Author Topic: Mandatory meetings with no contract  (Read 3157 times)

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DeeCap

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Mandatory meetings with no contract
« on: Sep 09, 2013, 10:23 am »
I'm the SM on a guest artist contract for a company that I haven't worked with before.  Rehearsals do not start until next month,  and I do not have a signed contract.
So far I've been to two production meetings, and I wasn't able to make the third meeting. I get an email from the director saying that I need to be at all the meetings. Then I get an email with the next meeting scheduled, and that everyone's presence is mandatory.

Normally the theaters I have worked for had understood that Equity SM's can't attend the meetings until they have a signed contract, so I'm a little lost as to how I can approach the artistic director/director regarding this. I was aware that I was going to meetings knowing I didn't have a contract, but I'm surprised by her reaction when I couldn't go to a third meeting.
Anyone had this experience and was able to keep a good working relationship?
« Last Edit: Sep 09, 2013, 10:27 am by DeeCap »

VSM

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #1 on: Sep 09, 2013, 12:17 pm »
I don't consider a Production Meeting before you have a signed contract excessive.
Two is pushing it but three - I wonder who is conducting these meetings and what has not been discussed/decided by now. Email communication works wonders in a situation like this. I would ask the Artistic Director if there is a specific area of concern that they have and if so, what I could do to assist that particular area. I would also ask what is still not determined/decided about the production that requires yet another production meeting. All very graciously and with the intent to help... It's a tricky situation as you are making a first impression with these people. But always stay true to your boundaries and listen to that little voice in your head...
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Maribeth

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #2 on: Sep 09, 2013, 12:35 pm »
I would say talk to the production manager. Most places I work either don't invite me to production meetings before my contract starts, or invite me but understand that I may or may not be able to make it. (I like to come if I'm able to.) If you can't make the third meeting (especially when you've already been to 2), can someone can email you meeting notes, or can you and the production manager can meet separately during prep week to catch you up on what you missed?

I hardly ever sign an actual contract until the day I start- usually the theatre hasn't received the contracts from AEA until then. But a lot of places will do a Letter of Agreement or a formal offer letter, to be signed as soon as possible once we agree on terms of employment (dates, salary, etc).


DeeCap

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #3 on: Sep 09, 2013, 04:04 pm »
This company does not have a production manager. Given the large scale musicals they produce, this frightens me.

RuthNY

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #4 on: Sep 09, 2013, 04:50 pm »
Are these actually production meetings, or are they design meetings? Just curious, but without a contract, I'd ask to be brought up to speed during my pre-production period.
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lsears

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #5 on: Sep 09, 2013, 05:11 pm »
Were you given the dates and times of the meetings prior to your signing on?  Was you availability for those meetings taken into account when they offered you the position?

If the answer to either of those is no then I second what others said - if you can't make it ask to be brought up to speed during your preprod week.  I'm curious about how the meetings have benefited from your presence and suffered in your absence up to now?  Were you the one taking notes and keeping people on an agenda (since there isn't a PM)?  What is the director's expectation of your role at those meetings - do they want you kept informed and are afraid it won't happen if you aren't there?

Keep us posted - and yes, having no PM would scare me as well.

DeeCap

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #6 on: Sep 10, 2013, 10:57 am »
I was not given any meeting dates prior to "signing" on.  The last two meetings have been production meetings and not design concept meetings. 
I also believe that I don't have a pre-pro week. Equity forwarded me a permission letter given to the company, and it lists my start date as the first day of rehearsals. I'm told I get my contract at the meeting this week, so here's hoping there's a pre-pro week.

I had a meeting with the director a few months ago.  She was under the impression that I would pick up some of the production manager duties. I informed her that I wasn't comfortable doing this. I told her I was very comfortable running everything inside the rehearsal space, but there needed to be someone who coordinate what was going on with regards to load in, shop schedule, budgets, etc. She understood. 
Who does a show of this size and scale without a production manager???

Right now I'm going to the meeting this week and listening to my gut. If I"m still feeling squishy, I might back out.  Under Equity I still have a few weeks to decide.

Thanks for the advise. I'll keep you posted.






KMC

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #7 on: Sep 10, 2013, 11:30 am »
No pre-production, no production manager...  Is it possible that the excessive production meetings are a symptom of a dysfunctional organization attempting to over-correct?
Get action. Do things; be sane; donít fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

DeeCap

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #8 on: Sep 13, 2013, 11:39 am »
I went to the meeting last night and I explained to the director that officially I'm not required to go to any meetings prior to my start date; which happens to be the first day of rehearsal (!)

She thanked me for being at the meeting last night and she now understands I won't be at any more meetings until the first day.

I'm aware that even going to these meetings was a mistake on my part.  Again I wish there was someone on the administration side of this company that would say "Methinks the stage manager should be brought on a wee bit earlier than the first day". 

Anyho, I'm sticking with the show. Here's hoping I know what I'm doing..


babens

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Re: Mandatory meetings with no contract
« Reply #9 on: Sep 13, 2013, 03:04 pm »
Just something to bear in mind, I have worked on several contracts where the official start day is the first day of rehearsal, but I'm also paid for pre-production days, with that pay being included in the first paycheck (which often makes for the appearance of a nice little bonus for the first week).  The theory there is that I would use those pre-production days as and when I saw fit, and on occasion that did include a few production meetings.

 

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