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Author Topic: Weekly - Played out  (Read 54968 times)
Sarah Stillion
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« Reply #60 on: January 30, 2007, 03:13:51 AM »

I love this discusion so much I read the whoooooooole thing, well except I skimmed Compte's milage explanation (sorry, Chirs, I am one of those people that might die if forced to endure a basic accounting course), Anyway---there are many valid points made here and stuff that has depressed one hand and delighted me on the other for years.

Depressing that good artists are "valued" but paid little to do things that many could never attempt to do. Depressing that innovative theatres are closing and some mediocre ones continue to limp on somehow. Depressing that grants are harder to obtain for theatres that are competing with a lot of worthy other art or programs---if you have been writing grants even in the past five years the funding base structure has changed. Depressing to me as a teaching artist that many young people only see theatre as a "pill" to swallow so they can get to fame and fourtune in film---not all, but many. Many young people and older people (my Dad is 82) believe that the worth is in "popular thought" i.e. Hollywood or Broadway or just simply making big bucks and they don't relate to going to live plays or why someone would spend their life in this art form. It is a bit like shouting at deaf people to try to get them to hear what you hear. Can we reach today's American Marjory? Are we perpetuating stories for the few who don't see the value? I don't know. Sometimes I believe all this yes and I sigh and hang my head as another theatre in Seattle closes it's doors. I weep for the underpaid, overworked, and for the theatres that are trying to support those they value while keeping their heads above water and audiences interested. I also am bored by a lot of theatre and yes, Tanja, quietly up here in Snohomish county I am trying to do something about it and trying to stir others into action too. You are right in that maybe I am also part of the problem of being too quiet and head down and all that. Thanks Maria for your sealant points and Lawrence for informing us of your plight (and I thought you were one of the "fat" cats---Meow!). I have always respected your work and now I wish I had money to give you for all the enjoyment I have gained watching you all these years!

This is difficult, but you know what I am encouraged by? This discussion and a place to do this at TPS! Just a good discussion here on the boards hasn't been in a long time (I read a lot, but hardly ever post because there hasn't been a lot of activity in a while). There is a dialogue between those that are discouraged and those that have ideas and those that are pushing for us to try those new ideas. This is how art is born, right? Someone suffers writes a play that must have voice and then they take it to the people. Simple sounding. Complicated in execution. The point to my 2:30 a.m. rant is---thank you John for putting a voice to these hauntings---may we never be satisfied artists who take audience, wages, or places to do our art for granted. I am encouraged also by the new growth I see in the new companies and artists that are out there when you dig beneath the obvious.

So, John, was part of your article a stab at the popular Seattle theatre fare too? I will miss the Empty Space that didn't always produce safe butts in seats plays, but they challenged us. It seems that many of the areas theatres (I'm generalizing please don't all jump on me at once!) do a lot of the same plays over and over because they are trying to reach "Joe Shmoe". Isn't there a better way to do this? I offered free tickets to my drama appreciation college students and some of them would rather take an "F" as a grade than attend a play. That really struck me as weird---are we that far off the mark from bringing them in?

Ok---it's late---sorry for the long ramble. Please be kind or I'll remain a lurker forever.
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Keith Dahlgren
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« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2007, 08:31:14 AM »

Let's see...cynical hat, cynical hat, where'd I put that...Oh!  Here it is! OW! Why, it's grown to my head, from long use. I must try and get that removed someday.

Equity...When AEA funds a real office here in the Northwest, I will begin to take them more seriously. When they hire more than two or three or even seven people to cover the entire West Coast, perhaps I'll see them as a positive force towards the art. Until them, I can only see them as another hurdle or wall to crawl over to get to producing theater.

Workers of the World...I say strike.  Gather all the actors in the Puget Sound area and stop working.  Refuse to act! (there's a slogan for you.)  What will happen?  Well, the larger companies will hire from out of town (!), the mid-sized theaters will all close immediately, and the fringe theaters...well, since they are entirely made up of actors, they will cease to exist.

