Lo/No Pay Films

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Having just browsed the current batch of jobs advertised on this site, it struck me that some of you may not be aware of how much Equity set as the rates for filming, and may be tempted by what might, at first, seem like decent pay, but in fact is below Equity minimum.

    As professional actors, we should all know what we're worth according to the industry standard. I won't deny that it's every person's right to choose how they value themselves, and therefore accept work which is effectively low pay, especially if it is a project where everyone is on the same rate of low/no pay, because it's a company at the beginning of their career, and it's a worthwhile project.

    BUT, if you don't know what you ought to be paid, then how can you make that decision, except from a position of ignorance? And sadly, if too many decent enough actors accept work from a company that does know better (not that I'm suggesting that any company that advertises breakdowns on this site is doing that, of course!) and is, in fact, 'pulling a fast one', then that company is unlikely ever to offer full Equity rates, because it know it can get 'slave' labour.

    And so, anyone who does accept that work should do so in the full knowledge that they are pushing the knife that little bit further into the back of this profession.

    Get wise! - Equity publishes the rates on its website - www.equity.org.uk, although you do need to be a member to access them. However, if anyone needs to know what the rates should be for a particular job, then PM me and I will try to help (it's a little complicated sometimes!).

    Better still JOIN EQUITY and find out for yourself.

    We can't just blame the companies that attempt to get actors to work for lo/no pay in order to boost their greedy profits, until ALL professional actors realise what they SHOULD be earning and say NO to being exploited.

    GET WISE!!!!

    • 2nd Mar 2008
    • 4640
    • 41
  • Alice Brockway

    Actor

    I want to raise the same question here that I did the last time rates of pay were raised.

    How is a young/inexperienced actor meant to get noticed for paid work when companies who offer pay appear to look predominantly/exclusively at people with showreels/experience etc you can only get from working if they have to wait for paid work?

    (Did anyone follow that?)

    The point is it's a massive Catch-22 created by the fact that the market is absolutely saturated. You can dig your heels in and be determined never to do anything for less than minimum but then you run the risk of ending up doing bugger all, of just waiting for the phone to ring. We all know it has little to do with how good you are, how hard you work or how much you wish to support union policy (which I do). We all know it's got far more to do with the usual things - what you look like, who you know and being in the right place...

    I have a showreel now, I've worked hard for it, but it's entirely from UNPAID work. Judging from the views it has got on this site it's doing the trick, but I am well aware that I have gone against union policy to get it. I would love to have been paid but never got the chance - and believe me, I tried!

    This is the reality. If Equity can come up with a way to solve this problem then I'm sure no-one will ever work for free again.

    IF...

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 1
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Student filmakers are sceaming out for decent actors to portray a miriad of interesting and sometimes challenging roles so there are many opportunities for new &/or inexperienced to get camera time and showreel material.

    Commercial companies who flaunt the Equity agreed rates for their acting talent to maximise there profits are the scourge of this industry and the only way this practise will end is to make a stance and vote with our feet!

    There is one Major feature film production (Orlando Bloom is the lead...look it up!)asking for extras on facebook right now and blatently flouting the Equity agreed rates!

    If you work on any commercial project and agree to a reduced rate you obviously undervalue your talent and undermine everything Equity has been fighting for!

    It all comes down to respect! Respect by producers for the skill and talent you, as actors, bring to their project and ultimately self-respect!

    Make a stand! We is a much stronger term than I!

    ForbesKB

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 2
  • Katharine Kavanagh

    Actor

    I agree Forbes - if you're working on a student film, everyone is in the same boat, and you are all helping each other out, gaining experience, and future contacts. As long as you pick your roles wisely, I reckon this is the best way to develop showreel material until something more lucrative comes along. We don't just want to be playing into the 'actors are 10 a penny so will do it for free' crowd - if anything, it suggests that the overall production may not be particularly great quality, as they care less about the skills and abilities of those they 'employ'.

    I could rant for ages, but it's all been said on these pages and others many times before.

    If we don't value and support oursleves, how can we expect the rest of the industry to do it for us?

    xx

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Well said ForbesKB.

    And just to add I don't have a problem with student films or groups of creative friends who get together to make a short film out of their own pockets, where not one single person is being paid, and all involved are giving their time for free, to create a showcase of their work. Be they students or very recent graduates.

