Author Topic: Should I start EMC?  (Read 5000 times)

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SingingPixie

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Should I start EMC?
« on: Mar 17, 2006, 09:01 pm »
Hi everyone,
I'm 21 and graduating this may with a BA in theater and have been SMing for the past 3 years. I have quite a bit of educational theater under my belt, but over half of my resume is  professional work now. I have two shows coming up that I could qualify for EMC points with, totalling somewhere in the 12-14 week range. Should I join EMC now? or should I wait so that I don't get to 50 sooner than I could realistically find work? What should one have under his/her belt before starting the program? What about before he/she turns equity? Thanks so much! -Meg

johnmurdock

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Should I start EMC?
« Reply #1 on: Mar 18, 2006, 01:26 am »
Meg,

I am kind of in the same position, i have accepted a position with the Maine State Musical Theatre for the summer and will qualify for EMC, i have been recommended by some very reputable and experience sources, that if you are wondering if you are ready for equity, you most likely are.  If you dont have doubts about your abilities, then why would otheres?

Hope this helps.

John

Amy877

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Should I start EMC?
« Reply #2 on: Mar 18, 2006, 11:52 am »
JOIN THE PROGRAM.  Here's why:

It will probably take you 2 years to get all of you points, anyway.  Two years of experience in Equity houses is plenty.  You'll be ready to join and start ASMing... or PSMing on the lower contracts.

"Upon completion of the program, your eligibility to join Equity lasts for five years." -- AEA website.  So, once you have all your points (two years from now), you'll still have another FIVE YEARS to join.  Think you'll be ready seven years from now???

"During that time [the five years after completion], if you are engaged to work at an Equity theatre, you must be signed to an Equity contract." -- AEA website.  NOT TRUE.  Obviously, you can't work as a non-AEA stage manager in an Equity house, but you can continue to PA there, or work in administration, or work in production management, or intern somewhere else, if you choose.  You're not a member of Equity, so, legally, they can't tell you what to do.  

If anyone's heard of Equity preventing an EMC member from taking work after completion of the 50 points, but before officially joining Equity, please tell the story.

RuthNY

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Should I start EMC?
« Reply #3 on: Mar 18, 2006, 01:12 pm »
If your ultimate goal is to be an AEA Stage Manager, by all means, join the EMC program.  Weeks go fast when you're working, learning, and having fun all at the same time!

But....be skeptical of the above advice.  Here's why.  In the past two years, theatres at which I was the AEA PSM have received phone calls in reference to EMC Registered PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS working in the SM Department.  In each case the candidate was going to complete their 50 weeks prior to the end of the theatre's season and prior to the end of their negotiated agreement with the theatre.  AEA was inquiring as to the producer's plans to either put these candidates on an AEA contract at the end of their 50 weeks (which would not have happened in either case as there were already two AEA members on contract--me and my ASM) or let them go once they were no longer eligble to work as an EMC.  In each case the candidate was allowed to stay on for the remainder of the season, but ONLY because the producer agreed to make them AEA the last two weeks of the season.  Otherwise it would have been the producer's choice of AEA contract at the 51rst week or no job.

So you see, AEA does have their finger on the pulse of how many weeks you have earned.  It also seems to me that they define working in the SM department, regardless of your title (PA, Intern Apprentice, etc.) to be work that you cannot do without a contract after 50 weeks.  No, they cannot keep you from a job in the Box Office, Scene Shop, Admin., etc. but working as an actor or a stage manager (again, regardless of title) after 50 weeks will be a no-no unless the producer can find a compromise position as above.

(Vernon, do you have any wisdom to add here?)

Just my personal view and experience.  I do not speak for AEA.

Ruth
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
--Alan Alda

smejs

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Should I start EMC?
« Reply #4 on: Mar 18, 2006, 02:43 pm »
I would recommend joining now, and at least start a few points.  After reading the above post regarding Equity checking in on EMC candidates, I'm not sure if what I'm about to say still applies, but as for me...

I joined the EMC program back in 1996.  I got 6 points.  I then felt that I didn't know enough, and wanted more non-Equity experience before "turning too early"...I then proceeded to work at more Equity theatres, but didn't actually sign up for any points...and got lots of experience at really good theatres.  When I decided to try to continue my points, it was actually harder to do...Equity was becoming more stringent on which theatres could give you points, and under exactly how many Equity stage managers you had to be working (If an Equity ASM is hired, you only get points for the weeks they're working too...if they leave after the show opens, your points stop being accrued- at least on a LORT contract in the higher categories).  When I finally wanted to turn Equity, I was technically 6 points shy...and in fact, at one point Equity was going to retroactively give me points for a show I'd done in a blackbox earlier that year (Lort D I believe), and then changed their mind.  However, because I'd shown dedication to learning the craft, and also WOULD have been able to have gotten more points in the past but didn't choose to, I found a theatre that gave me a "poof-you're-Equity" contract, because they thought I deserved it.  So I didn't technically do it through the EMC program, but I certainly credit it with getting my foot in the door.  And besides, I already had $100 of the initiation fee paid.

Erin

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SM vs PA...
« Reply #5 on: Mar 21, 2006, 12:45 am »
This topic is being discussed more and more around the country. In many cases, producers hire PA's to do the exact same work as stage managers thereby admitting that the work needs to be done yet being unwilling to hire Equity stage managers to do it.

Sometimes, the line between being a PA and a stage manager is such a tricky one that it can be interpretted in a few different ways. Working in the Box Office is clearly not the same and Running Crew is simply that but being Head Crew Chief or anything similar is pushing the envelope in my opinion.

The EMC program is not offered in all theatres; there is a criteria for using it and the Business Reps in each Equity office should be able to get that info to anyone who asks.
Ordo ab chao

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