Equity Rates for student Films

  • Peter McCrohon

    Actor

    Hi,

    Does anyone know what the equity rates are on a daily and/or weekly basis for actors working on a student film are, please?

    Thanks,

    Pete

    • 17th Oct 2013
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    I think the weekly is around £240 based on 10hr days.

    • 2nd Feb 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    The way to find this out is to contact your Area Organiser for Equity or ring Guild House.

    In Leeds we have an arrangement for the minimum wage £5.80 per hour. But we waive our fees as a trade for the benefits they give our members (free room hire, £25 showreels and such) and we have a terrific relationship with them.

    However in Bradford they pay £100 per filming and rehearsal day.

    So check with your local rep. It's the only way you'll find out the pukka gen and not just speculation.

    Alan

    • 2nd Feb 2007
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    Hi,

    Discussions with the HMRC NMW Enforcement Unit suggest that student films are covered by the NMW and, indeed, the National Film & Television School has revised the rates it has negotiated with Equity to reflect this.

    However, an issue relating to the charitable status of most film schools has arisen that the HMRC lawyers are currently addressing. Once this has been clarified, Equity will be approaching the film schools to inform them of their legal obligations relating to the NMW, providing that their charitable status does not mean that it does not apply to them.

    Incidentally, if the film schools do qualify as charities then they would not be allowed to give DVD copies to members, as charities are forbidden from giving volunteers 'benefits in kind.'

    What policy is adopted by Equity towards the film schools in relation to the NMW will have to wait until such time as the 'charity issue' is resolved.

    That is the latest Equity information on this issue...

    All the best,

    Clive

    • 2nd Feb 2007
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  • Tony Symonds

    Actor

    As a student filmmaker myself I am curious about this. If I was to be forced to pay actors, would I then be able to remove the expenses given to them?

    For example; an actor came up the other day for one of my films and undertook a 5 hour shoot. His train ticket was £25 and his lunch was £5, accumulating £30, of which I paid.

    Now; assuming the £5.80 rule, i would only be under the obligation to pay him £29.

    I know its only small, but he would actually lose money if I didn't pay his expenses.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    • 3rd Feb 2007
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    Hi Tony,

    I raised various point similar to this with Equity about a month ago...

    Until the legal position is clear, I think it prudent, not to comment further. Once we have the full picture, it will be made public knowledge.

    I myself was surprised (shocked) that a copy of the video - was not allowed under NMW Regulations...

    For your information, Equity do have an agreement with the NFTV School and this could be applied by any film school that wanted to. Equity undertook a very wide ranging approach to the film schools some years back but was met with a blanket refusal by them to engage with us.

    Equity are considering whether an approach to the higher education funding bodies might produce better results.

    I hope this is of assistance...

    Clive

    • 3rd Feb 2007
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  • Peter McCrohon

    Actor

    Many thanks to Alan, Oliver and Clive for their help on this matter.

    All the best,

    Pete

    • 3rd Feb 2007
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    On the charity/benefits in kind issue:

    I would assume it would be perfectly easy to address this problem by charging the actor the actual cost of burning a copy of the DVD for them ( i.e. peanuts). If the actor were also paid (even at a low rate) then generally actors would be in a much better posiition than they are now. It might also help with the problem of obtaining copies of the film (which I know is a thorny issue sometimes) as it would be a transaction, not a favour. Just a thought.

    I used to be a project manager of a charity and we used to

    1. Provide proper expenses for volunteers.

    2. Employ freelancers sometimes.

    We were regularly audited and neither of the above practises was ever questioned/queried. I think it comes down to the will of the charity. Indeed, had we NOT paid proper expenses the Trustees would have questioned the way we were working.

    • 4th Feb 2007
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    That's a good point Helen…

    A receipt for the fee paid for the video would also act as an incentive, for the students to keep their part of the agreement, to supply the video to the actor. If this does not happen, then it would be a clear breach of contract. Of course that is providing the charity can legally accept such a payment.

    So, once Equity is able to get the legal niceties resolved, over charitible status etc, we can then put together a package that hopefully, is easy to understand - and makes it quite clear what is expected from each party:

    (A)Where such a project is deemed to have charity status.

    (B)Where such a project is deemed not to have charity status.