    But as soon as a project is being done were some people are being paid but not actors then we should put our foot down and as Forbes says vote with our feet. Equity staff and Equity members who are more involved with the union go to a lot of time and trouble to negotiate decent pay and conditions. So it needs the help of each and every one of us not to undermined the minimum standards set by our trade union Equity.

    Also another thing to bear in mind here is we should stop being victims. Recent graduate filmmakers want showcases just as much as recent graduate actors. So a group of actors could certainly get together advertise on shooting people for a camera operator, sound person and editor. Pool together a bit of their own money and produce a decent show reel all involved could be happy with. After all it can take months if not years to get enough footage together from all those student/no pay films. So why not be in the driving seat, get together with friends and produce your own showreel.

    Cheers

    TRACEY

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 4
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I absolutely agree that professional actors should not do films made by companies making a profit out of not paying the going rate. And if they are offering no pay (when all the crew are being remunerated at the appropriate rate), then you know for sure that this is below the going rate (doh!).

    BUT, there are jobs advertised on this site, and others, that initially look like good money, if you don't know any better.

    The point I am trying to make is that each and every professional actor on this site should know what Equity minimum rates are for any job, because how do you know if you're being short-changed if you don't know what you ought to be earning?

    So I repeat JOIN EQUITY and find out what you're really worth.

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 5
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    This issue has been raised many times on here, with no result of any consequence.

    Taking part in an independent or student lo/no is entirely upto the individual. I've brought up, a few times, that maybe a limit should be set to how many films a film-maker is allowed to produce at a no/lo rate, which would seem a airer solution.

    But bear in mind, while we whine and mona about how bad it is to work for less than equity minimum, it doesn't stop the same people complaining about it doing reality TV competitions for, what's that again? "No Pay" I mean talk about double standards!

    So you're not very professional or have no value on your worth, if you do these lo/no's? Hmmm tell that to George Clooney, his Oscar nomination this year must have really knocked him for six and the value of his craft diminished, infact? He must be suicidal at his lack of professionalism!

    Most commercials are buyouts too now, produced by the same companies that bring you BB, Maria, The Salon etc... Once you got around £5-10,000 with royalites on top, but the same people who complain about irrelevent issues such as lo/no flock for them too, as they're "above" equity rates!

    Stallone in 1974 was offered $350,000 for his screenplay of Rocky from Fox, he turned them down as they wanted a mainstream "known" actor to play the lead. Stallone decided he'd lived in poverty long enough that a few more months wouldn't hurt and financed the movie himself, everyone was on referred pay, including Burgess Meredith, with an Oscar win for best picture and a gross of $100,000,000 in it's first year, I wonder if Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers or Burt Young wondered whether they did the right thing?

    Don't confuse film wages with theatre runs, for a start, you get a one off payment for a film as technically you only perform it once, it's a fast turnover, and the low budget ones can work around your schedule if they want you involved. As a theatre run involves performing the same show over and over you get taxed at a weekly rate as it's classed as a regular income.

    We throw the word professional around when we don;t like something, personally I have found that the professionalism and dedication that goes into "any" work shouldn't be judges on how much you're getting per week, that's what makes you professional, being professional and being "a professionl" are two different things.

    If you don;t wish to be involved in lo/no's that entirely your perogative, but remember when you're too "professional" to entertain a the notion of takng part in one, that it may just be the next Rocky, Halloween or Friday the 13th (I won't list them all it'd be longer than this post), personally I take on roles based on their content and screenplay, they don't always turn out to be what you expect but that's the chance you take, but I'd a good role against good pay 5 times out of 10 because you never know what's going to come out of it. The director could be the next Speilberg and come knocking at your door with a screenplay a few years down the line, the chance is really too much to miss. I'd rather be doing that than parading myself "for free" in a reality thing, but that's because I'm professional.

    There'd be more work and dramas with decent money to audition for if the so called professionals amongst us, stopped supporting cheap television and made "their own" film.

    Students need to learn, so why not offer your experience to help them? Young independant filmakers are 10 a penny these days, but 1 in 10 will have a script that's worth it's weight in gold, so don't put them down for wanting the best possible actors for the roles, take it as a compliment that they're coming to this site for professionals rather than scouring the streets for wanabes and more importantly, don't treat their requests of lo/no referred pay with snobbery, as that's what it is, simply snobbery, and that's not very professionla if you ask me.

