There's definately change coming. What form it'll take, and how long is a matter for discussion, but finally it seems that Equity are taking notice. They are not trying to ignore the issue, as many are speaking up now. Resolutions are being passed, top level meetings are taking place and people high up in the Council are talking about it.
I can keep up the pressure if you vote me onto Council this summer.
As well as practical measures, such as introducing the Fringe Theatre contract for all Fringe theatre and increased pressure on film schools there is a shift in mindset which needs nurturing here. That is equally important as a concrete strategy.
With an empowered membership, who value their place in the profession we can do so much ourselves.
How would you enforce a Fringe Contract? This is where a changed mindset comes in. Actors, if educated on the benefits of such a contract, even when unpaid, will start to ask for them. A contract will give members the power to ask for accounts so that they can see where the money (if any)went.
Eventually this could lead to a clear distinction of what is professional and what is not. Shows or films that have a contract could have a reference number that would go on actor's CVs. This type of "Fringe" credit would then be the only acceptable professional standard to gain entry to Spotlight and Equity, if no other higher paid jobs are evident.
We could look into some sort of co-operative model so that if a project is truly collaborative, it means that no-one can put on plays or make a film with unpaid actors and make a living out of it. All would benefit and it would truly be a profit share, instead of the expectation that profit share means no pay. This model may well be a way for the National Minimum Wage legislation to bypass collaborative projects, something which worries some members working on the Fringe.
Small changes at first. Let's change the culture of cheap labour in this profession bit by bit.
Vote for me and I will make it my mission to put all this in motion.