    (C)Where a fee has to be paid for a copy of the video.

    We can then seek to extend the Equity agreement with the NFTV School, to all other film schools.

    **;~))

    • 4th Feb 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    It sort of makes a mockery of the Equity Student Film Contract that has been around for years then, what you said, Clive, doesn't it?

    The responsible way to address it is not by confrontation but Education. Confrontation, which is what you are proposing in a non closed shop industry will put the backs up of those we arte trying to get agreements with. By negotiating with both interested parties an amicable result will come out in everyone's favour.

    I can cite the very special relationship Leeds and District Branch has with the Northern Film School as a perfect example!

    Don't smash our agreement with them because of your own political agenda.

    Understanding the needs of ALL parties is the key to solutions. Not blanket political demonstration.

    • 4th Feb 2007
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    Can I just tell everyone in the Green Room, who reads Alan's remarks about me, that Alan's agenda - is to attack whatever I say; whenever I say it...

    I find that very sad, but most of all it miss-informs readers of this forum. This forum is for helpful friendly discussion, it is not for unfair - ranting and raving...

    Anyone who wants to find out the real truth, should contact Tim Gale Equity Organiser, for the truth - on this difficult issue.

    Alan, it is time you grew up and stopped acting like a spoilt little brat!

    Sincerely,

    Clive

    • 4th Feb 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    Do you not agree with my original posting, Clive? Or are you once again claiming that you are in receipt of knowledge that no-one else is a party to?

    Democracy is allowing others to speak their mind.

    Your attempts to inflate your own importance is once again clouding the issue. Film Schools are not charities. They are a part of the education system. Since when were they ever considered charities?

    Once again you are making muddy water where it can be as clear as day. Yet you still persist with your campaigns as if you are the 'Fount of All Knowledge'. You are wrong (once again) to do so.

    Do not expect me to stand idly by when you are raising your political flag over an issue.

    You need experience in the area you are railing against and you cv proves that you have none.

    • 5th Feb 2007
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  • Andrew Lawden

    Actor

    when is the fight going to kick off between alan and clive and will rocky balboa be the referee?

    • 5th Feb 2007
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    Well Alan & I made a jolly good double act...

    You have to laugh at this...

    We certainly should not take life - too seriously...

    A sense of humour is to my mind an essential requirement - to a happy life!

    **;~))

    • 5th Feb 2007
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    Alan,

    I have to disagree with you when you say the responsible way is to negotiate with parties, there are some 500-2000 film schools media schools you name it just about any school give a student a camera and expects them to get on with it. Its simply unrealistic to expect every local branch of Equity to negotiate locally.

    The approach you advocate seems to me localised and isolated, whats wrong with using national clout to sort this issue.

    Whats wrong with influencing the casting sites to assume some responsibility for the proliferation and distribution of work below the minumum wage, most of which lacks H&S and insurance safeguards?

    Helen I read your argument about its not the casting sites that create the work I agree and understand this point however they are part of the mechanism that perpetuates the work - as are actors who accept this - ethics and sustainability also relevant. Doing nothing and abrogating sole responsibility to the employer, the actor or the casting site isnt an option, they all create and sustain this marketplace for unpaid work.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

    • 20th Feb 2007
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    Wow Claude what an interesting and intelligent post.

    You have certainly given me much food for thought for our Equity Midlands AGM on Friday and it will be good to put your questions to Christine Payne (Equity General Secretary) at the meeting.

    I can not see CCP taking the lead and ceasing to advertise unpaid work, however I wonder how in the long term the National Minimum Wage law will affect sights such as CCP.

    • 20th Feb 2007
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    As you so rightly say, Claude, there are an enormous number of different types of 'Film Schools' all vying for quality product and not in a financial position to pay a specified wage to the actors due to severe budget considerations. Clive advocates that we ignore this and demand payment from students when they have often no money to do so.

    So what happens then? Do we allow their talent to go fallow? Do we NOT support the new generations of film makers? Or should we take our own position and use our common sense and get some reward in any way possible?

    I believe that the issue is far more complicated than some make it out to be. That is why we have taken our own initiative and offered a compromise to our Area's film schools.

    Not all the members of my Branch agree to do them. I expect them to be true to whatever they believe is best for them. Those who do take advantage of all the benefits get a much better deal here than where confrontation has taken hold. Where actors ARE treated as if they are worth nothing!

