Tuesday 19 October 2010

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 Stuff.co.nz, 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. 

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