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Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Re: ...Getting out of Theatre?

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  • Sylvia Rognstad
    What kind of costume jobs does IATSE cover? Design or wardrobe and/ or construction? Sylvia P.S. After fretting over the design job I was considering taking
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 24, 2009
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      What kind of costume jobs does IATSE cover? Design or wardrobe and/
      or construction?

      Sylvia
      P.S. After fretting over the design job I was considering taking for
      a new musical, and finally stated my terms and never heard from the
      producer again. I don't look at it as a loss, but because I refuse
      to work for peanuts anymore, I'm not getting any design jobs anymore
      either.

      On Apr 20, 2009, at 8:44 PM, Julia Trimarco wrote:

      >
      >
      > In light of this recent discussion thread, I have to say that I am
      > extremely grateful that Seattle is a Union town. It's not the
      > reason I moved here (I was simply attracted to the sheer amount of
      > theatre here and the beauty of the region), but it is one of the
      > main reasons I have stayed. I spent my 20's back east doing
      > regional theatre and summer stock and I got paid pennies, rarely
      > got overtime, had no rights, no contract, and no benefits. I
      > thought my only choice was to go back to grad school and get
      > qualified to be a manager or designer, which I did. When I moved
      > out to Seattle I found many professional costumers with a similar
      > background to mine, all in the Union, which only dispatches
      > Wardrobe work, but is a big part of why Costumers of all levels can
      > earn a living wage in this region. Not to mention the fact that a
      > Union rep is a great resource when it comes to grievances.
      > It's a comfort to know that I am not on my own, and I'd encourage
      > anyone in a non-Unionized community to look into what forming an
      > I.A.T.S.E. local could do for them. I'm not a Rep or an Officer,
      > just a rank-and-file member of Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 887
      > (which reminds me, time to pay my dues again!)
      > -Julia
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Curtis
      ... To the best of my knowledge, IATSE covers all stage technician roles, though I m not sure if local chapters cover all of them in general, or if there are
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 26, 2009
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        --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Sylvia Rognstad <sylvia@...> wrote:
        >
        > What kind of costume jobs does IATSE cover? Design or wardrobe and/
        > or construction?

        To the best of my knowledge, IATSE covers all stage technician roles, though I'm not sure if local chapters cover all of them in general, or if there are specific chapters for the different roles of tech crew. To the best of my knowledge, there is no union for designers, but I haven't done any research at all into that possibility, so I could be very wrong...

        > P.S. After fretting over the design job I was considering taking for
        > a new musical, and finally stated my terms and never heard from the
        > producer again. I don't look at it as a loss, but because I refuse
        > to work for peanuts anymore, I'm not getting any design jobs anymore
        > either.

        I was wondering how that project was shaping up. While I'm sorry a job didn't come to you from it, I do think you're far better off not signing on for that project. As I read through what you were describing, and what the producer seemed to have in mind for a timetable, I couldn't help but think that one had 'BAD MOJO' written all over it...

        The question of what to charge for work is always a problem...but ultimately, if the price they're offering isn't worth your time, you're better off not taking the job. Of course, some jobs have rewards/benefits that can't be expressed in monetary terms (that's one of the reasons I agree to do makeup for one of the local high schools every year...they pay me a pittance, not even enough to cover my time...but it's a slow time of year for me, the projects always wind up being fun, and I always enjoy the kids I work with there, so to me, it's worth surrendering two and a half weeks in March to do it.) The reverse is also true...some jobs are so much pain and anguish that NOTHING they can offer you can truly make it worth your time. I've had a few of those, too...

        But only you can decide what your time is worth...and you may have to adjust your prices from time to time. One of the things I love about my position at the amusement park is that it gives me a paycheck that I know will always be there...if I don't have anything else to do, that one is always an option. So I can afford to take fun jobs that can't afford to pay me a reasonable rate, just because I enjoy the people I'm working with or believe in the value of their project. It also allows me the peace of mind to say "No, Thank You" to projects that appear to have pay commensurate with time and effort, but I know are going to wind up being worse than they look at first blush (usually because of who I'm working for, or with).

        I don't have a set rate that I charge people for designing...one of the groups I design for is pretty much on a 'pay me what you can afford' basis, and so far, as long as they manage to actually cover my expenses (which they're very good about), I don't worry much about it. Another couple of design jobs have come my way recently that have no real guaranteed numbers attached to them, in terms of pay...but they're both cases of being projects that I believe in...I regard my time and effort, in both cases, to be an investment (in one case, that's very literally true) in the success of these projects. And I said no to a couple of projects in the past year that sounded like they would be fun, and had very decent paychecks (for this area) attached...but were for people that, in my experience, would have me beating my head against the wall within a week of our first production meeting. I've learned that a 'nuisance fee' should be a very real consideration...if you feel like a job is a nuisance, you should charge more for it. If it's a big enough nuisance, you should just say 'no' outright. But sometimes, saying 'yes' to a smaller, cheaper project opens the door to bigger and better stuff. It's a tough situation to be in.