    Confrontation means agression. Agression means more confrontation and mistrust. Break the cycle. Those who do will achieve far more than those who perpetuate confrontation.

    • 20th Feb 2007
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    Thanks for responding Alan,

    As you so rightly say, Claude, there are an enormous number of different types of 'Film Schools' all vying for quality product and not in a financial position to pay a specified wage to the actors due to severe budget considerations.

    >>>I disagree, the vast majority aren't film schools, they are some souped up media studies course or print course and I do not take pity on them if they don't have budgets, they have budgets to pay all other qualified professionals who come into contact with their students, including tutors and cleaners. Most don't even teach the students how to budget. As for quality product, well when you read the sob stories on this site I cant agree they are churning out quality product (excepting the dedicated film schools)>>>>>

    Clive advocates that we ignore this and demand payment from students when they have often no money to do so.

    >>>>I'm not so sure he is advocating that. Anyway, why shouldn't the students lobby their own institution to pay professionals at above the minimum wage? If they are responsible enough to run a production, comply with H&S and understand insurance and working time regulations etc then ....you get my point. Students arent powerless pawns, neither are the institutions they are educated at.>>>>>

    So what happens then? Do we allow their talent to go fallow? Do we NOT support the new generations of film makers? Or should we take our own position and use our common sense and get some reward in any way possible?

    >>>I think we should be realistic and understand that most are 'mejia' studies students and wont actually go anywhere. The only students who will probably end up with some sort of career in film are those at dedicated film schools with a proven track record. So supporting the next generation and allowing talent to go fallow is not really the point when its simply a 3rd term project as part of a 'mejia' course.>>>

    I believe that the issue is far more complicated than some make it out to be. That is why we have taken our own initiative and offered a compromise to our Area's film schools.

    >>>>Fair enough, that's democracy in action, we can agree to differ on that>>>

    Not all the members of my Branch agree to do them. I expect them to be true to whatever they believe is best for them. Those who do take advantage of all the benefits get a much better deal here than where confrontation has taken hold. Where actors ARE treated as if they are worth nothing!

    Confrontation means aggression. Aggression means more confrontation and mistrust. Break the cycle. Those who do will achieve far more than those who perpetuate confrontation.

    >>>>and COMPROMISE means just that - neither side is truly satisfied. Compromise didn't get Nelson Mandela anywhere. Where would he be if he had compromised - a second class citizen - perhaps some in your branch say that where you are today.

    But what of the wider issue? Sustainability, the proliferation unpaid work, will you continue to accept that and then compromise again at a lower figure in the future? Localisation is simply sticking your head in the sand to the wider issue. Would you rather read a site full of paid work or unpaid work??? Someting tells me some will compromise and compromise until there is nothing left to compromise over. Tell that to Nelson.

    • 20th Feb 2007
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Not just student stuff either. There's a post from today's casting - £20 expenses. Now this company looks as if it's doing quite well. How can they justify that sort of 'payment'

    • 20th Feb 2007
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  • Caroline Boulton

    Actor

    Just want to point out which Im sure you already know but just for clarity,

    There are very few actual official Film Schools in Britain. The London Film School is one, London Film Academy, New York Film Academy, The Met Film School, Brighton Film School, International Film School of Wales. These are very professional prestigious courses and highly competitive to attend.

    There is only about 6 in total the rest are as has been said are Media Schools or Film Courses. A film course is not a film school in any way and can not be defined as such.

    Equity's agreements are only with these official Film Schools so they dont stand up anywhere else.

    Perhaps Equity could find the inbetween and have agreements with Universities and non film schools that offer film courses? For example Westminister Uni is always casting for actors, Perhaps Equity could form an agreement with them? Its just not enforcible to assume that actors will only work with these 6 film schools. There must be a compromise that protects everyone and enables actors to work, gain experience but be protected by Equity at the same time. There must be ways forward and new ways to approach this as Alan has demonstrated works in his local area.

    It would be interesting to see if the universities offering film courses would agree to this approach from Equity. Has it been tried anywhere apart from by the Leeds Branch? It seems to work and I would welcome that in London as I think most actors would.

    • 20th Feb 2007
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