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Was just told we cannot fly actors in Colorado because it's illegal!

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by RyanBolitho, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. RyanBolitho

    RyanBolitho Member

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    Has anyone ever heard of this?

    We are a school company that has hired the rigging, flight training, and supervision with an insured company.

    We are renting another local high school's theater space and they are telling us that we can't do it today, 8 days before load in!

    Help!
     
  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I doubt there is a law against flying actors in Colorado but I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on prime-time TV. It would seem odd that touring shows and circuses are banned from performing in the state.

    You could ask for the venue which statute(s) prohibit the practice so you can look the law up and familiarize yourself with it. Your hired company ought to know the rules if they are providing the services.

    The venue may have their own or school board policies governing the flying of actors, independent of any "law". They may not want the liability, or have legitimate concerns about the logistics of installing and preventing unauthorized use of the equipment.
     
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  3. RyanBolitho

    RyanBolitho Member

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    I'm thinking the way you are. The signed contract says nothing about restricting it what so ever... so I'm not sure if they'll be able to keep us from doing it.

    The email requesting the statue is about to go out after we get a returned call from our vendor.

    Thanks for the reply!

    ETA: The school is on spring break while we are renting the space, so that should take care of the unauthorized use of equipment!
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    It very well could be an issue with their buildings insurance policy. In my building there is no open flame allowed... we don't care who you are, what permits you have, or what you have fireproofed. The threat of a buidling evacuation is simply too dangerous to even mess with. Have them define "illegal" for you.... and get your rigging company involved in the conversation too. Hopefully you hired a good one who sounds like adults in the way they discuss it.
     
  5. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I have personally flown performers in Colorado, so unless I am a unknowing fugitive of the law I can assure you that it can be done legally in your state. I agree with the other posters, it is likely that there is an extenuating circumstance (insurance, a lack of understanding, or previous attempts by the school itself to fly actors) that have caused someone to pay attention and tell you that you can't do this.
    I would say the important thing at this point it to find out exactly who is saying that you can't do this, how much actual authority they have to make that decision, and why they're saying no. It is entirely possible that the person trying to tell you know doesn't know all of the details and it's also possible their boss has already OK'd what you're asking for (I was recently in that exact situation). Calm and reasoned conversations where you understand the concerns and explain what you have done and will do to appease them are often the best way to get what you want in the end. Even if yelling is more fun.
     
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  6. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Illegal? As in against state or Federal code? 99.999999999% sure that's a false statement.

    Against district policy? A highly more likely scenario. This is something where your flying company will need to go to bat for you. Somewhere, somehow, somebody didn't get information communicated to them and now someone only marginally familiar with stage work is making this call, because freaking out and dropping the hammer (aka: Covering their ace) is easier than getting information.

    Hopefully you've called your flying company? Who do you have doing the flying for you?
     
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  7. theatricalmatt

    theatricalmatt Active Member

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    Playing Devil's advocate here, but, although you've hired an insured, experienced company to handle the flying -- have you communicated that the venue? Are they listed as an additional insured?

    I know as a venue manager, I'd want to see the set design, as well as a rigging and flying plan, and stay in clear communication with your group's technical director as well as the flying company's representative, to make certain everything comes together smoothly. Eight days is a little close (I'm more of a "One month out, this is what I need to see" sort of guy, myself) but at least they're giving you time enough to clarify your plan and provide any documentation required.

    Let them know you've got everything in order, listen to any information they offer, and take any requests they may have in stride.
     
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  8. TimMc

    TimMc Member

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    You need a lawyer, not an engineer or technician. The lessor has made a material change to the agreement by preventing your use of the leased facility in a manner not disclosed in the agreement at the time of signing. If you are unable to come to a new agreement, the lessor could be on the hook for all of the expenses of mounting the canceled production, from contracted services (flying; sound/lighting/set design; hiring or building costumes, publicity and promotion, actors & musicians, etc) or the costs of relocating the production to a more suitable facility.

    It sounds to me like a middle bureaucrat playing Cover My Arse because the lessor didn't perform due diligence and now the lessor is having "seller's remorse" because of the potential liability.
     
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  9. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Occupation:
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    Not at home, that's for sure.

