one..

So I was employed from September 12-December 15 2008 as a PSM on a children's tour. I signed a contract for those dates and completed all of those dates and tasks required in the contract. The week after the tour ended I applied for and was granted unemployment benefits as I fell under the tenet of 'lack of work' since there was not an opportunity for me to continue with the company at that time. Now, over a month after I started claiming (and receiving benefits), my benefits are suspended because the company is claiming that I "resigned before my contractual obligations had finished", and also that I'm "not eligible" since I knew when the contract was ending.

What am I missing here?! I spoke to several people at the department of labor who work with freelancers and the entertainment industry and they said my claim SEEMED valid on paper, but they would have to wait for the investigation (I may have to go to court) to be completed before I would see any more benefits.

This is so completely frustrating since I have been scouring the city for ANY work (not even just theater) and have only come up with some interviews which never transpired. Also most theater work right now does not pay me enough to live on-actually less than my benefits would be...

Another side note: for freelancers, do you claim benefits while working for a contract that the payment is a 'reimbursement?' I know under AEA that members who are doing showcases can still claim unemployment during the showcase rehearsal and performance periods since the pay is a 'reimbursement' and not a wage. I've never tried to do it because I always thought it was an Equity loophole that I wasn't able to use...Thoughts??

Employment / Blacklist of companies for SMs?
« on: Jan 30, 2009, 10:26 pm »
Hi All--

I was talking to a friend of mine and we were wondering if there exists out there an e-blacklist of companies/producers/etc that have continually screwed a freelancing SM/ASM...

I know I've worked for dozens of companies, out of which maybe two I would post a word of warning to future SMs, but wouldn't it be an interesting tool to know (to an extent) what you're getting into before hand?

Is there something in place for AEA members? I would think it'd be easier in a union setting to call companies out on their behavior..

Any ideas/sites/etc welcome!

Employment / Sending resume/cover letter to Broadway shows?
« on: Jan 26, 2009, 07:54 pm »
Hello All--

I've gotten very comfortable in my world of freelance stage managing for non-union gigs. I'm confident in my skills in these small, controlled venues where being right out of college with a small-ish resume is alright because most companies aren't looking to hire AEA SM's.

That being said--I miss a challenge! So as part of my New Year's resolution I decided I would do everything in my power to get myself on a bigger production to expand my skill set and be reminded that I have a lot left to learn...

I picked up the recent Theatrical Index, and have been toying with the idea of sending my resume/cover letter to the management departments in hopes of a PA position since I'm not Equity... Has anyone here done this to any success? I've heard it since high school that some people get jobs this way, but wanted to test the waters to see if it was tacky to some degree to fish for a job that may or may not exsist...

I've learned so much that getting jobs in NYC can be greatly dependent on who you know...and I've met and worked with a lot of great B'way and Off-B'way designers--but I have yet to work under directors or other SM's with the connections to get me where I'm looking..

Advice? Should I send resume's & cover letter and hope for the best, or is there a better way to go about it?

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Staged Reading?
« on: Jan 09, 2009, 05:32 pm »
Hello All---

I'm a moderately experienced SM who's worked on mostly musicals, and just did a children's theatre tour around the country.. and I just got a gig for a staged reading next week.

While I understand that a staged reading is not nearly as complicated as a full mounted there any significant differences that I should know about? There are only two rehearsals then the reading.. will I be in charge of reading the stage direction? I always have the worst luck knowing which parts to read and which to skip over...

Any advice is appreciated!!

Hello All--

I am currently working on my Undergraduate Thesis for my Bachelor of Fine Arts, my topic being examining gender roles and stereotypes present in the career of Stage Management. In my pursuit of research I've come to realize as a career we're a very quiet sort, there only being a handful of books and even fewer interviews/autobiographies.

So I'm hoping to get as much feedback as possible from any Stage Manger here, some of my interview questions are below if you would answer one or two, I would be incredibly appreciative. Eventually I'm hoping to compile my accounts and interviews across my research into a small book of Stage Management anecdotes... so please if you do reply leave your name (last initial is fine if you wish), any affiliations (including AEA), and how long you've been stage managing.

  • Have you encountered sexist or gendered behavior in the workplace?
  • What characteristics are most important to a successful SM? Are these primarily female or male characteristics? Why or why not?
  • What are the most common failings of SMs?
  • What are your thoughts on the idea of a SM as a Mother figure? Any pertinent stories?
  • Do you feel that there are less SM opportunities for one gender? Is there any instance where one gender makes a better SM? Why or why not?
  • If you are a female SM, do you feel you have to work harder for the same respect/pay/jobs as your male counterparts? Why or why not?
  • Do people of a specific sexuality or gender identity make better SMs? Why or why not?

Thanks for your input, I'm looking for honest answers, even if they may not be politically correct.

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