Tuesday, June 24, 2008

ups and downs

It's a beautiful summer evening, and the taste of pan-fried Rainbow Trout is still in my mouth from dinner- truly one of the easiest, tastiest meals I've had in ages. Inspired by the Back Kitchen's assistant stage manager, who's got dumbbells backstage since she has so little to actually do during our show, I went out and bought a pair of cheery red weights to play with at home, so that my arms will stop resembling fat noodles.

Something left a bad taste in my mouth this morning though, and I wish that I was better at dealing with stuff like this. The company that's producing our show is not best pleased at the high number of hours I've been working on "Back Kitchen" and I felt that I had to defend myself to the powers that be this morning, which made me weepy and angry afterward. Their position: they pay me hourly, because my contract is set up through the Musicians' Union; I'd given them an estimate of the hours I'd be needed during rehearsals and I've exceeded those hours (by a fair bit). My position: I'm a co-creator of this show, my input is just as important as our director's (and he'd be the first to agree with that) and even if we'd negotiated a flat fee I'd have asked for the same amount of money as I'll be getting, give or take a little. I wish I'd been that articulate while I was taking the phone call this morning- I was stammery and apologetic, and afterwards felt upset and angry. J was angry and protective on my part and I felt grateful to him for that, but I need to get better at fighting my own battles. Anyway, the upshot is that I wrote an email to the person who phoned me- a very polite one- clarifying my position and apologizing for not being clearer about how my presence is as necessary as the director's and that my fee should reflect that. I feel better having written it (although I wish I could be as clear in conversation as I am when I write) and I understand that they're on a tight budget, like everyone in this business. I just hate having to apologize for doing my job, and I hopehopehope that our reviews will be great so I don't have to feel defensive anymore.

Anyway, rant over. I'm not at the preview tonight (if they don't want to pay me for being there then I'm not going to see a show I've seen ten million times before, and anyway, the show's going great so the cast doesn't need me) so I'm being a homebody tonight, cleaning up the trout remains and gathering music for the next project.

Talked to my friend Gord about plans for the fall; ie: how to spend my nice windfall from Grandma and did he think spending some of it on school was a good idea. Gord's a composer as well, and his advice was this: "If I were you I'd treat the next 6 months or a year as a sabbatical: spend the time and money to upgrade your skills as a composer and a piano player and you'll benefit for years to come." I think he's got the right idea, and I was glad to get his approval. Here's what I really want to do: study film composition online through Berklee College of Music, take private piano lessons and really improve my playing- about time!- and maybe take a Spanish course at VCC, just for fun. I think the fall could be really interesting...

Oh, and on the "up" side of things, I recently discovered that Superstore carries the first 3 seasons of "McGyver"! I feel a silly impulse buy coming on...

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