Thanks Universe; Lesson learned…

This picture says it all…

I am sure that I’ve mentioned that I am going to be the choreographer for Aladdin Jr. at Theatre in the Mountains.  Well, at least I was…

I am a pretty trusting fella.  I like to believe that the best of people is what’s the most seen, even if sadly, if the best of a person acts like a jerk.  But this story is about more than just a single person.

Back in August, I was brought on board as part of the staff and I was emailing the producer, Gina F. with questions and such.  I was told that my commitment to the show was one day a week and to see the performances.  Okay, cool.  I can do that.  I asked if I could come in on Thursdays as that is my regular day off from work.  Gina said sure, but can you be there for auditions and at least two of the tech week days.  My response was of course I could, and I can even be there every day of tech week.  The next email I got included “Just asking… Tuesdsay, Sept 27th – the director is unavailable for rehearsals 3:00-5:00. Any chance we could make that a dance day? (I’m guessing it’s no, but had to ask).”  I can switch, it wouldn’t be an issue.  Tadah!!

I’ve done nothing but bend over backward and take the additional time off to work on auditions and callbacks and tech and the 27th.  All I wanted was for the one day that I worked to be Thursday.  Sounds pretty reasonable, I thought.  And according to an email I got from Gina, the producers were okay with it too.

I was so excited when my contract got dropped off at work.  The only problem was that I was at work, so I couldn’t read it in front of her and sign it (and get a photocopy of it) for her to take it back to the company.  There was a date set for our first production meeting and I was jazzed.   Hands and all!!  The meeting gets cancelled and no one tells me why.  A week later I get an email that says:  “We lost our Director so things are a little on hold at the moment. We are making calls and trying to find staffing for Director and Musical Director. Hang tight, we’ll get there. I’ll let you know when things are rescheduled.”

A few days ago, I got a call from Gina and she basically said that  because of the new director, all of the things that we worked out before he arrived are now not enough.  Of course, I also have to state as I did in the call that neither herself nor any of the other producers attempted to contact me to see if there was a way to rework the scheduling.  She wouldn’t give me any true details.  Everything she told me was so vague and that the producers didn’t know any more than they were telling me. This of course was a lie.  Luckily, my connection on the inside was able to give me a lot of details and it makes me a little sad that they don’t understand how a theatre company is supposed to be run.  Yeah, I said it.   So I basically worked on this show for several hours for absolutely nothing.  What’s really the most annoying is that the company didn’t sign the contract first, LIKE THEY SHOULD HAVE.  I was an admin assistant for American Musical Theatre of San Jose, so I know a thing or two about this sort of stuff.  Of course, waiting to read the contract until I got home was a big amateur move.  So I called some people that I know that know how a professional company should be run and some of the things I heard were a little eye opening.  I also contacted the former director and got his perspective as well.  Boy, oh boy, the next time I am offered something by this company I am going to have to make sure that those producers are not involved in any way shape or form.

I want to also make it very clear that I lay the complete blame with the producers and the director.  The new Artistic Director had invited myself and the former director to the company to shake it up and give the company a new energy.  I respect her desire to build a company so I don’t fault her at all.  I wish her the absolute best of luck on achieving that goal even if her employees are fighting her tooth and nail.

What I hope that you, dear reader, take from this story is to make sure that you have the power signature (Artistic director, major producer) of the theatre company before you sign it AND that you have an extra copy for yourself.  Be sure there is a clause in the contract that speaks to the issue of unfinished work or failure to provide services.  Read the contract thoroughly and be sure that there are hard dates  for when things are expected.  After you return the contract (if by mail), I would follow up to make sure that someone received it.  Save all emails and if a new item is worked in make sure you have a proper addendum added to your contract.

So like I said, Thank you to the Universe, I appreciate the lesson and I will be more diligent next time when it comes to crossing T’s and dotting I’s.