My brief, wonderful insurance life…

It was not brief but it was wonder-ful: I was always wondering what was going on. It took me three tries to get a quote I thought was in the ball park (for the estimate on the sample budget). First quote came back at $1,700, and my ball park was $400. Next quote rquest was rejected. So I had to get some “insurance tutoring” from NYMF staff. So patient and kind they are!

Here’s what I learned: www.NYSIF.com (New York State Insurance Fund) has really good rates. They are also cumbersome to work with – like their website only supports Internet Explorer. They warn you up front. I sat there from my Google Chrome screen and laughed, “no way, this can’t be real.” They are not kidding – there was no way for me to complete the form, so I had to start all over again. Oy.

Then I had to learn the difference between salary, stipend, and fee. I thought “money is money – I’m an artist, so any time I get paid is good.” That may be true, but on this insurance form for Workers Comp, there is a difference. My AEA actors get a stipend (that is how it is referred to in the 29 hour developmental reading contract). DQT has no employees so the salary is $0. And the Director, and musicians get fees. The Workers Comp doesn’t count stipends: lucky for me NYMF has that insurance that covers every show with every AEA actor because that is the bulk of the reading.

The problem with my first quote request was that I added all the money being paid to everyone. The problem with the second quote request was it was too much like the first, and it was rejected. The third quote was just right! (special shoutout of gratitude to D. Black, underwriter at NYSIF, for an informative phone call).

And the last thing I learned was that last season Maria Elena, the Artistic Director of DQT, did all of this for us. All by herself! It reaffirms how awesome and giving she is! And she helped me by providing all the support information I had to show NYSIF. And she provided the information fast. Really fast! So special thank you to my fellow DQT’er Maria Elena! I could not have completed this step without you.

I’m not pretending I am an expert at workers comp insurance for theatrical events, but I do know a little more now, thanks to the patience of all who answered my questions. Moral of the story – ask questions, and take notes!

 

Nothing like the dates to make it real!!

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Nothing like getting the dates to make it really real!

The dates of the developmental reading are Thursday July 10th at 4 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday July 13th at 4 pm. The reading will be at the Theatre Row Studio Theatre at 410 West 42nd Street. Tickets are free, but you do have to sign up ahead of time through http://www.nymf.org/tickets/2014-events/manuel-versus-statue-liberty.

And the auditions are coming up. I don’t have the locations yet, but I know they will be May 5th (nonAEA) and May 8th (EPAs). All actors please check BackStage and the Equity Board/Website for audition info (NYMF combined auditions). We are looking for ALL types! Especially a Manuel (character: Dominican Male, college aged)  and a Statue (character: big woman with a big voice, French accent). A comedy song would be good. We will also have some auditions/call backs later on.

 

Rewrites, and collaborators, and getting help!

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I’ve been immersed in rewriting Act one of Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty. All the pieces were there, but they weren’t building the tension, and the story. They were wandering. So I fixed that. I clarified the big moment where Manuel challenges the Statue. All of this will make sense when you see the reading. For now, it will sound like the demented musings of a writer’s mind. That’s how we work, we writers. It’s like hearing voices in your head, and leaving the current reality for the reality you are constructing. Tuning out the real world and diving into an imaginary world. Like the “Lion. the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, except that I don’t have a cool, antique armoir to walk into for ideas.

Then back out into the practical world, where I keep asking friends for money, and fundraising support. Yeah – still time to donate to support the show (www.thedqt.org/donate/fountain-of-youth) through the internet. You can even mail in a check if you get nervous at the thought of the NSA knowing you gave money to a musical comedy about illegal immigration. Contact me for the address.

And then there is the dreaded insurance application for the show. Oy vey. I am on my third try. The first try yielded a premium 3x higher than the ball park estimate, thanks to my inexperience in filling out the forms. The second try was rejected because it was too close to the first try, and the underwriter said no to the request. The third try is a charm! I am armed with DQT’s previous insurance records, I have a better understanding of the concepts of salary, fees, and stipends (really important for the application – and silly me thought, hey, they’re getting paid, so it’s all the same…not in the wacky world of insurance). Special thanks to NYMF staff for helping me learn more about this topic.

Thank God for friends – the generosity of giving their hard earned money to support this show that takes a stand on the Dream Act, and then the friends who lend their talents and their time to help out. Special shout out to Mary McGinley who has joined us as Associate Producer! Yeah! So awesome that she is taking on some of the work in getting the word out, looking up grant information, local publicity, some fundraising.

And then there is NYMF – oh my God! I am so happy to be in this festival! Check out the great article on all the shows coming this July 2014 in the article in Playbill. The best press I’ve ever gotten! Yeah, I had to write the tag line and the marketing blurb, but NYMF gave me advice on how to do it. Look at the shows that are similar in tone to mine (like Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon) and see how they describe their shows. One short cut – take a look at the “about” pages on websites of shows you’ve seen, to see how they are described in “marketing speak”. You know the show, and you see the blurb, and you can make the translation for your show.

So that’s why I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. Now off to prepare a feast for a very modern seder, and celebration of spring!