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Topics - hbelden

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The Hardline / AEA breakdowns for Chorus Musicals
« on: Apr 25, 2016, 01:12 pm »
What's the best way to get the official list of principal/chorus roles for published musicals? In the LORT rulebook, the language in rule 15D is: "Equity has the sole right to determine whether an individual is correctly classified as a Principal, Chorus, ... and the Theatre agrees that Equity's determination shall be final."

Marin Theatre Company, in Mill Valley, CA, is in immediate need of a non-AEA Production Assistant for our production of THE WAY WEST by Mona Mansour.  Please PM me for info on submitting your resume.

First Rehearsal Tue 3/24/15
First Public Performance  Thu 4/16/15
Closing Sun 5/10/15

Heath Belden

Employment / Fortitude
« on: Feb 13, 2015, 04:53 pm »
I will be the first to admit that I have had a very fortunate career.  I've been privileged to work with brilliant directors on projects that I feel passionately about within companies for which I feel a strong affinity.  However, my career has hit a major snag and I'm having trouble holding on to that gratitude.

In chasing my dreams and jumping at opportunities, I feel now that I've boxed myself in.  It's been almost a decade since I've lacked at least two future jobs lined up, and I'm back in that boat now.  But the difference is that now I'm tied to a geographic location that makes it hard for regional theaters to hire me, because most of them want to put their housing budget for the benefit of the performers onstage, not backstage for the stage managers.

So I think I'm very skilled, but finding an opening for an out-of-town SM is like finding dry land after a shipwreck, and sending out a cold resume in response to a job listing feels like sending a rescue message in a bottle.  I feel like I've exhausted my personal network.  Maybe the hooks I've sent out over the last couple of months will get some nibbles, but most likely not.  I'm beginning to wonder if I should slide sideways to production management or something.  For the very first time in my professional career, I'm worried about fulfilling my health weeks.

I keep telling myself that this is the exact same thing that other stage managers face all the time, and that I myself used to know how to hustle work without getting discouraged, but that's not helping me in this moment.  A decade ago, my daughter had not yet been born, my wife had built a profitable career in a major market, and my in-laws were entirely self-sufficient.  Now, we need daily to secure the health and quality of life for my in-laws, my wife has fewer opportunities and a lower income range, and my daughter needs the best opportunities we can provide her.  But more than all of that, I want to be a real part of my daughter's life, and even if job opportunities arise for me, it's going to kill me to spend half the year or more apart from her.

I guess all I can do is keep plugging away at the job search, and be grateful that I now live in a time when searches are facilitated by internet connections, and interviews can be done via Skype. I need to reconnect to the faith that connections will be made, that my own ability and experience will carry me forward, and that the path I'm currently on will lead to good things.  In the meantime, I'll hold on to my clear conscience and the blanket support of the people who love me.

Thanks for listening.

The Green Room / The Turos Test
« on: Aug 07, 2014, 03:05 pm »
I propose the Turos Test, named for my friend Gwen Turos who originated it:

The least-prepared understudy is the one most likely to perform.

Anybody else experience anecdotal support for the hypothesis?

The Green Room / video interview posted
« on: Jan 23, 2014, 02:43 pm »
I just discovered that the interview that marketing had me shoot last year was in fact uploaded to our website.  If anybody wants to see me introducing SM to the patrons, check out this link (2 min youtube):

Would be thrilled to get feedback.  How well did I represent us?

The Green Room / 2013 Univ of Iowa survey is live!
« on: Nov 01, 2013, 09:51 pm »
I just filled out the 2013 University of Iowa Stage Management Survey.  Lots of interesting questions this year.  It took me just over twenty minutes to complete.  The thing that took the longest was counting up the number of workweeks I had in the past year!

Here's the link:

Have fun!

I hear today that one of my principals was up all night with food poisoning.  He tells me he wants to perform today, but isn't up to the physical challenge of running around related to one particular quick change for a non-speaking role.  He normally plays four different characters over the course of the play.  He wants me to call in his understudy for that one bit part, and he'll perform the rest.

