How Important is Equity compared to years ago.

Alex Walton
Alex Walton
Actor

Hi,

I am about to return from tour to live and work in London.

I am going through the usual setting up profiles again, and got to Equity, and I'm not sure if it's needed.

How important is it to be a member?

Does it limit opportunities not to have it?

Thanks for any advice. Klarke


  • 6 years ago
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Fiz Marcus
Fiz Marcus
Actor

Beth, I can only reiterate what you have said, both about the W&SW branch where Andrew and Daniel are doing really great things to get members involved and in particular younger members, and also about the benefits of belonging to Equity. I am not going to reiterate the benefits which Nigel and many others have already clearly stated. I have needed them twice over the last 10 years or so and they have supported me and seen that I got money owed to me. As for the cost, I pay by monthly direct debit it's just under £9 a month. I reckon it is 9 quid which I could easily have spent on coffees or a couple of drinks per month. If you are not a member,join it's your union and you should be proud to be a member.


  • 5 years ago
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Stephen Moriaty

Emma, it wasn't anger but maybe late night sarcasm however the principle remains the same. I suggest you have a good look at Equity's website to see all the benefits.


  • 5 years ago
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Ellis J. Wells

[Post has been deleted]


  • 3 years ago
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K.c. Flanagan

Hi fellow actors,

I can definitely see the benefits of joining but wish that the membership rules were a little more helpful.

It appears I can only join Equity if I can prove income in excess of £500 which hampers (and therefore does not protect) actors earning less than that amount. As I didn't attend a recognised drama school, it would appear that there are only two realistic options available to me in order to obtain membership.

1. Wait until I secure a contract.
2. Receive an invitation to join from a registered member.

Until then, despite being a Spotlight registered actor, I'm working unprotected. Surely, a paid-up membership fee should be sufficient irrespective of income or education?

Any advice (or invitation!) would be welcomed.

Thanks

KC x


  • 3 years ago
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Terri-Ann Brumby

Any professional working/jobing actor who is not with Equity in my opinion is nuts - being with Equity by far justifies the subscription fee - as mentioned elsewhere here, insurance, help with HMRC, payment, conditions, the list goes on and on. I have been helped by Equity so many times over the years and am so grateful to them. You do have to ask for help/advice though, which maybe some are shy about. I don't know but they are a great organisation in my humble opinion/experience. There is always strength in numbers.
Join Equity- do the thing and have the power.


  • 2 years ago
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Vicki Glover
Vicki Glover
Actor

I think it's worthwhile for the public liability insurance alone. A lot of small-scale touring companies require you to have it, and it's much easier to just be able to say yes, I'm a member of Equity so that's covered :) they've also been extremely helpful recently in a number of cases where employers have been asking actors to send nude photos prior to audition (and a lot more besides!) - it's nice to know that there is someone there to fight your corner. But from a purely business perspective, I have found their public liability insurance invaluable.


  • 2 years ago
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Vicki Glover
Vicki Glover
Actor

Just seen your post, KC - that seems strange; when I joined (back in 2010 or thereabouts), I just had to provide evidence that I had worked on a professional contract (or a couple - can't remember exactly!). I had only very basic professional experience at the time and I think that they accepted community chorus work at the West Yorkshire Playhouse (which is expenses only) as one of my contracts. Have you spoken to them? They are keen to get members so I'm sure they would help you out. The website is a bit of a nightmare to navigate though!


  • 2 years ago
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Matthew Couchman

I agree with the many positives with regard to Equity membership. It is an absolute no brainer. As a sole trader so to speak the public liability insurance is a complete necessity. I have also been requested to show my P.L.I. certificate prior to some contracts.


  • 2 years ago
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Nigel Harris
Nigel Harris
Actor

