Author Topic: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons  (Read 4675 times)

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SGU312

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EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« on: Jan 27, 2013, 04:30 pm »
I've been out of college since May (2012) and have moved to Chicago. I just started a stage management internship at a major AEA theatre here (not sure if I'm allowed to mention it...). Anyways, they have given me the option to sign up for the EMC program and earn points. I started pre-production on this show last Tuesday (1/22), 1st rehearsal is 1/29, show opens mid-March. I'm only involved with the production through opening night, so it looks like a total of 8 or 9 weeks.

I looked around the forums for information regarding the EMC program, and did not quite find what I was looking for.
I would like to be an AEA stage manager at some point. However, being in Chicago, there is a lot of theatre to be involved with that is not AEA. I don't want to limit my options yet. Do you think having EMC listed on my resume would scare away some of the smaller places I might apply to in the future?

I like the idea of joining the EMC program to be able to participate in meetings and other member only activities here in Chicago. But I'm not sure if it's worth the $100 fee right now.

What are some suggestions as well as pros/cons you can think of for a young stage manager?
Thanks for your help!  :)

bex

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #1 on: Jan 27, 2013, 05:44 pm »
I'm currently enrolled in the EMC program, and my personal opinion is that there is not a down side right now. The non-union companies I've worked for don't care (or actually like it, because they know they're hiring someone with legitimate professional experience), and the AEA companies like it because they're hiring someone who has previously worked on union shows. If you have the opportunity to earn points now, I say go for it- earning your 50 points does not mean you have to immediately become a union member, but they also don't disappear (immediately). Again, that's just my two cents, I can't speak for your situation & theater community.
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.

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #2 on: Jan 27, 2013, 06:08 pm »
If the Chicago scene is anything like it was 10 years ago, EMC won't scare off the non-AEA employers. People seemed to be genuinely pleased for you if you got your card but given the enormous amount of non-union activity that was (and still is) out here I wasn't faulted for being EMC for years.

Maribeth

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #3 on: Jan 27, 2013, 06:35 pm »
It's been a while since I was EMC, but I remember that once you had accrued 50 weeks, you had to join upon signing your contract at the next AEA theatre. Does anyone know if this has this changed? I know there have been changes in right-to-work laws in recent years- has that affected the EMC requirements?


From the AEA website:
Upon completion of the program, your eligibility to join Equity lasts for five years. During that time, if you are
engaged to work at an Equity theatre, you must be signed to an Equity contract. If you do NOT choose to join
within the five-year period, your accumulated weeks of credit will expire, your registration fee will be forfeited, and
you will not receive the credit toward a future initiation fee.
« Last Edit: Jan 27, 2013, 07:02 pm by Maribeth »

MarcieA

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #4 on: Jan 27, 2013, 10:20 pm »
It's been a while since I was EMC, but I remember that once you had accrued 50 weeks, you had to join upon signing your contract at the next AEA theatre. Does anyone know if this has this changed? I know there have been changes in right-to-work laws in recent years- has that affected the EMC requirements?

To my knowledge, once you accrue your 50 points, you are not required to sign an AEA contract unless offered one. Or if you ask and the theatre is willing and has the contract to give. (That is what you're asking, right?)

When I was EMC I had  my 50 points after my first 14 months of work, but I never had the opportunity to take an Equity contract, so I just held on to those points, for 2 more years.

Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

Maribeth

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #5 on: Jan 27, 2013, 10:44 pm »
Right, but my understanding is that after 50 weeks, once you are offered a job accept a contract at an AEA theatre, you have to join, you can't take another non-AEA contract at an AEA theatre.  You can still work on non-AEA shows at non-AEA theatre and keep your points (for up to 5 years).

Again, not sure if this is still true but that was my understanding when I was EMC (6 or 7 years ago).

EDIT: I should say, once you accept a contract.
« Last Edit: Jan 28, 2013, 01:52 am by Maribeth »

babens

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #6 on: Jan 28, 2013, 01:00 am »
From what I have read and heard your understanding of it is correct, Maribeth.  There has been very little change to the EMC program over the years.

The right-to-work laws in some states may throw a wrench in to that, but I would guess that if you've worked enough to earn the 50 points and are then being offered a contract you would want to jump on that chance to actually join anyway.

As to the original poster, if you were that concerned about the EMC membership scaring potential employers away from your resume you could always just leave it off of your resume when sending it to those companies.  There is nothing in the current rules regarding the EMC program that say that you have to let non-Equity companies know about your participation in the program.

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Maribeth

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #7 on: Jan 28, 2013, 02:05 am »
The nice thing about the $100 fee is that if and when you do decide to go AEA, the $100 comes off of your initiation fee.

I don't know much about the Chicago theatre scene, but when I was EMC I never felt like it was stopping me from working at smaller theatres. But, as babens says, no reason you have to let non-AEA companies know about it, if you're worried.

Another pro is that you don't actually need 50 weeks to go AEA, you just need someone to offer you an AEA contract. So if you are EMC, and you reach a point where you want to be AEA and have been offered an AEA contract, and you don't have the weeks yet, you can join regardless.


RuthNY

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #8 on: Jan 28, 2013, 11:57 am »
The way I understand it, is this: Once you have your 50 weeks you can no longer works as a Non-AEA Actor or SM, in an AEA theatre that offers the EMC program, without being on contract. You are welcome to continue working Non-AEA in a Non-AEA venue, but your days of working in AEA theatres are over until you become a member.

It's been a while since I was EMC, but I remember that once you had accrued 50 weeks, you had to join upon signing your contract at the next AEA theatre. Does anyone know if this has this changed? I know there have been changes in right-to-work laws in recent years- has that affected the EMC requirements?


From the AEA website:
Upon completion of the program, your eligibility to join Equity lasts for five years. During that time, if you are
engaged to work at an Equity theatre, you must be signed to an Equity contract. If you do NOT choose to join
within the five-year period, your accumulated weeks of credit will expire, your registration fee will be forfeited, and
you will not receive the credit toward a future initiation fee.
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
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loebtmc

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #9 on: Jan 28, 2013, 12:55 pm »
...other than in a right-to-work stage, basically, yes, you have unlimited time to earn those 50 weeks, have up to 5 years to decide what you want to do once you've earned them, can join any time you are offered a contract, and must join once you've earned 50 weeks and are working in an AEA house.

You can always check w an AEA rep on this, esp if you live in a right-to-work state.


SGU312

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #10 on: Jan 28, 2013, 02:07 pm »
Thanks everyone for the help!
As an EMC member, would I be allowed to, say attend meetings/workshops offered by Equity?
What benefits are given to EMC members?

babens

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #11 on: Jan 28, 2013, 09:19 pm »
I know there are some workshops and meetings you can attend, not sure about all of them.

Probably the biggest benefit of joining (other than showing that you are gaining experience in an Equity theatre) is not something that stage managers will really see as an advantage, in that at Equity open calls after all Equity members are seen EMC members will be placed on the waiting list ahead of non-Equity actors who are not members of the EMC program.

loebtmc

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #12 on: Jan 28, 2013, 09:20 pm »
Yes, EMCs are invited to many AEA workshops and events, pretty much anything that isn't restricted to AEA members, and at open calls are ahead of Non-Eq folks - which can be useful for handing off a resume.


MarcieA

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Re: EMC program Pros. vs. Cons
« Reply #13 on: Jan 28, 2013, 10:49 pm »
Right, but my understanding is that after 50 weeks, once you are offered a job accept a contract at an AEA theatre, you have to join, you can't take another non-AEA contract at an AEA theatre.  You can still work on non-AEA shows at non-AEA theatre and keep your points (for up to 5 years).

Oh yes, that's absolutely correct. I should have clarified my language.
Companions whom I loved and still love, tell them my song.

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