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Equity Aspirations?

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PatrickDC
Broadway Star
joined:10/3/16
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Equity Aspirations?#1
Posted: 1/12/20 at 1:31am

Is it every actors goal to be in Equity? If they aren’t in Equity, do they make career choices to get themselves into Equity? Are there reasons to avoid being a member? 
 

Why I ask is that looking at tour websites, the only way I can tell if it’s an Equity or non-Equity tour is by reading cast bios. Got me wondering, do these touring actors in non-Equity tours want to be on a union tour? 

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TheGingerBreadMan
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joined:12/7/12
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Equity Aspirations?#2
Posted: 1/12/20 at 1:56am
Each actor is different and each actor has different reasons for wanting to join - or not.

There are certainly benefits of being in the union - better pay, better benefits, better working conditions - but there are drawbacks as well. Once in the union, you can’t audition for or perform in non-union productions without approval from Equity, and you typically need to have a good reason for doing it. You also must pay union dues which are billed as a biannual fee in addition to the union collecting a percentage of your income.

There is no clear, universal answer as to whether or not one should become an Equity member. It depends on what the individual actor wants and needs and how they want their career to progress.
JennH
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joined:11/14/13
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Equity Aspirations?#3
Posted: 1/12/20 at 9:42am

I'm just replying to the OP to say that you can go to Equity's website and see which tours are Union and which aren't. Much faster than trying to decipher actor bios Equity Aspirations? 

 

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The Distinctive Baritone
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joined:8/28/04
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Equity Aspirations?#4
Posted: 1/12/20 at 4:07pm
Most of the actors in those non-Equity tours are very early in their careers, and haven’t yet had the opportunity to join the union. It can take a few years for it to happen, but every stage actor wants to be Equity.

That said, Equity is a very New York-centric organization, and although it has good intentions, the demands it makes can prove to be too much for a lot of small regional theaters, so they either use Equity contracts as little as they can or not at all. The majority of regionally-based stage actors are therefore non-Equity, even in major theater cities like Chicago and San Francisco. I am eligible to join, but haven’t yet because it can kill your career if you don’t live in New York.
JSquared2
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joined:3/23/17
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Equity Aspirations?#5
Posted: 1/12/20 at 4:11pm

The Distinctive Baritone said: "Most of the actors in those non-Equity tours are very early in their careers, and haven’t yet had the opportunity to join the union. It can take a few years for it to happen, but every stage actor wants to be Equity.

That said, Equity is a very New York-centric organization, and although it has good intentions, the demands it makes can prove to be too much for a lot of small regional theaters, so they either use Equity contracts as little as they can or not at all. The majority of regionally-based stage actors are therefore non-Equity, even in major theater cities like Chicago and San Francisco. I am eligible to join, but haven’t yet because it can kill your career if you don’t live in New York.
"

 

So, first you say every actor wants to be Equity, then you say  you could join but you don’t want to. Which one is it? 

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GavestonPS
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Equity Aspirations?#6
Posted: 1/12/20 at 6:11pm

JSquared2 said: "The Distinctive Baritone said: "Most of the actors in those non-Equity tours are very early in their careers, and haven’t yet had the opportunity to join the union. It can take a few years for it to happen, but every stage actor wants to be Equity.

That said, Equity is a very New York-centric organization, and although it has good intentions, the demands it makes can prove to be too much for a lot of small regional theaters, so they either use Equity contracts as little as they can or not at all. The majority of regionally-based stage actors are therefore non-Equity, even in major theater cities like Chicago and San Francisco. I am eligible to join, but haven’t yet because it can kill your career if you don’t live in New York.
"



So, first you say every actor wants to be Equity, then you say you could join but you don’t want to. Which one is it?
"

Baritone was quite clear. He wrote that for every stage actor, AEA membership is the ideal. He then added a second paragraph as to why that ideal may not be practical for actors outside New York.

I've known countless actors on the West Coast who--though members of SAG, AFTRA, etc.--delay or avoid AEA membership. Although many Broadway shows also audition in LA, for many actors there simply aren't enough union jobs to justify joining AEA. "Non-union" meant "inferior quality" to me when I lived in New York, but I quickly learned that wasn't necessarily true in Los Angeles.

Updated On: 1/12/20 at 06:11 PM
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Equity Aspirations?#7
Posted: 1/12/20 at 6:19pm
I would love to be an equity actor, but I love the community theatre that I do and have been doing for years, and a lot of CTs don’t allow you to do shows when your equity. My local one included.

Right now I’m doing Something Rotten there and it’s so much fun! (Actually in the middle of rehearsal right now!)