Monday, 30 March 2009

Tim's the man

Calling all Equity members:
Tim Gale at Equity is the person to contact if you have a question about employment law affecting actors. He will take on any company or Film School reported to him and fight your corner.

He has had many successes from companies that claim not to have a budget for actors. This budget miraculously appears once he applies some pressure!

You CAN make a stand. The balance is slowly tipping in our favour. But at the moment, the government is rather slow at taking this issue seriously.

Here's something that you can do right now to get things moving:

If you see a job advertised that isn't paying either the National Minimum Wage or the correct Equity rate, then report it to Tim. This applies to TV, Film and Theatre.
Tim needs as many reports of National Wage Law abuse as possible to build up a case to take to the HMRC to get them to look at this in more detail. They need to see how bad this is and a whole stack of examples will do the case huge favours. If Equity can get the weight of government behind them then they will be impossible to ignore.

Lastly, if you have been ripped off recently by a company and you feel that you want to take it further, Tim would be happy to advise you on taking them to an Employment tribunal. Not many people are taking this route at the moment and Tim would like to see more.

Know your rights and make some noise!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Know your worth

Every Equity member should know the industry rates:

And when it comes to low budget film or student films remember that it is illegal to work for less than the National Minimum wage.
Contact Equity if you are unclear on what your rights are or if you believe that a company or institution is employing you illegally.

If you see a job advertised anywhere that is flouting these laws then report it to Equity. Write to the company in question if you wish. Let them know that you are intending to report them and why. If enough of us do that, then they will soon get the message!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Mission Statement

The followers of this site would like to bring to the attention of the industry in general the fact that ever more of us are refusing to be exploited and work for nothing / expenses on projects that have designated budgets. These actors will possibly not work this year because of it, despite being highly trained and/or experienced.

The old excuse that 'experience' is a substitute for payment - will no longer wash. It is illegal to expect an individual to work for nothing.

We want to put a stop to certain companies, mainly in the fields of film and television, putting the actor at the bottom of the food chain and creating an image of the actor that is desperate, unskilled and ten-a-penny. This is damaging to every actor, whatever their skill or experience and putting up a brick wall between other employers and the newer / undiscovered talent, labelling them a risk. No one can benefit in a climate like that.

We are campaigning for a level playing field whenever there is a budget available to a production. In collaboration with Equity, we are working towards making it a condition of funding that every contributor is paid in line with the budget.

Collaborative projects that do not receive any funding can continue to thrive as long as everyone is putting in their time for free.

Plus, we would like to bring to the attention of many Universities / Media Institutions that although we are happy to help students, we should not be expected to work for nothing here either. Other professions are paid for their time; life models, fashion models etc. We remind these institutions that we will expect at least National Minimum Wage and it is unfair to expect students to pay for this; it should be factored into their course fee. More importantly, these institutions must set an example by teaching their students that actors require payment for their services.

Companies or institutions that flout these guidelines will find it increasingly difficult to find professional actors for their projects and should get into the habit now of paying actors a fair wage. The minimum wage laws will be vigorously pursued by Equity as more and more actors find that the union is fighting their corner.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A new voice for actors

Welcome to AACE, actors against creative exploitation.

What will appear here in the next week will be a mission statement from a growing collective of actors who have said enough is enough.

Add this blog to your bookmarks and more information will appear here very soon.