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Guest lightnix

This is a bee that's been buzzing around my bonnet for many years now. Not sure why I haven't mentioned it before (I think) :** laughs out loud **:

 

In a nutshell: I have seen many freelancers over the years (including me) pushed to the bottom of the list / blacklisted altogether for the smallest of "crimes".

 

Some examples...

 

1. I've been called "anti-social" after some gigs, because I didn't feel like staying up getting p :o ssed in the bar all night, but "alcoholic" after others because I drank a third pint :)

 

2. A freelance sound engineer I know was recently given an eight mic Q&A session to handle. The Prod. Co's "experienced" SM, who was responsible for handing out the mics, didn't even have the nous to make a note of who was on which mic. So tell me, what chance was there of bringing up the right mic at the right time? After the show, the Prod Co wrote a viscious letter to her client, saying that she was incompetent and that they never wanted to see her on any of their shows again :o

 

3. A (now retired) LD was asked by a regular client (and well known Prod Co of the day) to light a corporate event. He explained that, as the job started the day after his father's funeral, he probably wasn't the best choice.

"Nonsense," they said, "we understand. Come on out, it will help get your mind off things and get you back on track".

He reluctantly agreed and did the job against his better judgement, after which he heard nothing from them ever again. About a year and a half later, he heard through rumour and hearsay (the only feedback that freelancers ever get :** laughs out loud **: ) that he had been dropped, because "his morose attitude on the job had lowered crew morale" B-)

 

In the meantime...

 

I have worked for a number of companies, where their full time employees have made a number of errors, ranging in seriousness from merely "irritating" to totally "gig-threatening" AND done it more than once AND kept their jobs, even been promoted ;)

 

Why is it (apart from the application of hypocritical double standards) that those in full-time jobs are seemingly able to f :o ck up on a near daily basis, while freelancers who put a single foot wrong are consigned to history?

 

Discuss...

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Been there.

 

Did a job for well known AV company, there to do sound ended up also having to look after Power point as well (knew next to nothing at the time), client has a problem with one presentation could I fix it? could I hell (there were about 20 presentations, plenty of room for f***k up). Phoned the AV company and told them they would need someone that knows Power Point as well as me, thaqt was the last job from them.

I have always made it clear of my strengths and weeknesses, however sometimes honesty is is not always the best thing.

 

 

Ian

ps afew more but will see how this thread goes.

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Of course it's not fair, but if you are a freelancer, it's very easy for you to end up being the "blamehound".

 

Something goes wrong at the event, client complains, the search for the guilty ensues, people cover their backs, the search for the scapegoat commences, and the one "outsider" ends up taking the blame....

 

I have known projects where people who were more than capable of doing a job have appointed external consultants - the main justification being that if things all go wrong, then they can say "well, the consultant said...."

 

Bruce.

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I think it's often because an employer may only have a few hours to judge the abilities of the freelancer and assess their competancy in their job. Plus, the employer of a freelancer does not have to explicitely fire them, they just don't get the phone call next time. With a full time employee, there really has to be a more specific reason for their dismissal, and it usually has to be something dangerous/unprofessional that they've done, not just a dislike for their personality. That's what interviews are for.
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Blamehound? What a wonderful expression. I've not heard it before B-)

 

When I left the industry (quite a few years ago) it was for precisely these reasons. The bitchiness had got to the point I was not being offered work. It would be easy to say this was because I was crap at my job but it was more than that. After a couple of years for the same company I changed to another. Two years of unreasonable expectations makes you do these things. How many companies have you worked for who expect you to pay for spare lamps out of you wages? :** laughs out loud **: Said company then gets p :o ssed off because you 'let them down' and makes sure you get the bad publicity.

 

There is also the crime of 'showing up the locals'. If you are too good at your job you will make the local/regular mob look bad and they won't love you for it. They are protecting their jobs and will be quite ruthless in doing so.

 

I find the theatre community to be very fickle. If you are in favour you can do no wrong. If you are out of favour watch your back :** laughs out loud **: I have found the church to be similar on this point ;) What makes me different is that I'm now embarking on a project to combine the two :) Am I really that stupid?? :o

 

Tim

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Blamehound. Not sure where the word comes from, but it's one we use occasionally at work ;)

 

I think it might come from an old joke/story, about the old guy who bought a dog, just so that he had something to kick and blame when he farted....

 

Bruce.

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I find the theatre community to be very fickle. If you are in favour you can do no wrong. If you are out of favour watch your back :** laughs out loud **:  I have found the church to be similar on this point ;)  What makes me different is that I'm now embarking on a project to combine the two :** laughs out loud **:  Am I really that stupid?? B-) 

 

Tim

Someone got nailed to a cross for very similar reasons about 2000 years ago (give or take the odd change of calender). At least we don't get treated like that if we foul up!

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Someone got nailed to a cross for very similar reasons about 2000 years ago (give or take the odd change of calender).  At least we don't get treated like that if we foul up!

 

Although it does feel like it at times. I can see a connection between freelancers, JC and blamehounds (I love that word ;) ).

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I'm pretty new to the theatre scene-only graduated last year so I haven't had that many jobs and the feedback has been good on what I have done.

 

However....

