Author Topic: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties  (Read 5291 times)

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dallas10086

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PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« on: Nov 17, 2011, 07:31 pm »
Our stage management team has been delegated the task of pursuing and obtaining the rights for our seasons, beginning with 2012-2013. I have never ventured into this part of arts administration, and though I haven't heard of an SM team being the ones negotiating these types of contracts, I'm sure it's not a new idea.

Has anyone else gone down this road before? Any tips or tricks? We have the basic information so we're not going into this blindly. But I would love any 'insider tips' that will make our lives easier doing this in-between rehearsals and performances.

Edit to subject line.
« Last Edit: Nov 18, 2011, 06:52 pm by Rebbe »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #1 on: Nov 17, 2011, 09:47 pm »
This is not normally in stage management's responsibility, and would normally fall under general management.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

nick_tochelli

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Re: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #2 on: Nov 17, 2011, 10:33 pm »
Obtaining rights really isn't that much of a challenge if you're going through the normal routes (Sam French, Dramtists etc). You simply contact those companies and let them know the basics of your particular run, and they either let you know you can or can't depending on other productions that might be in your area. They'll ask for a deposit, and you give it to them along with a signed agreement (I think.....it's been nearly a decade since I've actually had to do this) and boom. You have rights.

So in terms of getting it done during rehearsals and performances, a great deal of what you do is written so you could in theory do it on a break or during long no cue sequences. I would imagine since the dawning of the information age you could pursue rights and royalties online now, too. That would be even easier than how I had to do it in college.

The real challenge comes if you're trying to obtain rights to a production from an estate and not from a publishing house. Like dealing with the Orwell estate or something like that. That can be tricky because estates are VERY protective of IP.

Balletdork

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Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #3 on: Nov 19, 2011, 05:45 pm »
Also--- with music it is sometimes very helpful to have your venue secured so you know the capacity of seating-- AND the actual seats sold for the past several shows. Lots of composers and houses will give a break if your capacity is 3000 seats and your average house is 1000 people~ I've only ever secured rights for music w/ a ballet company, not sure if this idea translates to theater..... :-\

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Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #4 on: Nov 20, 2011, 10:27 am »
I whole-heartedly agree with Matthew.  General Management should be delegated this task--if not soley for any leagal issues that may arise:

The real challenge comes if you're trying to obtain rights to a production from an estate and not from a publishing house. Like dealing with the Orwell estate or something like that. That can be tricky because estates are VERY protective of IP.

Stage Management should not have to deal with those issues in addition to all the duties stage managers do already.

MatthewShiner

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Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #5 on: Nov 20, 2011, 10:31 am »
There really are some legal and contractual issues in negotiating these things that are not just "How much is it to perform this show?" - and you probably don't want to put YOUR neck on the line - unless you are on the one who is going to sign the contract.
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nick_tochelli

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Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #6 on: Nov 20, 2011, 12:16 pm »
I whole-heartedly agree with Matthew.  General Management should be delegated this task--if not soley for any leagal issues that may arise:

The real challenge comes if you're trying to obtain rights to a production from an estate and not from a publishing house. Like dealing with the Orwell estate or something like that. That can be tricky because estates are VERY protective of IP.

Stage Management should not have to deal with those issues in addition to all the duties stage managers do already.

Dallas asked for tips. if the team was told they have to and they have no union protection, what can you do about it? Regardless if it should fall on on general management, its not.


MatthewShiner

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Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #7 on: Nov 20, 2011, 12:35 pm »
Well, I think the insider tips is they should tread very carefully as it's not normally with in the stage managers prevue - it involves income, ticket sales, gross and net - they will most likely need access to that . . . depending at which level and they are producing.  And, some managers, agents, etc - may try to take advantage of a stage manager who negotiating these rights instead of a business manager or a general manager.

Just think, if you a had theatre company have a assistant technical director hire a PSM - that would a little odd, right?

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dallas10086

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Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #8 on: Nov 23, 2011, 09:34 am »
I'll admit I was blindsided with this one. I went into the meeting thinking we were going to talk about the season, and the next thing I know I'm being told the basics of obtaining royalties and being thanked for being so willing to take this on, as if someone already told them I knew about it. I don't like these kinds of surprises and I'll admit when I went home that night I was upset.

I intend to have a discussion with my supervisor and artistic director about it, but this meeting happened the day before first tech, so I've had to put my feelings (and the project) aside until I can devote some time to it without taking away from the current production.

dewitt

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Re: PRE-PRODUCTION: Rights & Royalties
« Reply #9 on: Dec 13, 2011, 03:11 pm »
I have been in charge of this before for the community theater I work with. I am a board member for the organization and sometimes it was a show I was SMing, sometimes not. It was not hard and just because I did the paperwork did not mean I signed the paperwork. I applied on line and had the contract and billing sent to our financial guy. He signed the paperwork and paid the bill. Musicals are more complicated than straight plays as you need to know how many scores and for what instruments but the musical director helped with that. It is true I was asked to help out as a board member and not as a new job for the SM,
but when the staff gets overworked sometimes you just have to pitch in and help and I was OK with that. We typically have a lot of work and as the economy gets worse less staff to deal with important issues.  Anyway the process for my theater was pretty straight forward.

 

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