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Messages - smejs

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Electrics always seems like a mouthful to me, like you said.  I just took over calling a show for someone else who does say L-X (or Elex), which she was taught by a lighting designer........I myself prefer to simply say Lights...though the only time i had confusion was on one show I also had to call mics for.  Aha.  You see why.  I think I eventually said audio or sound instead of that, even though it wasn't for true sound cues.  That said, that's only been once in my life, and also for the same reasons you mentioned, I usually letter the sound cues (and for that one show, we lettered the mics, as well, trying to utilize all letters that sound different (i.e., not B, C and D unless it was people who ALWAYS sang at the same time, but used things like A, B, F, I, U, and X.


The Hardline / LORT contract negotiations
« on: Oct 14, 2004, 03:13 pm »
I have written several concerns to Equity, on the form they give stage managers in the deputy packets for each production.  I am also the secretary of our liaison committee, which is meeting next week, and am soliciting concerns from members-at-large for the upcoming LORT negotiations.  Rest assured, I will re-voice my opinions.  Some seem to be simpler ones to mentioning in the contract book that any accident should not only be reported to workers comp, but also the deputy form.....I am not the first stage manager I've talked to who didn't realize it for awhile.  Yes, it's in our packet info, but no where in the contract book, and not in our part of the website documents (as it's a deputy thing).  That, and callboard rules are strangely different for different contracts - seems like there should be some standards among contracts.

And I am SMA, hadn't actually thought about going there...duh!


The Hardline / LORT contract negotiations
« on: Oct 14, 2004, 01:40 pm »
Grrrr.  I've been hoping for them to ADD needing an ASM on the C contract.  Actually, I'm probably anti-union for saying this, but I just want there to be SOME sort of assistant, union or not....I last did a show with 29 people, but because it wasn't a musical, I wasn't required to have any kind of assistance.  Luckily, my theatre likes me enough to hire on a production assistant, but I'm not guaranteed her for the rest of the season.  Meanwhile, it IS required of the SPT contract, all levels (at least last I checked).

The Hardline / unemployment
« on: Oct 07, 2004, 03:18 pm »
Yes, you can collect least I did for a while when I first joined Equity and was struggling for jobs.  When you first call up the unemployment agency, you'll have to give them all the vital information for your last 18 months of work (Place of work, your title there, address, contact person, day you started and ended, and reason job ended - for theatre usually the show closed, which they call "lack of work").  Even the one-day gigs.  They will not like to type all this information, so starting off joking with them always helps.  Also, if you have more than one state, you have to do it through your home state...but a special division.  (Or there was the one lovely time when I'd worked all but one job in another state, which wasn't my home state, and they couldn't find any record of I ultimately got unemployment insurance through Connecticut while I was living in Ohio).  

Anyway you then have to keep track of all the jobs you are applying for while on unemployment.  This, to me, is the tricky part....because you can't always FIND a job to apply for every week, or maybe two in one week (try to send one on Friday, and one on Monday, for example if that's the case.  AND...if you should ever be offered a job that you don't want, I'm not sure where that leaves you with unemployment...maybe it gets cut off.  Different states do it different ways as far as reporting each week.  Some you phone in, some you mail in.

Your check amount is based off how much you were making before unemployed (a percentage of that, I believe, but quite low), and in some states they don't take the taxes out until you're hit with it April 15th.  And you collect until you've used up your "stock" based on how much you had worked before the unemployment.

Hope this helps - it's only what I've experienced.  But I did collect 6 months of unemployment one year all told, while I picked up 2 to 4-week gigs building up my resume.


The Hardline / Joining AEA
« on: Sep 11, 2004, 03:06 am »
Hey centaura -

There's always what I call the "Poof-You're-Equity" version........where if you seem like a good candidate for stage managing their show, any theatre can say "I want THAT person for the job."  And just hire you to turn Equity....depending on how good you are, a few theatres will even pay your union dues, but that's rare.

