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re: Overreaching!
Posted by: sirpupnyc 12:56 pm EST 12/15/18
In reply to: re: Overreaching! - stgmgr 11:41 am EST 12/15/18

Because Equity's releases are beyond uninformative, can we fill in the actual details?

My memory of it all is pretty hazy, so please correct if I'm wrong.

Workshops and Labs are both short-term developmental things, which ensure that actors get paid for assisting writers and producers in actually seeing their works-in-progress, because at some point you have to be able to sit outside the work and watch someone else put it on.

The Workshop contract has low pay but a share of the eventual profit, if any. If you put time into a workshop for an eventual flop (i.e., most shows), the "real" money of the contract never pans out, and the actors have put in their time on it for a pittance.

So, the Lab contract was born. Giving up the uncertain later share for better money now.

Producers like the Lab contract because it lets them keep all of their profit, so now producers with real hit potential are opting for the Lab, making Workshop contracts less attractive to everyone. (Because the shows most likely to pay off later are doing Labs instead.)

So now Equity wants to adjust the contracts to the new way of things, since the point of the Lab contract wasn't giving the shows that hit it big a way to cut out the actors who helped in the developmental stages.

That the Lab salary hasn't increased in 11 years, which they're hammering on, is really beside the point. Yes, a reasonable number in 2007 isn't reasonable now, and it should be increased. And yes, cutting actors from developmental stages in on eventual profit is a good thing. But nobody's living off labs. Nobody's "been making the same wage for 11 years." I'm sure it's actually significant income to some members, but it's a couple weeks here and there, right?

Their point is really "we agreed to this, and now it's being used in an way we didn't intend." So, it's not unreasonable to want to renegotiate those contracts, which aren't now benefiting their membership as they were meant to. But trying to rile up theatregoers with vague talking points and no actual information? "Producers are using our contracts as a dodge to avoid paying actors for their work" is a bit too blunt, but it's more their point, isn't it?
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