Author Topic: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues  (Read 3616 times)

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MatthewShiner

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OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« on: Jan 01, 2012, 03:07 pm »
So, doing a show where some of the actors are playing some instruments in a show.

Obviously, there is nothing in the contract that allows or requires a music call or sound check of any sort.

Has anyone dealt with this in the past on an AEA contract (I have, but looking for other's input). 

Tuning is another issue we have to looking into.

One of the things I am looking at possibly doing is having an amp in the green room area in case they want to self tune . . .

Thoughts. 

(Instruments are guitars for sure, but other ones tba)

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Rebbe

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #1 on: Jan 01, 2012, 04:44 pm »
You may be aware of this one, but if there is a sound or props crew person familiar with the instrument, they could be delegating tuning it, and doing a sound check, pre-show.  The green room amp seems like a good supplemental option. 
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

MatthewShiner

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #2 on: Jan 01, 2012, 05:23 pm »
Oh we have an A2 and and another sound person on the show, so that is the first plan.

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nmno

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #3 on: Jan 01, 2012, 06:28 pm »
My current show is a musical with some pit musician and some actors playing instruments (electric guitars, basses and drums).  The pit guitar player tunes and maintains the 12 guitars/basses and the pit drummer maintains the drums.  If a string breaks mid-show we have a "Swing musician" who can drop out of most numbers if necessary (he mostly doubles) to change and we have a back-up guitar we can use in a pinch.  Other than playing them onstage, the actor does nothing.  Probably not at all helpful for your situation. 

Another musical had an actor playing guitar onstage. We actually ended up renting his guitar for the show.  He tuned it during half hour (even though we had pit musicians, a prop guy, a stage manager and a sound head all capable of doing do) and maintained/changed strings as necessary.  I'd say if we weren't using HIS instrument, he probably would have had us change strings but he still would have tuned the guitar - sort of like an actor checking his own props.

In both shows, sound checked the packs on the instruments in hour before half.

I don't know that you'd need an amp to tune.  We use the guitar tuners that clip on - accurate, fast, and easy. 

Hope some of that is helpful to your situation.

lsears

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #4 on: Jan 04, 2012, 08:14 am »
When the Huntington did RUINED last winter there was a 30 minute onstage call prior to half hour that combined fight call, the most aggressive of the dance moments, and sound check for our drum set, two guitars and the primary singing mic.  It took the full 30 minutes to get through everything.  This is a practice the company began when they originated the show at LJ Playhouse and other than lots of crew grumbling about the stage needing to be ready early it worked fine for us.  I'm not sure how the cast and management responded in LJ when it was originally proposed.  As Matthew knows, Huntington is a LORT contract, rather than an Off-Broadway, and a non-IATSE crew.

brettnexx

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #5 on: Jun 18, 2013, 03:54 am »
I'm currently working on a production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Where we only have actor/musicians, and our MD sometimes plays pit piano (backstage, rather than a pit) and onstage for the final concert.

Some things that have come up. We have a few musicians who are not apart of equity, that were cast as actors (2 of the Crickets), one is part of the musicians union. Now, I'm not sure if any of you have worked with a Musicians Union, but they are very strict, which is fantastic for musicians. But, one of the rules is that only other members of the Union can play with them. We received a lot of concessions from them for having these musicians, especially since we're not using a pit at all. Now, they originally said that it was going to give them provisional status, but when one of the actors went to sign the forms, they forced him to become a full member. And wanted our lead (Buddy) to become a full member, but he refused, he would not join the union at all. Thankfully they only pushed for those two, but they technically could've got everyone (minus 3 actors) to join (only 1 if you count claves and guillero as instruments [we consider them props]).

Also, another issue has come up (not from the actors themselves, but a friend of the company who is involved with CAEA brought it up). Should Actor/Musicians get a premium for using a special skill like that (especially with the salary that musicians make). Also, should there be clauses that makes CAEA (or AEA) and whatever musicians union work together to create rules and standards for Actor/Musicians who are apart of Equity, but not the musicians union?

To answer the OP (even though it's been over a year). We have an Assistant Deck Sound guy and he is in charge of all the instruments, and he tunes them all up (the 6 guitars and 3 basses), the drummer, fiddlest, saxophone players and trumpet player tune their own instruments. The  guitars all have the clip on tuners incase something happens, and we have a backup guitar incase one string breaks (because this model, is not able to be played if any string breaks at all).

Bwoodbury

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #6 on: Jun 18, 2013, 03:59 pm »
The last show I worked on with music had half hour music calls in lieu of having a rehearsal. So, we just had a half an hour rehearsal everyday. I was the ASM on the show, so I'm not clear if that needed to be approved by AEA or not. This was on an SPT contract.

brettnexx

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #7 on: Jun 18, 2013, 04:41 pm »
I don't know what the specific rules for those are there, but the ITA allows up to 4 hours of rehearsal a week. so the 30 minute music call would probably have been allowed

MatthewShiner

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Re: OFF-BROADWAY - Actors being the musicians and issues
« Reply #8 on: Jun 18, 2013, 10:04 pm »
To follow up, the cast of the show in particular came in every day at hour, 30 minutes before house opened, and jammed.  In the case they couldn't make it, we had their instrument waiting for them in the backstage area where they could tune or just warm up.  We also ended up hiring a guitar tech - who's only job was to tune, repair and maintain.



Post Merge: Jun 18, 2013, 10:46 pm
Also, we did work very closely with musicians union, and some members of our company had to join . . . very similar to the contract work out for the Broadway shows where actors play their own instruments . . . since this show is eyeing future life, we wanted to be on the up and up.  (It was made more complicated by pre-recorded tracks of studio musicians were also used.)

Ah, the joys of the gray areas where dealing with the unions.
« Last Edit: Jun 18, 2013, 10:46 pm by MatthewShiner »
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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.

 

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