    Kenny

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 6
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    I was a member of Equity for many years, and stopped my subscriptions for personal reasons.

    If you want to make an equity recruitment post then call it Equity Recruitment.

    Equity minimum works out around £60 per day, thereabouts, and doesn't include accomodation or travel. A low budget may offer you £30 a day, put you up for the duration, feed you and cover travel expenses, which actually works out more than equity minimum.

    I understand where you're coming from, yet you condone people attending the Nancy auditions, so it really comes across as double standards as, forgive me for saying, you don't get paid for doing the show and only one person is offered a role, but then Lloyd Webber would see you sing so you're hankerring for a chance at a future role in something else just incase you don't win. So, that said, isn't it exactly the same as doing a lo/no film? Again it isn't theatre it's a one of contract that may be beneficial if it's successful, so I don't really see your point. It's fine to do reality shows for no pay but not ok to do a film for a deferred payment based on profits?

    If this is Equity standards and practices nowadays, then I am glad I am no longer a member.

    You're only as good as your last performance, your next job is warrented and rewarded for that last performance, not all well paid work is necessarily "good" work and a good script is worth more in this business than any rate of pay. I'd rather have a good balance of variety in my CV than wait for a good paid contract that isn't very good.

    A wage doesn't make you an actor and being paid well or being affiliated to an actors union doesn't make you professional. It's your conduct, determination, uniqueness, talent and skill that put's you apart from the rest and that get's you the jobs. In 2 years time your dream role may be advertised, but they'll have read this post as they're, at present, a struggling producer/director/film-maker who doesn't take too kindly at your comments regarding their worth, value or professionlaism.

    There's an old saying in this business, be careful who's toes you tread on on the way up, because they might just tread on yours when you're going back down!

    Join Equity, by all means, they're a good union who do have good intentions, but not necessarily your best interests when you ponder and think who you may be working for in a few years time.

    Don't get clouded with the issue of wether or not you're professional if you take a lo/no, if it's a good script and you get a good vibe from it, Go For It! You never know where it'll take you.

    Peace out

    Kenny

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 7
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Annie, yet another good point well made.

    Contracts are never simple and straightforward. There is not just a daily or weekly rate to consider. There are also repeat fees, over time, holiday pay, overnight etc. so always brilliant to be able to contact Equity staff and call on their wealth of knowledge.

    Kenny I note with interest you are not an Equity member. If you were you would know that a great deal of workers goes on all the time by Equity staff and proactive Equity members to improve pay and conditions. Saffron Burrows is certainly proud to be an Equity member. Plus the finalists in " Maria" etc were paid and employed on Equity contract thanks to the staff at Equity.

    Cheers

    TRACEY

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 8
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Tracey? I Was Member of Equity, I am well aware of what goes on behind the scenes, I'm also aware that I've been paying 30% more tax per year thanks to them.

    Ok, ok, we get dole money now because of it, but then you'd get it if you paid voluntary contributions which acually worked out less, I've had this arguement with Alan Brent, yet we manage to remain friends with it.

    Not everything Equity does is beneficial to the idustry it's meant to support. At one time it was a very closed shop with only those coming from accreditted drama schools getting any work, this is what forced independant film-makers to do what they do in the first place, it offered work to those who couldn't get any, it was the only way you could get an Equity card if you couldn't afford to attend Rada and the like, so bravo independents!

    And before you damgae the credibility of ALL independent film-makers, please bear in mind that Speilberg, Copolla, Lucas and Scorsese were all independents, because The Screen Actors Guild in America had the same hold on their industry as Equity did here, but for the benefit of us Brits, Michael Winner was also an Independent!

    The basic wages, ok regarding Commercials and Musicians pay less now than they did 15 even 20years ago, I'm aware musicians have their own union, but still, instigating a minimum wage hasn't been beneficial in this concern, why pay an actor royalties or a several thousand pound buyout for a commercial when all they have to do is pay them £60 for a days work? Yeah that worked out well, no wonder a £200 buyout looks prosperous nowadays, 15yrs ago you'd be paying off half your mortgage now you can have a night out on it.

    Instead of slamming talent that're wanting to enlist professionals to make their project the very best it can be, wouldn't it be more prudent of Equity to protest against ALL public voted reality shows, as it's exploitation at it's worst?

