I've gotten a few questions about equity. What is it exactly? When should I join? How should I join? What are the pros and cons? All of these questions are answered and more in my quick little guide to Equity.
What is Equity?
Actors Equity is a theatre union for actors and stage managers. It was founded in 1913 and currently represents over 51,000 actors and stage managers. Before Equity, actors and stage managers would be working without pay, stranded in the middle of the country when a show closed and many other abuses. Equity mandates things like pay and hours, while also insuring that members have health insurance and a 501K.
When should I join?
The journey to an equity card is different for everyone. Some people get their cards through their first job, others do the EMC program. What I've been told is you just know when the time is right
Why join? Or why not?
Pros of joining Equity
- Status in auditions(access to Equity Principal Calls and Equity Chorus Calls)
- Labor protection(Hours, breaks, Etc)
- Minimum salary
- Health insurance
- A pension(401K)
- member discounts
Cons of joining Equity
- You can only work on Equity projects
- A hefty initiation fee($1,700)
- Basic dues ($174/year)
- Working dues(2.5% of your revenue)
- heavier competition
How do I join?
There are three ways to join Actors Equity. The first is through booking. If you book a job in an Equity house, they may include your Equity card in the contract. The second way is through a sister union(SAG-AFTRA, AGMA, AGVA). The third and last option is through the Equity Membership Candidate(EMC) program.
Hopefully this has enlightend you on what Equity is and how it works. I've included the link to Equity's website below if you have any further questions.
Until next time!