Archive for the ‘Equity’ Category

Guild Events at Fleadh

25th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

During the Galway Film Fleadh the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild will be involved in two events:

At 10.30am on Thursday 9th July at the Radisson Hotel the Guild will present the 2nd Annual ZeBBies Report.

The report, which covers the period July 2007 to June 2008, will provide detailed information on the amount of work which was available to writers, the number of writers who developed projects and produced work, and the rates of pay involved therein. This meeting is open to all.

Immediately following, at 12.00pm at the Radisson Hotel, Irish Equity in conjunction with The Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild, will hold a meeting for actors and writers in relation to on-going problems with contracts.

This meeting will be of special interest to actors and writers working in the industry, but all are welcome to attend.

Equity Petition Grows

18th February 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Stage reports that the Equity petition launched last week in the UK to improve the quantity and quality of roles for women in drama broadcast on the BBC, Channel 4, and ITV has already hit 1,000 signatures, and includes celebrities like Playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, producer Jenny Topper and actor Imelda Staunton. Equity claims that for every female character in a TV drama there are two male characters.

It also says that leading parts are “frequently played by male actors over 45″, but argues that women in this age group “start to disappear from our screens”, and calls on the major UK television channels to “take action to correct this imbalance”.

Staunton was joined in signing the document by fellow actors Maxine Peake, Roger Lloyd Pack, Harriet Walter and Charles Dance.

Peake, who most recently appeared in the BBC drama Little Dorrit, said she agreed “whole heartedly” with the petition and added she would like to see more “female-driven dramas”.

Lloyd Pack, best known for playing Trigger in Only Fools and Horses, said he had supported it “in the interest of equal rights” and added: “On a practical level, I’m aware of how difficult it is for my female colleagues to find work and on a cultural one, I don’t understand why a whole generation of women should be excluded from story lines as if they don’t exist. What I hope would be the result of this petition is that writers would be encouraged to include more older female characters in their scripts.”

The petition was created by a new steering group within Equity, dedicated to highlighting the issues regarding female performers.

It includes Equity vice-president Jean Rogers and actress Kate Buffery, who, with other members of the group, took the cast lists of all dramas shown by the major terrestrial channels over a week and found that of 4,565 roles, 2,899 went to men and 1,666 to women.

Buffery, 51, admitted it would be “difficult to shift the status quo” but added: “This petition is saying to broadcasters over 50% of your viewers are women and there is a big voice out there, and that’s what we are trying to tap into. The fact most TV is aimed largely at young male viewers is not okay, and it says something rather shallow about our society.”

She said that most TV dramas feature young, “nicely-packaged” female performers and claimed more interesting parts for younger women would lead to older women being taken more seriously.

The petition follows a Europe-wide survey conducted by the International Federation of Actors, which found that female performers have shorter careers than male ones and that 60% of women do not feel TV represents them in a realistic way.

Buffery said that although the petition is specifically about television, she hoped it would pave the way to open up discussions about other areas of the performing arts.

Anyone can sign Equity’s petition, which is online here.

TV’s Future in NI

6th January 2009 by Maura McHugh

On Monday the 19th of January, 2009, from 6-8pm at the BBC’s Blackstaff House in Belfast, Equity is offering a free seminar on the future of television, called “Television Is Changing – Are You Ready?”

It’s open to Equity members, producers, agents, casting directors and other industry professionals.

Join Equity at this interactive seminar designed to give you the opportunity to find out about the work that Equity has been doing in response to the expansion and development of new technology in the world of television production, broadcasting and throughout the entertainment industry.

The key themes covered include:

  • TV Is Changing: The way actors work and are paid will change as a result of the revolution that is taking place in broadcasting. This campaign is part of Equity’s effort to provide you with the information you need to help you make informed choices about the implications of the coming changes.
  • Pan-Industry Negotiations: Equity has been meeting with representatives of all the major broadcasters and independent producers in the British television industry with the goal of negotiating a pan-industry agreement that will bring together the best of the many individual deals that currently exist.
  • New Media Deals: Find out about the work the union has already done in areas such as mobisodes, podcasts, internet-only productions and games.

Places are limited, so if you wish to attend you must book a place in advance: details are listed on Northern Ireland Screen’s web site.

Equity cinches podcast rights

8th March 2007 by Maura McHugh

The BBC reports that production company B7 has come to a timely agreement with the actors union, Equity, regarding podcast performances.

Next month an updated audio version of 1970s BBC cult science fiction show Blake’s 7 will be released, which was put together by B7. This prompted a discussion between Equity and B7 over the rights of podcast performers.

The agreement provides for minimum session fees, rehearsals, overtime payments, holiday pay, assignment of rights and a royalty share on net revenues generated via podcast downloads, audio streaming via the internet and subsequent CD release.

“Our normal agreements are based around the history of radio and television, so don’t properly account for doing productions for these new media,” Mr Brown [Equity Spokesman] said.

“They could not possibly be adapted properly because they talk about transmissions and, obviously, for podcasts and internet streamings, transmissions no longer have any meaning.

“This deal is a benchmark… through the detailed negotiations with B7 Productions we now have a matrix that we can use.

“If someone came to us tomorrow saying ‘I want to do a new drama podcast, can you help me with my rights’ we can say ‘absolutely we can’. We know where we are going with this.”

Brown also noted that Equity was examining the issues revolving around the use of their members’ work on the Internet and mobile platforms: “It is one of our absolutely highest priorities at the moment,” he said.