        I hope the dry spell wraps up for you soon and someone starts offering you work that is worth taking, at a worthwhile rate!
      • Sylvia Rognstad
        There is a union for designers---United Scenic Artists, but I didn t realize until just now that it is part of IATSE. And RE the design job I turned down, I
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 26, 2009
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          There is a union for designers---United Scenic Artists, but I didn't
          realize until just now that it is part of IATSE.

          And RE the design job I turned down, I have to say that I didn't get
          a good impression of the producer from my initial meeting with him.
          Sometimes I can't decide if I am being too judgmental or just
          intuitive in my assessments of people, but he kind of struck me the
          wrong way by coming off as a wheeler dealer type. And then, and no
          offense to you smokers, but he lit up at least 2 cigarettes in front
          of me without even asking if I minded. I know this was his house,
          but I still thought it was rude. All the publicity I had read about
          him (on his own website, mind you) indicated that he had been
          involved in very humanitarian oriented productions, and this new
          musical he has written deals with our neglect and destruction of
          Mother Earth, so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I
          couldn't shake the nagging negative feelings I had about him. Maybe
          I am still wrong, and maybe I will regret my decision not to design
          the show, once I see how it actually turns out, but at this point I
          don't regret it at all.

          I will work for small fees on smallish shows, but I'm holding down a
          part time job now which doesn't allow for much extra time to design
          and build, and the stress of trying to do a larger show and still
          keep my other job got the better of me last summer. I swore for
          several months I was getting out of theatre, but since it's all I can
          really do, and I do love it, I'm still open to good jobs, although I
          won't kill myself on a production anymore for almost no money. Too
          old for that.

          Sylvia

          On Apr 26, 2009, at 2:51 AM, Curtis wrote:

          >
          >
          > --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Sylvia Rognstad
          > <sylvia@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > What kind of costume jobs does IATSE cover? Design or wardrobe and/
          > > or construction?
          >
          > To the best of my knowledge, IATSE covers all stage technician
          > roles, though I'm not sure if local chapters cover all of them in
          > general, or if there are specific chapters for the different roles
          > of tech crew. To the best of my knowledge, there is no union for
          > designers, but I haven't done any research at all into that
          > possibility, so I could be very wrong...
          >
          > > P.S. After fretting over the design job I was considering taking for
          > > a new musical, and finally stated my terms and never heard from the
          > > producer again. I don't look at it as a loss, but because I refuse
          > > to work for peanuts anymore, I'm not getting any design jobs anymore
          > > either.
          >
          > I was wondering how that project was shaping up. While I'm sorry a
          > job didn't come to you from it, I do think you're far better off
          > not signing on for that project. As I read through what you were
          > describing, and what the producer seemed to have in mind for a
          > timetable, I couldn't help but think that one had 'BAD MOJO'
          > written all over it...
          >
          > The question of what to charge for work is always a problem...but
          > ultimately, if the price they're offering isn't worth your time,
          > you're better off not taking the job. Of course, some jobs have
          > rewards/benefits that can't be expressed in monetary terms (that's
          > one of the reasons I agree to do makeup for one of the local high
          > schools every year...they pay me a pittance, not even enough to
          > cover my time...but it's a slow time of year for me, the projects
          > always wind up being fun, and I always enjoy the kids I work with
          > there, so to me, it's worth surrendering two and a half weeks in
          > March to do it.) The reverse is also true...some jobs are so much
          > pain and anguish that NOTHING they can offer you can truly make it
          > worth your time. I've had a few of those, too...
          >
          > But only you can decide what your time is worth...and you may have
          > to adjust your prices from time to time. One of the things I love
          > about my position at the amusement park is that it gives me a
          > paycheck that I know will always be there...if I don't have
          > anything else to do, that one is always an option. So I can afford
          > to take fun jobs that can't afford to pay me a reasonable rate,
          > just because I enjoy the people I'm working with or believe in the
          > value of their project. It also allows me the peace of mind to say
          > "No, Thank You" to projects that appear to have pay commensurate
          > with time and effort, but I know are going to wind up being worse
          > than they look at first blush (usually because of who I'm working
          > for, or with).
          >
          > I don't have a set rate that I charge people for designing...one of
          > the groups I design for is pretty much on a 'pay me what you can
          > afford' basis, and so far, as long as they manage to actually cover
          > my expenses (which they're very good about), I don't worry much
          > about it. Another couple of design jobs have come my way recently
          > that have no real guaranteed numbers attached to them, in terms of
          > pay...but they're both cases of being projects that I believe
          > in...I regard my time and effort, in both cases, to be an
          > investment (in one case, that's very literally true) in the success
          > of these projects. And I said no to a couple of projects in the
          > past year that sounded like they would be fun, and had very decent
          > paychecks (for this area) attached...but were for people that, in
          > my experience, would have me beating my head against the wall
          > within a week of our first production meeting. I've learned that a
          > 'nuisance fee' should be a very real consideration...if you feel
          > like a job is a nuisance, you should charge more for it. If it's a
          > big enough nuisance, you should just say 'no' outright. But
          > sometimes, saying 'yes' to a smaller, cheaper project opens the
          > door to bigger and better stuff. It's a tough situation to be in.
          >
          > I hope the dry spell wraps up for you soon and someone starts
          > offering you work that is worth taking, at a worthwhile rate!
          >
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Kathy Scoggins
          Sylvia, Was this project for a guy named Lon ? If so, you absolutely did the right thing! I was the original designer for that project. He still owes me a
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 27, 2009
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            Sylvia,

