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Messages - Scott

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the only reason i suggest the TD not being involved in the run process is that there are so many people involved already. when set pieces come in and/or during tech, i feel that the TD should train and hand everything off to the SM team backstage.

Then who's taking care of the actors?

N.B. If the SM team is Equity, they shouldn't be making any of the set moves themselves(unless they are being additionally compensated  per move).

The tech direct believes that she runs the scene changes rather than the stage manager, is that so?

That is not neccesarily a bad model:

Tech director supervises the mechanical moves while the Stage Manager checks set placement (spikes), actor safety, prop placement, etc.

For example, when I had a big union crew at NJPAC for Il Trovatore, I would just call the set change Q through to the lead carpenter who supervised the crew making the  moves.  My assistant would stand DC and make sure that where things went was where they were supposed to go :) and give me the clear so I could start things rocking again (Q Light to Maestro!). 

Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: ASMs vs SMs
« on: Sep 27, 2006, 02:06 pm »

The one time time I've been fortunate to assist a Broadway experienced PSM (working on a new Off Broadway musical) he put me in charge of taking blocking while he continually focused on the "bigger" picture (including much discussion of shape of the piece with author, director and music director as well as balancing evolving technical complexity.)

While I'm haven't yet been in a position where I was 100% comfortable in handing off  that responsibility, I have found it useful to ask assistants to keep their own blocking book (or charts if they seem more comfortable with that) in addition to mine. (With the understanding that they have other repsonsibilities which might take a greater precedence in any a given moment during the rehearsal). I think it's great to have an extra eye or two; espcially during blocking of big scenes with lots of actors and moves.

I also finds it helps focus assistants who might otherwise be scattered, distracted, or otherwise overwhelmed.

The Hardline / Re: Light Board Pay
« on: Sep 18, 2006, 01:50 pm »
I'm the PSM at an SPT 6 and I am a little confused about something:

I am running lights for all performances and I was under the impression that I was getting paid for it. My rider said so, the handbook says that I am not required to, yet I was just told when I asked about it that it is part of my PSM duties and I won't be getting paid.

Now, am I wrong or is this wrong? I'm confused by this.

Sounds wrong to me -- both by practise and by the terms of the SPT contract as I read it.  

I suggest contacting your Equity rep.!

I believe that you will find yourself entitled to some sort of payment for "additional duties" above and beyond the contract weekly minimun (though don't be too suprised if it's something token like $5/week.)

I'm also assuming that they are not paying you above minimun to PSM (my impression is that difference between PSM and SM is never defined by Equity contract). to rep!

Good luck!

SMNetwork Archives / Re: Drinking Games
« on: Sep 18, 2006, 01:40 pm »

Very, very funny!

Have taken the liberty of making one small edit ("Where their stairs in the rehearsal hall?" changed to "Were there stairs in the rehearsal hall?) and fowarding to  my favourite lighting designer and two favourite SMs (properly credited to you, natch.)

A drinking game classic!

The Hardline / Re: Handbook
« on: Sep 16, 2006, 10:04 am »
Can someone tell me if it's possible to get a copy of the Equity handbook if you're not Equity?  I've been on the website & found the SM packet, which is just a packet of forms. 

Most, of not all, of the Equity agreements ("rule books") can be found on the document library section of the Equity website and is available to non-members.

My understanding is that the other contracts are in a sense negotiated down after the Production Contract so that might be the most comprehensive agreement to look at if you are just looking for an understanding of general Equity rules.  Might be interesting to compare and contrast that with a smaller contract and/or even the Showcase Agreement (which is not a contract at all but does provide the minimun protection for Union members.)

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: Who's Job???
« on: Sep 14, 2006, 09:21 am »
Tonight during a 10 minute break my ASM took it upon himself (as I feel that he should) to begin to set up for the next act. I was doing something personal at my table and an actor made the comment "You know, you're the first SM I've ever seen who just sits there and lets their assistant do all the work."

Not only is the Actor out of line in regards to your management of your ASMs, there is nothing in the Equity contracts that suggest that you aren't entitled to a 10 minute break as well (although in practise our breaks are often foreshortened or skipped.)

The Hardline / Re: MRE
« on: Sep 06, 2006, 09:21 am »
It was my understanding that unless the Rule book specifically named Stage Managers separately, the term "Actor" applied to both.  It's just like in any contract where it states that "So and So" will hereby be referred to as "So and So".  Or am I completely mistaken?

You are not mistaken.

(But, as always, best to check with Equity if you have any specific questions about a specific contract...)

Employment / Re: to get hired...
« on: Sep 05, 2006, 12:20 pm »
My undergrad is in psychology. [insert joke here].

How do you feel about that?

I am one of the biggest champions you'll ever meet regarding the value of a degree - any degree. But at the risk of sounding overly pragmatic, it's just a degree. What really matters is how you apply it.

