I'm still coming back from my two week vacation (and I've commited myself to reading everything from while I was gone -- for theater, that is) but here's two quotes that look great together:
6. Did you even know it was up for negotiation?
The Actors' Equity - Broadway League contract was negotiated and ratified with such little fanfare that a lot of folks didn't even know it was happening. My contacts who lined the walls of these proceedings told me it was mostly smooth sailing through the proceedings, and they credited both sides for understanding the challenges that both were facing in the coming years and remembering that we all needed to win in order for the industry to prosper. A peaceful negotiation with positive results for all definitely gets on my 10 Best list.
AEA is in most aspects a vanity union, and is more about perception than purpose. Being able to say “I belong to Equity” conjures up dreams of getting on Broadway and every myth that goes along with those dreams. It offers the promise of access, but cannot truly deliver on that promise for all its members. AEA has done a great job of publicly spinning itself as a great union achieving great things for its members and as portraying itself as having “the best of the best” as its members (exclusivity), and to some extent that is true and cannot be denied. But on the whole, neither the numbers nor the general quality of American Theatre taken as a whole bears this out. Generally speaking, its members are vastly underpaid when compared to total theatrical gross revenues, and there is plenty of high-quality non-union theatre to be seen in this country.
-- Tom Loughlin, who backs up those fighting words with a lot of data.
To understand his conclusion, take a look at this:
As an interesting comparison, my son had made two regional commercials for a restaurant chain called On The Border. He is now a member of SAG because of it. In total, the work in those two commercials earned him enough money to hit his goal of having $10K savings in the bank in one year. AEA has absolutely no ability to do that for any stage actor who isn’t already a major star and can negotiate a salary far above AEA minimums. So which union would you rather get into first?