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July 24, 2014

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Scott

Why would making Equity membership more difficult to get be part of the solution?

Samuel Buggeln

I think you and Shaun aren't as far apart on this as you think. The fundamental problem is indeed in the contract's name, which pretends that the main reason actors want to do these is to "showcase their talents to industry professionals." I think the number of actors who do showcases for this reason is vanishingly small, so I doubt your proposal of an "actual" actor showcase would be used much. (Especially since fewer performances would exacerbate the problem Shaun described, of the short run limiting the actor's ability to relax into the role.)

But Equity SHOULD acknowledge that the showcase is really used by emerging producers (which includes, let's remember, ensembles of Equity actors who want to generate their own work). And everybody, including Equity, has an interest in helping these folks out. The seasonal showcase begins to acknowledge this reality, but even that requires an organization of a certain size. Your idea that the basic showcase stipulate salaries, no matter how small, pegged to the total budget, is great. There's no insult in a $75/week "salary" since, as Shaun points out, even the coveted OB contract isn't anything that allows you to quit your day job. (I have friends who kept their office gigs through runs at the Public and NYTW.)

Calling them "Emerging Producer" and "Emerging Seasonal Producer" contracts would clarify a lot of thinking.

indie producer

You pretend like there is a smooth transition from showcase to professional level production, where producers are choosing between either doing an OB run or a Showcase production, and they're too cheap to spring for the thing that's just one step up. That is not the case.

The fact is, we WANT to pay our artists more! More income wouldn't go to bigger sets or more postcards or an administrative budget (ha. ha. ha.).

It's actually a huge internal goal at our company, and I know at other companies at a similar production level. But $18 tickets, for 16 performances, with a budget cap that hasn't budged in a decade despite rents and transportation fees nearly DOUBLING, doesn't allow us to.

JiC

It's a quagmire for sure. I joined a committee about this, and there's a lot of stuff people don't want to touch with a ten foot pole- the health and pension bit being a big sticky mess (and a lot of people over there are *not* fans of the seasonal showcase code).

I'd like there to be more compensation for more shows (without having to argue for it), and some leeway on letting people record pieces of the show for promotional purposes.

Equity Indie Theatre Code (a zygote contract) would be great.

B. Stites

http://theatrehab.blogspot.com/2014/04/on-not-being-beholden-circus-animal-or.html

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