This isn’t a pleasant topic, but it’s an important one to address. Having produced over two dozen productions over the past decade I have had to use the words “You’re Fired” more than once. I have never wanted to fire anyone, nor is it enjoyable, it’s usually a last resort solution that is necessary to the success of a production.
It doesn’t matter if the production consists of volunteers or if everyone is being paid above union scale, you want to hire a team of cast and crew who are committed and invested in the production, even more so if they are not getting paid. A while back I offered an actor a role and he asked me “What’s in it for me?”. He submitted to the casting notice, was fully aware of the scale of the production and the compensation – all the production had to offer was clear. Regardless of his talent I immediately passed on working with him. I went with someone a little less experienced but who wanted to be there because for that production I needed someone whose heart was in the project more than I needed that particular actor’s extra ounce of charisma.
Recently I ran into a problem with a website designer who missed a deadline with no notice. I continued to give him the benefit of the doubt and he continued to miss 2 more deadlines and ultimately I had to do it myself. I knew better than to keep him on when the first deadline was missed but had too much on my plate and wanted to believe this guy would come through. He didn’t. Due to my hesitancy to take proper action ultimately I am responsible for the consequences.
There are many different reasons to fire someone from your production, here are a few I have encountered;
Sometimes people are so eager to get the job they will exaggerate their skill set/experience and won’t know how to do their job properly which can set back the entire production.
Chemistry issues with the cast/crew, sometimes brilliance is packaged in a difficult personality, assess if the friction is worth their contribution.
Missing deadlines, if you are notified prior to the deadline you can give them the benefit of the doubt, if not, move on, they are wasting your time.
Frequently late, this indicates lack of commitment to the production.
Not prepared to work – lines not memorized, equipment forgotten, etc..
Doesn’t follow the rules/take direction – there is a certain code of conduct and usually each productions outlines any specific rules, if they don’t respect the rules, they don’t respect you.
Firing someone is never easy. It is never a good idea to lose your temper and take things out on the other person. Simply let them know that things are not working out and that you have to let them go. You can simply list the reasons why but don’t attack their character. If you want to give someone a chance to improve and give a warning, do it in a pleasant tone if you expect favorable results, let them know you want them to succeed and they will be more inclined to rise to the occasion. If it is a lost cause, don’t take it out on them, take responsibility for making the wrong choice.
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