    Can't say I agree with this course of action at this time. Having been in this situation, and several similar situations requiring various entities to be convinced/assuaged, over the last 15 years- step one is always to make every attempt to resolve conflicts/confusion, etc... Your flying director and his/her company is the best conduit for this. If a client sues a venue over something like this situation, expect your flying company to walk away and have no part of this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  10. TheaterEd

    TheaterEd Renaissance Man Fight Leukemia

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    As a school venue, if flying was not discussed before the rental and I just found out with 8 days before load in I would put my foot down as well until I had more information. But then again, I would have had several conversations before hand to try to ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen. A venue can't be expected to specifically list all the things that are not allowed can it? Some of these things have to be at the discretion of the AHJ and if you fail to disclose that you intend to hire a performer flying company until a week before your rental you can't be surprised that they are quick to shut it down.

    Something like this almost certainly needs to go through the district insurance people, and most things in schools don't go quickly.

    So is it illegal, probably not. Are there a lot of I's to dot and T's to cross to make it happen, absolutely. Can all of that be done in 8 days? Can the roof of the building handle the load?

    I very much agree with Matt on this one. If this was dropped on me last minute, I would really have to scramble and get people to work with me to make it happen. Take What Rigger's advice and get the flying company talking to the venue, that is pretty much the best course of action if you want this show to happen with flying.

    By the Way, How on earth did you get a flying company to sign on and design a system for you without the venue knowing?
     
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  11. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Occupation:
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    Not at home, that's for sure.
    Ed reinforces an excellent point: how did a venue manager and/or TD not know about the flying? The job of a flying director is not to only talk with the client (who may or may not own the venue), but to also be in contact with the proper folks at the venue to avoid just such a situation as we're seeing here. Never once have I gone into a venue without having numerours detailed discussions with the venue staff (again, usually a TD or equivalent) before I even got on the plane. Usually, you're looking at a 90 day window to advance a show when you're the flying director/vendor.

    I'd love to know how it's going. Hopefully this isn't another ghost post.
     
  12. TimMc

    TimMc Member

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    My advice about retaining legal counsel is based on the potential breach of contract; presumably the venue's representative was aware of the actor flying and the producer was not deceptive or withheld that bit of information from the venue. IOW, it is presumed the producer acted in good faith.

    If not, then the whole mess is on the producer, not the venue.

    I've been directly involved when a venue violated its contract AFTER the lease was signed, based on information that was provided during lease negotiations. The venue had to make whole the producer, which in that case involved paying the difference in rent for the more-expensive replacement venue and additional production expenses incurred by relocating the event.

    Again, my advice is based on both parties having been honest and up front with each other prior to the signing of the rental/lease agreement. If that's not the case, lawyering up would not be prudent.
     
  13. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    Is the show something like "Peter Pan" or "Tarzan" where a person assumes that there would likely be flying involved?
     
  14. MRW Lights

    MRW Lights Member

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    As a Venue Manager, my charitable assumption by saying you can't do it, is that they're probably saying it's not possible to do it. For instance in my space I have a dead hung house and i don't physically have the beams to support more than 1 or 2 points. It sounds more like there was a breakdown in communication where someone didn't ask the right question.

    I had a show that wanted to come to my venue and when I asked what the show was I was then forced to ask about special FX blood use. They were devising a new work, but it's a well known story with A LOT of blood. I then quoted them cleaning and painting fees for the run of their show... They quickly backed out of renting my space.

    In your case it sounds like someone didn't connect the dots and there are a number of things that could be stopping you as mentioned above.
     
  15. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Well, it's been a week since this was posted, Hopefully @RyanBolitho will check in soon with an update.
     
  16. RyanBolitho

    RyanBolitho Member

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    Hey all - sorry for the late reply all my notifications went to junk and I assumed the post died.

    First of all, at this point we are proceeding as planned. Now the process of getting there and some answered questions.

    The show is Peter Pan - the knowledge that we were flying was known. The flight director has previously flown in the space without insurance or a contract for the school's theatre program as well as other outside companies. For our production we requested that he go through the company that he regularly works for instead of just directly with him so that's we could name the school as an additional insured etc. under their insurance policy to cover our bases.

    After we received the call that we couldn't fly we started gathering info. Then we basically just provided the school and the super intendent of the district with all of the proper insurance, previous shows done by the company we have hired in Colorado, references, certifications, resumé's, and referral list and told them to let us know if they have any other concerns to which we have not heard anything further other than the district calling our flight director to see if he needed anything special for load in.

    It was a panic for a day or two but here we go, load in is tomorrow!
     
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