And in a few weeks where will we be? Well the actors will either burst from being unable to create, leaving steaming piles of actor meat on the sidewalks...or, start to go back to the theaters to act. Restart the fringes which will evolve into mid-sized theaters. Or discover that there is a life outside theater where they can make real money and begin to become office clerks and such.  They will have a hard time because no one is actually taking care of them, but some of them will survive, some of them will thrive, and some of them will leave to go to act in another city.

Companies...Wouldn't you love to be part of a company and have a year's contract? Of course, you might not be what the directors of the company want for this season, and you might not be of a level of talent that is needed, or you might be a pain in the a$$ and keep from being hired...or you might be the AD's girl or boy friend who gets contracted every year despite a lack of talent (for acting, anyway.)

Of course if you're an actor, you'll get bored after a year or two, you'll get peeved at the management for not appreciating you enough, taking good enough care of you, paying you more.  So you'll become that pain in the a$$ and not get contracted next season.  Back to freelancing!

What is this live theater thing...Art or a Job?  Can it be both?  Perhaps for a select few...but Reality ('member that?  That's the part outside the show) says no, not really.  As a business, it sucks. There's not enough income, there's too many companies trying to make a go of it, too many artists who need those companies, the market forces toss it aside...and the worst part, the folks who have the money don't want to give it to you, you artist. It's not worth it to them, it doesn't make them more money, that's why they are wealthy, because they see these things.  So Don't Expect It. Keep trying to find it, but enough with the entitlement!

Artsfund...the discretionary fund has nothing to do with product.  Nothing to do with what your theater or dance company's output.  They don't look at that fabulous show you just did, to rave reviews, they want to know how you operate as a business.

It's like that professor you had in college. You got poor grades on the papers, until you discovered that you had to feed him back the lecture, word for word if possible. Then you got an A.  Artsfund looks at your application, scores it, feeds it into a computer, and if it comes out to be how they want it designed, you get a grant.  It is their atempt at being as fair and unbiased as possible.  A little cold, perhaps, but that's because they are all Businessfolk.  That's where they live.

And Sarah and Kent...It's COMTE. No P.  And everyone...check your placement of apostrophes. They don't belong in plurals.  'It's' is a contraction of it is, 'its' is the possessive of 'it'. Sarah...what (or who) is an American Marjory?  Edit, people. (Great.  Now everyone is going to go over my bloviating posts with a fine toothed comb.)

Damn this cynical hat.  Ouch.  I just re-read this post.  It's pretty harsh.  I think I'm becoming the anti-Rik. Must be all that theater management.  I am become the Evil Management!
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Chad Jennings
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« Reply #62 on: January 30, 2007, 09:16:41 AM »

Keith, your in for it.  Get quick with the "modify post" button on past posts.  Everyone will be on 'em like flies on cheese with they're fine-tooth comb's.

I'm thinking I should look into the intro to accounting class.  There's enough of the business side of things that is, while cold, just the way things are.
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Sarah Stillion
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« Reply #63 on: January 30, 2007, 10:16:40 AM »

Kieth, are you trying to drive people, ok me, away from the boards? It was late, I was typing fast, and I had spent 2+ hours reading the thread from the beginning. This is why I don't join in discussions because of being belittled for how I express myself. I know the difference between its and it's and don't need to be lectured about it---why don't you simply just stick to furthering the discussion? My apologies to Mr. C for misspelling his name. Back to lurking for me.
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Tanja Pineda
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« Reply #64 on: January 30, 2007, 10:31:16 AM »


"One of the great things about an education from Cornish, is that they instill in you the need to generate your own work. And that work requires collaboration."
YES ON THAT!

" Likewise for those of us running theater companies, the time involved makes it hard to participate in other activities outside of our own theater circles. I've lost count of all of the plays I've missed because I'm in production on my own work."
Yep I'm always invited to so many events and I can never go to them

"Tanja: Thanks for feeling sorry for Actors' Equity Association members. It's tough when a theater chooses against casting one of us because they have only budgeted a certain amount towards AEA contracts. I would feel sorry for any actor (AEA or not) that is not actively pursuing opportunities to work on their craft. As AEA members we can self-produce solo work or participate in Equity Member Production Code projects while between contracts. We can also participate in play readings and we have opportunities nationally to audition and be seen by companies posting casting calls on the AEA website."
Okay Equity members those are your options-now GO FOR IT! You all can self-produce solo work nothing is stopping you.

