Tag Archives: actors

Equity: why you should join now

8 May

So you’ve heard of Equity but aren’t really sure what being a member means? No problem, we chatted to Kristin Mie Hamada from Equity’s membership relations department about the benefits of signing up. 

Why should actors join Equity?

It is vital that young actors join Equity because they are safeguarding the future of the performing arts.  As a trade union not only do we negotiate many of the contracts that actors work on, we also set rates of pay as a part of that negotiation process. By being a young member you are ensuring that now and in the future actors will have good conditions to work in, but also that they will receive adequate pay for the work they do!

Are there particular benefits for young members?

Equity provides a good safety net for young performers who might be less familiar with the industry.  For example if you work on a show and do not receive payment for the work you’ve done, you can give us a call and we can help you to sort that out.  Sometimes younger performers (and older ones as well) are unsure how long they should wait for their payment, and what their rights are, and if the payment doesn’t come they are not quite sure how to go about receiving it.  In addition if it comes down to a legal issue, then Equity provides legal representation as a standard benefit of membership, so if we have to go to court to get you a payment then your membership covers the legal costs.  We can provide that support and information to our young members to try to prevent something like this from happening again.

Do you encourage actors to get involved in campaigns?

We give young members the opportunity to be an activist for the arts.  Activism is a great thing, and performers feel very strongly about their industry.  As an Equity member, young actors can get involved and try to create positive change for themselves and other artists.  Our Young Members’ Committee actually got the ball rolling with all the low and no pay work, and really helped to move this campaign forward.  Now our Low/No Pay campaign is central to the work that we are doing as an organisation, and that was made possible by our young, active, members.

Are there any other benefits?

There are loads of benefits. Others would include creating a network with other artists who are members, saving your Equity name, access to tax and welfare advice, access to all our agreements and rates so you know what you should be earning, public liability insurance, accident and backstage insurance, the use of our website so you can create a profile for yourself so you are able to promote yourself, there are many discounts which you can take advantage of which are only available to members.

What do you have to do to join?

You have to fill in an application form and provide evidence of your paid work experience as a performer, theatre creative, or a stage manager in theatre.  Applying online is the quickest way to join.  Our requirements for how much evidence to provide varies.

What does having an Equity card mean?

An Equity card means professionalism.  It states, ‘I am a professional!’ because it demonstrates that the cardholder understands the range of support that Equity can provide to an individual and to the industry.

What kind of events and meetings take place?

You can find a list of specific events on our calendar which gives details about upcoming events.

Are there any specific opportunities for networking/meeting other people in the performing arts that come with joining Equity?

Members are encouraged to participate in their local branch meetings, which is a good place to meet other performers. Branch meetings are a time/place for discussing union-specific issues, activist opportunities and organising activism, and also expanding creative opportunities.

If anyone has additional questions they can email Kristin directly at khamada@equity.org.uk

Image used with permission from Equity.

Acting events in February

1 Feb

As we have FINALLY got through what feels like the longest month of the year, here’s a round-up of some useful acting-based events that you can go to in Feb.

Please let us know if we’ve missed anything or know of any other events that other actors would find useful.

The Top 10 Blogs for Actors

25 Jan

In no particular order, these are the blogs that we think all actors should be checking out on a regular basis. Disagree? Let us know who you would add to the list.

1) The Stage Blog – A collection of blogs from the leading theatrical publication, including posts on education and training and news.

2) Resting Actress – Hilarious posts about the trials and tribulations of being a resting actress. See her guest post here.

3) The Acting Blog – Expert advice from Scottish acting coach Mark Westbrook.

4) UK Actor’s Tweetup – A must for all wannabes, the Tweetup team arrange networking events for aspiring actors. Look them up on Twitter too.

5) Spotlight – Posts from the top casting directory featuring news, interviews and blogs by actors.

6) Lenka’s Acting Journey – Czech actress Lenka blogs about acting abroad.

7) Industry Hub – Struggling to become more savvy with social networking? This blog is promoting the UK acting scene using social media, while also providing handy tips.

8) Guardian Stage – It’s important to keep up with all the latest theatre news, and the Guardian does a great job of analysing the biggest stories.

9) A Younger Theatre – A collection of blogs from the team at Younger Theatre – which is run exclusively by under 26 year-olds who are passionate about theatre.

10) Us! We hope you’re enjoying what we’re doing but would love to hear if you have any comments or suggestions. You can email us at blogforactors@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

We know there are loads more brilliant blogs – if you don’t agree with us tell us who you would add.

Picture by crafty_dame from Flickr via a CC Licence.

Top Tips from To Be Seen

6 Jan

Martha Shephard

Martha Shephard from online casting agency  To Be Seen shares her advice for those starting out in the business

Online Profile:

Create a profile at www.tobeseen.co.uk. It is free to create a basic profile and you can use it as your unique webpage to show your details, acting credits, photos & showreel. Casting professionals can then simply click on your link to access the information they require in order to consider you for an audition.
You can forward your To Be Seen profile link to relevant people & companies in the industry, print it on your business cards, use it in your email signature & display it in your social networking profiles.

Headshot Photos:

Having good quality photos is essential on your profile because it is the first thing that industry professionals see and it represents you.
Your photos can be black & white or colour. You should be facing the camera and have a non-distracting background. Avoid wearing patterns or prints, keep your clothing simple in solid colours. Dont go crazy with the make up, casting professionals want to see you. Adopt a relaxed friendly pose.

Martha recommends: www.davidtettphotography.com

Showreel:

Having a good showreel is the difference between getting that audition or not. A professionally made showreel is absolutely essential.
Your showreel should be approximately 3-4 minutes in length. Show your versatility by having a mixture of your acting clips. If you don’t yet have acting clips to add to it then consider a monologue piece.
Update your showreel regularly. Ensure your contact details are on it.

Martha recommends: www.silvertipfilms.co.uk

Social Networking:

Get involved in the digital stuff. Sometimes companies post auditions via their social networking pages so ensure you have a profile with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ and follow relevant companies.

For help with social media, Martha recommends: www.reallybrightmedia.com

Networking:

Attend relevant networking & workshop/seminar events in the acting industry, there are loads of them about. You will meet people & companies that will give you advice and also you can swap tips with other people in the industry.

Martha recommends: The UK Actors Tweetup

The Audition:

Double-check the location of audition the day before and arrive 10 minutes early. Print out your CV and attach your headshot photo securely to it.
Find out all you can about the company and director. Research the role and the character. Lines should be learned. Be the character you are playing. Dress to fit that character.
Don’t pester the company for feedback after your audition – check your mobile & emails regularly and wait for them to contact you. Continue applying for further auditions – perseverance is key – it is a competitive industry so be prepared to work hard to land that role you want.

To find out more visit To Be Seen or follow on Twitter.

Phoebe Gann’s tips for aspiring actors

13 Nov

Recent interviewee, actor Phoebe Gann, had some great advice for aspiring actors:

1) Improve your practical skills: “Being able to do things like puppetry or playing an instrument can make you very employable”

2) Go to the theatre as much as possible: “Watch the actors, and see what they do. Look at the roles, in everything that you watch think about what you would bring to that play. This widens your knowledge of theatre and, if you get to see lots of actors, you can work out what’s good and what’s not.”

3) Volunteer at a local theatre company: “There’s not that much money around so if you can work hard for a company and impress them then if there is a job opening, you’ve got a much better chance of getting it.”

What other advice would you give to wannabe actors?

Picture by Laughlin Elkind from Flikr via a CC License.