Makes sense to me.  My question is, do we do any announcements or signage?  My inclination is not, since the understudy is non-union and the role is a bit part, not even mentioned in the playbill.

What do you all think?

Tools of the Trade / Dropbox account full
« on: Mar 05, 2013, 05:32 pm »
So on my current show, I'm using Dropbox to share video of choreography for actors to review and for designers to see in advance of a run though.  Problem? my free account is full.  I used to use iDisk to transfer files, but that's dead. 

What's current, and free, to support Dropbox?  Any ideas?


The Hardline / straight-six on LORT musicals?
« on: Oct 27, 2012, 11:39 pm »
I think I should already know this, but is the straight-six rehearsal day option available for musicals under a LORT contract?

Each straight-six rehearsal block counts as eight hours when calculating work-week hours, but that doesn't preclude a straight six from replacing the 7-hour rehearsal day allowed for musicals, does it?

The Hardline / AEA Set Moves
« on: Mar 08, 2012, 06:09 pm »
LORT rule 59 (B) is:

(B) An Actor out of character may set or move scenery or props only in scenes in which the Actor enters or exits.

I've always taken this to mean the french scene - i.e., Puck enters with a three-legged stool, puts it on spike, and starts the scene with the First Fairy.  But could it mean the stage scene, i.e., Oberon sets the stool then exits and waits for his entrance a page later?


Self-Promotion / Next stop: dream job!
« on: Mar 02, 2011, 03:16 pm »
My contract is now signed, sealed, and delivered; after a week visiting the folks, I'm off to start my new job.


The Hardline / SM Subcommittee forming
« on: Jul 14, 2010, 11:15 am »
Did any of you read in Equity News a couple months back about an event in Chicago that got stage managers together with producers/prod managers for a speed-dating style networking & resume event?  I really want to make that happen in San Francisco.  I know at least a couple producers that need to meet more of us, and would be interested in attending.  So, I'm announcing a meeting.

Calling all Bay Area AEA stage managers:  I'm attempting to get an SM subcommittee formed, and I'd like to get some friends involved.  I hope that some of you will be able to come to this meeting:

Monday, August 9th, 2010
Emma's Coffee House
1901 Hayes Street (between Clayton & Ashbury)
San Francisco, CA 

The purpose of the meeting is to form a Stage Manager Subcommittee to AEA's Bay Area Advisory Committee, and the Subcommittee's first action will be to plan a networking event (on the Chicago model) for SF Bay area stage managers and producers.

Please let other AEA stage manager friends know about it.  Please get back to me if you plan to attend.


Heath Belden

The Hardline / LORT: Seasonal Contract
« on: May 04, 2010, 01:54 pm »
Has anyone ever been on a Seasonal Contract under the LORT rules?  Where did that come from?  Does it have any benefit for the producer, as opposed to just getting contracted show-to-show?


The Hardline / negotiating
« on: Mar 16, 2010, 06:24 pm »
Those of you who have been in on AEA negotiations, are there any books that you would recommend that someone who hasn't before read to  prepare for a contract negotiation?

Most actors I've worked with in regional theatre say "line" when they need prompting on the next line to say.  Occasionally I've worked with an actor who can say "word" when a particular word in the line falls away and they don't want to paraphrase.  I was told some actors snap when they need prompting because they don't want to put any other words in their mouths, though I've never seen that in reality.

I'm now working with a Canadian cast and it's very prevalent for one of them to say "yes" as we in the U.S. would say "line."  I find it a little hard to adjust to, but I think I'm handling it okay.  I'm glad someone in the past told me that was the Canadian custom and it didn't throw me when it first happened.  

Do actors in Australia or the U.K. do something different when calling for line?  Just curious.

EDIT: expanded subject to be more descriptive. -- PSMK

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