Monday, August 11, 2008

this whole union thing

   I'm really okay with leaving Seattle.  I'm really okay with going to San Diego and staying in a studio on the beach and living with Drew for a whole week.  And I am really okay with having off from work tomorrow and the next day.  

    Usually, we get Mondays off, but this week we get Tuesday off, too This is because union rules state that we have to have two full days a month in which we neither travel, rehearse, or perform. The company was trying to sneak by without giving us our two golden days this month--which would have been the case, if we did have a show this Tuesday--but our smart equity deputy knows her stuff.  She went right to the company manager and reminded him of this rule...Next thing we know, boom! we have a golden day on Tuesday.  I love being a union girl.  

   Actually, speaking of the union, actors equity just recently finished negotiating new contracts for us.  I guess the producers put up quite a fight.  The thing that really surprised me is that our equity reps told us that, basically, having to give the touring companies per diem makes producers downright angry.  Do you want to know why?  Because they have heard through the grapevine that some actors try to just save their per diem (gasp!) by doubling up and sharing a room (scandalous!), staying with friends (incriminating!), or just living cheaply in general (unbelievable!). They get mad when they hear about us banking some of our per diem--and what they really want to do is control our housing, making us stay in a hotel of our choice, and simply give us an allowance for food.  

    Well, this would be horrible because, not only would it take away our freedom to choose where we want to live, but it would take away the option to bank some of our per diem if we do choose to live cheaply.  Producers don't like the idea of actors making too much money off them--especially from per diem.  The famous quote that gets tossed around that was literally spoken by a producer, in total incredulity, is:

   "Why, I hear that actors are even buying houses now! Absurd!"

     What? Do they want us to live in a cardboard box?  And, though we sing a song called What I did for Love eight times a week, we also do this for a paycheck.  It's that simple.  Many of us would not have left our lives and loved ones to go on the road if the money was not what it is.  That's just the plain truth.  Also, it really isn't anybody's business how we spend the money alloted to us--their responsibility is to just give us what would be needed to, ideally, live in a single hotel room by ourselves and eat out three meals a day.  If we choose to have a roommate and eat pb&j a lot (which I do), that is none of their business. 

    Sorry to write so much about what may be boring and is definitely not related to you.  However, the good news is that we do get a bump in our paychecks which is retroactive from June.  So this is nice.  Again, gotta love the union.   

     On another note, my parents drove to New York to see Drew in Godspell today.  They called me totally excited because, apparently, he was just amazing.  Now, I don't find this hard to believe at all.  I am so proud of him--it's not easy to play Jesus for a whole summer.  Those are some shoes to fill, I would say.  I wish wish wish I could have seen him, but he has a DVD that you better believe I will be watching.  

    Okay, here's to hoping I can sleep on the plane tomorrow...



Pop said...

Hey, your sentiments are completely correct, in my view. Where else in contemporary life do bosses get to tell those they hire exactly where to live and how to spend their own money? Foolish in capitalist America. If they don't like the "per diem" extra money, have them just include that amount as extra salary if that makes them feel better.

jason said...

Well I for one agree that actors shouldn't be buying houses. What's next? Owning cars!? It's madness!

kathiek said...

Next thing you know they'll want to wear something other than their costumes! Outrageous! Boy, give people an inch and they'll take a yard!

How can others, like me (who are also not able to see the amazing Drew), get their hands on his DVD?

Jessica Latshaw said...

pop--good point--just cause Jase lived under his means when he was a vice president at Chase, his boss wasn't like, "since he is saving that money, we should just take it back!"

I mean, that would be ridiculous! But, it would be bad if they put the extra money in our paycheck, cause the great thing about per diem is that it is completely tax-free, whereas my paycheck is taxed out the wazoo!

And Kathie--maybe you could borrow the DVD from Drew--I think he is probably the only one you know who will have it:-)