I think it's ultimately how most people get their cards these days.  Sometimes it's from working your way up at a single theatre, but often it's word of mouth from networking and someone you know tells them, yeah, she/he's ready.  (Happened to me.) - Erin

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Copying scripts
« on: Aug 27, 2004, 08:48 pm »
I have tons of old prompt scripts from my college days and non-Equity assistant days........but it's an Equity rule (at least in the LORT book) that the production script remains the property of the theatre.

I do of course, keep files of stuff on my computer, so I can "keep" those...but I'm not one who puts the calling cues in my computer

The Hardline / Lunch/Dinner Breaks and First Rehearsal
« on: Aug 20, 2004, 02:34 pm »
No, I've never had to read the Deputy form, and I usually start by saying, first off does anyone volunteer to be Deputy, or nominate someone else.  And then usually someone speaks up.  Lately it's been to nominate someone time it was the newest member of Equity, so they'd learn the rules.  Wasn't necessarily the best idea, but it was a thought.  Or there's often someone who will absolutely do it.  Or during summer stock, we'd often rotate it to whoever had the lesser role for that particular show.

I also make little ballots up ahead of time.  For LORT, we have to vote whether it's okay to have a "straight-6" day, an hour instead of hour and a half lunch, and an archival video.  Mine simply says "6 hour day okay?  Yes No, Hour Lunch Okay?  Yes No, and "Archival video okay? Yes No".  And during the meeting I mention why it's being asked of them.  

This last show, which started rehearsals on Tuesday, I managed to cover ALL of my actor stuff, including things to know about the rehearsal hall, etc.  in about 15 minutes.  And there is always that funny line about stage managers who have to run meetings they were never at before Equity.  I've started lately to ask if they mind if my non-Equity assistant is there to learn the "exciting" process of Equity meetings, and usually no one objects.  And the non-Eq goes "that was it?"  ;)

As far as having multiple sheets for blocking, sometimes it can get tricky turning the right number of pages to keep track of the script.  To solve this, I keep the script on full-size pages (I choose to put my script on the left hand side of the ring binder, since I'm right handed and scribble more on the right hand piece of paper for the blocking).  For the blocking side, I start with a full size sheet, but then cut a small triangle off the bottom right hand corner.  When I go to turn a page, I (try to remember to) pull from this bottom right hand corner, and thus the next page I actually grab is another full-size sheet of the script.  I hope this makes sense.  It's a very easy solution.

As well as the date, you'll probably also want a spot on the blocking sheet for the script page number just incase things get mixed up.


Also, I doubt that you will use the "real" guns for all of the rehearsal process....but you should have your actors get in the habit of treating them the same as real ones...especially if they're the performance guns except for blanks.  No one touches anyone else's gun, do proper hand-offs, etc.  And lock up the guns after rehearsal.  Also, your gunmaster will probably not be around for those rehearsals, so it's really in your court.

I was fighting with my computer regarding pdf files, while Didaskalos gave those fabulous replies.  I agree with all of it (and Sean McArdle is a GREAT prop guy.....worked with him for a season).

First off, I think you should be GLAD you have a gunmaster for that particular show.  I actually joined the prop crew at the last minute for a student production of ASSASSINS, didn't even get to see a runthrough, and the props run crew head hadn't written ANYTHING down.  And there are a lot of guns in that show that sometimes fire and sometimes don't.  So be prepared for a list of all that for your person and the order of it all (as a good stage manager should, of course).

In the Equity world, we actually have to fill out a piece of paperwork that lists exactly what firearms are used in the show and how. You can download it in pdf form at

One thing I didn't see listed is that a standard thing when you hand off a gun is for the receiving person to say "Thank you" when and only if they have a secure grip on it, so that the person handing it to them knows when to safely let go.

Also, check if there are any rules in your space regarding guns.....the roadhouse I currently work at is also a state building, so we can't use any guns that USED to be real, even if are filled now, or never use blanks, etc.

You may also want to list in your general run crew sheets the intended number/occurance of gunshots during the show so they can cover ears, etc., or have the backup gun ready, etc.

Hope this helps.

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