SAG-AFTRA dues are $206 a year plus 1.575% of professional earnings, so Equity subscription at £125 a year with a £30 joining fee is relatively cheap. What is unfair about Equity subs is that only those earning less than £21,900 pay more than 1% of professional earnings. If you want to change that, or anything else about Equity, the way to do it is to be a member, and take an active part in the union by attending your local branch meetings or even standing for election to the branch committee, or to one of the industrial or specialist committees, or to the Equity Council.
I belong to a co-operative agency, which stipulates that all its members must join Equity and must have Spotlight membership (which is a greater expense). That is the best way for the agency to get us auditions with casting directors and to get us work, which is critical to the agency as its only income is the commission members pay on their professional work.
Emmy, of course you’re entitled to your opinion. But as you can tell from the response your remarks produced, it is naive to think that actors only want to be members of Equity so that we can try to make other actors feel less professional.
You have only been paid as well as you have been by the BBC because of years of hard-won agreements that Equity has negotiated with the BBC. Without Equity, nearly all employers would expect actors (and other Equity members) to work for very low wages or for none at all, or even to pay for the privilege of the experience we gain by working for them. Equity members are all contributing to the running costs of the union that fights to get us decent pay and working conditions. You are not, although you also benefit from the pay and conditions that Equity has won, so that causes resentment. Actors who headline major films and have a public profile are earning enough money to be able to pay their share for the benefits with which Equity has provided them.
But much more importantly, the union’s strength is in solidarity. If we are unanimous, we can say to exploitative employers that unless we are treated with respect and paid adequately and given humane conditions of work (a toilet is not a dressing-room, etc.) none of us will work for them. If that happens, those employers will soon change their tune. But when you advise others that Equity is not worth paying for, you undermine that solidarity, and weaken us all. That also is liable to provoke an angry tone.
In over 40 years of professional acting, it has been my experience that no matter how nice and friendly the people in the management of the company for which you’re working seem to be, as soon as there is an accident and you get hurt, it was entirely your own fault, the company is in no way to blame and certainly won’t be paying you any compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages nor time off work. That’s when it’s helpful to be a member of a Union that will not be deterred by the tens of thousands of pounds that a court case can cost. Ten million pounds of Public Liability Insurance can also come in handy, in addition to accident and backstage insurance (which operates overseas as well as in the UK) providing support if you can’t work due to an accident.
Equity lobbies governments, employers and others on issues of arts funding, agency regulation, National Insurance status of artists, BBC licence fee, entertainment licencing, credits on television, intellectual property rights and many other subjects that affect us. The Equity Benevolent Fund makes grants to members facing financial hardship. Members get free advise on National Insurance, tax, welfare benefits and pensions. Equity’s industrial agreements produce hundreds of thousands of pounds each year in payments for use of members’ work in television, and film re-runs, sales of DVDs, videos and audio recordings. The British Equity Collecting Society distributes funds that come from collective licences negotiated by Equity along with statutory performers’ rights for private copying, rental and other uses across the European Union. It has collected and distributed more than £80million from these sources for film, television and radio performances, and I have recently had over £1,000 from BECS for a film I acted in nearly 30 years ago. That has repaid me for a lot of years of Equity subs, particularly since when I joined in 1976 there was no joining fee, and subs were £40 a year! I’m not dead yet, but Equity pays Funeral Benefit as well, and there’s an Equity pension scheme.
I don’t want to seem angry nor unfriendly to fellow actors, and I respect Emmy for expressing her opinion, but I disagree with it, and wish that all actors would join Equity, because we’re so much stronger when we all pull together, and Equity would be so much stronger if we were all members.


  • 2 years ago
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Taryn Kay
Taryn Kay
Actor

Yes I agree that Equity is very important, I personally would not be without it.
The legal representation is really good too.
Taryn


  • 2 years ago
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Dan Gregory
Dan Gregory
Actor

I agree completely with Ron Harris and after today's news we may need Trade Unions more than ever in a few months time


  • 2 years ago
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Larry Rew
Larry Rew
Actor

A few years ago I lost a couple of front teeth in a domestic accident; a dental plate proved a no-go as it interfered with my diction quite badly and in practice prevented me from doing voiceovers - a major part of my work. A dental-bridge was the answer but the cost was way outside my means. I contacted Equity to see if they had any suggestions (I have been a member since 1965) and they put me in touch with a couple of associated Industry charitable organisations who fully assessed my situation and jointly agreed to help me defray the cost. Without Equity and these associated organisations I would not have been able to continue in the profession. Also I have used Equity-recommended brokers for additional insurance cover when undertaking film and theatre abroad (if not covered by an Equity overseas contract) and for motor insurance as conventional insurance companies will not usually cover travel for working purposes in this profession.


  • 2 years ago
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Charshy Nash
Charshy Nash
Actor

I am in the same boat as KC. I'd love to join Equity but am simply not eligible under their rules. It's a Catch-22: you have to earn £500 with x-months, but you'd never be offered that much work without already being in Equity...

Vicki: I checked the rules myself as I wanted to register, they are very specific to see you are a "working" actor - and roles in commercials, "non-named" parts etc. don't count(!!!) so you are extremely limited in what you can supply as evidence that you are an actor!


  • 2 years ago
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David Laurence

I had a photographic job last year which was for £2,000.00. A rare experience for a man with a face that launched a thousand crime watch programmes . Payment was withheld for 6 months by a photographer , who had already been paid by the end client . In the end I approached equity who gave me advice about this and were in the process of starting the next step of chasing money on my behalf . So I’m that respect I’d say it’s still worth it . Plus if you don’t pay fees and your name came up for grabs like mine did , you might be on the same bill as yourself . I retain my name simply to safe guard that . I don’t need another complication to add to my messy life .


  • 1 year ago
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David Laurence

Oh Ps Emma , people were not being mean to you at all . But simply pointing out the facts of the situation . If you get hurt or are left out of pocket as I was , equity can be a very good source of information and possibly even legal support . PPs Dan Page is a very lovely man , I went to drama school with mr light on his loafers & he always had a smile on his face and a very loud laugh to go along with it . Couldn’t think of a better more suited man to support actors in need.


  • 1 year ago
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Kait Feeney
Kait Feeney
Actor

[Post has been deleted]


  • 8 months ago
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