Author Topic: AEA information  (Read 5565 times)

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Anonymous

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AEA information
« on: Mar 06, 2006, 11:12 am »
Can someone please explain to me exactly how they became a part of AEA ? The internet isn't very helpful. What are the requirements? How much do you pay them at the beginning and during your time being with them. Is being in AEA helpful?
Thanks, Caroline

hbelden

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AEA information
« Reply #1 on: Mar 06, 2006, 11:36 am »
http://web.actorsequity.org/faqpublic/browse_public.asp?locator=7

This is Equity's FAQ sheet on membership.  It answers most basic questions.

Is being in Equity helpful?  Yes, IF you have a resume and are near Equity houses that will get you hired on Equity contracts.  AEA doesn't have any job placement services.

Major points of AEA helpfulness:
1) Defined job duties: you won't be taking out the trash or babysitting children or animals
2) Defined work hours: you won't be rehearsing more hours a week than you can afford to do
3) Contract Pay minimums:  for a given level of theatre, you're getting a reasonable pay for your work, because the union has negotiated it on your behalf.
4) Health Benefits: if you can get twenty weeks of work in a year, you have good coverage that YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY FOR.
5) Housing: if you work out of town, the AEA contract controls your living conditions that the theatre has to put you up in.
I'm sure others, like VSM, could add to this list quickly, but it's just what comes off the top of my head.

Major points of AEA drawbacks:
1) You can't stage manage non-union theatre anymore, to build up your resume or help out your friends.  (but even for this, a producer can work on getting a guest-artist agreement with AEA)  If you're union and only have one union show on your resume, and not much networking or non-pro show experience, it can be really difficult to get your second union show.

The cost:
You have to pay semi-annual dues ($59)
2% of every paycheck goes to AEA as working dues
There's an inital membership fee to join - currently $1100, and at least $400 down to open your membership.
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Heath Belden

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Kimberly

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AEA information
« Reply #2 on: Mar 06, 2006, 12:37 pm »
Thanks for the recap! I've been wanting to join AEA for months now but can't afford even the $400!! Frustrating as hell man!  :evil:
Live well, laugh often, and love much!

ReyYaySM

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AEA information
« Reply #3 on: Mar 06, 2006, 05:31 pm »
You have two years in which to pay the $1100 initiation fee ($1000 if you were an Equity Membership Candidate, because they will credit the $100 you paid to join the EMC program toward your initiation fee).

You can pay it all up front, or you can have a certain amount deducted from your weekly paycheck.  I believe if you are working at a theatre and have not fully paid your initiation fee, then you have to have it deducted during the weeks you are under contract until you have paid in full (i.e. $100 deducted from your paycheck for 10 weeks).  

There are basically three ways to become a member of Equity:
1. A producer signs you to an Equity contract.
2. As a member of the EMC program, you acquire 50 weeks of work at Equity theatres.  
3. You join by virtue of one of Equity's sister unions

The Equity website hbelden posted can give you more detailed information.

Kimberly

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« Reply #4 on: Mar 08, 2006, 05:01 pm »
Again, as stated above, I simply cannot afford either the ridiculously high initiation fee (SMs are starving artists in their own right for God sakes!) nor can I even afford to front the $400 down payment or whatever ya call it..........hence, extreme frustration! Can someone just give me an AEA card (PLEASE?) and deduct the fees and stuff from my stipends??!! I've heard this can happen depending on the production company? Or do I need a serious reality check??
Live well, laugh often, and love much!

MarcieA

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AEA information
« Reply #5 on: Mar 09, 2006, 11:15 pm »
Quote from: "Kimberly"
Again, as stated above, I simply cannot afford either the ridiculously high initiation fee (SMs are starving artists in their own right for God sakes!) nor can I even afford to front the $400 down payment or whatever ya call it..........hence, extreme frustration! Can someone just give me an AEA card (PLEASE?) and deduct the fees and stuff from my stipends??!! I've heard this can happen depending on the production company? Or do I need a serious reality check??



If you are offered a contract by a producer of an Equity company, after you sign, Equity will send you the membership paperwork.

When it's been processed, they will then send the producer a letter stating the amount of money that is to be deducted from your paycheck until your $1100 is payed. It's is based on how much money you make. The lowest amount that can be deducted is $25 a week, and only while you are under an Equity contract.

