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Topics - Celeste_SM

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Employment / Freelance, Non-AEA - need insurance?
« on: Oct 12, 2012, 07:44 pm »
I've been a freelance stage manager for about 15 years. Sometimes I work for a company, sometimes I work for a building/venue, usually as a non-employee contractor. 

Oddly, until this year, nobody has asked me whether I carry liability insurance. This year it came up twice  - once for me, and once for my husband who is a freelance master electrician.

So what do other stage managers do? I'm working very infrequently due to having a new baby, but prior to having the child I did about 8 shows/year working for community theater companies, dance schools, regular schools, community opera, and ballet companies. Should I have had insurance all these years?

I've primarily worked in a venue that does not allow any open flame on stage, period. Because of this, I haven't had to deal flame issues since college (and that's pretty long ago). I remember, back in college, that they paid a fireman to sit backstage with a fire extinguisher for a show with a lit cigarette on stage. But that was a different fire district and long ago.

I'm going into a show at a new (to me) venue. The show includes fire-eating by an experienced fire eating performer, complete with fellow performers standing by with a fire extinguisher. The theater manager is fine with it, as long as the fire marshal is fine with it. I want to make sure everybody is safe and that we are not breaking any laws.

My question: normally whose responsiblity is it to reach out to the fire marshal to find out the local regulations and any special requirements? Is this normally done by the producer? Production manager? Stage manager? Somebody else? Right now the ball has been put in my court to discuss the issue with the local fire marshal. 

I got into a debate on this question, and it made me curious to hear what other stage managers would do.

Scenario: About halfway through the act, during a dance number, the light board turns off due to a circuit breaker issue. The follow-spots are up, and remain on because they are not controlled through the light board. Work lights can be turned on immediately, eliminating any safety/visibility issues for the cast. The orchestra is still playing, and have no interruption to their lighting. The circuit breaker is quickly reset and lighting will be restored as soon as the light board completes it's reboot process and the op takes it to the proper cue.  Do you:

1. Stop the show (by bringing in the main, or sending the ASM on stage, or an announcement to the house), wait for the reboot and then restart the show with full lighting.
2. Turn on works, use follow-spots and allow the show to continue, restoring lighting as soon as possible.
3. Something else

Per the AEA Guest Artist contract, actors may (at their discretion) rent items of their personal wardrobe to the producer for use in the show. Terms are negotiated on an individual basis, depending on the number of items, length of the run, etc.  Does anybody have a form they use for this that they'd be willing to share?

I've made various informal agreements for this over the years, but I'd love to be able to give the actor a starting point, with a form where they just have to fill out their proposed rental fee.

The Hardline / AEA Actors coming when not called
« on: Sep 10, 2007, 03:32 pm »
I asked this question in the Guest Artist thread, but it got a bit buried and the answer might help someone else.

What is the appropriate action to take if an AEA actor insists on coming to a rehearsal that is outside their contract?  I know they don't have the right to waive their contract minimums, but at the same time, I'm not comfortable kicking them out of a rehearsal.  (Context: Guest Artist contracts start after the rest of the cast has already started rehearsing.  An experienced AEA actor always wants to come to first rehearsal to meet everyone, even though he is not called and is not under contract yet.  The stage manager is not AEA.  The actor knows he is not called but shows up anyway.)  What is the appropriate action for me (the non AEA stage manager) to take to protect the company and the actor?

I do not want to call the Equity office to ask this question, because I don't want to get the actor in trouble with his union.

SMNetwork Archives / Liquid Nitrogen Ground Fog
« on: May 04, 2007, 08:18 pm »
Hi all.  Has anyone used liquid nitrogen to create a ground fog effect?  We normally do the dry-ice routine, but my director heard that the look was much more effective with liquid nitrogen.  I did some prelimary research on it, and of course the first few Google hits were about how it is dangerous for actors. :(  So, I'm looking to hear the experiences of others who may have used it!

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