Monday 20 December 2010

New Zealand Actors' Guild Inc - Membership Drive

Now that the NZ Actors' Guild is all official and legal and such, they are starting to welcome their first official members. I just joined and it's all very exciting!

'What's the Guild all about?' I hear you say. Well,

'The NZ Actors Guild is an independent guild set up by New Zealanders to provide advice and advocacy for actors. The NZ Actors Guild seeks to actively involve our members in the decision making process and to empower them as self employed professionals through information and development opportunities.'

You can check out their values here.

There are three membership levels: Full, Associate and Supporting. You can find more info here or email nzactorsguild [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any further questions.

The interim Committee will be working very hard in the next few months to put everything in place that is needed to offer members services that will keep them informed about what's going on in the industry, enable them to grow as artists and as business people, and get them networking with other industry professionals.

The Guild has the potential to be a strong and meaningful voice for NZ actors. And it has the potential to offer great opportunities and services that will give you some more tangible value for your buck. To get the ball rolling the Guild needs your support!

So, to celebrate the Guild's arrival and to build their member base, they are offering an introductory price of $50+gst for 6 months for all levels of membership. Great value at a bargain price, and right in time for Christmas!

Thursday 9 December 2010

Working with actors

I recently had an experience working with an actor who I sincerely hope never to work with again, ever.

In my mind, there are two varieties of actors, with all sorts of shades of grey in between them of course. But essentially there are those who are courteous, always prepared and on time. They quietly do their work and then invest themselves fully in everything they are doing in rehearsal, on stage and on set. If such an actor also happens to be a generous performer, who isn't concerned with him- or herself but focuses on who and what is around him, I'm sure any director would agree that they have struck gold.

And then there is the other kind. The one that has no consideration for anyone else involved in a production, who doesn't care much about schedules. The actor who doesn't learn the lines, the one who doesn't do the work, the one who is disruptive and entirely focused on him- or herself.

I sincerely hope that I get to work a lot with those actors of the first kind because they are the ones that I want to learn from. I have met a lot of actor folk in Wellington theatre who are fantastic examples and I am getting seriously itchy thinking that I will have to wait for quite some more time before I can get stuck into theatre work again.

By now I've come across both kinds of actors and when I vented about the jerk variety, my partner said that, well, that's the difference between armature and professional productions. The likelihood of coming across and the number of the jerk variety of actors decreases the more professional the production. I hope he is right but still, does doing unpaid work really have to mean that we have to deal with inconsiderate jerks?

The other thing I am really annoyed about is that the jerk actor variety often seams to be what paints the public's picture of our profession. The amazing and generous work done by most actors goes largely unnoticed - unless they win an award for it. They are quiet, do their work, and make everyone else's job easier because they love what they do and know that without the collaboration of everyone else, their work would mean nothing.

But just as some actors, other creatives and technicians also seem to forget sometimes that the world doesn't revolve around them. In the case of the productions at the level I am working on at the moment, they forget that everyone who shows up for their project is doing so for the love of it, on their own time and dime. I have worked on productions that didn't have a call sheet or a shot list. I have been on set all day long, never knowing when my scenes were going to be shot - or if they would be shot at all. I have seen DOP's do the director's work because the director had no clue what they wanted. I have even had to help rewrite a script halfway through a production because the director was so stuck that it was impossible to continue the shoot. But I have also had the privilege to work with great people who were extremely organised, knowledgeable and focused. These are the people I would work for again in a heartbeat - unpaid and knee deep in snow in my undies.

So, maybe instead of complaining about each other, we should all take a step back and evaluate our own contributions to the productions we're involved in. Whether we are actors, creatives, techies, maybe we should start by being honest with ourselves, improve our attitude and work ethic where we can and lead our peers by example. And then maybe, it won't matter so much how inexperienced, under-funded and underpaid we are on those productions we do for the love of it, but can have the great time we all want to have, and walk away with something we can be proud of.

Monday 6 December 2010

Rough patch

Remember my last post? The one were I was on about how much I love summer and that there were so many opportunities coming up?

Well, part one is still true. This summer, so far, is truly glorious! I'm spending every free minute outside, eating some of our raspberries fresh off the bush every day, and even the infamous Wellington wind has become a good friend. Even on an overcast day like today, summer still feels on.

The other part, the one about opportunities on the other hand, has turned out to be more of a day dream than reality. That I have to pass on theatre work for the time being has cut my gig opportunity in half as it is but other auditions are so few and far in between that the thought of regular auditioning is simply laughable.

As far as auditions through my agency are concerned, either there are none or I'm not getting any. Or my agent isn't working for me. I am sending regular updates to them and to the last one the response was that they are hoping to get some paid work in for me soon and that it hasn't happened yet certainly wasn't for their lack of trying.

What am I supposed to make of that? Are there really no jobs or am I just a shit actor that no one wants to audition?

And don't even get me started on that day job that is supposed to be paying my bills.

It's a bit of a rough patch.

Luckily, just when I started feeling really sorry for myself, I got asked to do a workshop for a first-time director. I had worked with the producer of the film on two other shorts earlier this year and she asked if I could help out. It's a two hour workshop tomorrow night and an opportunity at the very least to have some fun! So, between my three hour class tonight and the workshop tomorrow that's five hours - plus preparation time - worth of acting this week. This week I actually am a lucky girl.

Why is it that I feel so down and frustrated then?

Are you stuck in a rough patch? Are the times when you're not auditioning doing your head in, too? Are you having trouble believing in yourself from time to time?

Lets get together here for some commiserating and then get off our sorry bums and do what we gotta do to stay sane in this crazy biz.

Chapman Trip Theater Awards

Sunday saw the 2010 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards funsies being held again. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! Can't wait to see your new works in 2011.

Check out the nominees and winners at Theatreview here.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Audition excitement

Eeeeeek! I love summer! All of a sudden there is a host of great opportunities coming up. In the last week alone I submitted to six or seven short films. Getting two auditions out of that is making me happily and giddily excited. The scripts are both really lovely and I'll be auditioning for lead roles. Bring it on and white light to all of you other auditionees!

Saturday 13 November 2010

Is drama school worth the drama?

Ever since I didn't get called back for the workshop weekend at Toi Whakaari I keep hearing all these negative things about drama school. It's as if the universe wants to reassure me that not making it into drama school this year is ok.

I really wish the universe would shut about it though because it is starting to discourage me from trying again next year. Then again maybe that's the point the universe wants to make. Don't bother, drama school sucks.

