Thursday, April 29, 2004

Where I've Been

As usual, I can't write too specifically about work for paranoid fear of getting myself in trouble, but I want to explain why I haven't been blogging much lately and give a little update.

In the When It Rains, It Pours department (that's the same department that handles looking before I leap and getting burned by playing with fire), after six months with minimal employment at the end of last year, at the moment I not only have two jobs, but two stage management jobs. A workshop I was involved in a while back is going forward in a full production, and things are happening very quickly. The new job (we'll call it Show #2) is going to have an unusual performance schedule, which meant that if I just take a little time off from Show #1 for rehearsals, I could theoretically do both. It's a shocking and unsettling concept, really. Actually having extra money? Maybe being able to save some?

The tricky part, of course, would be during the weeks of daytime rehearsals for Show #2, combined with evening performances for Show #1, with non-matching days off on each project. Faced with a stretch of no free time and likely fast food bingeing, I planned to the first two weeks of April trying to make up in advance for the inevitable exhaustion weight gain. I started getting up earlier to get my body used to the long days. I Atkinsed as best I could, and tried to work out in some fashion every day. It was like I was trying to stockpile fitness, as if I could store it away. I figured if I lost ten pounds I wouldn't be upset when I gained five of it back.

I had everything worked out, personally and professionally, and I was pretty pleased with myself and with the state of things.

I should have known that wouldn't last! (The Council on Anything That Can Go Wrong Will is right down the hall from the WIRIP Department.)

At first, it was good news: The schedule for Show #2 would actually be very light, so I wouldn't stretched as thin as I'd thought. But then Show #1 started to fall apart sort of spectacularly, and I spent half of the first rehearsal for Show #2 (my day off from Show #1) on the phone dealing with that. It came as no surprise that we weren't doing well financially, but the producers seemed to be panicking about it. More specifically, they seemed surprised to learn that an off-Broadway play was a shaky investment. Um, yeah. But they also wanted to stick it out and try to get things to pick up. I have to admit, I admire their tenacity, and their belief in the project, but sometimes when the ship is sinking the smartest thing to do is accept that you're going to lose your luggage and head for the lifeboats. Several of the actors knew this and did just that. All the scrambling, phone calls, and last-minute rehearsals for the understudies meant a lot more work for me, at exactly the point when my job should have been settling into the auto-pilot of just running the show for at least a month or two.

Meanwhile, the creative team on Show #2 was realizing that we'd been over-optimistic about our light schedule, and started adding hours. Of course, by now, thinking things would be pretty easy, I'd blown my opportunity to get my shit together, which included, along with gym time, finding a guest blogger.

THEN, more good news/bad news. The producers of Show #1 decided to do only four shows a week, since we were only making any money on the weekends. Terribly convenient for me! Better still, our contracts specifically state that we must be paid for eight shows a week, and our union union wouldn't budge on that. There's actually a long, complicated story about that, and I would have rather they had budged, but the good news for me in the short term was that I was getting paid for a full week but only working half, and juggling the two gigs became much easier.

But THEN it dawned on the folks at Show #1 that if they had to pay us for a full week anyway, they weren't really saving much money (on the handful of non-union staff) by not having us work for it, so they might as well go back to a full schedule. OY.

Which brings us to this week. It's not so bad, really, and of course I'm thrilled to be in the unusual position of having a surfeit of theater work and making a decent salary (even if it is in the form of two half-decent salaries combined). Today, I'm halfway through a three-week stretch without a full day off. I'd been prepared for a much longer period of that, of course, but the constant changing of my schedule is what's getting to me now. I'm completely confused now about simple things like days of the week. I'll often call people and forget which show I'm calling about. I haven't done it yet, but it can't be long before I send a daily report to the wrong e-mail list. Though I love what I do, these are the times when I do long for the stability and predictability of a "regular" job. Is it any wonder I've been gorging myself on ice cream and not blogging much?

This week, finally, some definitive news: Show #1 is closing for good. It'd be nice to get a few more weeks towards my health care, put some more money in my savings account (my what?)...but I'm also kinda over it. I really can't complain, since I'm the only one in the company in the rare position of having another gig to go to immediately, and for me personally the timing, if it had to happen at all, is perfect. I'll have to find some day work at some point once the rehearsal salary for Show #2 ends and the per-performance kicks in, but I plan to be as slothful as possible for the first week of previews. I've been getting enough sleep most nights, but I've done so at the expense of normal free time activities, like blogging, and the Explorer 8000 Home Entertainment Server is quite full of backlogged TV. Plus, it seems like the warm weather is finally here to stay, and it would be really nice to enjoy it before it becomes nasty and sticky.

Anyway, that's where I've been. I'm not complaining, really I'm not, but blogging has taken a backseat, and I felt like I owed the three of you who still read Judgment Call an explanation.

If anyone's interested, I'll take volunteers to fill in for me next week.

No comments: