Author Topic: ARTICLE: 99-seat plan in LA  (Read 224 times)

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Maribeth

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ErgoCue

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Re: ARTICLE: 99-seat plan in LA
« Reply #1 on: Feb 17, 2017, 05:39 pm »
I know this is a divisive issue, but I'm really struggling to understand why actors want to be paid less.  Where I work in San Diego, most of the theatres are SPT, with 3 LORTs and a number that offer Guest Artist contracts. The union actors in my town are aghast that LA actors work for close to free.  Why become a union member if you don't want to get paid a semi-decent wage?  If you want to act or SM, great; but if you join the union, you should hold yourself to a higher standard and demand better pay and better rights.  That's why you joined, isn't it?  Becoming a member and then demanding to work for less than the minimum payouts is trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

I get it: producing plays is expensive, but theatres should pay their fair share.  In the short term, yes, there will be less work for actors.  But looking to the future, this forces theatres to budget smarter and hopefully will create better work environments for actors and stage managers.

Does anyone have some insight from the other side? 

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bex

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Re: ARTICLE: 99-seat plan in LA
« Reply #2 on: Feb 17, 2017, 10:29 pm »
@ErgoCue, I feel exactly the same. I just don't understand it.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

VSM

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Re: ARTICLE: 99-seat plan in LA
« Reply #3 on: Feb 18, 2017, 12:42 pm »
Many local Los Angeles actors feel they should have the right to decide when and if they want to volunteer their services. The tradeoff, in their eyes, is quite sufficient; they get to keep their "actor" muscles primed, they practice their craft without paying for classes and/or lessons. They get to do roles they might not otherwise get to do, they get to originate new works and network with up-and-coming theatre makers.

Does this help?
Ordo ab chao

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ErgoCue

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Re: ARTICLE: 99-seat plan in LA
« Reply #4 on: Feb 22, 2017, 12:49 pm »
Many local Los Angeles actors feel they should have the right to decide when and if they want to volunteer their services. The tradeoff, in their eyes, is quite sufficient; they get to keep their "actor" muscles primed, they practice their craft without paying for classes and/or lessons. They get to do roles they might not otherwise get to do, they get to originate new works and network with up-and-coming theatre makers.

Does this help?

It does, though I feel it's a misguided rationalization.  The actor may get more experience and another credit on their resume, but in the end it only makes it harder for the union to fight for better wages.  Why on Earth would a theatre pay Equity wages when they can get a "volunteer" union worker for below scale?  It undercuts the whole reason we became union members in the first place.  I know it sounds harsh, but maybe these actors should leave the union if they don't care about a fair wage.  The rest of us can keep working toward one.

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bex

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Re: ARTICLE: 99-seat plan in LA
« Reply #5 on: Feb 22, 2017, 04:22 pm »
It undercuts the whole reason we became union members in the first place.  I know it sounds harsh, but maybe these actors should leave the union if they don't care about a fair wage.  The rest of us can keep working toward one.

This is how I've felt about this from the beginning. If you don't care about working for an actual wage, why are you in a union? There's plenty of companies doing great work and paying peanuts in cities all over the country, but none of them think they should be able to use union actors to do it (or if they do think it, they don't say it).
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

megf

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Re: ARTICLE: 99-seat plan in LA
« Reply #6 on: Today at 08:47 am »
bex and Ergocue, I share your skepticism about the "lost opportunities" argument. That notion just doesn't hold water for me, and I lived in LA for 5 years. 

Another factor influencing this situation is the reciprocity agreement between SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Presumably, this drives membership in AEA, but may not actually bring people into AEA who see theater work as a viable, primary source of income.

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