What are we gonna do about No Pay?

  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    With over 2000 readers on the No pay discussion we now need to work out how to approach this subject and get some response from film makers.

    Let's start to work out a plan of action/ personal statements or suggestions.

    What do you think?

    • 25th Sep 2006
    • 1579
    • 28
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    I think rather than making it another forum debate we simply ask those that want to take part then set up either a persoanl meet to discuss it or an internet network room where we can all take stock that way. It may be easier if we plan and organise a public meet, to get someone from equity, the british film standards commitee and those of similar ilk to attend, only with them there will anything we dsicuss get noticed, they would then either head our cause personally or provide us with the means to create something that will get noticed by the people who can do something about it.

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I'm in guys. Good idea Kenny. Let the "I's" begin from here. Is there someone that would like to contact Equity etc. to see if they would be able and willing to meet with us? That way we can talk dates etc.

    Please everyone give your support. It does affect your futures. Again it's not about: do you or don't you do the work, but rather trying to bring down the increasing numbers of employers paying little or nothing(and at times would appear are able to), stunting your chances of being able to earn a crust and hopefully creating comprehensive/practical ways forward for future employment ethics. A big challenge, yes, but as the saying goes... Rome wasn't built in a day! :0)

    XX Shannon

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 2
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Equity are already actively working on this. It was an issue raised earlier this year. Here is a link to an article originally posted on the Equity journal website. Sadly it's no longer on the Equity site otherwise I'd have pointed you in that direction.

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 3
  • Vicki-Jo Eva

    Actor

    Im in!!! There is an increasingly large amount of jobs where people just won't pay. There are even lots that don't help towards food or travel costs.

    Would love to be able to work without pay, just to get experience. But I have to pay the bills. Surely a little bit of dosh would not go amiss. After all they would expect and would of course get very professional and dedicated work from us.

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 4
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Though I ain't a paid up member of equity anymore, my own reasons, I still receive anf follow the news, Yes they're concentrating on something similar, but not exactly what we're proposing, no offence, so we would need a representative at the meeting.

    Also anyone know anyone from the british film commission and british films standards, we could really do with their ear if not their support.

    Thanks

    kenny

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 5
  • Auday Putrus

    Actor

    count me in

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 6
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thank you Mike for posting that. I had a read of the thread. Your last comment particularly caught me: -

    "I wonder where we'll be in 12 months time?" - I wonder too. A few steps ahead maybe? :0)

    I appreciate that. It was intersting to catch comments from a filmmaker from another perspective.

    Take care xx

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 7
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Ok, I will start this ball rolling, this will appear on a few threads, basically becuase some will be bored with this one however compelling it became.

    I am gonna make a list of all those wishing to take part in something that may or may not change FILM-MAKING for good, it will not abolish no/lo films however, as I believe everyone needs to start somewhaere but it will limit how many get made per film-maker. Those that answer the thread "A Time for Change?" Will be contacted with an email upon replying will be put into a network book so everyone involved can be reached at once, hence taking less time.

    I hope thoise who took an interest in this thread and those especially that want protection from freebie abuse (where payment is mentioned but never gained) will join.

    Thanks

    Kenny

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    "Yes they're concentrating on something similar, but not exactly what we're proposing, no offence, so we would need a representative at the meeting"

    Ermm...sorry...maybe I'm being a bit thick here but how is Equity looking into the whole lo/no paid argument not what you're concentrating on?

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 9
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    After reading the entire thread not including this sub-thread Mike I think you'll understand where I'm coming from

    Kenny

    • 21st Sep 2006
    • 10
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Mike,

    I have read this link with interest, no wonder the present post deosn't seem to bring back any memories, we are talking about an April issue of the equity newsletter which I have reread tonight, and may I say yes, the points you brought to the fore in February (early february I might add) go to show the lack of power equity has on the industry these days. Again I appeal to your better interests, we need an equity representitive here in on this. No offence, I appreciate Rome wasn't built in a day, but I would expect a force like Equity would have done more since February to attack the wall of free commerce more than ytou had done, I think this poll has attratced more interest in fairness.

    Now combined we may be able to pick at the grout, between us the film council and the standards commission we may even knock some bricks down, but it would take a combined effort.