    If indeed Equity secured the final 10 girls in Maria with minimum wage, I would wonder how the other girls felt that their interests weren't covered either? Afterall they were there for half of the show, maybe they didn't deserve paying?

    Equity have a list of guidelines, but that's what they are, some of these have been passed into rulings, such as equity minimum wage and additional income tax on earnings when working a weekly income, and the field is very split on whether they're a good or bad thing.

    I'm not attacking your beliefs in this matter, but what I've said isn't fabricated, it's not secret. And just because some of us believe that professionals shouldn't do lo/no work

    doesn't make them right. Need Before Greed, that isn't to say that some of these lo/no companies aren't exploiting actors, there are guerilla film-makers that make about 16 a year.

    And me not being a member of Equity doesn't make me wrong either, I was once a staunch supporter of Equity for many years and respect the institution still, but don't quote guidelines in here when making a personal point.

    Somebody get a bee in their bonnet because they think some of the jobs advertised on here hold no worth, then use snobbery and a narrow view of Equity standards to mock those film-makers that are trying to establish themselves, these are your future British Equity Directors and Producers and you're letting them know they're not fit to advertise for talent on this site.

    That's plain snobbery, derogatory, prejudiced and very very wrong.

    In a few years time, when Equity have realised that we have to encourage new talent in this industry if we honsetly wish for the British Film Industry to be great once more, remember this thread, and whilst you're between jobs and these guys who're looking for OUR help now (we don't have to take the jobs, but surely check the script, your availability and the fine print before simply dissmissing it) are earning their 3rd bafta nomination, remember why a role you're ideal for keeps passing you over. While you're sat at home bored to tears or doing a temp job breaking even while waiting for another minimum wage contract you'll notice in a section of The Stage that Forbes KB is the new Bond Villain Directed by the very guys you're telling people aren't professional. It's certainly a thought isn't it?

    Anyway we all have our own views and who's to tell you what's right or wrong? Yet the world keeps turning, and us on it, I'd rather be open to possibilites with the freedom to chose the roles I like, isn't that what we all want in the end? The Choice?

    Seems to me there's some very narrow-minded and wierd views on how we should attain that freedom to choose, and who we should work with along the way to get there!

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 9
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    I'm sorry, Kenny, but you're wrong in your figures.

    The Basic Studio Fee is £100 per day or £500 per week. Overtime is paid after 15 minutes of any part hour at an hourly rate.

    Theatre pay is $381 per week until April when it rises to £450 per week at a basic levle. All negotiated by Equity to encompass Equity and Non Equity members alike. Still not perfect. But with West End shows making such massive profits they should be paying a minimum of £550 per week soon.

    Low Budget films are classed as films that have a budget of less than £1,000,000. Micro budget films are less than £100,000.

    No budget films are less than £20,000.

    Those are the 'official' classifications.

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 10
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    I support everyone who is an Equity member for the very fact that every actor should sdupport the only union that will ensure that actors don't submit to the abuse employers have been attempting to subject us to ever since Maggie Thatcher banned the closed shops.

    She intended to bring in the worst form of capitalism. The one where Business meant more than People's Rights. After all, Business was what supported her the same a George W Bush is all for America's business and has dragged that country down a long and very dark path!

    Equity, against all the odds, has made the lives of its members AND non members a damn sight better in so many ways that I cannot for the life in me understand how you can be 30% worse off, Kenny.

    Wages for theatre work has increased above inflation for three years on the trot. But not all theatre companies are working on Equity/TMA contracts. It is up to the actors to support the deals by joining the union. Not stepping away and saying 'What has Equity done for me?' If every actor was in Equity the employers would be facing a total closed shop once again. But in this case the selfish ones will still not pay the minimum subscription of £7.80p per month to get all of the benefits on top of the legal support, wage negotiations, support for troubled tours, insurance for injury, and personal liability insurance that individually costs more than the whole subscription itself.

    Don't limit your thinking to minor issues. There are far more major isasues to be faced. Do it on your own and you could be screwed over a million times. Do it together with informed and qualified support and you should go further much faster.

    Although we are still mates I will never support your ill informed judgment on that issue.