One thing I heard was that many students cannot wait to leave school and that the only reason they stick with it, is the pressure of not wanting to be 'the drop-out'. That's really kinda sad. When I went to law school, I wished nothing more than being able to just drop out. But I didn't want to be there in the first place and I am guessing that most drama students actually want to go to drama school. Shouldn't your education fuel your passion and desire to learn and grow, not make you want to run for the hills screaming?

You might say that these students simply cannot handle being an actor or that they cannot handle the pressures of drama school. As an actor you have to open yourself up and be vulnerable pretty much all the time when you're working - and no one, not in school and not in the real world - is going to wrap you in cotton and bubble wrap so you can handle that.

But beyond teaching their students to be honest and open and vulnerable, there are many little side-stories I have heard, that might be just the indication for why so many drama students seem very keen for their school days to be over.

One of these stories was for instance that in at least one of the classes (not one on acting technique) the tutors felt that it was necessary for every student in the class to cry - cracking the whip on them for 'catharsis'. Another story was that the teachers constantly tell their students, and especially the women, that they need to lose weight - even when these students are healthy and not overweight and maybe even when students were already underweight.

Seriously, how is any of this necessary? Does it make you a better actor if you have been 'broken'? Does being broken really make you want to bare yourself and be truthful? Drama schools generally have a therapist available for their students to see but should learning to be vulnerable and in touch with your emotions really make you need to see a therapist?

And yes, the industry standard, especially for actresses but increasingly also for actors seems to be the skinnier the better. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they are trying to sell us the 'All we want is healthy bodies' crap but if you look at reality that is not true at all. Should drama school really be a place to reinforce these standards? Shouldn't drama school be the place to teach its students to be confident in their healthy, fit and normal bodies and teach them how to market themselves best as human beings who happen to be great actors instead of teaching them that they need to be at their skinniest superhuman self to book?  Shouldn't drama school be the place to start breaking the skinny rule?

There are many similar stories and what they have in common is that most likely they are the reason that young people who started out being enthusiastic about and loving their craft, after not long at all start hating the place that is suppose to help them mold themselves into the best actors they can be.

I just don't want believe that drama school should be the place to weed the weak from the strong. Should drama school be judgemental about who is going to make it in the real world? Shouldn't drama school instead be the place that does its damnedest to help every student who spends their time, sweat and tears, and not inconsiderable amount of money, to be strong and to go out into the industry and stick with their dream no matter how hard it gets?

What do you think? Should drama school eliminate the weak or build up all students to be strong and fearless and to believe in themselves?

Saturday 6 November 2010

The least craziest thing

I read a story the other day about a young neuroscience student turned fashion designer and boutique owner that reminded me very much of my own journey to becoming an actor.

Like Erin, I was always good at academics. It was never a question that I would finish high school and finish with good grades. It was never even a question that I would go to university and get a degree.
And even though I looked at alternative options to going to uni, I never felt quite comfortable with actually going through with any of them. I had a very very long list of possible post-high school pursuits and every single one had a craft and creative component to it. The list included among many other things carpentry and goldsmithing, landscape designing, costume design and construction, animation, screen writing, and directing. I didn't end up doing any of it.
Why? Because I had never done any of it. I had never worked with wood, I had never smithed metal, landscaped a garden, sewn other than by hand, wasn't particularly great at drawing, had not written anything since school drove the writer out of me very early on in high school, and had never directed a play or a film. In other words, while I was good and in some instances very good at academic stuff, I had no idea whether I could succeed at anything creative. It was out of my comfort zone to be creative and I had no idea whether I deserved to even try.

Worst of all, acting didn't even make the list. Because I was convinced more than with anything else that I was bound to fail at it and that I wasn't worthy of even trying.

I could have finished school, gotten a job, made a choice about what creative field I wanted to go into most and taken the time to do the preparation necessary to be able to apply to a related course. I could have taken night classes and learned drawing. I could have sat down every day to write something, anything. I could have just tried to do something other than going to university.

I didn't. I don't know how else to explain it than to say that I didn't know I was allowed to. I felt this immense pressure to chose a degree and start university. And even the half year that I took off between finishing school and finally starting my law degree felt like I was being bad and the whole time I felt so paralysed by fear of doing the wrong thing that I didn't even try to be creative in any way.

None of it had to do with pressure that I received from home. My mum never cracked the whip on me about uni or anything else. But she also never told me that I was free and worthy to do anything that I wanted to do, no matter how crazy in the eyes of most people it would  be. I don't think anyone had ever told her this either. I was consumed by fear of not getting a job after uni, consumed by fear to be struggling financially as my family had done all my life. It had always been very difficult to see my mother trying so hard to make a living for us, so hard to get a job and keep it. My mum is a historian and she is very good at what she does. But the nature of Western capitalism is that there is not much monetary value in historians and therefore jobs are extremely scarce. It was heartbreaking to see her feel like a failure because we were never financially secure. I think all I wanted after high school was to choose the right path, so my mum wouldn't have to worry about my financial future, and so I could fix hers. I felt that I needed to find a degree that would guarantee me a good job that I would keep for the rest of my life. Isn't it strange and sad that that was all I could think of?!

The other side of it was probably that I have this maybe even common way of thinking that I cannot be good at anything that I am not already good at. I have come to discover and accept that this way of thinking is rooted in people's belief that they are, for whatever reason, not worthy.

I wasn't worthy because of what my father thought of me or more correctly how he didn't think of me. He had left my mother because she was pregnant with me. He didn't want another child. He had already abandoned his first-born son, my half brother who I have never met, after his first marriage had failed. My father wasn't interested in me. At all. He did his legal duty of paying child support but only ever because he didn't want to get in trouble. I met him twice and after the second time, as I found out years later, he said to his new partner that he was concerned I would drive a wedge in his new family and it was better I didn't see him again. I was eight years old then. So, if my father who was by the law of nature required to at least show some sort of affection for and interest in me, was so absolutely disinterested, if I was already not worthy to be a daughter to him, how was I worthy to chose the life that I really wanted? My mum did her damnedest to make me feel loved and secure and special. And I know she has always felt guilty that she wasn't able to break this incredible power the other parent has over his child to utterly screw with her heart and mind.