" You can pay a reimbursement of expense, but track it as Chris lays it out, otherwise if you are the unfortunate company to be audited: watch out!"
Yep-track it:) I know that my reimbursements be it travel/food are higher than other theatres which I am pretty proud of!

"It is unfortunate that there are never enough roles for actors in our market, and also unfortunate that non-union actors are undercutting AEA actors by working for less. If we want to see an improvement in living wages for actors, we need to be in solidarity with each other. We do need to educate theaters (and get patrons to fund theaters) so that there are more work (not reimbursed volunteer) opportunities for us all."
Audience attendance does matter, the more attendance then the better for actors/actresses,crew and the theatre itself. If you are in a show then spread the word! The marketing/pr can only do so much- you are part of that equation as well. Right now I can only do the reimbursements a BIG reimbursement that I've worked bloody hard for that to happen. If I get sold out shows then the better for the future of theatre. Same with other theatre companies. See how it goes full circle. Be active actors/actresses in your career.

Thanks again Rik!!



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Chad Jennings
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« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2007, 11:21:01 AM »

Kieth, are you trying to drive people, ok me, away from the boards? It was late, I was typing fast, and I had spent 2+ hours reading the thread from the beginning. This is why I don't join in discussions because of being belittled for how I express myself. I know the difference between its and it's and don't need to be lectured about it---why don't you simply just stick to furthering the discussion? My apologies to Mr. C for misspelling his name. Back to lurking for me.

Note that Keith had his cynical hat on.  He appreciated your post, I could tell.  I didn't catch any belittling, it's just one facet of his humor.  Just know that Keith is probably drunk (if not on hooch, then on his evil management power) 90% of the time.
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Maria Glanz
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« Reply #66 on: January 30, 2007, 12:47:56 PM »

Sometimes I enjoy a good curmudgeon.

Did I spell that right? or would the right word be "correctly"?

And on a completely different thread (Weekly cuts listings), can I just say that I've been contemplating the picture of Joe Boling sitting at his kitchen table in Indianapolis pouring over his 4 cut-out theatre listing columns from the Indy papers... that picture warms my heart and makes me feel better about life, I have to say.

I'm kinda pissed at all the people who say newspaper listings don't matter - but I should probably go post that over there.
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Kent Phillips
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« Reply #67 on: January 30, 2007, 05:28:54 PM »

No wonder Chris Comte never gets my emails, I add a P to his name!!!!
Damn.  This whole discussion has been worth it for that alone.  Whew!

Fun thread...I, for one, plan to still type what comes to mind and have no intention to turn on spell check or even re-read the post.  Just let it spill out...that is when this board is at its (it's???) best.

 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2007, 05:37:10 PM by Kent Phillips » Logged

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Keith Dahlgren
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« Reply #68 on: January 30, 2007, 09:19:39 PM »

Come on, Sarah...  It's just the Grammar Police.  I'll screw up somewhere, and you can point it out and say, Nyah nyah nyah. I'll fall...it's karma.  Don't lurk.  Come on..please? It's nothing personal.  Ask any good copy editor.  The misspellings and simple mistakes just grate like razors scraping my teeth.  (By the way, my name is spelled 'Keith.')

Like this one: "folks who they potentially may loose as readers."   Now I could make the argument that 'loose' is intentional, but I suspect this poster meant 'lose.'  Karma points to the person who 'fesses up to this one!

Chad, I'm drunk on Art. Or Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Sarah, I'd love to hear your impressions on the rest of my post.  I don't mind the criticism.  Like Maria said, I'm an old curmudgeon. I wear the title grudgingly.
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Keith Dahlgren
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« Reply #69 on: January 30, 2007, 09:44:18 PM »

Hate to respond to my own post, but I figure I have to beat you all to it.

