I hired a general manager to work on Oe4K. His name is Rick L. Stevens*. It’s his job to handle more of the business-y aspects of the production, which I wouldn’t be able to do, given that I have a full-time job that doesn’t involve plays.
One of Rick’s biggest responsibilities so far has been to deal with contracts. It seems like EVERYONE has a contract of some sort. Mostly, they are Letter(s) of Agreement (LOA). Even I have one (so if I were to quit, could I sue myself for breach of contract)?
Some of the contracts involve very strict guidelines, like the Equity contracts for the actors, and the SSDC (Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers) contract for our director. There are filing deadlines, filing fees, and support materials that we need to submit (like proof of insurance). If we file something wrong, or violate the terms of these agreements, we can face penalties.
Other documents, usually the ones we’ve drawn up with the accompanists and with some of our business associates, are more fluid and can be negotiated between both parties. The three big things we cover in these documents are fee, rights, and billing.
Rights, as in “Right of First Refusal” is probably the most important thing we can offer someone right now. Given that we don’t really have any money, no one’s going to make any money from this production. BUT! There are opportunities for us to continue on, to develop the project further, and to be funded by someone who doesn’t stress over every extra dollar. This is the dream we all share: a commercial Off-Broadway run. Look at some of the success stories: Altar Boyz, [title of show]. We could have national tours, trunk productions. Merchandising. An OBIE! That’s when everyone would make their money and get their glory.
Billing is also interesting. It doesn’t mean money, it means how you’re referred to in the production. Apparently in Hollywood, titles are offered as incentives (actually, not any different than in the business world). But production information often persists long after a show closes. Titles go on resumes. Important people come to productions and read playbills. It might seem petty, but sometimes it’s the little things that matter most.
Rick’s done an awesome job managing these contracts and making sure we’re all up-to-date and following all the rules. And I do a lot of signing on the dotted line.
*For example, Rick’s contract stated that his billing would include his name written as “Rick L. Stevens”.