So, instead of figuring out what I really wanted to do and follow that path, I chose to study law and business. I was reasonably good at it, even excelled in my postgraduate work and finished two law degrees without ever wanting to be a lawyer. I was so stuck in the belief that I somehow was required to do all this that it wasn't until after many smaller and larger crises and after I was almost finished with my Masters degree that I realised that something had to give. It wasn't until an actress friend of mine asked me this simple question, 'If you close you eyes and imagine that there is absolutely nothing holding you back from doing what you really want to do with your life, what would it be?'

In that instant I didn't even have to close my eyes to know the answer. I didn't say it out loud. I just wasn't quite there yet. What I said was, 'I want to do something creative.' So, my actress friend of mine dragged me to a crew meeting for the Young and Hungry Festival of New Theatre and encouraged me to join the costume department for that season. I went on to co-design 15 or so costumes for one of the plays and best of all got to watch a number of rehearsals for inspiration. The Best Thing Ever! Every time I went to a rehearsal I thought, 'Oh, this looks so much fun! I want to do that!'

So, I did. I auditioned for plays, and performed in a couple of them. I started taking acting, accent and most recently circus classes. I got head shots and an agent. And after all this time I am an actress. Just like that.

My mum said to me the other day that she was proud of me and happy that I was doing what I love to do. And that makes me insanely happy. She also said that she still thinks I am crazy for doing this. Mum, I love you more than the world but you are so so wrong! Being an actor is the least craziest thing I have ever done my entire life.

Is it hard? Yes it is. There are no guarantees that I'm ever going to make it in this business. It isn't so much the rejection that you have to deal with on a regular basis. I have already survived the worst form of rejection that I could have possible faced, and have done so well in spite of it. It is all the responsibilities that come with being a parent; with having gone to university and owing shitloads of money for that, especially to people I love dearly; with being part of a family and paying for a mortgage on a home. Turning actor has put me in exactly the financially unstable situation that I have dreaded my entire life. And still, most days I couldn't be happier!

So, close your eyes and ask yourself, 'If there was absolutely nothing that could hold you back from doing what you really want to do with your life, what would you do?' And then do  that. Because you're worth living the life you WANT to live.

Friday 29 October 2010

There's a new guild in town

Happy news everyone! There is a new actors guild in town. Well, to be precise there is going to be one.

The New Zealand Actors Guild is in the very early stages of its formation. Out of frustration over NZ Equity's action and inactions but particularly out of the concern that our only actors union is heavily influenced (if not run) by its Australian umbrella organisation, about a week ago a handful of actors came together and created a facebook page suggesting to form a new guild that would address these and other concerns.

Things have moved fast since then. Ideas for core principles have been put forward, an interim website has been established and attempts at getting as many actors as possible involved are in full swing.

Here are the guild's 'ten commandments' in draft form:

"The NZ Actors Guild is an independent guild set up by New Zealanders to provide advice and advocacy for actors.
We are not an autonomous branch of another group either domestic or overseas.
The following values sit at our core:

1. The NZ Actors’ Guild needs to respect the fact that as actors we are independent contractors and that any guild exists to help us get the most out of that status. But we are in a competitive marketplace and there are economic forces at work. We are both colleagues and competitors but we need to work together where possible and compete with respect

2. The NZ Actors’ Guild should acknowledge the collaborative nature of film and theatre and work, where possible, in a collaborative fashion with other industry groups. We should act as advocates for actors being mindful at all times of the bigger picture.

3. The NZ Actors’ Guild should consult with it’s membership where possible and not take it’s mandate in any given situation as a right

4. The NZ Actors’ Guild should attempt to mend gaps between industry partners and reach out to all performers regardless of past affiliations

5. The NZ Actors’ Guild should attempt to alter public perceptions of our profession

6. The NZ Actors’ Guild should provide advice to it’s members to help them run themselves best as a business

7. The NZ Actors’ Guild should act as a clearing house for information and a place for actors to share information and engage in robust debate.

8. The NZ Actors’ Guild should seek to gather information and act in a reasoned and informed manner.

9. The NZ Actors’ Guild should be indigenous. Run by New Zealanders for New Zealanders

10. The NZ Actors’ Guild notes that actors’ agents are their main representatives in contract negotiations. The NZ Actors’ Guild should engage in regular good faith discussions about industry standards like the Pink Book with all members concerned (its members, SPADA, the Agents Guild, NZ Equity, and where appropriate the bodies representing other crafts within the industry)"

As mentioned above the organisers of the new guild are making every effort to get actors involved in this. Involvement at this stage means gathering information regarding actors' thoughts about how this guild is being set up and run, how they would like to see the guild work for them and what their concerns are regarding working in New Zealand's film industry.

As much input and information from as many actors as possible is needed for the guild to receive a strong mandate to take the next steps. These next steps over the next few months will be  

"- finalise our name (if anyone out there is a fluent speaker of Te Reo or knows someone who is a Maori speaker a Maori version of our name would be great)
- establish ourselves as an incorporated society, complete with it’s own set of rules
- find 15 signatories to set up the society
- form an initial steering committee
- consult with interested actors as to what they want from their guild
- establish membership criteria
- talk to other industry guilds and bodies about how we can work together
- recruit, recruit, recruit!
When we have the society sorted out and membership details locked down we’ll then officially sign people up. Until then it would be great to have your contact details so we can keep you up with the play.
How can you help:
- volunteer your services (or the services of friends)
- suggest industry groups to liaise with
- tell us what you want from your guild
- tell us about yourself
- get your actor mates interested in joining" 

So, how can you get involved? Well, here is the link to the website again where you can find up to date information about what the guild is up to. You can also join the facebook page and take part in ongoing discussions. You can email the guild at AND you can fill out the questionnaire and tell the guild about who you are, what your concerns are and what sort of things you would like to see from a guild. 

At this point, the guild is simply gathering information and support. Contacting the guild and/or filling out the questionnaire is not creating any obligations for you. The actual recruitment of members won't happen until the guild has a strong enough mandate to get officially incorporated. To get to this point and to make this mandate as strong as possible the guild needs you to give your input.

It is your industry, these are your concerns. Whether you are just starting out (as I am) or are a seasoned actor, whether you are an NZ Actors' Equity member or not, you're opinions and your concerns count. 

So, come on, make your voice heard and let the guild know what you think! 

Thursday 28 October 2010

The PINK BOOK - actors please read!

