Actra, Fraternity or Union?

“wow every one take a step back…done? I have been through the wars on many of these types of issues in every area of this business from stand up comedy to equity and now Actra. At a meeting a few years ago during the SAG strike I suggested that we raise our rates to the same as what the Americans were asking in order to put pressure on the producers to settle their dispute. Our public position was that we supported the Americans but we took every american job that we could. I also sat through a lunch meeting where I was told Actors are desparate over and over while filming a Toytota commercial. The contempt works both ways Ash. I am not a fool. I like the TIP agreement in principle but i know that it, like lots of things starts to get abused and that when the application shows up that a REAL means test be done to determine wether the production really does need a break. That is where i see fault in this process. For some reason , the idea of giving a production a break has gone off the rails. I could go on about the internet agreement and various other DEALS but the truth is I haven’t spent enough time on the details, or at council to complain. ”

I do know that producers use a template of approximately 3 percent on these things is attributed to the actors budget. Maybe that is the number that is antiquated and needs to go the way of the Dinosaurs.

“Please don’t tow the party line of producers in an Actors forum it is odd and deceitful and won’t help you book me or other actors…And by the way we are not desperate but you sound like you are”

“So let me harken back to my various strikes I have been involved with, Two with Opseu at Humber, One with the OTF at teachers college, I left Yuks to set up a new business model in 1986 and some others on the periphery. I watched as the primary teachers fold and showed their colours as the Harris Government whittled down the school system as they pushed their abstraction of an education system. Primary teachers are NICE. The fact is that in all my various situations being “NICE” got us nothing. The producers are armed to the teeth with more knowledge about where the industry is headed. Despite the fact that Tony is seemingly disappointed with the Union he remains a member and I would hope that he participates in any future negotiations. Bruce, as well, should also participate. I don’t want a NICE agent, I don’t want Nice Union members, and I certainly don’t want nice negotiators.I just want the right deal. We owe nobody anything and we certainly don’t have to be NICE”

“I am not sure how much you have done in this business but let me assure you it is important to recognize that we are always making concessions. I know myself that if prices were lower, or revenue streams were different then perhaps there would be more work for everyone. I also know that the concessions that great actors make by even being in a Union of any sort. There isn’t a great actor in ACTRA who isn’t making a concession on everyday they work. If the market were allowed to float then Pinsent’s or Polley’s would make even more money. And even less money for the rest of us.So you must tread softly when you think any of these ideals are outdated. I happen to know Bruce and Tony very well and I know that they are also in that category. People would fall over themselves to work with them and as a result they would do really well without the fraternity. The Union is way of taking care of all of us in some way. By creating loopholes for producers, it is actually putting even more pressure on them , a lot more pressure than it is on you or me. Don’t fall for there words, judge their actions.”

“therein lies a huge problem…what is it that we do?…because we can can perform magic with seemingly no props and utilize imagination. Producers think we are playing some childhood game and treat us like children when in fact it takes years to make it look effortless.There is no upside to just getting along. In fact i would say the problem with Canadian Art is that it doesn’t offend. One of the greatest exercises one can do is run a casting session and judge wether people are Union or non Union. I have done it and the differences are marked.”

“one of the reasons we are nice to each other in Canada is because we are just a good decent lot. In other countries, perhaps, there is more cut throat behaviour. The kind of behaviour that Simon Cowell always admires in his subjects on X factor or Idol. Lawyers aren’t afraid of it, and hopefully agents aren’t afraid of it. The same quality that hockey players trusted in Alan Eagleson is also what screwed them.Trust. I trust David Sparrow implicitly and I know that on some level we are stuck to an incremental [process that will take time to change. I also know that ACTRA may be going through a growing process and a maturation that like adolescence, ugly and awkward with lots of swear words. But we have to come out of the dark and anticipate that producers are always going to read the fine print to get the best deal possible. I am never upset at the parameters of my agreements because I am almost out of the business. I just work right now. My time has passed. But for someone who has been through the wars. let me remind us all that we have long memories and unity is most important in all of this. I am still not friends with people from 1986 at Yuks, It sis too long to go over a position that is really arbitrary. There are absolutely great deals and there are relatively bad deals. The best way to gain is to continue to do the great work that we do and keep them coming back…at a fair price…Fair to us first though” #dearrobtrick from Facebook


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s