    Alan

    • 27th Feb 2008
    • 11
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Am I still right in saying, that after you're first year with Equity, that you're asked to pay 10% of your annual earnings? After 2 lots of Income Tax that we're now required to pay, and if you're lucky to make savings on your fiscal year, let's say you mades £25,000 that year, you're now expected to pay £2,500 to remain a member? Not only that (it may have been 5%, but on top of agents fees the new tax and crap it was still a lot top ask above and beyond the £7.80 a month, ot £7 a month it was when I decided enough was enough)

    Like I've mentioned enough times I am aware of what Equity are trying to do, but it's not all that cut and dry!

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 12
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Hmmm that's strange I posted a comment prior to this one and it's not been posted yet!

    Basically the £60 a day was a guesstimate (it's £65 a day), Commercials don't fit into the catagory of theatre nor studio so seem to have found a loophole, and that's just it. For all the good you're actually trying to do, you're just making new advances in loop holes to bring our craft further down into depreavity.

    It's now become a public ritual of demoralization by audition live, and relying on public votes to get anywhere in this business, yet you stand by that adn your principals rather than merriting those that're actually trying to make something of themselves adn paying less money, rather than giving exposure and none? It makes no sense whatsoever.

    Let's look back a bit. It used to follow suit that the Musicians union followed Equity (true fact) that that was the basis of how we should be treated blah de blah etc and so forth. So bands were being paid £150 to £300 a gig (45mins to an hour) up until 1974-76. This was on a parr with the Equity standards of the time.

    With the late 70's - early 80's, there was some kind of bill passed for presenters and newsreaders getting a similar deal. With this bill passed vocalists were given (a year or so later) a better deal as rights were cheaper for "paying" for a track to be backed against deemed it unnecessary to have a band behind you meaning you could undercut the competition and make more money for yourself!

    In the mid 90's Equity launched an equal rights campiagne (basically stating that it's members and other actors had as much right to "The Dole" as any other worker, it took a couple of years but by late 1997 a bill was processed and by 1999 we have the same rights as fishermen, paying 3.8% (at the time) more than any PAYE worker for the same right, whereas if you'd simply paid voluntary NI then you'd actually be paying less. The same, at the time, can be said about prisons, we were that hell bent on making a prison (an actual place where we send a fellon to reside to make them think about what they'd done! A better place than 35% of it;s inmates had come from initially! No this isn't an Equity problem, it's just the country as a whole letting a bunch of housekeepers and priests, telling the governement at the time, what should and shouldn't be! Point being it's no different from any other establishment saying what's right without due thought to the end result!) a better place to be?

    So? The springboard effect of how to make entertainment, came with the Japanese invention of the Karaoke, a pre-paid rights evaluated of the future, adnd with it came "non-professionals" that only had to buy the kit, press buttons and charge half the price "Offering 7 nights a week entertainment" then the cost of a professional singer depreciated even more, and with it the need for musicains completely!

    That was in the late 80's early 90's, but actors soon followed, ( I mentioned there's a knock-on or "springboard" effect, it seemed now that rather than leading at this point Equity was follwing suit) and so in 1994 the first main-stream televised singer search was launched (not true as ealry as 1956 music producers were manufacturing bands but this was the first public voted version) in the guise of "Wanted: Popstars" a show that made a household name of Nasty Nigel, later known as "Popstar" a sequel was made looking for a band (forget Steps and Spice Girls, Boyzone and NSync (they were done privately)) the nasty image was popular and Simon Cowell has soon made a career out of it! (not ignoring he'd alredy made a name and profit of being a great music producer beforehand, he simply jumped on the bandwagon, as anyone would, and let the TV audience pay for the privaledge) prior to this trend was an already tried and quickly tested "stars in their eyes" Normal everyday people with a dream of sounding exactly like their heroes, Once that was established and Popstars had aired, they tried it with normal everyday people (they'd done this for years on game shows, documentaries and the like on a BBC budget already but realised a profit could be made from it) on Big Brother, a cutting edge reality show produced ad editted in such a way that the public were glued to the sets and voting for their favourite before they realised that a standard 10p a min phone call was now £1.50 yet they didn't bat an eyelid over it!

    So how did Equity stop leading the way and start following suit? Quite simply, it's members or rather potential members (those as yet not affiliated and it's eagerness to adopt them as quickly as possible whilst showing it's been there for them all along!) now back such TV ventures as if it's a natural course of events.

