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Author Topic: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out  (Read 1748 times)

Justice C. Bigler

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Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« on: July 21, 2021, 02:17:32 PM »

I heard about this through the grapevine a week or so ago. But this is the first account that I have heard about the actual issues that caused the sound crew to walk out.


https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-07-20/williamstown-theatre-festival-sound-crew-walks-out


I've worked with several people who formerly worked at Williamstown over the years, and I have not heard any good stories about their experiences from any of them.  This one in particular sounds even worse than I had heard preciously.
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Justice C. Bigler

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Russell Ault

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2021, 12:43:10 PM »

{...} https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-07-20/williamstown-theatre-festival-sound-crew-walks-out {...}

I just don't get it; how do the actors have this figured out but us technicians don't? There are a couple local companies here in the same boat, with full Equity casts (and even AFM-affiliate musicians) but non-union technicians (working ridiculous hours for scarcely more than minimum wage). Not that any union is perfect, mind you, but...yeesh.

-Russ
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2021, 12:54:09 PM »

I just don't get it; how do the actors have this figured out but us technicians don't? There are a couple local companies here in the same boat, with full Equity casts (and even AFM-affiliate musicians) but non-union technicians (working ridiculous hours for scarcely more than minimum wage). Not that any union is perfect, mind you, but...yeesh.

-Russ
Because actors are prima donnas by nature and make sure they are taken care of. :o
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2021, 01:01:46 PM »

I just don't get it; how do the actors have this figured out but us technicians don't? There are a couple local companies here in the same boat, with full Equity casts (and even AFM-affiliate musicians) but non-union technicians (working ridiculous hours for scarcely more than minimum wage). Not that any union is perfect, mind you, but...yeesh.
Back when I was in college, the second time, I managed to win the regional sound design competition for the KCACTF theatre design competition in 2007. That got me sent to Washington D.C. to compete in the national level competition. One of the prizes for winning the national sound design competition was a design internship at Williams town Theatre Festival. Even back then, no one wanted that prize and everyone talked about how bad an experience the Williamstown internship was going to be. Luckily I had already been hired to work at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for that summer, which was an amazing job and actual great opportunity.



These regional theatres have built their whole business model on hiring college students and "professional" workers fresh out of college, with little to no professional work experience. They pass it off as a "great opportunity" to get experience and network with professional designers. They're kind of the stepping stone before you jump on a bus and truck one-nighter tour to be abused even more.


I would guess that the IA doesn't have the man power to try to organize all these little pre-professional regional theatres, so they concentrate on the Broadway shows in NYC and on tour, and the larger professional arts groups in the major metro areas. Williamstown is in the far NW corner of Massachusetts, and thus outside of the primary attention of the IA in Boston or other large cities.
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2021, 01:39:38 PM »

I've invoiced people for sleeping if their lack of planning leaves me with less than 8 hours between shifts.
No one deserves to work under the circumstances described here.
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Russell Ault

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2021, 02:27:47 PM »

{...} I would guess that the IA doesn't have the man power to try to organize all these little pre-professional regional theatres, so they concentrate on the Broadway shows in NYC and on tour, and the larger professional arts groups in the major metro areas. Williamstown is in the far NW corner of Massachusetts, and thus outside of the primary attention of the IA in Boston or other large cities.

I'm sure this is a big part of it. One of the disadvantages of "home rule" is the more fragmented approach to organizing. IA53 (the Springfield/Pittsfield local) might have some interest, but they may not have the resources (especially if the festival is bringing most of its people in from outside of the local area), whereas you're always in AEA's jurisdiction.

-Russ
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2021, 06:55:55 PM »

Because actors are prima donnas by nature and make sure they are taken care of. :o

This. We techs tend to be service-oriented people also. People pleaser's. Not all of us, but mostly I'd say we would rather work a 12 hour shift than to say "no that schedule is not tenable".



I know working at Texas A&M one week several of us logged over 120 hours on the clock for one week. I couldn't remember my name at the end of it.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2021, 07:31:59 PM »

Planning is the key word here.  Yeah, it seems as though the organizers didn't plan for problematic weather.  The crappy thing is that when the weather didn't cooperate, the organizer isn't the one that suffered. They just passed the suffering down to the crew.  That's crap.  They should have hired additional crew that could get things done on shorter timelines once they realized weather was going to cause issue.

Yeah, I definitely understand that some things are out of anyone's control, and when crap hits the fan, we work harder.  But when crap never stops hitting the fan, that's when it's time to walk.
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John L Nobile

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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2021, 02:37:46 PM »

I think a lot of people expect the tech crew to perform miracles. They don't think about how the job will get done, they just know that it will be. Management is busy stroking the talent and sponsors and forget that people need to eat and sleep. It's our own fault for making things work with limited time, money and resources. And performing miracles.
Maybe we need to complain more???? This is a start.
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Re: Williamstown Theatre Festival Sound Crew Walks Out
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2021, 02:37:46 PM »


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