Well, it's in... sort of

  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    Further small developments on the "Letter to the Stage". They printed it on the letters page this week... but as a featured topic from the StageTalk Forum which I'd hijacked as a way of getting onto the main letters page!

    An easy get-out for them. But of course, they didn't have to put the 500 names that I'd dutifully added... ho hum.

    A few people have suggested a blog/pressure group to keep the profile up. I may well do that- any thoughts to a name for us lot? I resent calling it "A Letter to the Stage" now! Equity are doing a lot behind the scenes but they don't seem willing to shout about it. Can't understand that myself.

    Any thoughts?

    • 9th Mar 2009
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    SEEN = Stop Easy Exploitation Now.

    ???

    • 5th Mar 2009
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  • Leilani Holmes

    Actor

    AACE - Actors Against Creative Exploitation?

    or even

    Act Against Creative Exploitation?

    Well done for getting something published! Something is better than nothing. Depending on how determined you feel we could maybe keep trying for a fuller feature or follow up in The Stage about this at some point.

    I do think it will make it easier to have one hub or blog page to keep updated rather than having to update and repeat information on numerous sites. It's also one place where everyone will know to come to get all the information in one place.

    You and others can then easilly post updates with links back to the blog or whatever on the various forums and it will save having to repeat information all over the place. It also means there's a whole host of people who can keep spreading the word and linking to the blog while those in charge of updating the blog keep the information on there correct and up to date.

    I think that if we keep awareness up and gradually gain more support then in time effective change can be made to the attitudes out there.

    • 5th Mar 2009
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    yeah that's better than my SEEN!

    • 5th Mar 2009
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    All sounds good to me, and I like the AACE acronym. In terms of initiating change, of course, it has to be realised that we have just done is, in effect, draw up a 'petition of greivance': it did a great job of bringing to wider attention much current disatisfaction with the state of the acting industry in the lower echelons. I am glad that Equity seemed to wholeheartedly endorse the sentiments expressed. BUT we should not mistake this for a coherent manifesto for action or statement of policy; it is generally only through the application of direct legal or political pressure that actual changes in the industry can be formulated, and for that, the only organisation that can exert enough clout to affect such change is Equity. I get the impression that the campaigns teams, and indeed the Council, wholeheartedly believe that they have been fighting the very same battles against the preponderance of industry exploitation for at least 15 years (since the decline of the 'closed shop' Union). In terms of actual policy formation, they would presumably argue that they are acutely committed to bettering the lot of the individual actor within the workplace, and stamping out exploitation wherever they find it, so the call for action is simply an endorsment of their own ideals (and, indeed, they may question - when the best shield against exploitation is Equity membership - why more supporters of this petition are not registered Equity members!).

    I believe that the true significance of the petition was, however, in the voice it gave to a 'grass roots' set of opinions; those who feel to a large extent as if the industry has itself connived in their increasing exploitation, and who feel that their difficulties are not given sufficient priority by organisations like e.g. the Equity Council.

    The best possible use of the site to promote 'changes of mind' would be, I think, twofold: first, to maintain a presence in order that e.g. Equity attempts to take our concerns more seriously and secondly, to encourage many of the members of our profession who have decided that there is no point in politicising their viewpoint to realise that, on the contrary, there are perhaps issues we can campaign about, and press opinions on, that are of direct relevance to our day-to-day livelihoods.

    • 5th Mar 2009
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  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    AACE I like too!

    Like it or not, we'll just have to wait and see what comes out of the Annual Representatives Conference for Equity to put their full weight behind this.(Don't know when that is, but I'm sure someone can tell me). With Tracey's passion on this I'm sure that there will be some sort of concrete policy emerging.

    That will be the time that it will get the most publicity I should think.

    But that shouldn't mean that we should just wait for Equity. We need to keep the discussion alive and spread the word further. And make sure that every Equity member, great or small keeps this issue going at branch meetings.

    Some sort of blog would be good as I'm having to keep up with four different websites right now and it gets a bit time-consuming!

    We could even try leafleting at Stage Doors once we have some sort of site started and generate more interest that way.

    I see this as a way of helping Equity too, getting the message across to non-members and disillusioned members that haven't made it to the Equity forum where they can see the good work on this issue happening every day.

    Let's convince those that say "we just can't do anything about it" that actually, we can, we are and will carry on doing so.

    x

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    If you need any help with the leafletting idea etc in Manchester area count me in, Totally agree we need to keep the momentum going now!! well done! x

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Just seen on another post a theatre company who CHARGE its actor £550 to perform in their show at the Edinburgh fringe!!!! Performing for free is one thing but charging £550 to perform is definitely on a whole other level!!

