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 Post subject: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 13
Location: Greensboro, NC
Hello all,

I hope this is the proper forum in which to post these questions --

I just booked a theater for my dance company's debut NYC season. It will also be our first full-evening concert (it will be next September) and I need to educate myself about so many things. I've looked, but I haven't seen any mention on this board about insuring a production. The theater requires me to have the following Certificates of Insurance: 1) general liability, 2) worker's compensation and 3) automobile liability if required (I'm not sure we need that one?).

We are an emerging modern dance company and we don't have much of a budget, so I don't normally carry those types of insurance and don't know where/how to get the certificates? and I wonder how much it's likely to cost.

Another question - I have to provide a Lighting Designer & a Stage Manager. I know what those are (;-)) but is a Stage Manager the same as a Production Manager (which I've read about in some of the posts here), and/or should I try to put aside part of our very limited budget to hire a Production Manager -- I am guessing that might be someone who would be involved in more aspects of pre-planning (?) than a Stage Manager would be. Or should I feel ok about covering such pre-planning myself at this stage of the game?

I really want to be as prepared as possible & I have heard one should also hire a publicist -- but I'm wondering if companies really do that starting out, or if that only comes later when your budget is bigger. This is all going to be so expensive anyway, & of course I want to give it the best possible chance of success.

Any advice/info would be much appreciated...


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Relax; you're on the right track.

Insurance: Any commercial agency should be able to help you. Just shop around. You might ask the directors of other companies who they use. Wait -- that's what you just did, isn't it?

Quote:
is a Stage Manager the same as a Production Manager (which I've read about in some of the posts here), and/or should I try to put aside part of our very limited budget to hire a Production Manager -- I am guessing that might be someone who would be involved in more aspects of pre-planning (?) than a Stage Manager would be. Or should I feel ok about covering such pre-planning myself at this stage of the game?
A production manager's job is primarily administrative -- it usually includes a lot of budget coordination. The stage manager is responsible for the actual flow of the rehearsals and performances. It's fairly common for the lighting designer of a small dance concert to also stage manage it (although I try not to these days). It doesn't sound like you're big enough (yet) to warrant a separate production manager.

If you have any other questions, feel free to post them here or, if you prefer, you may email me*. I'm glad you asked these questions; this is exactly what this forum should be discussing, in my opinion.**

Re: the publicist. It's been my observation, in NY, especially, that unless you can afford a really good one, you're better off doing it yourself. Be a ruthless self-editor; all of your materials should be concise and focussed. Tell the reader why s/he should come to your event. NY arts writers get hundreds of press releases; the ones that don't require decoding are much more likely to see newsprint.***

Just out of curiosity, what theatre are you going into?

* However, I'm leaving town tomorrow for 6 days of cracking nuts.

** Well, I also liked the "intern" discussion.

*** This could be an entire thread by itself.

<small>[ 12-01-2002, 21:46: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

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Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 13
Location: Greensboro, NC
Thank you so much Salzberg! I couldn't believe someone answered so quickly. Thanks for the good information on all topics. Probably then I will be doing most of the pre-planning myself -- maybe with some help from a few unsuspecting people I'm hopefully forming into an advisory board...

We will be going into the Theater of the Riverside Church & they seem to require 2 (separate!) people as Lighting Designer & Stage Manager. I think the theater will suit our dances well. In the past I've seen some concerts there that didn't seem to be able to get enough light for my taste (I heard that people often brought in extra lights at extra cost), but they have just gotten new lighting & sound equipment so I'm hoping we won't have to do that. Right now there's a long-running play in there with a special setup, so it's hard to get an applicable preview of the lights.

Quote:
Originally posted by salzberg:
[QB]However, I'm leaving town tomorrow for 6 days of cracking nuts.
QB]
duh, I just figured out what you meant.. enjoy the nuts! :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
We will be going into the Theater of the Riverside Church & they seem to require 2 (separate!) people as Lighting Designer & Stage Manager.
Ask them for clarification on that. Frankly, how you staff your show artistically is not any of the venue's business. They have the right to insist that their own personnel operate their equipment, but they have no say over who you hire to design or call the show.

Quote:
I think the theater will suit our dances well.
Probably. Dance as Ever was originally booked into Riverside last October, but they (Riverside) had a scheduling conflict, so we wound up at the John Jay.