I know I am repeating myself here but PLEASE dear actor friends familiarise yourself with the PINK BOOK. It contains the current terms and conditions that are applied in the industry today and is in the process to be updated. If you want to have a say in what your rights and obligations are as performers in this industry READ IT here or download as pdf and get involved. More on how to get involved in my next post! The Pink Book_final

Wednesday 20 October 2010

And we marched

Yesterday afternoon Richard Taylor, head of WETA Workshop, called an emergency meeting for film technicians but open to everyone with a stake in the NZ film industry. We met at one of the biggest soundstages in New Zealand. It was filled almost to the last nook and cranny. The press later said something between over 1000 to 1500 people turned up despite the three hour notice. My whole family went, including wonder boy. The mood at A Stage was solemn, sometimes angry, with every right to be so. Many spoke about their concerns, about what was going on behind the scenes and we decided to meet outside of St John's Church Hall and demand entry to the NZ Equity meeting that was to be held there later last night. Because that meeting was about all our futures, perhaps the technicians' futures even more so than the actors'. While we work on a film for a day or a week or a month, for technicians loosing The Hobbit means loosing their income for a year if not years to come. Beyond The Hobbit, losing that production means loosing the interest of other overseas productions to film in New Zealand. It means loosing their multi-million dollar investments, which are so vital to our small industry. Wellington actor Gregg Ellis posted a note this morning summing up his thoughts and I am going to leave it to him now because he really says it all.

A few thoughts from the Techos march

by Greg Ellis on Thursday, 21 October 2010 at 09:23
We marched last night as a family, me, Allie and both our kids because it's something that effects families. Maybe not ours particularly but the families of the more than a thousand crew who cared enough to come with 3 hours notice. 40 actors came with 2 days notice and then 80 came with 4 days notice. And this says something. Some things actually.

Firstly there is already a host of people working on the film so it was easy for them to down tools and pop over. All those folks who now may be out of work.

Secondly that these people really care. Unlike many actors they didn't hide because things are a little confusing or heated. And they feel a very real stake because they are the majority of the people who will be hurt when the film moves offshore.

It was a turnout that made Allie, a makeup artist proud and me, an actor disappointed. There were actors there and that made me feel better. Actors who weren't rushing to pat backs at St Johns hall and actors who understood the pain of those who were about to lose their jobs.

And it was a no-nonsense affair without any of the chest beating "this is the moment" rhetoric that littered the Equity meetings, with a few genuine tears and a lot of determination that they would no longer have others make decisions on their behalf.

But it seems as though things are too late. We were told the Hobbit is going offshore. The decision was all but made 2 days ago. And this from a tearful Phillippa Boyens, one of the Producers. This was no mis-information. She would know.

And we were reminded of a few things: Simon Whipp and the MEAA's desire to use industrial action to change the status of actors from independent contractors to employees. And the financial incentive to do so. SAG charges a 1-3% commission on residuals and the MEAA charges 10-15%. That's a stat they don't widely share.

SAG makes a good deal of money out of residuals. They collect them on their actors' behalf and pay them out quarterly taking the accrued interest and their commission. Fighting for residuals isn't an altruistic thing - it's good business for unions.

And now the Hobbit goes offshore it's a good thing for other unions members. More roles for the boys. This is the aim of SAG Global Rule One - to try and prevent "runaway" productions like the Hobbit and it works when they have such zealous minions as Simon Whipp working on their behalf. And that's what he and Equity have done. The giddy way they spoke about "over 100 unions about the world stand behind us" you could palpably feel the fat kid finally feeling accepted by the cool kids.

Back to the meeting and the march. It was great to see genuine emotion and not histrionics and to get a taste of the size of the group disenfranchised and left without work by the actions of a few.

A good point was made - if Sir Peter Jackson can't make his own movies in HIS own country then what does that say about other film-makers? The message is devastating.

And Sir Richard said something great on the TV afterwards. Of all the damage that has been discussed and gone over the loss of an industry that has inspired so many young people into creative arts is one of the worst things.

We actors have to have a reality check right now. Film is a collaborative thing and we are just a small fraction. We are dressed, lit, shot, edited, fed, scripted by an army of others all of whose contribution is just as valid as ours. I think we forget that.

We forgot it this time. Last night should have reminded us.

Pity it's too late.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

You've got to be joking!

I am seriously angry now. They don't ask, they don't listen and they are blatantly lying!

NZ Actor's Equity DOES NOT speak for me and after this they damn well never will be.

Do something! (updated)


TONIGHT, 20 October, 5pm, A Stage, Stone Street Studios, Miramar, Wellington!
It is time New Zealand actors really got informed about the details of the conditions they work in. Generally these conditions are contained in the contracts we sign when we book work and in The Pink Book. 'The Code of Practice for the Engagement of Cast in the New Zealand Screen Production Industry'. I doubt many of us read contracts properly, let alone have read the Pink Book.

Since it contains our rights and responsibilities in the screen industry, New Zealand actors should get familiar with the Pink Book. It is freely available in pdf format here.

The Pink Book was jointly agreed on and issued by SPADA, New Zealand Actors’ Agents’ Guild, Actors’ Agents’ Association of New Zealand and New Zealand Actors’ Equity. 

The Pink Book applies to television drama, feature film, short film, and documentary and associated voice work. It does not apply to television or film commercials. These are covered in documents and standard contracts by CAANZ, ANZA, NZAAG, AAAG, NZAE and Non Solo Producers and are available from these organizations if you're interested.

In it's introduction, the Pink Book further says,

'It’s important to note that the Pink Book is a guideline for best practice and not a rigid document. Its provisions outline legal responsibilities and suggested best practices. The Pink Book outlines our accepted ways of working to provide useful information in an explanatory context. Production companies and cast are able to negotiate different arrangements, within the law, if some provisions do not meet the needs of either party.' (emphasis added)

The general terms and conditions dealt with in the Pink Book and therefore agreed upon between the above-mentioned representative industry bodies relate to,

- obligations of production company and cast;
- general clauses on contracting;
- alteration to engagements;
- the duration of working day and week (including overtime, off-days etc);
- public holidays;
- turnaround;
- stunt-work;
- nudity;
- special effects;
- make-up and wardrobe;
- meals and refreshments;
- child performances and chaperones;
- production travel;
- general clauses on fees and expenses (including tax and insurances);
- assignments;
- health and safety policies;
- dispute resolution;
- and travel zones.

New Zealand producers generally incorporate the Pink Book into the contracts they use for each of their productions. These contracts are furthermore pretty much standard contracts themselves (it's cheaper and easier to manage and did I mention cheaper?).