"It is their atempt.."

I posted that.  Just two posts ago. Bastard!  Smite me!  Smite me!  I deserve to be flagellated!
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Rik Deskin
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« Reply #70 on: January 30, 2007, 09:45:25 PM »

To quantify my statement on solidarity: We know there are non-union actors working at and under union scale at the "Big Companies"; receiving union perks without being members, worse, we have actors in the commercial/film sector underselling themselves (naively, unwittingly or apathetically) and professionals by doing non-union work on projects that could be turned into union projects.

We little theater companies can't yet afford to give anyone much of anything anyhoo except for the limited SPT contracts for AEA actors that some of us can wrangle. My apologies to my doppleganger (the Anti-Rik indeed...) for not being clearer and implying that we underfunded, undermanned, overworked multi-hat wearing types are shorting actors. I know if we have access to the money...then the peoples...the poor and trodden down peoples will have da money too! Ya mooks!  Wink
« Last Edit: January 31, 2007, 08:00:42 AM by Rik Deskin » Logged

Rik Deskin
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SAG-AFTRA Seattle Board of Directors
http://www.sagaftra.org/iactor/RikDeskin
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Eclectic Theater
www.eclectictheatercompany.org
Louise Penberthy
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« Reply #71 on: January 30, 2007, 10:47:26 PM »

Keith --

You don't know me -- well, we have talked briefly a few times -- but I will be happy to flagellate you.

Let's get an audience, sell some tickets, and start a theater!!!  I'll flagellate, you can be flagellated, I'll clean the bathrooms, you can tear the tickets ... we'll be rich!
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Joseph E Boling
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« Reply #72 on: January 30, 2007, 11:41:32 PM »

Now THERE'S a heartwarming image!
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Rik Deskin
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« Reply #73 on: January 31, 2007, 08:16:58 AM »

Do not devalue your worth as artists! You are worth more than you think!

I'm not calling for a strike here. All I'm saying is that to make theatre sustainable, we have to be advocates for our individual skill sets and for theatre as a medium.

Actors: you need to be far-sighted, look at the big picture. Be a participant beyond auditions. You are not "just actors", but theatre artists in a collaborative artform with directors, designers & administrative artisans. This goes for all theatre artists!

If you are in (or working on) that show that you are getting a box office share of, don't depend on the staff, producer, director to sell all of the seats. This is a business. You have a responsibility to self-publicize and sell tickets as well. Otherwise we cannot sustain a theater ecology.

Trustees: fulfill your fiscal responsibilites! You are charged with working towards improving the life and culture of our theatre artists. Across the board! Be responsible stewards!

« Last Edit: January 31, 2007, 08:18:52 AM by Rik Deskin » Logged

Rik Deskin
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SAG-AFTRA, AEA
SAG-AFTRA Seattle Board of Directors
http://www.sagaftra.org/iactor/RikDeskin
http://talent.tpsonline.org/?M=350

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www.eclectictheatercompany.org
Keith Dahlgren
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« Reply #74 on: January 31, 2007, 09:10:02 AM »

Louise, I do know you.  You'll have to get in line, though...there's a lot of people who would like to see my back with stripes, in the bathroom or with tickets or wherever.

Especially now that I have revealed my secret identity.

Rik, I wouldn't waste my time shouting out to trustees...I seriously doubt any of them read this message board. It would be great if they did...but I really, really, really doubt it. Unless they are trustees of the fringes, and as I said, are actors themselves.

Here's a question for y'all to think about: What percentage of a theater's budget should be stage production (sets, costumes, props, lighting, sound, etc...the physical stuff) vs. administration (copy machines, phone lines, paper, tickets, rent, grantwriting, postage, admin salaries, BO salaries, development salaries, etc)  vs marketing (newspaper ads, posters, postcards, postage, etc) vs artist salaries (actors & designers)?  I mean in big rough numbers?

Of course it amy be different for each theater, depending on lots of factors including size.
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