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  • Writer's pictureChelsea J

Negotiating Nancy: Let's Talk About Finance.

Hello to you and your brilliant mind,

So today's blog post is in response to a recent conversation with my friends from SMMP. Someone asked our group chat what the "normal" or "standard" pay is for a non-equity ASM. And the overall answer was it depends.

And it got me thinking about how finance and money is often rarely discussed. While I understand maybe not wanting to comparing salaries with co-workers, I personally think not talking about finance at all is CRAY.

As a member of a union (i.e. AEA for stage managers), there are certain minimums / requirements that you must receive or be paid.

But what about as a non-union member?

So I'm introducing #FinanceFridays. Because money and finance (especially in this field) can be so difficult to figure out and I wish I could have had some tips especially when I was first starting out.

So for the first #FinanceFriday, I'm discussing negotiating, but primarily as an intern.

I've been an intern at two different theatre companies and the pay was between $125 -$150 a week. Based on my many job searches, this tends to be about the average for an internship position. While I'm not going to go into the paid vs. unpaid internship debate, I will give you a list of other "amenities" you can try to negotiate for or things to consider that may help balance out the paycheck.

A List of Perks (with help from my SMMP friends)

1. Housing.

This one is huge. Fortunately, both of my internships (as well as my jobs this summer) came with housing. Some things to consider in regards to housing:

  • Location. How close is it to theatre? Will you need a vehicle to get from home to work or is it walkable? One of the great things about my housing in Sacramento was it was within walking distance to the theatre. As someone who hates driving, it was great in this regards and it also saved me money on gas.

  • Roommates. How many roommates will you have? Will you have to share a room? How many bathrooms?

  • Size of apartment in relation to length of contract. Sharing a two bedroom apartment/ one bathroom with four girls for nine months is very difficult to do. Trust me.

  • Windows. Sunlight is good for your soul. Living with poor lighting can suck the life right out of you.

  • Wifi. Wifi is an extra expense and unless you have unlimited data you should definitely ask about this.

  • Cable. I haven't had cable since living at home and I've succeeded in watching all of my shows just fine. But if you don't have Netflix it is definitely something to consider.

  • Laundry. Is laundry onsite? Or do you have to go offsite and pay for it?

2. Travel.

How far are you traveling to get to this gig? Will they give you a travel stipend for gas? Pay for a U-Haul to move any furniture/ big items you may have ? Reimburse your flight?

3. Experience gained, connection mades.

Pretty self explanatory, but how much will you be learning on the job? I believe you can learn from ANY job, even if it's what not to do. But if the job is not going to challenge you at all and you aren't going to grow from it professionally, it might not be worth pursuing.

Some other things you can negotiate (just perhaps not as an intern):

  • Microsoft Office or other computer software you may need

  • Your Team- If you are the PSM, you may be able to negotiate who your ASM'S are.

  • For Workshops

  • Food. Workshops are great. And often times they feed you SO WELL. So check in about it.

So this is just a quick hit list, but I'm sure there are ones I am missing! Comment below other things you have negotiated for in the past!

Stay tuned for my next post on Sunday: "5 Super Simple Crockpot Meals for Tech Week".

Much love always,

Chels 💜


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