If you don't believe me but would like to know whether the Pink Book is applied in practice and what sort of performers' contracts are used, why not contact your agents and ask what their experience is?

Now that you know what the Pink Book is about and how it is applied in the industry, you can make up your mind without being talked into things. Yay! 

Do we need new standard contracts that are applied accross the industry. Or are standard contracts negotiated by NZ Equity for every single production the way to go? Or is regularly updating the Pink Book and ensuring it is applied by all NZ producers best?

If you're an Equity member, please go to the meetings next week and speak your mind! If Equity represents you, you should be able to say what you want and they should listen.

The meetings are in Wellington, TONIGHT Wednesday 20th October, at St Johns Hall, 7pm, cnr Willis & Dixon Street, CBD and TOMORROW NIGHT in Auckland, on Thursday 21st October, at St Columba Centre, 7pm, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby. 
If you are not an Equity member and do not care to join so you can attend these meetings, send them an email here anyway and let them know what you think. Or alternatively, write to your local newspaper, write to, facebook, blog or twitter about it. Do something!

Get the knowledge, get the power and speak your mind! For whatever good it will do, it's better than sitting on our collective ars, waiting for things to happen. 

Sunday 17 October 2010


'I know that when I’m going into the casting office, they want me to be what they’re looking for.'

I can't remember where I read this but it's true, isn't it? When you get an audition the casting director will haven chosen you from a skyscraper high stack of files and comp cards submitted by dozens of agents. You've already beat out most of the competition. The reason why the CD has chosen to see you is that he/she believes that you may well be what they are looking for. So, when you go in for your audition the CD wants you to be what they are looking for.

That doesn't mean they need you to nail the character and the scene. What it does mean is that they WANT you to. And that small differentiation makes all the difference in the world.

When someone needs you to do something, they need you to succeed and the pressure is on. All of a sudden YOU NEED to do it and you need to do it right and perfectly and flawlessly. 'Need' gives you reason to psyche yourself out, put you in your head and switch on that needy side in all of us that is so terribly unattractive and inhibiting.

But when someone simply 'wants' you to do something, they are open and interested and give you permission to simply be and do. They give you permission be real, to give it your best and to be human, imperfect. They give you permission to let your light shine because they WANT you to succeed.

So, next time you have an audition, remember that the CD doesn't need you to be there but that he/she WANTS YOU to! Instead of eye-balling the competition and focusing on your need to be better than all of them, ponder this; 

Your competition is there, so you don't need to be. The world wouldn't end if you didn't show up, the job would still get done. But you want to be there and even better the CD wants you to be there! All you have to do then is know what you know about the character and the situation, think the thoughts, and say the words.

To me, this feels like a great weight lifted. Be good to yourself, remind yourself of this every time you go to an audition, and give yourself and others permission to shine!

Happy auditioning, everyone!

Saturday 9 October 2010

A way forward

Dear New Zealand actors,

tomorrow evening there will be a meeting to try to clear the air, answer questions and look for a way forward for all us together. PLEASE COME!

Here is the info from the organiser, Wellington actress Yvette Reid.

'Whether you're Pro-Union, Anti-Boycott, on-the-fence or just confused...

I urge you to join me for a meeting of Wellington Actors.

Monday 11th October,
at Tararua Tramping Club
4 Moncrieff Street, Mt Victoria
On the 28th September 400 Auckland actors met to discuss how NZ performers would like to proceed regarding Equity's recent actions in regards to the Hobbit. A verbal vote was taken and a statement given to the media regarding their decision on how NZ performers should proceed.

As an after thought, Equity then organised a Wellington meeting. Only Equity members were sent an email invitation. Wellington Agents were not informed about the meeting. As a result Wellington was represented by approximately only 40 actors, the majority being Equity members.

The following statement was then issued by Equity to the media: "...the majority (70%) of the performers at the (Wellington) meeting voted in favour of NZ Actor’s Equity meeting face-to-face with Sir Peter and/or the production company to resolve the issues as soon as possible."

I have counted Wellington based actors on the books of just four Agents and there was 595.

The aim of the evening - To provide solid information and discussion regarding the stance of Peter Jackson, NZ Equity and the wider Film & TV industry so Wellington actors can hear all the facts and make up their own minds. Speak on their own behalf.
Also to provide information and a forum regarding how we as a community would like such matters handled in future, how actors wish to be represented. How we can mend damaged relationships and work together.

I hope to secure a panel of individuals supporting various views to help us all be as informed as possible. We can then all discuss the information as a wider group.

If you would like to speak as part of the panel, please email me with your name, email address and the content of your speech (to avoid too many double ups) and I will be in touch asap.

If you have questions that you would like to have answered at this meeting please email them to me and I will endeavour to find someone suitable who can provide those answers for you.

Questions that I will already endeavour to have covered by the panel include:

*What is the Pink Book and what does it say? How is it currently used or not used?

*What are residuals? How do they work?

*All NZ Equity want is a meeting, so why wont PJ meet with them?

All actors are welcome!!

We may have speakers on the panel who are non-actors, but would like to keep the general attendance to actors only. Crew members and agents who also work as actors (have an agent) are of course welcome.

Please distribute this letter to as many fellow actors as possible. If we only have 40 again... it will be shaming.

Show you care and that your opinion matters. If the Hobbit moves, it is Wellington that will be most affected. There is a lot at stake here so please get involved.

Kind Regards,

Yvette Reid

Yvettereid [at]

P.S Should any decisions be made (regarding Equity/Hobbit situation) between now and Monday affecting the content of our meeting I will keep this page updated.'

Here's the facebook link if you would like to RSVP. Again please come and lets try to resolve this thing! 

Thursday 7 October 2010

Breast cancer awareness month

"Every single woman a man has ever loved, could die of breast cancer. Every single one. His mother, his sister, his wife, his daughter, could all find a lump in their breast and die from it." Lire, The Struggling Actress

It is breast cancer awareness month. Lira, has written a fantastic post on this topic here. Please read it, repost it and raise awareness for something that can affect all of us!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Audition funsies

A few auditions have come my way lately and I am very grateful and happy about that. Through all the negativity of the past two weeks, it helps to do some work and see that I am still on the right track. Lets hope everything gets resolved soon and the damage to the New Zealand film industry will be far far less than many have said it could be - preferably none at all.

