Antic Disp. - Wilde Play @ Jermyn St.

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    There was a 'job' ad placed on CCP today which caught my eye and then took my breath away. Great Play, very good Central London 'showcase' venue, good parts up for grabs. And then of course there's the "pay". It seems that with Antic Disposition whoever they are that gone are the days of "Profit Share". Yes "Profit Share" - that amorphous term that in many attempts over a a number of years at good venues and sometimes with good Plays, never once delivered a penny in "profit". However, Antic Disp are now not even offering the miniscule prospect of even that. £200 - flat fee for 4 weeks performing and what, at least 2-3, more like 3-4 weeks Rehearsals. £200 for up to 8 weeks work. That's £25 PER WEEK. That's little over £3 PER DAY. How much is Travel going to cost the Actor on this? Lost earnings from non-Acting work? How much will rent/mortgage/bills/life cost over this period when £3 a day will be earnt? I know the Jermyn St Theatre is crazily expensive to hire and that making a profit there is tough beyond belief, but really. Not even the chance to off-set huge lossed with the tiny possibility of Profit Share? And the worst thing is, there will be dozens if not hundreds of Actors who will bite their hands off for the chance. Guys, if things are EVER going to get better instead of worse when you thought they couldn't get any worse, then we really do have to look at how prostituting ourselves for so little/no money, whether it be £50 per day (or simialr sums) on a Corporate or Short Film or frankly whatever, how working for such morally terrible and fiscally unsustainable wages/pay can be of any benefit really to us and our careers and therefore the Industry in general. Equity are there to help if they can although they are a weaker Union now than they were, but really, we have to take responsibility for our careers now, even when we are so keen to "make it" as Actors, by not and never accepting work that will end up costing us so much money rather than paying us for our talents and services. I'd love to know how Antic Disp and anyone else can justuify such payment terms I really would. Me? If I couldn't afford to a lot more to my Actors, then the show wouldn't happen or I'd carry on looking for funding to make sure I could. When even the possibility of some sort of proper pay in the form of "profit share" goes out of the window then what levels are Actors now stooping to in order to further their careersis my question.

    • 6th Feb 2007
    • 3830
    • 41
  • Emma Burn

    Actor

    I agree. Antic Disposition are a pretty big company and I think its awful that they are only offering £200 for the whole rehearsal and performance time.

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 1
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Yeah, I saw this, read it and then guffawed in derision! How can people justify this? Oh, I forgot, we do it for the LOVE of it - never mind that we have bills to pay, have to eat and clothe ourselves - and we should be GRATEFUL for people even giving us £3 a week - imagine, the chance to ACT - oh be still my beating heart!

    I'd rather sit in a tank full of scorpions thanks.

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 2
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I think the mistake made here is posting this as a paid job. This clearly isn't paid, the £200 is towards expenses ( and as has been pointed out, this wouldn't even cover travel over such a protracted period). However, just because Antic Disposition has put on plays before and has a website it doesn't mean it is a "big company". It looks to me more like people being proactive and trying to get productions off the ground with no funding, to which I say "three cheers". They are the people taking the risk in terms of production costs. Clearly they are expecting people to be working during the day and rehearsing in their spare time. The unhappy truth about putting on large cast, non-funded plays in decent venues in London is that there isn't likely to be a lot of profit. I would agree that it would look a lot less "scandalous" if they had offered a share of profits once production costs had been met together with an offer of a flat fee of £200 towards expenses. This would then feel less exploitative. But if they had done this, the likelihood is that it would end up with exactly the same amount of money in the actors' pockets.

    As I say, my objection to this particular posting is that it ended up in the "paid work" section. "Paid" it ain't!

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 3
  • Chris Timms

    Actor

    On the issue of paid vs non-paid, we recently introduced a 'low pay' option to cover instances where cash was available but not at any substantial rate (i.e. not enough to constitute paid work). This job has fallen under under low-pay, rather than paid.

    However, it is certainly true that in this case the 'pay' is simply expenses and nothing more and I therefore agree that the listing is misleading. Apologies for this.

    Just wanted to post to say that while this rarely happens, in future we'll keep a closer eye on jobs where cash is offered, but actually equates to expenses in order to provide members with a much clearer idea of the job. We are also introducing much tighter policy for getting adequate information in postings which should also help...

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 4
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Hi Helen,

    Take your point but why didn't they explain it - if that is indeed the case - instead of placing the call in the way they did. It immediately puts people off - well, it put me off anyway.

    Cheers

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 5
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    hi all

    i've just applied for this gig. as someone just out of training and keen to get a credit to my name the piece has great appeal as does the venue but i did have the same disappointment when i saw the meagre offering for so many weeks work. so lets say im one of the few naive beings to apply with risk of having my talents exploited and lets say i get an audition do i really want to go along? this discussion thread has made me think twice i'm glad i checked the green room as so often i feel im scrambling around in the dark trying to get my acting career started and im not sure how i should expect to be treated or paid.

    so anyone got any opinions about what a newby should do in this situation? walk to rehearsal and pocket the cash?keep away from the whole thing?don't look a gift horse (or maybe pony in this case) in the mouth?