    By all means sit back and wait another 8 to 36 months before equity manage to make a noise big enough for people to hear, but this ain;t the closed shop it used to be, there are two-thirds more non equity actors than equity actors these days, ok it may cost us more to see a show or film but we are here. It's a combined effort that's needed, and with Equity's help, you'll probably get about 3 quarters of us back.

    This ain't pig-headededness, nor arrogance buddy, just simple truth. If we cannot come together on this we both may as well bang our haeds against this free commerce brick wall and not even dint it!

    Night night!

    Kenny

    • 22nd Sep 2006
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Incidentally, when you say that you want a representative there, do you mean someone more senior to the Equity President, Harry Landis, who says

    "We simply love our job and that is why actors accept unpaid work."

    Just asking, like.

    • 22nd Sep 2006
    • 12
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    OK, Kenny, I've read through the discusion so far and a couple of things need clarification for some.

    Firstly, Equity held a symposium on this subject where invitations were sent to all interested parties. It was a one day meeting held in London where we had our representative, Bob Mallow, appearing for Leeds and District. His report back was that everyone seemed to put an opinion but nothing was resolved and no definitive conclusions came from it. I doubt if it was a success from that point of view because there was no follow-up meeting to seek conclusions that we were notified of!

    This means that of the 36000 members no real powerful message went out from that symposium.

    Secondly, although I am a staunch Equity man I do not think that those who either have left Equity or have not yet joined should be left behind when it comes to obtaining their input into this debate.

    THEREFORE it is essential, I believe that we ALL work together, Union or NOT, to resolve this abuse in our working lives. Otherwise we will find that all the work we put into this action will be undermined by a minority who either don't know what we are doing or don't know we are doing it.

    We need an independent Organiser to set up some meetings throughout the country or a co-ordinated plan that encompasses all those who want action.

    The only reason I suggested that all Equity members attend their Branch meeting to push this agenda is that Equity has the ability to advertise this widely and the skillful negotiators to push it through. Members run Branches and Branches run Equity. It is this democracy that works the Union. If enough members fight for the rights of actors then it WILL come to pass. Lethargy will allow the abuse to continue as it has in the past.

    Those non-members can also show support for this by campaigning to local councils, film funders, film makers and casting types.

    The guerilla war of sending in applications to EVERY no pay casting and leaving it to the last sentence to say 'I will not work for no pay. I am a professional actor and my living depends on my fees' will laso bring the message home. If they get 20 replies saying that and they compare the quality of that they have turned down to that they have to work with, surely that message will eventually seep through.

    We must stay solid on this and keep the action going. We must also recruit others to do the same.

    I am happy to attend meetings wherever they take place but I may need a bed for the night if it's more than 200 miles from York!

    Let's get it on!!

    • 22nd Sep 2006
    • 13
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    completely agree Alan, sorry if I am not word perfect, just had a great gig, and celebrated afterwards lol (birthday and all hehehehe!)

    Wasn't suggesting what you had said was wrong, I was referring to Mike, whom I have had pm's with since and he has backed the proposal, end of day was a missunderstanding, it's not the contracts here that are at stake.

    The whole format now isto set in place a registry of al film-makers, and to ensure films cannot take place without a membership (free mind you) and a tally of their work will be made public so we can see who is abusing the no/lo deferred issue.

    If on top of this? We can gain a government legislation that (after student (compulsary) work) they can only make 3 or 4 films of the no/lo genre we can as professionals be able to look them up on this registry and see if they are legitimate.

    Sure this may not be fool-proof

    but with a comments board on how we were treated and how professional they acted we can at least restrict the abuse of the actors for the times to come.

    Thanks

    Kenny

    • 22nd Sep 2006
    • 14
  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    Kenny,

    You should join Equity and think of becoming a representative! The union needs young people like you and the institution would give you more power to obtain what you want.

    Thanks for doing all that, I'm on your side!

    I think it is only a question of the productions including wages as part of the budget. I'm currently working on a low budget film, everyone got paid, and the director was telling me that some fellow film makers asked her why she bothered paying the actors, and she replied: because I respect their work. Isn't she great?! I definitely want to work for her again!

    Where is Clive? This is a battle that he could take on!

    • 23rd Sep 2006
    • 15
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    I tend to agree with Richard here Claire. Your director is a diamond in the rough, unfortunately the echoes of her fellow film-makers leave a lot to be desired.

