99 seat waiver
The following is really for member of @ActorsEquity and the upcoming vote regarding the 99 seat theater contract in Los Angeles. Others can read but it will not likely interest you.
My fellow AEA members, I write to add my voice to those who stand in opposition to the current proposal AEA is proffering for vote regarding the 99 seat waiver theater that is an institution in Los Angeles. I have worked under this contract several times over the past 20 years. Though it is true I have never relied on waiver contracts to showcase myself or attempt to make a living, I have worked under its auspices and to great satisfaction.
Allow me to state the obvious - most actors in LA are desperate to find a way to showcase themselves, to practise and hone their craft. There are precious few ways to do this. Yes, we all have the ability and access to showcase ourselves on Youtube and Vine and other social media. But to stand on a stage and take on a challenging role or a role or piece of material we have always wanted to do for the sheer joy of feeding our artisitic souls is a privilege afforded in few circumstances other than the waiver opportunity.
I can assure you that the current revision to the waiver contract that is being put to vote has not been negotiated or even discussed with waiver theater owners and I can also assure you that if it is enacted, those owners will either fold or produce only non-union shows. They cannot survive under the dictates of the new proposal.
No one does waiver to survive financially. It is lousy money. It is purely an act of love from everyone involved. No one, and I mean no one, is making a killing doing waiver. It was never designed or intended to do that.
We all deserve to be compensated for our work and for those of us dedicated to the theater, we know the discipline and sacrifice we make for the stage. We should be rewarded for that. But this contract is not the place.
Can we imporove the waiver contract? Sure. And we should. But we should engage our colleagues who own and operate these spaces and work it out in the spirit of cooperation - together. This has not been afforded to them. Please don't let the east coast council of AEA, where waiver is non-existant, dictate this ruinous contract and please don't buy this pitch.
Vote no and reject this contract to preserve the possibility of a future for 99 seat.
Twitter is the only social media I do, so please share this with fellow AEA members you may know.
I look foward to seeing all your work and if I'm lucky, working with you.