But I wanted to talk about auditions, actually this mornings audition. It was so much fun! I got to read opposite a child for the first time at a casting ever. The poor girl had been at the casting office all morning and was stifling yawns between takes. But let me tell you, she was all the consummate professional as soon as the camera was rolling. M. was a delight to work with and made it incredibly easy for me to believe that our imaginary circumstances were real. I loved to work with the too kids on the short film a while back as well. I tell you what I think it is about kids working as actors that I find so fascinating.

Kids are both selfishly living their own story and incredibly generous in their performance. Their egos (although I'm sure there are exceptions) aren't yet as big as our adult ones, so they are unimpeded by a need to be great and awesome and loved for their work. All they want to do is play and we are the toys. They give us their enthusiasm for playing and with it the chance to live our own story selfishly and unimpeded by our own egos. They give us permission to play and share their imagined world with them without any ulterior motive and without manipulation. It doesn't get more generous than that, aye!?

What was also great about today's audition was that I basically got to take a glimpse into the future. I got to time travel a few years ahead and see what it might be like to play with my son when he is M.'s age. I got really excited! I'm admittedly biased but hey, he's damn cute now. Just think of all the fun we'll have when he can talk!

In my future auditions and gigs I will remember M. and shall aim at being as generous a performer than she was today. In the mean time, white light everyone!

Saturday 2 October 2010

Guestpost: There and back again

After spending pretty much all of Saturday working very hard to do my damnedest to contribute to damage control, the boy wonder and I spent the day at the beach today. It felt like summer and was a more than welcome distraction from the whole mess the New Zealand film community is finding itself in.

There is not much to report on The Hobbit front today. The Council of Trade Unions met with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on Friday but nothing about the goings on of that meeting have been made public. President of the Council, Helen Kelly merely said that they were 'hopeful that a meaningful dialogue between (Actors) Equity, Spada (the Screen Production and Development Association) and Three Foot Seven can be established.' Radio New Zealand reported that New Zealand Trade Minister, Gerry Brownlee 'has been talking to "key players" involved in the dispute, to discuss what role he might play in resolving it'. The anti-boycott petition has garnered just short of 1500 signatures within a bit more than two days and both sides have spoken to the media to argue their points. Equity reps went on morning show TV show The Nation, while Radio New Zealand interviewed a couple of local actors for their news bulletin to get the other side of the story.

Being an actor my partner had his two cents to say himself and amongst a lot of other things also made some suggestions for a way forward. So, in the spirit of staying positive and contributing to resolving the mess we've been put in, here is what Gareth has to say.


It’s been a long week of meetings, discussion, Facebook soapboxing and trying to make sense of a very complex situation. Here’s my best attempt.

The issues

Why did the international actors’ unions act before the NZ Equity members had a chance to discuss their issues let along vote on a course of action
Monday                   IFA calls for and actor boycott of The Hobbit. MEAA National Director claims to represent all performers.
Tuesday                  Equity holds a meeting in Auckland. Withholding attendance numbers, they vote almost unanimously in favour of the boycott.
Thursday                  Equity holds a meeting in Wellington (again withholding attendance numbers) . Equity claims 70% vote in favour of boycott. Equity expresses a strong desire to keep the issue out of the media and requests that nobody talks to the media. This request is respected by non-members.
Friday                  Jennifer Ward Lealand and Robyn Malcom appear on Campbell Live claiming that they are not recommending a boycott – in contradiction of the resolutions voted on at their meetings.

Who does Equity represent?
Simon Whipp claimed on Thursday night that Equity has 592 members then tried to add that census figures say there are only 588 so they represent more actors than actually exist.
Estimates – around 2000 actors and up to 17,000 extras/independents
Waiting for representation figures from NZAAG
“MEAA national director Simon Whipp said "all performers" were concerned about the lack of standard union contracts for the US$150 million (NZ$204m) two-part Hobbit films.”  - Sept 27

Why the Hobbit?
Equity has yet to adequately answer this question.
They should be dealing with SPADA – and hopefully soon they will.
They’re crazy to be trying to negotiate with a multi million dollar production. Look at the possible outcomes:
A benchmark that is set so high that other producers could not hope to meet it?
Or a benchmark that is low enough for most NZ producers to meet but undersells actors compared to what Warners is already offering – residuals
SPADA can talk to Equity then take recommendations to it’s membership in the same way an effective union would.

What does Equity want?
Well, in one interview (Campbell Live)…
John Campbell: What do you want
Robyn Malcolm: We want a fair deal for New Zealand actors working on
the Hobbit, that is more in line with our colleagues working in Australia and
America and the UK

…and 4 minutes later

JC: What do you want
RM: A meeting
Jennifer Ward Lealand: A meeting. That’s all we’ve asked for. That’s all we’ve
asked for from day one.


RM: We’re not Hobbit specific  (wait a minute, Robyn!)

What is at stake?
More than just the Hobbit and the benefits it would to NZ actors and crew and the NZ economy.
If the Hollywood studios decide that NZ is “too hard” then the hard work that Peter Jackson and others have put in for over 15 years (Remember PJ talked Universal into shooting NZ for America in The Frighteners) will evaporate. Some perspective:
  • When LOTR was made, the NZ dollar bought around 40 US cents. So a $1000 a day camera cost the studio USD400. Today that same camera will cost around USD730.
  • The Louisiana Film Commission offers a 30% tax rebate on qualifying production expenditure (QPE) and 35% tax rebate on payroll expenditure for Louisiana residents.
  • Alabama: 25% on QPE and 35% on resident payroll
  • Missouri is another standout state: 35% on qualifying production expenditure
  • in fact, most US states have incentive schemes
  • Manitoba (Canada) offers up to 65% in tax credit on local qualified labour
  • Austria - 50% of QPE when filming in the Tirol
  • The financial benefits of filming in Eastern Europe are well known 

The studios don't need any more excuses to NOT shoot in NZ.
  • Our incentive scheme offers %15 on QPE
  • There is no special rate for resident payroll expenditure

So what do we do?
Instead of bitching and boycotting (I freely admit I've done my fair share of complaining this week), how about we look at ways that we can make New Zealand an attractive shooting destination again.
  • Call on the IFA to remove the call to boycott the Hobbit
  • See the offer of residual payments made by Warners as a great step and the landmark precedent that Equity claims to be after
  • Call on the Minister for Economic Development to make NZ's screen production incentive scheme (The Large Budget Screen Production Grant) competitive by bringing the QPE rebate rate (technically in NZ it's a grant) into line with other markets
  • Call on the Minister for Economic Development to introduce a special rebate/grant rate for NZ resident payroll expenditure - making employing New Zealanders more attractive - and about more than the fact that we're bloody good at what we do.