    I'm not taking a particular dig at anyone specific with this post, having been at one time, both a member of Equity and the Musicians Union, I've never seen this course as progression, nor even a step or two back, but more over, an unappriciation for the professionals in this industry. And how I've seen the sheer speed of the flaws appear in their admiration for this genre when it stands for everything it used to be against! It's not moving with the times, it's using a craze to it's advantage.

    I guess my point is, in the battle to quell lo/no productions, a battle that Equity have fought over for as long as it's been active! You've allowed an even worse commodity to raise it's head, and what's worse? You've embaraced it! The same guidelines you introduced many years ago, paved they way having vocalists without bands to karaoke presenters, then gripping dramas to reality crap! Let's face the issues that's relevant to all us actors and film-makers, together, let's not argue about what makes us different, at the end of the day, the mass majority (not all) of film-makers make lo/no budget films because the work simply isn't there anymore and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise just why this is. So being Non-Equity (at this moment) how can we all come to an agreement that will benefit the acting profession as a whole?

    Thanks, sorry it's long again

    Kenny

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 13
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Please excuse the typo's in the last posting, I know Campaign has no e, I'd writen "campaign ,however, ( etc etc )"

    Unfortunately the original didn't upload and the secondary seems to have gaps!

    Anyway Alan? The 30% NI contributions I lost were ontop of what I was already liable for plus those I was already paying for to enable myself to claim "dole" if I needed so yeah I did find myself feeling a little annoyed, though I never looked at what Equity could do for me, up until that point I believed in everything thay stood for, and still do to some degree!

    But I realised it "was" more for it's members than the industry in general, and that's my greivence

    Sorry

    Kenny

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 14
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    I kinda knew about the low budget films, stemming from an American Lobby post regarding $2,000,000 as a low budget, which almost makes it between $950,000 to £1.2Million on a global economical scale with a cause for variation.

    I was kind of right with the £60 per day, though I did state it was thereabouts, and unfortunately a "commercial" doesn't fall into studio rates (the loophole that not all commercials are shot in studios) as it is still calssed as a short film where there is NO weekly wage, so it can literally call it's wage as it sees fit. I suppose, thankfully, that most commercials offer a £200 daily allowance, but in frankness isn't the £5,000 plus royalties allowance that was in essence, in effect beforehand!

    In seeing "fit" to change things for the better (in other words seeing that actors are (rightly) represented and treated right in a fiscal sense) Equity has managed to make way, for certain companies, to find loopholes in the law, to see that their work is contributed for the best, for less.

    The same way that selling indidual rights at a small fee made way for solo (unsigned) vocal artistes can make more money in a club than a Band, by adopting backing tracks as a suitable and cheaper replacement to musicians, and then again, by "paying" karaoke hosts to deliver a nights entertainment at a cheaper rate than a solo vocalist.

    I guess the point is, Equity is bestowing (and quite fairly rightly so) rules on what is correct.

    But for every rule that's made without full thought for it's consequence, there's a loop hole found and a price (or worth) diminished.

    Finding a cheaper solution to a band wasn't the answer, that's been proven! And neither is banning independent film-makers. The reason finance isn't there for these guys is because so much money is being put into "Reality TV" and everyone thinks of it as revolutionary. It isn't, it cheapens our profession and puts a stranglehold on the new Speilbergs of this industry, forcing them to find other avenues to make their name.

    I'm not saying it's right, which is why I am not discredtting your beliefs in this matter, but it isn't the right approach. I don't quite know what is, but this is an "actors" board for discussion, and that's what we're trying to accomplish. If we're too biggotted enough, to stick to our views, and not come up with a solution then we'll fail as an industry and profession. That isn't to say films won't be made, but it seems we're trying to compare ourselves to America, so why? They have 10 times and more than our mere population and 20 times more performers in total, there's no need to service the world, television gave the option to the TV audience, rather than force our will on them, let's come up with a new DRAMA series that'll make them watch us and come to our theatres, don't adopt the US culture of exploiting our profession of seeing us compete for nothing while forcing them to pay for the privaledge in phone votes.

    3.5 billion watch TV in America, but did you know only 20million tunes in to vote for American Idol? If you want percentages how's about this, 40% of British households don't have satelite TV, so why polute what they do have with mind numbingly boring or pro active (fiscal talking here) reality shows, leave it for satelite where it belong, where there's more choice for watching something else?