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 6
  • Monty Burgess

    Actor

    I've been pondering this.

    It's interesting the situations we find ourselves in, in this profession. I did a play in Melbourne, a three week run, three nights a week, in a small theatre. There was no promise of money at all, I came on at the last minute, it was understood that I was doing it to work with the professionals involved. At the end of the run, the play had done so well they decided to give me some money, which was an unexpected bonus to a brilliant experience.

    The following year, the company decided to do the same play in a bigger venue, for five weeks, five nights a week, with an understanding that this time I would be there as a hired actor, I was down for a percentage of the profits. The play ran at a loss, and made no money. Nobody got anything. Not even expenses.

    The second time around would have been a happier experience if money had not even been mentioned. It made us all very stressed.

    I guess my point is with each project it's a question of what is more valuable to the individual - the experience or the financial aspect, given their relevant circumstances. Sure, we'd all like to get paid what we are worth. I'm not sure it's something we can avoid unfortunately.

    I agree. The amount of money they listed was also a turn off to me too. But, if they had listed it as no pay, the funny thing is I probably would have felt completely different. Hence the pondering.

    Could be worse...at least they aren't asking for money to be in the play!

    Monty.

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 7
  • Monty Burgess

    Actor

    Does the attachment of a monetary value change the project from being an artistic and worthwile endeavour into a commodity and therefore distort its image?

    How many unpaid projects have you done that you have loved, and how many have you been paid for that you've loathed?

    Monty.

    - tosses off rose tinted glasses and flees from flying tomatoes, chairs and beer bottles-

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 8
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    It's not a case of the play not having artistic merit if there's no money attached - that's not the issue. The issue is being paid such a small amount of money for a very long run. If people can exist on £3 a week then fine - I can't. I've got bills and a mortgage - which is why I have a day job as well

    :-)) If people can afford to do it then fine, that's their choice. But, if we're talking about choices, then such a paltry sum negates choice.

    Cheers

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 9
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I think it's quite straightforward. Every Actor that accepts work with such appallingly expoitative, morally unsustainable and fiscally insuportable terms such as Antic Disposition's - and all the other Employers like them, in turn will allow the practice to flourish and eventually force another Actor to accept work under such ridiculous terms. If no Actor accepted work on such terms, then no Employer could offer it and find Actors willing to accept. However, this requires Actors to be not only responsible themselves but to be responsible for and toward their colleagues and the Industry in general - the latter being tragically almost impossible to expect and the former rather more stupidly falling prey to utterly selfish & short-sighted careerism.

    This is what it boils down to.

    Say no, then employers like this would HAVE to pay us at all/better/well and generally treat the Actor better.

    It's not rocket-science, and as for whether it goes in the un-posted or posted column, frankly who cares, the job on offer should go in the 'disgraceful' or 'crap' column.

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 10
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hey all,

    I don't think money has any affect over what artistic merit lies with a project. However, I can understand both sides. If you are a new actor with no professional credits and can afford to do something like this then I would recommend doing it - the experience would be invaluable. However, most of us in this business simply cannot afford to go for a project of such meagre salary. The question I would like to ask the theatre company is where is all the money going? They may have an extremely reasonable answer. Any chance of getting the company to respond to this CCP? as companies very rarely voice their opinions on this forum.

    Cheers

    Ben

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 11
  • Peter McCrohon

    Actor

    Yes, my reaction on reading this job description was to laugh then to say in a rather loud and agressive voice, F*** OFF! I understand that people will do this sort of thing to get started, and I understand people will do something for free for a few days or a week for their showreel etc... but 7-8 weeks for £200!!! Fair enough if the company can't afford more, but why not do a two hander or a one man/woman show and give the actors something vaguely respectable- 9 actors at £200 adds up to £1,800- for two, that'd just about be okay bearing in mind they'd be able (have to more like) work during the day.

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hmmm. Are they employers though? I don't think they are, this is why I think it is the "pitch" to prospective actors which is wrong rather than the concept itself. Perhaps someone from Antic will read this and put forward their point of view. Would you feel the same way if this were "profit share"? I know that this particular venture is "not for me" and that I could not afford to invest this amount of time for no financial reward (because it would mean I might have to turn down paid work over a prolonged period), but it might well suit some people who DO have day jobs and would relish the idea of putting on a play with other professional performers in a London venue with the hope of getting agents and/or casting directors to come and see them in action. I don't see this as a cash cow for the production company, I've been in involved in mounting independent productions with no funding and it's no joke, believe me! I do think it was very unwise of Antic to try to pass this off as paid work (presumably in order to interest more actors)because there are plenty of performers who can (and have) seen it for what it is and it has only succeeded in alienating a fair few!