    I have said from the start I like to help out new directors, I have been involved in a few lowbie films, mostly for expenses only, but I have never been out of pocket. It's the fact that film schools are exploiting what we do by explaining to these kids that actors don't need paying and that there are enough of them willing to work for nothing, now THAT is just wrong.

    I left equity a few years ago before that I was a solid supporter, unfortunately their proposal for JSA caused such a stink that we now pay twice as much NI contributions than any other industry and what for? Just so we didn't have to wait 6 weeks to get our money. Who cares, it was always back paid, if you hadn't the sense to put moeny aside for when you're resting that's your own fault.

    It seems equity seem more intent on forwarding motions that their members want carrying forward rather than taking stock and doing what is right for the industry as a whole. Now it means that myself and everyone else has to pay two types of national insurance to ensure we get our JSA the week after we claim, let's all jump for joy now shall we?

    On top of this if I wish to make my pension a little fatter I have to now pay for 3 types of NI contributions rather than the 2. Does nobody see the mentality of this. And all becuase people didn't want to wait 6 weeks.

    Now the fact that all self employed people have to wait 6 weeks anyway unless they pay voluntary contributions has no impact. I was proud to be a self employed actor, I am still classed as one, but now I have to pay my own stamp as well as a class 2 (or 4) paye stamp, sheesh!

    Now when equity start tackling the real issues and stop toying with trying to keep their present members happy, maybe more and more will come back to the fold.

    Thanks for your comments though, and it's all taken onboard!

    Kenny

    • 23rd Sep 2006
    • 16
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    OK, Kenny. Your point is taken about your situation.

    BUT let's not get off the debate point.

    It has been suggested that a NATIONAL campaign to resolve the antipathy between actors and lo/no pay directors be sorted so that we can get rid of the abuse. That is the crux. Am I right?

    Then we need to start the publicity that will open minds and hearts to the subject and not to lose the direction otherwise we'll be divided and conquered. Remember that actors as we are do NOT have the finances of our targets in this matter and of course they can ignore what we are trying to do if we cannot get all round support. Then we'll end up at square one with the lo/nos in a more powerful position that they started because they will see any failure on our part as a victory for them! (POLITICS)(SPIT!)

    So what is STEP ONE? We know we have the support here on this site. Great! 3000 hits on this debate. So let's start by using tactical applications and pissing off a few no/lo casters. I can always arrange a symposium in Leeds. We have a central location and the newspaper support locally and nationally. Equity will attend in the form of Andy Prodger who is the Deputy General Secretary and TV and Films organiser of the union. However we then need Trading Standards and the other side of the debare to be there too to put their side of the argument.

    Looking at it from a practical point of view: why should they attend? What's in it for them?

    • 24th Sep 2006
    • 17
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Just a side issue about what Kenny raised about NI, and for those that are in the same position. You don't have to pay two sets - you can apply for a deferment of your Class 2 NIC. Look at the HM Revenue & Customs website for further details.

    Back to the thread, I'm watching it with interest, keep up with the good work!!

    • 25th Sep 2006
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    With reference to page 11 of the Equity Magazine it is now in breach of new national minimum wage regulations for film companies to ask actors to work for free.

    I have copied the article from the Equity Mag below.

    Cheers

    TRACEY

    ****************

    Equity is pursuing film companies who advertise acting work but offer no payment. Films organiser Tim Gale monitors casting information services such as PCR and CastNet and despatches a warning letter to any company wanting actors to work for free pointing out that they are breaching national minimum wage regulations. A recent example of Equity action was when a Bolton-based Equity member contacted the union's headquarters about an advertisement asking for extras willing to work for no pay. After contact from Tim Gale they agreed to pay the national minimum wage of £5.05 an hour. Tim comments: "The minimum wage law is clear and has very few exceptions. Film companies simply cannot get people to work for nothing and stay the right side of the law." Tim has emphasised the importance of members themselves staying vigilant.Under the law, Equity itself cannot take a case against an employer breaching the minimum wage regulations, only an employee who has been denied the national minimum wage has the right to take action. For further information, contact Tim Gale on 020 7670 0245 or [email protected].

    • 25th Sep 2006
    • 19