is it worth joining Equity and spotlight

  • Kevin Mangar

    Actor

    Hi everyone,

    I would like as much opinions as possible.Is it worth joining Equity and spotlight? Im doing ok on acting jobs without them?

    I would like to know if joining them would increase my frequency of acting jobs specially paid ones.

    Your opinion counts,so please send me as much information as possible and ways to speed up processing of equity cards and spolight links etc.THANKS

    • 18th Aug 2006
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    Since Margaret Thatcher outlawed the 'closed shop' arrangements of employees there is no need for you to join any Union to get work. In fact employers are going against employment laws by discriminating against anyone on Union membership.

    However the question that you should be asking is 'Why is there so much protection for members of Equity and what are the benefits of membership?'

    Over many years of trial and tribulation members have striven to get a living wage from their vocation. It was only because of collective bargaining that this has been achieved against a backdrop of employers striving to make massive profits without paying those whose performances light up the end product.

    Without Equity you probably wouldn't have any decent wage from whatever jobs you are currently earning from. Nor would the employers feel obliged to give you a contract in which they are guaranteeing to pay you. Were you to fall foul of injury during your professional career you would probably NOT get paid and be dumped without compensation.

    There is always someone who will say 'Why join Equity?' when they either are NOT members or see the fees as high. Everyone who is a member will say that it doesn't guarantee you a job, nor is it a 'badge of excellence'. What it is has nothing to do with that. It is a well organised, perfectly tuned Union that fights for ALL it's members to get them the BEST possible professional rates and protections in this Industry. Add to that the personal indemnity and liability insurances that would individually cost MORe than the fees and already you are in profit.

    If you do not join Equity you will be taking advantage of all the collective bargaining now and in the future without contributing a penny to that.

    Now say to yourself' Why not join Equity'.

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 1
  • Victoria Denard

    Actor

    Equity (specifically the Midlands Branch) have been absolutely fantastic in a recent, and ongoing, dispute and I couldn't have asked for more from them............well worth the yearly subscription should you ever find yourself in a sticky situation - I certainly wouldn't have known where to start!

    Vick x

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 2
  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    There are many things that Equity could do better and you will often hear actors bemoaning the unions 'lack of clout', however.......they have always been a great help to me whenever I have needed it and it's a nice feeling to know that there is someone there to advise if and when the need arises. I have also taken advantage of the pension scheme arranged through Equity and do feel it is important to stand together as a group of professionals. Without Equity we would all be in a far worse profession than it is.

    Most agents will want you to be in spotlight as so much casting is now done online and via email/fax etc. I do think that Spotlight is a neccessary investment.

    • 16th Aug 2006
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    May I disagree with Shen's 'lack of clout' phrase. Equity has barristers who have 'clouted' many and have lobbyists who have changed a great deal of 'not very well thought out' legislation.

    With the massive technological changes going on throughout our Industry and its variety of different media through which we are seen to perform Equity has always been at the forefront ensuring that agreements are in place to fend of exploitation of the performers.

    I wouldn't say that 'Equity lacks clout' in those circumstances.

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 4
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    sir with your CV I think most of us are

    green with envy?

    but then again equity would help with any payment issues

    and spotlight is still looked at by casting directors

    still thats only my idea

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 5
  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    Alan, I must respond to your posting here.

    I simply said "you will often hear actors bemoaning the unions 'lack of clout'".

    It is true that you will often hear this but it is not necessarily my own opinion and to be honest, even if it were, I am allowed to have an opinion, just as you are!

    Kevin is asking CCP users their opinions and therefore we are all free to express them.

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 6
  • Daniel Fearn

    Actor

    I would say join both mate. Your agent should make you be in spotlight as nowadays it isnt just a big book full of faces, it is used by agents and casting Directors for the spotlight link. a good 95% of agent auditions come from the spotlight link. You really need to be included as its just easier in this internet age!!

    As for equity i would join you get discounts on stuff afterall!

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 7
  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    I would say yes to both.

    Absolutely my argument would be- you have benefitted from Equity's influence, why not reflect that by joining? Also, as you're doing well, it's good for the industry to see successful people in Equity- it helps encourage graduates to join and keep solidarity.

    Finally, Equity have been terrific in helping me out of difficult situations, advising me and generally making the industry a bit better.

    Spotlight is also a necessity- most agents demand you're on it, as it's such a universal directory and has stood the test of time (sorry CCP!). It marks you out as a professional.

    I've had a couple of castings direct from them, but numerous others indirectly because they've been able to browse me in a format they know.

    Hope that helps!

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    As well as the many benefits of Equity already mentioned by other CCP members as a black Equity actor you can go in the Spotlight African, Caribbean, Oriental & Asian Artists Register for free.

    Contact Matt Hood at the London Equity Office to find out more about this Spotlight directory Tel: 020 7670 0266

    Also remember Equity membership is 100% tax deductible.