 

I have to say that, in my experience, this is the same in any job. (and I've had a few) I used to be a travel agent...wow! is that bitchy?!! so I quit that. Nothing can be worse that a bunch of women in an office. If they don't , I swear they will explode. That's part of the reason why I like theatre so much. From the people I have worked with, I havent seen any bitching and people tend to pull together. I guess it's early days and you can ask me again in 5 years and see what I think then but it's just better than office work!!!!

 

All I'm saying is that from what people have said, I can relate that to 'normal' jobs and I think every job is the same. You always get the person that does no work. Then there's the really thick person who you can't understand how they got past the interview. Then there's the person you get along with, then you who, in your opinion, does the most work! tell me if I'm wrong!!! ;)

 

Em

xxx

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Maybe I'm bitter but...

 

I think some freelancers can be over protective of their patch. There are those who have the definite gift-of-the-gab, and because of which sometimes find themselves in difficult or alien situations. It's often the same people, once you've saved their arses, that you suspect to be playing you down to or in front of the production company/ client.

 

I suppose, Lightnix that despite the best interview technique, it's still pretty hard to prove that someone will be good at a full time position until they actually have the job. It's then a bore to find a way of sacking them if they are crap, and even more of a bore re-advertising. I guess if you book a fellow freelancer for a job, you'd pretty much know what you were getting, unless it was a shot in the dark.

 

Perhaps us freelancers can be a little too sensitive. A repeat booking can not happen for lots of reasons other than crappiness on a previous gig (well that's what I tell myself). I also worry about working for one company too often (egg in one basket).

 

Matt

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My understanding has always been that theatre isn't the magical place of makebelieve and fairy-tales that the rest of the world thinks it is. On this understanding, I've learnt that there are some very, very helpful people out there (especially production and technical managers) who will give their right arms to teach people to do things properly. These people know more about what they do (or need done) than many of the well-known hire/production companies out there, and are far more approachable to boot!!

 

At the end of the day, the right attitude will attract the right aptitude. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys. Treat people badly and they'll treat you badly. I don't believe in Karma, but I do believe that what comes around goes around.

 

Freelancers are naturally more sensitive because we have to be - it's one of the many instincts we come to rely on to help us find the right work, or to choose to move on from what we're doing. We should also remember that we have the right not to chase work from certain contacts/companies.

 

Think if it this way - as a freelancer, if you find yourself in a horrible job (in whatever way) you can always say 'no', and even if you can't do this at the time, you can politely let the call go to voicemail next time round. As a full-time employee, saying 'no' or standing up to bitches/bullies can result in anything from more back-stabbing, more stitch-ups or perhaps even the odd blatant unfair dismissal!

 

Or am I being too "nice" about all this bitching?? ;)

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I'm a full time staff member at a receiving house, I have been there for just over my probationary period now, which was a way of getting rid of me if I proved to be no good. Something which has been discussed before on this forum. When I was looking for my own work with, admittedly, small companies, I was very protective of my favourable status with some of them, in so much as I was their first call, and protected that status fiercely, as anyone would. But, when I had to say no to those people, due to being offered 6 month overseas jobs etc, I soon fell off the end of their call lists.

I would love to do the odd event away from my lovely well equipped, warm with an office in the basement with TV, theatre, but just don't get any calls now.

I know, I can't have it all.

I am the youngest member of permanent, and for those who understand BECTU parlance, regularly employed, staff and I find this hard, to the point where I am often ignored as I shouldn't have got the job in some peoples opinion, and am unwanted in the venue by the same peoples.

Anyway, I can't get rid of the deadwood in my call list due to some sort of thing by which as casuals they are employees, who protect their jobs with a lot more vigour than anyone else. To sack them the full disciplinary procedure must be used and apparently due to their position on the call list, I am also not allowed to just not call them next time, and it takes over 6 months of their saying no to work before I can stop calling them, or so I am told.

I am in no position to fire people anyway, but to be forced to call people to hear a no over and over, until the big shows (10hr plus outs each week) roll up, is a little annoying, as is having to call people who do nothing or admit they are no good, or mess up big time.

Personally, If I did anything really stupid or dangerous or screwed a show up in a big, big way. I would have to leave, I couldn't fight to keep my job.

Example: Previous job; I fired a pyro 3 seconds early, a large silverjet in an arena. It looked bad, as this was used to finish the first half of the show and this time obviously didn't. For a two to fire simultaneously, not on cue, is pretty rare unless it is operator error. As I pressed the button I knew I had stuffed up bad. I expected to lose my job over it, and voluntarily handed the pyro job to another person as I was no longer safe. You don't stuff up and lie, never. Admit it and see what happens.

Anyway, a few weeks later the pyro cue was returned to me, initially against my wishes, but the other operator who could was ill so needs of the gig won out.

By the way, I didn't injure any person or property by the miscue but the potential was there, and that was enough.

But maybe thats just me, expecting to lose my job over a mistake.

Personally if you are good you are of use, that's how I see it, no matter how much you do or don't socialise, and if you say no to a gig I'll try you next time. If you were worth a call once you will always be worth a call again.

This would stop me calling mind:

Saying yes to everything then double booking yourself is something I have seen done and boy to the guys who give out the work not like being dumped for a better paid gig.

 

Sorry I've gone on a bit.

 

Is the spell checker American or have I just got really lousy spelling? (favorable, socialize etc, etc, and so on)

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