Interesting viewpoint about unpaid work from the founder of Raindance...

  • User Deleted

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    Well, this should open up a (admittedly rather hackneyed) can of worms. But I thought it was interesting coming from the person it came from - you need to read down to the last couple of paragraphs. In an economy where it's all about cuts (yet we all still need to boost our CV's and show we're not pickling ourselves in our own sense of worthlessness and failure) is this something we need to be more flexible about, or is it still a black and white issue?

    (And yes, most of you will know I've worked for poached salmon and a decent B&B in the past)

    Answers on a postcard ;P xx

    • 9th Jan 2011
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Can you post a link?

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    haha Vanessa you tease, where can i read it!?

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • User Deleted

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    Doh! me and technology - hang on, I'll find it :P x

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • User Deleted

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    This is it. Hopefully!

    www.raindance.org/site/how-to-get-film-work-without-experience

    LOL! x

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Ye Gods! And how many people who offered up their 'services' for free actually ended up getting paid work in the end. I'd like to see those stats!

    Cheers for this Vanessa x

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • User Deleted

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    To my mind this is a realistic and well balanced view point. Thanks for sharing it Vanessa and Happy Prosperous New Year!!

    Amanda x

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • User Deleted

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    it might interest you to know that raindance ask people to pay over £200 each to learn how to direct actors over a 2 day workshop but only pay the actors involved £30 a day (take out your travel card and food from this fee). I love filmmakers but the ethos is definitely pay actors last if at all. Of course I have worked for cake too!

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Volunteering has always been the best way to learn in any business, not just acting, but at some point you've got to put a price tag on your services and stick to it otherwise you make a rod for your own back!

    For me to give my services away for free these days, the project has to fit some very strictly enforced criteria!

    Actors have bills to pay and a responsibility to their dependents too!

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • Guy Press

    Actor

    As a Producer, Director and Actor I had no respect at all for Raindance before this article....

    Nothings changed....

    As an Org they suck!

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    It should be noted that Raindance don't even offer payment for the actors they use anymore! If you volunteer as an actor for their directors course, you get a free membership of Raindance in return!

    I think I'll pass!

    • 4th Jan 2011
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  • Andrew Macbean

    Actor

    Setting aside what the law requires (NMW, NI and holiday pay) there is a difference between getting experience/training and doing a job for no pay. There is a cost to experience/training - drama school, actor's centre classes, singing, casting workshops etc. But a job is different... isn't it?

    The quality of work I see on the fringe warrents payment - for everyone. But an unfunded 50 seater fringe venue has no ability to pay. The National Theatre or the RSC is simply fringe theatre with government funding and more seats to sell. The publicity, outreach programmes, audience and corporate development departments all exist because government money has decided to develop some producers against others. Funded theatre, like un funded theatre is a mix of good and bad. Money doesn't necessarily deliver quality. But saying that there simply isn't enough money to go around if we are to be paid for all of our work. We (taxpayers) spend less that 50% of an Apache helicopter on funding theatre a year. In America Equity prevents it members doing unpaid work. The result is that the fringe is, in the main, low quality and amateur, rather than the vibrant beast it is in the UK continuously biting at the heels of the establishment.

    Last point - acting is a career not a job. As such it is a mix of work. Corporate role play is well paid. Regional Rep and small scale independent theatre pays a living wage for the weeks you are working. The larger institutions offer longer contracts at good wages and subsistence with ongoing training and development opportunities. Fringe leaves you worse off at the end of the job than you were at the begining but it is exciting work, working with enthusiastic people, in venues where there is a real contact with the audience. Some jobs nourish the wallet and some the soul.

    Andrew

    • 5th Jan 2011
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  • User Deleted

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    Actors & artists will always get screwed.There is this notion that our art keeps us!.I've done a lot of student films with the promise that a particular director will remember you-what a joke were're only useful when it suits.Equity should sharpen it's teeth & fight for us!.

    • 6th Jan 2011
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  • Andrew Macbean

    Actor

    Do you think that the ultimate responsibility lies with the actor? As long as you continue to accept unpaid jobs what do you expect Equity to do?

    • 6th Jan 2011
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  • User Deleted

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    Of course we should accept some responsibility but we are no longer supported by Equity as we used to be.They should be imposing some form of payment for artist on these employers.Film schools get away with murder as well as independent film makers.Fringe companies are the exception but we should still expect some form of profit share.

    • 6th Jan 2011
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  • Guy Press

    Actor

    Reputable Film schools such as the NFTS pay fees under Equity agreement and contract.

    Working both sides of camera as I do I urge all actors no to do Freebies for companies.

    As a Graduate of the NFTS I recently received this e-mail with ref to the singer and musician Daniel Beddingfield

    "Daniel is looking for 'up-and-coming', 'young, genius' video directors to make one or two 90 seconds video clip(s) for this single during his stay end of January (ideally, I believe he could be flexible on the date), with bleeding edge. According to his own words, he'd like to 'Create insane and artistic videos with breakthrough filmmakers.'

    The director(s) should be able to get all the gear and accept to do the whole job free of charge (in return, a great addition to their resume/c.v.!)."

    Nothing would make me apply for this as I currently work with unsigned artists who still manage to pay basic rates!!

    Actors value yourselves!!

    • 6th Jan 2011
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  • Andrew Macbean

    Actor

    When you talk about the support that Equity used to give, when and what are you talking about? Was it when the closed shop existed? Equity cannot force Universities to make their students pay actors. They simply don't have the power to do this. The only way a student or maybe even the University could be taken to an employment tribunal is if an individual actor decided to persue a case for non payment of NMW, NI or even holiday pay. If they are an Equity member and if Equity thinks they have a good chance of winning they will manage the entire legal process for the member. A union cannot initiate the case. That is the law. The initiative is in our hands.

    • 6th Jan 2011
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  • Andrew Macbean

    Actor

    Well said Guy! We (actors) accept unpaid work and then bitch about how terrible it is that Equity isn't doing anything to stop it.

    • 6th Jan 2011
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  • Guy Press

    Actor

    Couldn't agree more Andrew!

    • 6th Jan 2011
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    Hi Andrew,

    I agree with most of what you are saying; but you wrote: "In America Equity prevents it members doing unpaid work. The result is that the fringe is, in the main, low quality and amateur, rather than the vibrant beast it is in the UK continuously biting at the heels of the establishment"

    This simply is not true.

    First, there is the Equity 99seats plan; so if your theater has less than 99 seats you may employ Equity members for no pay (or $7 per show I think, just enough for a sandwich).

    Also, if you are a member of a company (You have to pay for that privilege that you have to audition for) then you may perform for free with this company even if you are an Equity member. Not sure if this is a union rule but I have plenty of friends who do this and it hurts my heart because they are effectively paying to perform.

    That said, the overall quality of the fringe I've seen in LA has been far superior to the fringe I've seen in London.

    Of course, it depends what fringe you are watching; there are bad shows and good shows in both countries. But it's for sure unfair to say that the fringe standard is higher in London.

    Most of the fringe I've seen in London was really painful to watch; most of the fringe I've seen in LA really surprised me by how good it was. And the theaters were full, there must be a reason for that.

    • 8th Jan 2011
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