    Point being? Money, they want more than your ringing in to vote for daytime tv shows'with simple questions like "Queen's frontman, Freddie Mercury died, which band did he sing for? was it a) Prince Charles. b) Princess Anne, or c) Queen?"

    I appreciate what Equity is trying to do foe it's members, but what's more importnat? It's members paying their yearly subscriptions? Or putting the acting community first, and putting an actual stop to the real exploitation that's happening out there? We pride ourselves on our culture adn damn other countries for their allowance of guns per household (just 1 point from many) yet the percentage of people that carry guns in the likes of America are "less" than the percentage of people that carry guns in the UK. That's an actual fact, we get blinded by figures but 3.5 billion people live there, 5.7 "adults" (that's 18 and over not 16) live in the UK, the government won't issue number per ratio just number per growth, hence we get a better allowance for everything wrong in this country.

    I digress, the point is about British actors, what we deserve and what our worth is. At present we're not worth very much if we open the industry to every Tom Dick and Sally on the street willing to make a fool of themselves for nothing. while we slave away at our craft and persecute those trying to make a difference.

    Anyway I am sick of trying to defend myself on this subject. What's more important is maybe have a referendum on what we as actors want, what we feel is right or wrong, hold that to a vote and then, maybe, we can make some headway in this debate.

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 15
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    I'd like to apologise to CCP members for my recent comments, although I stand by them, this isn't a forum for forcing opinions on people, and if it belongs anywhere, they should be in the "Rants and Raves" section.

    There's an awful lot of bigotry of what we should and shouldn't do as actors and film-makers and, as less and less "conventional" opportunities come our way, isn't it only fair that we make some of our own to compensate?

    Being taught at RADA doesn't make you a better actor and being affiliated with an actor's guild doesn't make you more professional. If a student or independent film-maker is advertising for actors on an actors website, it's because they want the best for their project and shouldn't be taken as insulting, we're supposed to pass on our experience but I agree, measures should be made, to stop a small percentage of groups, that make nothing but lo/no productions, from exploiting the actors for personal gain.

    Equity is a fine establishment and it's chair people, like Alan Brent, work tirelessly to create a better working environment for this profession and should be applauded. I have nothing but respect and admiration for their work, but it doesn't mean that everything they do is right either, however good the intention.

    Sorry again for the previous novels

    Kenny

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 16
  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    Basically do yoru research and find out if you are being paid the fair rate :)

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 17
  • Leila Reid

    Actor

    wow that took a while to read, but the point is that everyone says join equity but most actors who are starting out can't afford it and it's either that or spotlight and spotlight seems that it might be more useful and plus an agent is more likely to take you if you have experience then if you just send them your head shot and say yeah i'm hard working.

    I do low budjets mainly to increase the body of work behinde me but I would rather do them then not be doing anything at all.

    Also I don't know what the minimum rate of pay is and it isn't easy to find on the equity website the only way that it will get sorted out is that if actors are included in the national minmum wage and producers want actors to work for free then they should put out a casting call for volenteer actors.

    Finally when you do no/low pay has any else notice low the crew get paid fully and that they are not taking a pay cut?

    leila xox

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Equity really isn't very expensive £7.92 a month paying by direct debit really isn't very much, and when someone doesn't pay you or your agent decides to withhold your money for weeks on end it's then that Equity is worth every penny. If you really can't find an extra £7.92 a month why not try drinking fewer coffees, or less wine or giving up smoking. It's very easy to find ways to, economised and if you want any longevity in this industry you certainly have to become expert at money juggling.

    If you can't find the minimum rates of pay on the Equity website this may be because you are not a member and the rates are in a members only area. Or possibly the particular minimums you're looking for haven't been put on the website yet. If you have any trouble finding information on the Equity website please don't hesitate to ring the staff at Equity that's what they're there for. They really don't bite they are keen to help and many of the staff such as Tim Johnson who is the area organiser for my Midlands region are incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and kind.

    And as Rebecca so rightly says "Basically do yoru research and find out if you are being paid the fair rate" I think this is the simple point Annie who started this thread was just trying to make.

    Sadly it's got somewhat hijacked by Kenny's "one-man show" which is a shame, as I know the very first post made by Annie is well worth taking on board.

    Cheers

    Tracey

    • 28th Feb 2008
    • 19