Quote:
In the past I've seen some concerts there that didn't seem to be able to get enough light for my taste (I heard that people often brought in extra lights at extra cost), but they have just gotten new lighting & sound equipment so I'm hoping we won't have to do that.
If the spec sheet I'm looking at is accurate, they're not badly equipped, but not great, either. They're a little low on dimmers, but it's workable, I think.

Quote:
Right now there's a long-running play in there
Yup. That's why DAE wound up at the Jay.

<small>[ 12-01-2002, 23:41: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

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Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2002 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 13
Location: Greensboro, NC
I checked the contract and they just say that I have to provide "a Stage Manager and Lighting Designer", they don't say that it has to be 2 separate people. Do you think that's too much for 1 person to handle? :eek:

Actually, our season was originally supposed to happen at either the Clark Studio Theater (at Lincoln Center) or at Theater of the Riverside Church in Feb/March of 2003 -- but by the time we found out that we couldn't get the Clark (due to administrative mixups on their part, otherwise we supposedly could have booked the Clark for Feb/March) we couldn't get the Riverside Church either, due to the play having since booked it through May 2003. Well I hope once I put down the holding fee that our Sept. dates are solid! since I will soon start putting the word out that our season is then. I hope they didn't pull it out from under you? That would be too weird.


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2002 6:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 2
Location: California
You are on the right track. I am artistic director of a modern dance company 4 years into it's existance. For insurance, I searched the internet and ended up using Markel Insurance that specializes in Insuring Dance so they can talk your language. They can give you a quote for the whole year and I assume for short term as well. A certificate is simply something you call them up and tell them the performance venue, dates, times and thet fax you a one page sheet proving you are covered.

Hope that helps.


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2002 9:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 13
Location: Greensboro, NC
Thank you so very much, kimshipp, that's really helpful. I will definitely check out Markel. I really appreciate you telling me what you found out and saving me some of the Internet searching.


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2002 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 13
Location: Greensboro, NC
Now that I've started looking on the internet about the insurance, I have more questions, maybe someone here knows some of the answers...

Now I'm wondering: when I get these certificates for liability and workmen's compensation, am I supposed to cover the tech crew, anyone who comes to see the show, etc.? or just my dancers? Does the theater have any responsibility to cover their employees/tech crew/the audience/people like costumers, ushers, helpers etc. who might happen to be around for some reason?

I just don't want to get more or less insurance than I need. I'm sure the insurance company and the theater can give me some feedback but I thought I should ask elsewhere as well.

Thanks again for any advice! It's very helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Quote:
Originally posted by Mereminne:
Now I'm wondering: when I get these certificates for liability and workmen's compensation, am I supposed to cover the tech crew, anyone who comes to see the show, etc.? or just my dancers?
You need to cover anyone who might get hurt and sue you.

Quote:
Does the theater have any responsibility to cover their employees/tech crew/the audience/people like costumers, ushers, helpers etc. who might happen to be around for some reason?
OK. I think we may be getting into issues that no one here is qualified to answer. I (vaguely) recall that when I managed a theatre, our insurance covered our employees; I know that we required the presenter's insurance to cover audience.

Like I said, you should ask these questions of someone who really knows the answers. Do you have a lawyer on your board? If not, I'm pretty sure there's a NY equivalent of a wonderful Texas organization called TALA (Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts). They will have lots of good advice...and not just about insurance.

Re: Stage Mangler and Lighting Designer being the same person.

It happens all the time. It's not optimal -- when I do it I find myself spending time on figuring out where the cues should be called that would be much better spent on refining them and making them better -- but it's pretty common with small companies.

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Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2002 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 13
Location: Greensboro, NC
Hi Salzberg! We do have Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts here, I will see if they can answer my insurance questions. I don't have a lawyer on my board yet...

Quote:
Re: Stage Mangler and Lighting Designer being the same person.

It happens all the time. It's not optimal -- when I do it I find myself spending time on figuring out where the cues should be called that would be much better spent on refining them and making them better -- but it's pretty common with small companies.[/QB]
Do you mean to say that if one has to do both, one tends to become a Stage Mangler? That sounds kind of scary...
:)


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 4:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Just in case you decide, like Pina Bausch, to include a sheep in your next piece of choreogrphy.
From The Stage

Q: Do I need specific insurance or a licence in order to bring an animal, namely a dog, on stage during a pantomime? Are there rules with regard to where and how it is kept in the theatre during the performance?

click for more


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 Post subject: Re: insurance? & more production questions
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 5:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
If the theater is on a university campus, that institution may well have rules concerning the use of animals in its facilities.

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Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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