Yes. Do it.

This morning I woke up and checked my FB in bed as I always do. Usually this involves dropping my phone on my face a few times before my fingers wake up or I drag myself to an upright position. The very first thing I read was a new blog from Annoying Actor Friend, which you can read here. It was like Christmas morning had come all over again.

People were heatedly and intelligently discussing what should be done in the wake of NEWSIES and KINKY BOOTS going out on tiered production contracts. People were asking what could/should be done. Asking if there is anything we CAN do. Saying words like PICKET, UNION, ORGANIZE.

This is how change happens. It’s not about having answers right now. It is about not being afraid to ask the QUESTIONS. It is about showing strength in numbers. It is about collectively arriving at a new understanding. It is about stepping out from behind our computers and looking each other squarely in the eye and demanding change. Change from each other, our union, and our industry.

People have brought up the idea of picketing auditions. Yes. Do it. Make a peaceful scene. Make the union and its membership accountable to their actions. People are always saying that there is always another actor in the wings waiting for your job. Yes. There is. But I challenge that actor to walk across a line of his/her peers who are standing up for what is right. It is time for us to be accountable to each other. To do something for the good of the community and not just the good of the individual. Sometimes you have to be willing to burn things to the ground in order to rebuild something better.

I am excited to be living in a time where actors are beginning to realize their power. We are valuable and it is high time that we begin acting that way. People only treat you as well as you demand to be treated. Demand more.

Whether you agree or not, please be a part of the discussion and make YOUR voice heard.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 10th at 2pm. Equity mtg 14th floor of equity bldg.


8 thoughts on “Yes. Do it.

  1. Tony Howell says:

    “We are valuable and it is high time that we begin acting that way. People only treat you as well as you demand to be treated. Demand more.”

    Love it.
    Thank you/

  2. Nova says:

    Thank you for your blog!! I am an equity performer her in New York. I have been laid up after a foot surgery and am very excited that someone has taken the lead to round up action.
    Having been on a non equity tour ($200/week), a full production equity tour, and tiered contracts in between-have felt the spectrum of tour life.
    My biggest question is, How can we get equity to convince producers that these outgoing touring
    companies deserve more? There is a fantastic article in the New York Times about Local 1. Perhaps we can take some notes from their union…
    I want to see change. Please let me know how I can help in preparation for this meeting.
    Nova Bergeron

  3. Dana Steer says:

    The reality is that equity membership agreed to these terms as ratified these contracts. The producers are simply exercising their rights under the existing contract. The time to picket was at the last contract negotiations …we already consented. We can “demand more” at the next negotiations.

    • I completely understand the reality of the situation but I also believe that now is always a wonderful time to begin raising awareness and bringing our concerns before the union in anticipation of future negotiations. Whether membership elects to picket or not is hardly the point. It is my hope that people choose to take ownership of and responsibility for their union. I hope you attend the meeting mentioned at the conclusion of the blog. Your voice should be heard.

  4. realgayla says:

    Picketing an audition will solve nothing. We have a union and those people were elected to represent us. It is by our own apathy that things like this happen. I urge you to complain to your union. Tell everyone to march down to AEA at a certain time to complain. That could actually make a difference.

    • I think it is naive to assume to be able predict the outcome of any given situation. Whether membership elects to picket an audition, to arrange a mass meeting to complain to our representatives, or simply to make personal choices whether or not to audition based on their own convictions, the point is to raise awareness and ownership of the union. I hope you attend the scheduled membership meeting mentioned at the bottom of the blog. Your opinion is valuable.

  5. Being an actor is difficult. We’re always being told we’re replaceable. It used to be being part os AEA MEANT something. It meant that you had made it as an actor and now, you can finally get the respect you deserve because you worked your ass to get that damn card.
    Yes, there are non equity folks who are also working their asses off and are nice and talented and etc etc etc..

    BUT At the end of the day, if given a choice– with NO repercussions from the union, producers are always going to go with a non-equity person. Do you know why? because they are CHEAP LABOR. Producers won’t have to deal with actors complaining to the unions, they don’t have to deal with overtime and other contract requirements. As someone whose worked as a producer and as worked with some producers on and off broadway, I can tell you this first hand the *disrespect* that actors get every day. There would be moments where I would seethe to myself because someone would say the words “Oh, they’re creatives, they’re replaceable” “Let’s go with this person, we don’t have to pay them extra cause they are union” “We don’t have money in the budget for an equity actor”.

    Personally, I find it absolutely frustrating. Not only because the price of theater has skyrocketed. But because Actors are *consistently* at the bottom of the list. You have the production crew making 200grand, the producers taking their cut and the star (which is usually a legitimate star of TV or movie fame) getting a cut, renting the space, paying for little things here and there. At the end of the day, the actor gets the least amount of money and are constantly at risk of injury or losing their job because “they are replaceable” . When is it going to end? And when did we, as actors start thinking that we’re not worth it? Don’t we DESERVE better?

    Tours should be equity actors. I’m sorry, I really believe they should. It gives the audience a standard. It gives perspective actors something to work towards to and it wins back some of the respect (and power) that AEA should have. AEA has little to no power in comparison to IASTE and Musicians Union.

    Yeah, someone commented above that our own apathy is the reason its gotten this bad. I think it’s because we’re so afraid to speak up and lose our jobs because of what I said above that we’re easily replaceable.

    It’s about time actors stand UP and fight for our own rights.

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