Not an entire solution, but a start nonetheless. Just thought we needed some positive ideas amidst all the negativity - not that our concerns aren't justified.

Remember to breathe everyone!

Friday 1 October 2010

Concerning Hobbits

There is an almost finished post sitting in my drafts folder about my general post Toi adventure outlook.  I wrote about a couple of auditions that came up and my general excitement for what other surprises the next year will have in store for me as an actress.  My outlook for the coming months and years is - maybe surprisingly so - very positive. Well, actually, scratch that. My outlook for the future WAS very positive. I was riding on post-audition highs, marvelling in how everything was pointing to things being the way they were supposed to be and at how I can trust the universe to put me on the right path. 

Then the following happened. Most of you are probably aware of the MEAA/Actors’ Equity controversy in New Zealand at the moment and the petition that was started yesterday. For those of you who are not, here's what happened.

In 2006 the Actors’ Equity (AE), an organisation without union status representing a small number of actors in New Zealand decided to join forces with the Australian Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) to counteract dwindling membership numbers, give it the guaranteed support of a union and extend its reach across the Tasman and via MEAA perhaps even further. With an alleged membership number of 598 at present Actors’ Equity represents at the most about one quarter of New Zealand Actors. If taking into account so-called second rung performers, those actors who are not agency represented, of which there are about 17,000 the share of Equity represented actors is more like somewhere under 5%. 

A few days ago MEAA/AE went public with the complaint that they have been seeking a meeting with the producers of The Hobbit films, to discuss union-standard contracts for the films' actors but had not heard back from the production. This prompted MEAA/AE to call all actors in NZ to boycott work on the films until such a meeting has taken place and an agreement to guarantee actors union-contracts has been achieved. The International Federation of Actors, which represents the world's seven major actors unions (including SAG) and actors in 100 countries, then told its members not to act in The Hobbit until they get a union contract.

Peter Jackson subsequently issued a statement in response saying among other things that this whole shebang could cost New Zealand The Hobbit films, that they might be moved overseas, a prospect that might well be devastating to the local film industry now and for the future. Two days later, the studios behind the Hobbit films, New Line, Warner Bros and MGM, said they avoided locations with the potential for workforce uncertainty or other forms of instability and were looking at all their options, including moving the production overseas. If you think it is premature or panicky to think that a boycott of this sort will really impact on The Hobbit and New Zealand film hear this; Within a couple of days The Hobbit pre-production activity has come to a screeching halt. Don't kid yourself into a false sense of security.

In the last two days there have been two meetings in Auckland and Wellington where MEAA/AE passed resolutions to basically stick to their demands and their call for a boycott.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for actors banding together, getting organised and achieving minimum standard conditions that are guaranteed to them no matter which production they work for. I believe in the power and possibilities that unions offer and I am aware of how important it is to have a single voice that can represent our collective interests. I am, although eligible, not a member of AE and have been considering joining for a while now. I don't think I will. This whole thing is just wrong on so many levels that I don't know even where to begin. 

How about this? The production of The Hobbit has been going on for more than two years. To my information, one month ago was the first time that MEAA/AE has approached the producers of The Hobbit films. However, in a statement issued on Thursday night Peter Jackson argued that the producers' association (SPADA) had attempted to discuss actors' terms and conditions with the union for much longer than that - for the past 18 months in fact. Moreover, Peter Jackson's offer to attend and speak at the Equity meeting in Wellington after repeated and unanswered attempts throughout the day was denied shortly before the meeting started. What is this? Talk to us but only when we tell you to?

Or how about this? New Zealand Actors’ Equity as stated above represents a far smaller portion of working actors than many other actors union, a laughably small portion at that but purport to speak for all of us. In the national and international media all NZ actors are misrepresented as wanting to boycott The Hobbit films. However, only about a quarter of working actors are represented by AE, so only a quarter of NZ actors have actually been officially asked to give their opinion on the matter – in the days AFTER the call for a boycott was made public. At the meetings in Auckland and Wellington about several hundred performers voted on the issue. (The participation numbers are unclear to me. I have heard about 200 from one source, 390 from another for Auckland and 40 for Wellington.) Not all of them were AE members. The voting numbers are being held back by Actors’ Equity but reliable sources tell me that the overwhelming majority of the participants in Auckland were AE members and all but one participant voted in favour of the resolutions mentioned earlier. Of course they did, The Hobbit is a Wellington production. In Wellington - also with official numbers held back - just under a quarter of actors voted against the resolutions. But again most of the participants were AE members. Even if every single AE member voted in favour of a boycott, there are still are 1500 actors and 17,000 second rung performers who have not voted and a lot of us do NOT support the idea of a boycott. 

Moreover, labeling The Hobbit production and actors' contracts as 'non-union' and inferior is both farcical and a misrepresentation of reality for a number of reasons. 

A) Actors’ Equity is not a registered union. It is of this month not even a registered Incorporated Society any more. While Equity's lawyer told the crowd last night that this is due to an 'administrative error', I don't think that failing to file annual reports two years running can really be called that. 

B) While MEAA is a trade-union under Australian law, they have absolutely no legal standing here in New Zealand. 

C) Under New Zealand law actors are NOT employees, they are contractors. This means that there can be no UNION representation and negotiation on our behalf in the first place because this would be price fixing, which is, you guessed it, illegal. While Equity's lawyer, correctly pointed out that there was no law to deter an organisation representing actors to pursue negotiations with production companies to reach agreement on standard terms and conditions for performers' contracts, these contracts if used would still be 'NON-UNION'. In fact, any film and/or production in New Zealand can only be 'non-union' as far as actors are concerned because that's the current law. So, while labeling the Hobbit or any other production for that matter as 'non-union' while in actual terms correct, is also a misrepresentation of the legal situation in New Zealand. And it is a farce intended to get the support of overseas actors unions who would be shocked and appalled by the non-union status of productions here and of course guarantee their support for any action suggested by MEAA/AE without knowing THAT IT CANNOT BE ANY THING ELSE BUT NON-UNION! In this whole scenario no one has explained how under the very specific circumstances the NZ film industry operates in it is supposed to be possible to actually employ all actors on all productions instead of bringing us on as independent contractors. Please enlighten me how you propose to do this - practically, legally, financially and with a look to NZ's competitive edge in international film. Speaking of our competitive edge, I am aware there is more to this than just our actors being contractors and production companies not having to deal with unions but it is very much a part of our appeal to international film makers. And lets not kid ourselves. Every film industry outside of L.A. County needs a competitive edge.