Hear, hear!

Many, many of the working stage managers/production managers that I have met don't have degrees in stage management (a degree which I understand is a relatively new phenomenon outside of the conservatory programs).  Many, many have their degrees outside of theatre altogether.

Now then again, if you decide to return to law school, for example, maybe you really should consider becoming a lawyer.

Or a Producer or a General Manager.

(Or a famous comedian like Greg Giraldo, who actually lent a legal hand to at least one Off Off Broadway theatre while he was still practising law.)

The Hardline / Re: Copyright laws
« on: Aug 19, 2006, 04:53 pm »
Now, I have worked at number of theatres that make archival tapes for the vault and nobody else.  I was under the impression that you can make one archival recording for the company and you can record for promotional use as long as it is no more then 30 seconds at a time and not a complete scene or song. 
I'm not asking about standard practice, but what the technical rules are.

Yes, producers love it when we have those "impressions" -- all taping, including archival, is regulated (with the intent to discourage)by most Equity agreements that I am familar with.  (I haven't worked a COST contract in a long time, but it looks like Olney Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre and Paper Mill are allowed to make archival recordings, under specific terms.)  The technical rules are those of whatever the specific contact you are working under...

P.S.  What is MTI?

The Hardline / Re: Health cards discontinued
« on: Aug 05, 2006, 10:56 am »
...I actually read about it on the website

but this thread really made all that info make sense. Hmmm.....

The Equity folk at the annual SMA meeting made a point of mentioning this change -- and noted that many Stage Managers seemed to have large caches of the cards stowed away, since they were getting cards back long after they stopped sending them with the kit :) (Mais oui!)

The Hardline / Re: Changing professions
« on: Aug 05, 2006, 10:51 am »
Am I the only one who wishes Equity had some sort of minimum qualifications that you had to meet in order to join, rather than just paying?

No.  This is a pet peeve of mine.  It seems like at least once a year (most recently about two weeks ago) a committee chairperson or Equity rep. has to explain to me that it violates federal law to to require some sort of minimun standards to join a union.

Since that doesn't seem to be true for the Teacher's union or the Stagehands union, somebody will no doubt have to make this point to me again, since it doesn't seem to have sunk in.

And no-one has yet been able to give me an example where someone is able to join any other union as shop steward without minimun requirements, which I think is the nearest analogy to the stage manager situation.


Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: TECH - HELP!!!!!
« on: Aug 04, 2006, 02:20 pm »
I'm making a trip to Container Store and Target this weekend, any suggestions as far as hooks, shelves go (cheap & durable).

Don't forget to check out your local hardware store if possible -- they may do better in terms of individual shelves and hooks (as opposed to pre-fab units.)

I'm a big fan of hooks that screw in (if they are sturdy enough to support your props) and simple shelves (a piece of wood and two appropriate size brackets screwed into the wall or flat) -- but you will probably know what you want when you see it.

Have fun!!!!!

Stage Management: Plays & Musicals / Re: TECH - HELP!!!!!
« on: Aug 04, 2006, 12:33 pm »
Backstage space is limited but almost everything needs to be backstage due to the quick change nature of the scenes.

There aren't any prop tables backstage, space is severely limited.  All props are stored on a central table by dressing rooms until I place them backstage at the top of each act.
Has anyone had success with hanging shoe and hanging sweater storage as backstage prop storage?

I'm a big fan of hooks and shelves -- backstage space is severely limited at many Off Broadway venues and there often is not a traditional "table" nor other space for prop storgae.  Assume you've exploited hooks and shelves to the best use within the limits of your space and budget?

I've seen hanging shoe storage used successfully for body mics.

Let us know how you make out!

The Hardline / Re: SMA (and AEA) Discussion
« on: Aug 02, 2006, 01:39 pm »
It might also be great for SMA to do something similar- it might actually give a decent reason to join- but it's hard to say how useful it'd actually be, since they don't actually have any real weight over our AEA contracts.

That's debateable -- since the SMA is directly responsible for there being Stage Management seats on Council.  Before my time, but as I understand, the SMA served as sort of an outside caucus to effect those changes.  Looking at current council makeup, I see that the Third Vice President (function: National Stage Manager) and at least 4 other members are also active SMA members (including the SMA current chair).

(Is there a council member online here who can speak to this?)

More recently, I would note that many of the active members of the Off Broadway committee are also SMA members and I believe that the SMA forum sponsored last year is directly responsible for both language and negotiating tactics used in the last set of negotiations.

If you are interested in having more input into the AEA contracts, I suggest joining an Equity committee (whether SMA appeals to you or not) if you haven't already.  (It's free!)

The wheels of negotiation turn slowly (and never forget that AEA contracts are negotiated with producers) but they do turn.

Committees also have significant say in how concessions are granted to producers.

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