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 13
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Send them to all the drama schools to get their talent- or the amateurs who can afford it. Thats all they deserve if they will assume actors are akin to prostitutes -giving out thier skills for nothing.

    • 30th Jan 2007
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I find the comments that have been posted on here nothing short of shocking. True - I worked with Antic Disposition on their production of Romeo & Juliet last summer so may seem slightly bias but I find most of the comments that have been posted extremely judgemental.

    Antic are still a relatively young company and really can't afford to pay a large cast what you would deem a 'proper' wage. Instead you are being rewarded with the chance to work on a fantastic play for a long run at possibly the best fringe venue in the heart of theatreland. The venue alone, I imagine, costs in excess of 2k a week to hire. Personally, I only see it as a fantastic opportunity to do what I love and as has been commented the rehearsals run at weekends and weeknights, allowing the actors to continue working other jobs 'to survive'. Would it be hard work, tiring and possibly risky? YES but that is the life we've chosen and the nature of this business if you want to succeed. Likening the experience to prostitution is absolutely ridiculous. The only way Antic will grow to the stage where they can do long runs of great plays in central venues and also pay the actors full wages is to do ambitious projects such as this where the 'talent' perhaps isn't fully paid. Otherwise they may be resigned to having to put on low/no budget profit share productions forever, like so many companies out there. Working with Antic was a great expereince and R&J received a fantastic reaction on both the tour in France and at the London shows. Shows like this are a fantastic showcase opportunity, especially for younger actors trying to find agents. I just wish there were more that actually had parts suited to me as I'm probs a little young to play Jack or Algy.

    Perhaps look at the job with the following in mind:

    If you don't like the terms of the production or if it doesn't suit your lifestyle - Dont apply!

    • 31st Jan 2007
    • 15
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Well,

    I can appreciate that you had a good time etc, but the fact is that many actors CANNOT afford this type of set up. And to be honest, many agents do not support profit share or low paid, because they are not earning, nor are the actors available. It would eb far better to pay teh actors a decent sum, provide decent work further out and with the proceeds from a successful run bring teh show into Lonodn or off West End.

    Unless you have either been on a cruise ship, a major movie or have an inheritance stacked away, you wont get many actors able to do this type of work.

    I do liken it to prostitution and abuse when the companies seem oblivious to the incredibly harsh and dear financial contraints actors have and yet expect them to work for nothing!!!

    You may see the comments here as judgemental. I see them here as REALISTIC, as many actors have a gritty realism that some managements do not share- especially when they cannot pay their rent, or are in their overdraft times a thousand.

    You cant just say- then dont apply!!! Thats hideously insensitive and immature comment to many competent and capable actors who would LOVE to do a Wilde play, but CANNOT afford to.

    Many would be willing tro try for 200 a week, but for a long run of that duration a flat out 200 ? Please.

    Perhaps you will be saying the same when you have a mortgage, or other commitments...... like many actors in their 30's.

    • 31st Jan 2007
    • 16
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    It's not being biased, it's being realistic. My partner runs a theatre company and they celebrate if a production breaks even......without paying more expenses. Antic are only behaving badly if they're paying themselves but I bet they're not. The truth is there is no money in fringe theatre unless the company have received a huge amount of funding. Theatre does not pay for itself. It's all about personal choices!

    • 31st Jan 2007
    • 17
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I'm sorry if my comments seem insensitive, immature and unrealistic but patronising me by seemingly claiming my opinion invalid because I had 'a nice time' working with them isn't the greatest response.

    I just view this as a fantastic showcase opportunity, especially for newer actors. Antic will be paying somewhere around £10k just for the hire of the venue, with the amount they'll also be spending on quality advertising etc I'm sure they won't be profiting from the actors and their own hard work. Ultimately I know that they only share the same ambitious, artistic goals as the actors they'll end up hiring.

    I know there are a lot of companies out there trying to take actors for a ride. Antic is not one of them. They have purely artistic ambitions.

    All they are offering is an opportunity to perform in a great play at a great location. By only rehearsing nights and weekends many people would be able to continue working elsewhere. Unfortunately not everyone would be in a position to. Just like not everybody who applies would get the job. You're right it is a tough industry. - This doesn't even scratch the surface.

    I see this industry as a series of opportunities. It is up to the individual to make the most of the opportunities they are provided with and hopefully lead themselves to further and better oppotunities. Antic are basically doing the same but also helping others have opportunities. Of course without the actors they wouldn't have a show. On the other hand without them the actors would not have a platform on which to perform.

    • 31st Jan 2007
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    and just FYI, just becuase I'm young doesn't mean I don't have commitments. I myself have incedible amounts of debt and also run my own company. These commitment choices were my own, likewise, your choice to have a mortgage despite the difficult nature of you chosen career was yours.

    Maybe my personality flaw is immaturity or lack of mortgage. Maybe it's wanting to work all the hours god sends to achieve my goals. I guess you'll probably tell me though.

    • 31st Jan 2007
    • 19