D) While there has been controversy in the past, particularly about residuals from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which film industry whether dealing with unions or not is free of controversy over pay for their workers? Moreover, from what I can gather from the information made available to me since the Rings controversy there have been many improvements in the terms and conditions for actors used by Three Foot Seven Productions, who produce The Hobbit films. The production company and the studios involved in this project are aligned with overseas unions such as SAG, so that many international actors working on these films will participate in residuals. Non-SAG members are not legally entitled to be paid residuals, however Warner Brothers have agreed to create a separate pot of money to be divided up under a 'participation rider' amongst all New Zealand and Australian(!) actors cast in the films.  That is something non-existent in New Zealand for a long time AND MEAA/AE are aware of it! Furthermore, Peter Jackson has suggested, that a New Zealand actor in a small supporting role could expect to earn about $NZ5000 a week. This is $NZ1200 higher than SAG's published rates of $NZ3800 per week. While these are just examples, they and the willingness of the producers' association to talk to Actors’ Equity about standard terms and conditions show, that we are already moving in the right direction. Lastly on this point, another way of misrepresenting facts is MEAA/AE claim that The Hobbit contracts because they are 'non-union' will be inferior to union contracts because The Hobbit contracts have not even been written yet. MEAA/AE have no idea what the proposal for actor remuneration on this project will be. Maybe they should have put more effort into talking to the producers' association in the first place...

Why is MEAA/AE so concerned for actors' rights within this particular production and not the many others currently going on in the country? These are productions for which the terms of performers' contracts are already publicly known. They are (naturally under New Zealand circumstances) 'non-union'. Spartacus for example, which has been shooting in Auckland all through this year and last can for example fire actors without warning, offers no additional compensation and no residuals, and have the right to dub an actors performance without actor consultation. No one has said anything about these contract, including MEAA/AE. The Hobbit producers have stated that their 'cast contracts do not reflect any of these conditions'. However, MEAA/AE has not even made the slightest attempt to collectively bargain better contracts for Spartacus and similar current productions.

I fully understand the desire to make a stand for standard performers contracts with guaranteed minimum conditions and I support the idea of such contracts. However, MEAA/AE's actions have absolutely nothing to do with the supposed inferiority of The Hobbit's 'non-union' cast contract. It has everything to do with the scale of the project and the enormous world-wide anticipation it has created. And MEAA/AE's timing could not have been worse.

What should have been a brilliant move by MEAA/AE - huge project, huge publicity - from the outset was doomed to fail and create nothing but problems for the NZ film industry as a whole.

This production has been hampered with costly delays for months and months now. It has been hampered by the financial woes and impending sale of MGM. It has been hampered by the studios involved failing again and again to give the production the green light. The delays have cost this production its original director and the current one is tied up with other so many other projects that any further delays jeopardise his involvement as a director as well. And then what?

Whether or not you agree with allegations that MEAA's actions are nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt at taking control of the New Zealand film industry to better advance their interests, this much is clear; If there was ever a time to use The Hobbit to make a stand for actors' rights, it has so long since passed that MEAA/AE's current actions are quite frankly incredibly stupid and short-sighted, and as was blatantly obvious right off the bat a very real danger to the whole of NZ's film industry.

It sickens me to know that the whole world believes that all or even a majority of New Zealand actors stand firmly behind this bullshit. There, I said it. Bullshit. It sickens me to know that we are believed to be greedy, and inconsiderate towards the thousands of other people working in the industry.
After stating at the Wellington Equity meeting that they would stay out of the press, two Equity representatives went on current affairs show Campbell Live last night. Despite the requests of at least two non-equity performers to be heard on the show as well, again the voice of those disagreeing with MEAA/AE’s actions remained unheard. The Equity reps on last night’s show stated that their stand was not about money. However, while MEAA/AE backtracked on their call to boycott over the past couple of days, they still recommend that NZ actors ‘wait before accepting any engagement on the production of The Hobbit until the production has advised whether it will enter into good faith negotiations with NZ Actors’ Equity with respect to the minimum conditions of engagement… including minimum fees, conditions of engagement, professional protections and residuals.’ Moreover, the international call for boycott remains in place with big-name Hollywood stars like Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen and others intimately tied to the production firmly behind it. There also remains the possibility of a new call for boycott in NZ should there be no negotiations with Three Foot Seven or should such negotiations fail.
Do we, New Zealand actors, deserve to be treated fairly? Do we deserve minimum guarantees that give us a little bit of stability in a very unstable line of work? Of course we do! But this was not the way to do it and will surely not be the way to achieve it. What I find most exasperating is that despite the producers’ association's repeated attempts over the past years to enter into negotiation with Equity, despite its non-union status – Equity is making it all about The Hobbit now. They are attempting to force the production into setting a precedent for minimum standards that all future productions would have to adhere to without having a say or face boycott as a consequence. They are putting Three Foot Seven in an impossible situation, deny Peter Jackson access to their meeting, therefore turning down an the opportunity they publicly stated they were waiting for. They make no attempts to talk to SPADA. And then they go on TV and say that they would LOVE to talk to SPADA and all they want is to talk to Three Foot Seven. Contradictory much? Last night’s interview ended with John Campbell presenting an email the show had received from SPADA stating that they are happy to meet with Equity. Lets hope Equity takes them up on the offer and they come to an agreement and soon!

Lets also hope and pray to the universe, or god or whatever other higher power you can think of that MEAA/AE's actions will not come back to bite us is our collective arses and that in the years to come we will still have a functioning and thriving film industry.

For those of you performers who share my sentiments on this issue I urge you to take action! Let the world know that MEAA/EA does not speak for us! At the very least, please sign the petition against any boycott here.

Please add your thoughts!


Here are some recent articles published in various papers and collectively available on Stuff.

Also have a look at New Zealand Actors’ Equity's homepage here and a 'pro-union' article here. Comparing the two makes for an interesting if slightly contradictory read... Similarly the Equity reps at last nights TV3 show contradicted themselves on several occasions. Watch it here.

Read Wellington writer/director/blogger and petition initiator Chaz Harris' blog on The Hobbit controversy here.