You have 2 years to pay the initation fee once you've joined.
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

Kimberly

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« Reply #6 on: Mar 09, 2006, 11:32 pm »
Thanks for the re-cap as that's the way I thought it worked. NOW.........if I could only LAND an Equity contract!!  8O Keep the faith right?!  :?
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loebtmc

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AEA information
« Reply #7 on: Mar 10, 2006, 02:55 am »
keep in mind, once you join you may not work Non-AEA, so make sure you have done all your community/stock/university and school learning work before you join. Remember, just cuz you are AEA doesn't mean you will automatically get work. Keep gaining experience, work as much as you can to train in practical and realistic situations - and in all aspects of tech theater, and when the time is right and you have skills to offer, the job will be there.

Kimberly

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« Reply #8 on: Mar 10, 2006, 09:16 am »
Thanks for the inspiring words.........that's exactly what I plan on doing! I figure when it's meant to happen, it will! *deep breath/renewed patience*!  :D
Live well, laugh often, and love much!

Kimberly

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« Reply #9 on: Mar 10, 2006, 03:22 pm »
Right..........but this is a place for SM 'venting' no?

I am breathing deeply..........and am now in my ZEN! Thanks for the perspective 'check' everyone!  :wink:
Live well, laugh often, and love much!

Debo123

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« Reply #10 on: Mar 12, 2006, 01:07 pm »
So, in this realm of thought, but shifting away a bit, I wanted to point out something interesting that happened a few weeks ago and I was just curious about it.

I am about to graduate from college. I became an EMC because of where I worked last summer. So, now, it's on my resume and I went to a theater job expo, similar to SETCs and all that, where you walk around and give out the resume and smile big and theoretically find a job. Upon handing out my resume, I got asked more than once by a producer if I was planning to turn Equity soon. When I told them I wasn't planning on it for a few years, I felt like they started trying to talk me in to it.
I recognize there are a bunch of benefits, but upon analyzing much of the commentary in these forums, I feel like the idea of waiting a few years is a good one. Maybe the higher contract thing will push me into joining AEA sooner, but I still thought it funny that most of the producers/managing directors didn't understand why I would wait. I explained why I wanted to wait, and they still sort of continued to beef up AEA.
Any thoughts?
Just something strange to think about.
(And I still want to wait... )

centaura

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enjoyed not being union
« Reply #11 on: Mar 14, 2006, 08:58 pm »
I've actually enjoyed not being union.  When I was younger, I was offered a chance to earn EMC points, but I was so divided about becoming union, that I didn't take them up.  And one of the reasons that I didn't, was that I wanted to work for a while before I made up my mind, and if I remember correctly, the EMC points expired after a while.  There have been times when a more controlled work week would have been nice, or a little more pay, but sometimes the freedom of not as many rules is nice, as well.  And now I have a very nice, non-union job, that's full time, has benefits, and compensates me for when I have to work for long hours.  So far I haven't regretted not getting those EMC points and trying to go Equity when I was younger.

But to each their own path, and their own area of the country/world.  If the only work around you is union work, then walking my path may not be right for you.

-Centaura

JenniferEver

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Re: AEA information
« Reply #12 on: Jul 31, 2006, 04:13 pm »
Thanks, I found that recap really helpful. I've read the info on the AEA site several times, but it's not always that clear.

Under what circumstances would you be hired into an equity contract? Does that mean if you're not AEA, you should still apply to AEA jobs?

Which is the more common route?


To the OP, I think you should really think about why you want to join AEA and when they best time to do it would be. You seem to have it as this great goal, and it may be such, but timing is everything when joining the union. Remember that for non-equity jobs you're competing mostly with non-equity SMs, so there are a lot of inexperienced people in that pool, recent grads, etc. it's easier to be a big fish in a small pond in non AEA shows. Once you join AEA, you're competing against newly inducted members like yourself who may or may not jave a lot of experience, and you're also competing for jobs with seasoned professionals. (this is assuming that new SMs are not in AEA, and people who have been SMing for a long time and ahve impressive resumes are...which is not always the case, but I think it's probably a way to look at it. feel free to correct). If you don't have a long resume, and maybe you don't, since you're saying you can't afford the $400 inital initiation fee, so I assume that means you're not wroking steadily at paying SM jobs (I'm not either), then joining AEA might not be the best bet for you at this time. You need to really think about it. Joining the union is DELIBERATELY difficult, and if you want someone to just "give you a card already!" then maybe you're not really doing it for the right reasons or fully thinking it through.

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