            Was this project for a guy named "Lon"?

            If so, you absolutely did the right thing! I was the original designer for that project. He still owes me a bunch of money--took my preliminary sketches and measurement sheets (grabbed the originals and shoved me out the door!) He also owes a lot of other people money on this project. It's been in the works for several years. He has no money but wants you to think he has all these connections.

            Run--don't walk! And be glad you stood up for reasonable terms. He'll never actually pay anyone for anything--just talks big!

            Email me privately if you want about this--I have a lot more information on the whole "Dance of ......."

            Kathy



            --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Sylvia Rognstad <sylvia@...> wrote:

            >
            > And RE the design job I turned down, I have to say that I didn't get
            > a good impression of the producer from my initial meeting with him.
            > Sometimes I can't decide if I am being too judgmental or just
            > intuitive in my assessments of people, but he kind of struck me the
            > wrong way by coming off as a wheeler dealer type. And then, and no
            > offense to you smokers, but he lit up at least 2 cigarettes in front
            > of me without even asking if I minded. I know this was his house,
            > but I still thought it was rude. All the publicity I had read about
            > him (on his own website, mind you) indicated that he had been
            > involved in very humanitarian oriented productions, and this new
            > musical he has written deals with our neglect and destruction of
            > Mother Earth, so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I
            > couldn't shake the nagging negative feelings I had about him. Maybe
            > I am still wrong, and maybe I will regret my decision not to design
            > the show, once I see how it actually turns out, but at this point I
            > don't regret it at all.
            >
          • geneiak
            was he ever in cincinnati ?
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 27, 2009
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              was he ever in cincinnati ?


              --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, "Kathy Scoggins" <kwscoggins@...> wrote:
              >
              > Sylvia,
              >
              > Was this project for a guy named "Lon"?
              >
              > If so, you absolutely did the right thing! I was the original designer for that project. He still owes me a bunch of money--took my preliminary sketches and measurement sheets (grabbed the originals and shoved me out the door!) He also owes a lot of other people money on this project. It's been in the works for several years. He has no money but wants you to think he has all these connections.
              >
              > Run--don't walk! And be glad you stood up for reasonable terms. He'll never actually pay anyone for anything--just talks big!
              >
              > Email me privately if you want about this--I have a lot more information on the whole "Dance of ......."
              >
              > Kathy
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com, Sylvia Rognstad <sylvia@> wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > And RE the design job I turned down, I have to say that I didn't get
              > > a good impression of the producer from my initial meeting with him.
              > > Sometimes I can't decide if I am being too judgmental or just
              > > intuitive in my assessments of people, but he kind of struck me the
              > > wrong way by coming off as a wheeler dealer type. And then, and no
              > > offense to you smokers, but he lit up at least 2 cigarettes in front
              > > of me without even asking if I minded. I know this was his house,
              > > but I still thought it was rude. All the publicity I had read about
              > > him (on his own website, mind you) indicated that he had been
              > > involved in very humanitarian oriented productions, and this new
              > > musical he has written deals with our neglect and destruction of
              > > Mother Earth, so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I
              > > couldn't shake the nagging negative feelings I had about him. Maybe
              > > I am still wrong, and maybe I will regret my decision not to design
              > > the show, once I see how it actually turns out, but at this point I
              > > don't regret it at all.
              > >
              >
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