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    Right, the blog is set up:

    actorsagainstcreativeexploitation.blogspot.com/

    AACE would have been punchier, but unfortunately it was already taken!

    What we need is a mission statement, based around the original letter, I suggest.

    My time might be limited over the weekend but early next week I'll get cracking.

    I'll certainly be amending the bit about student films, as that argument has progressed from where it was when I/we wrote the letter. Any ideas welcomed!

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Perfectly happy to leaflet too - I'm in London.

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Tammy Heath nee Wakefield

    Actor

    well then face instead of... act.... fight

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Splatcat, its not as if we are arguing better pay for our work we are asking for ANY pay for our work! And certainly shouldn't have to pay a company for the pleasure of working for them. Not sure if you miss read my earlier post the Company asked the ACTORS to pay THEM £550 while offering the actors no monetary remuneration for their time effort and expertise. This is exploitation surely??

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    Small, but budgeted films that rely on actors goodwill to prop up their finances will be forced to listen.

    If Equity get this motion to become a policy then they won't have a choice. Sorry to be brutal but we have to get tough on these people- if they want funding then they bloody well earn it by paying everyone. Not always the BBC equity rates of course, but a rate that reflects the level of funding and doesn't insult every professional actor. Not one film company hauled up by Equity has abandoned their project because of this.

    Times are hard and all types of work may suffer. But that does not justify us forgoing our livelihoods to keep the industry alive. Until Michael Grade proclaims he'll work for nothing "for the greater good of the entertainment industry" then I sure as hell won't.

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    So, who are you working for Splat? :-))

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    A point worth mentioning is that any project that's funded by the British Film Council HAS to offer payment for all people working on it. If you see any company/individual who has funding from the BFC, and asking actors to work for free, let Tim Gale of Equity know asap.

    How much does Grade get paid I wonder? Makes me so mad!

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Leilani Holmes

    Actor

    I am now an official 'follower' of the blog.

    I think it would be worth providing some information on there (which I'm sure Tim Gale would provide to us) about what the minimum wage is so that filmmakers know what they should be offering for jobs that are funded and can't claim ignorance as an excuse.

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    The least is the National Minimum Wage which is, according to the Government pages:

    £5.73 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older

    A development rate of £4.77 per hour for workers aged 18-21 inclusive

    £3.53 per hour for all workers under the age of 18, who are no longer of compulsory school age

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Charles Delaney

    Actor

    Just got up to speed on this thread.

    Well done Sharon; They had to print it

    at some point;That's what momentum achieves...Results.

    ITV is under competition from other terrestrial/non-terrest broadcasters & is hampered somewhat by legislation preventing them implementing additional revenue stream initiatives like product placement which would put an approx 150 Million pound dent in the 3 Billion loss!

    Falling back on their 'Good Feel' programmes like...Yes, you've guessed it, Reality TV & show's like 'Dancing on Ice' will bring in the viewers & advertising with relatively cheap programming.Not great news for us at the moment but something has to give & it's not inconceivable the government will have to bail them out like the banks if they sustain a 20% reduction in advertising revenue over the next 12 months;ITV is answerable to it's shareholders where as BBC er..isnt!

    With the proliferation of media channels inc digital media,internet there WILL be jobs for actor's but we & Equity have to sort out the proper rates of pay inc buyout's & tvr's for repeats in perpertuity.

    The thing to remember above all else is that historically, in the Great depression of 1929,revenue streams sky rocketed in entertainment because the people needed it more then ever to simply forget about all the stress'& strains of their lives for an hour or two !

    It's showtime folks!

    • 6th Mar 2009
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Well, Splat, I agree with you on that one - profit shares are one thing; in fact, doing a job for a company which is well budgeted when they will only pay you expenses or a vastly reduced wage or nothing (!) is another. But, at the least, they are not asking you to actively *contribute* money to cover the 'privilege' of appearing in the production. Sure, you may pay costs by default (how much travel fare is wasted when you are travelling to perform, but not being paid in recompense?!!), but the assumption is not that *you* are bailing out the production. This type of thing is as pernicious as the existence of the up front fee for joining an agency etc. etc. I can only hope that, if Equity are currently pursuing formal means by which to make the upfront fee illegal, they can insert a clause expressly forbidding productions and production companies from charging actors to take part in shows or films on pain of prosecution (showcases etc. might be a separate issue, but these are legal details).

    • 7th Mar 2009
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  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    Absolutely, Splatcat. You should report these companies to Equity just as much as companies not paying the proper wage. I do suspect though that there might be a legal loophole here if they call the contributors "investors" and not actors. As much as Equity can protect the individual, it can't always stop actors doing something stupid like paying a fee. One for Clive, I think!

    • 8th Mar 2009
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