    Cheers

    TRACEY

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 9
  • David Corden

    Actor

    Come on now Alan, read what the young lady says. And even if she had have said that she WAS bemoaning the union's lack of clout, she'd be halfway right. Why else do other professions have fully recognised legislation that protect their workforce without association assembly? Why else are minimal buy-out adverts the norm nowadays? etc, etc.

    Equity is not perfect, but any lack of clout it has is largely due to the lack of involvement by its wider membership. There is an old adage 'Unity through Strength'. The more the members get involved even at the basic level of voting in elections, whether at branch, area or council/ presidential level, the more the union will be able to benefit its members by positive activity through more diverse member representation.

    Only about 7% of members voted in the 2006 council and presidential election for a majority of candidates who belong, or are affiliated to one faction of the union membership; which has, effectively formed the majority of council representatives for the past sixteen years. Even Maggie's government only lasted 12 - and they helped small business.

    Alan is correct, though, about the on tap barristers and there is no denying that Equity has managed to secure a number of successes protecting actors in the immediate and long terms. But the foundations for such successes were laid down long ago and this is the important thing, by joining Equity, you are at least helping to give yourself and other actors the chance to continue on fully ratified contracts which increase in value each year, as opposed to there being no agreements and anybody can offer to pay you what they feel like...another £50 three years usage buy-out ident, anybody?

    Equity ain't perfect, but it's all we have and it's up to us to make it better.

    As for Spotlight, compared to CCP it's a con, but essential as it's the industry standard and is better value for money nowadays...and you want how much to stick on an extra pic?

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 10
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    My comment to you, Shen, is that I'm sorry you felt I was critising your comment. I was merely pointing out the 'strengths'. David is spot-on about the weakness inherent in a majority not voting.

    Everyone has their own opinion and I will be the first to fight for their right to say what they think.

    That's why I take such an active role in the Union. Democracy rules!!

    • 16th Aug 2006
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Its the best £90 I've ever spent on a diary!

    Px

    • 16th Aug 2006
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Nicely put. I pay my dues and don't begrudge a penny of them.

    Equity membership is a bit like home insurance...always feels like you're paying too much for it, but when your house burns down...you get my point!!!

    As for spotlight, a previous poster stated its a rip off compared with CCP...How so? Its roughly 30p a day to get your headshot and CV infront of every casting director in Britain with the click of your agents mouse...Sorry but IMHO thats a bargain. Nt only is it a bargain, but its becoming an absolute neccessity to be in Spotlight as that majority of British acting work is advertised, applied for and allocated through their Spotlight Link system.

    If you feel like your getting enough without being in Spotlight then good for you, but just think where your acting career would be iff you were in it!! Pause for thought.

    ForbesKB

    • 16th Aug 2006
    • 13
  • David Corden

    Actor

    ForbesKB - I thought you may have realised that by using the words 'essential as it's the industry standard and is better value for money nowadays' that I was in fact supportive of Spotlight. The words 'rip off' are your own, I said 'bit of a con' and backed up the comparison with CCP in one area only - that of being able to upload pics, clips, etc as part of their standard annual fee instead of overpriced extras.

    Just my overdraft's honest opinion.

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    As far as I am aware I have not got a single job from being seen in Spotlight.

    However I know a chap who got a phone call asking him to pose in sportswear in the shower.......

    He didn't take the job.....

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 15
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    OK, I misquoted you but, but without the benefit of being able to read you post while typing mine it was an easy mostake to make!!

    I am not a supporter of Spotlight, I am simply making an observation based on my experience of the industry as it stands today. I do not subscribe to the numerous other casting sites out there, as my overdraft has forced me to be very selective as to where my advertising budget is spent.

    Anyone who knows me will realise I am more of a supporter of CCP than Spotlight but, at this stage in it's young life, CCP isn't the industry standard. Maybe this will change as the years go by and it will be interesting to see what happens with their fees if this becomes the case.

    As the industry stands right now, Spotlight is an essential expenditure and is, without doubt, the current industry standard for the UK market. I stand by these statements.

    Going back to original poster.

    Kev, I've just checked out your profile and noticed you are a member of BECTU. What was your reasoning for joining the technicians union and not the actors union? You obviously recognised the benefits of being a union member but your choice of union confuses me.

    ForbesKB

    • 17th Aug 2006
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    'essential as it's the industry standard and is better value for money nowadays'

    These seem to be your words not mine, too...

    Pot, Kettle, colour check!! :-))

    ForbesKB

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 17
  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    Anyone know anything about the spotlight bulletin?

    I've just re-read chrys salt's book and it has a section on spotlight. Apparently not only is there a casting service for agent, but a casting bulletin for actors.

    Any idea how I get hold of it, there's no mention on their website?

    Could it be my book is out of date?

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Speaking of casting. What do people think of the Equity Job site?

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 19