Any thoughts about buying in Equity through SAG?
I currently don't have an agent and am feeling a little bit stuck with my career -- seems that the only way to get in the room for any AEA production whether they are holding EPAs or seeking submissions is to already be a member of Equity.
Getting a bit frustrated and seeking advice. Thanks!
It really depends on where you are in your stage career and there's no cut and dry answer here. There are pros and cons on both sides.
If you have a solid resume with respected regional theatres (at the tier of North Shore Music Theatre, Sacremento Music Circus etc.) that you have booked on your own or legitimate off and off-off Bway credits - then you may find that it's time to join AEA.
If you join before you've built solid credits, worked with a variety of directors and choreographers etc. you're going to find yourself in a much bigger and competitive pool without the experience and the contacts.
It can be tempting to join AEA just so you can get seen at auditions, but that is not the ONLY reason you should join the union.
With so many national tours going non-union (even first nationals like Catch Me If You can going non-union on the first time out!) - there are a lot of solid paying gigs that you can book non-equity that will yield resume experience as well as contacts and networking.
There are members of AEA with national tour credits and Broadway shows on their resume that are going to EPAs and submitting for appointments. Ask yourself if you are honestly ready to compete EXCLUSIVELY in that pool.
Thanks for your helpful response, marbar! I should also add that I'm a non-musical theatre actor so wouldn't be booking any non-eq national tours anytime soon. I do find that most of the stuff I book and am interested in in the first place is under the showcase code which an equity membership would not preclude me from taking part in. Any advice on this front for a non-musical performer?
Ah, it's a little tougher in the non-musical theatre world ... non-equity straight theatre productions are perhaps more of a mixed bag than their musical brethren.
On the pro side, non-musical EPAs are usually easier to get seen at for non-eqs, with the exception of the major Shakespeare festivals.
That being said, there are also fewer open calls (singer, dancer) etc where you can make an impression as a non-equity performer.
I still stand by my statement, musical or otherwise, that you should have at least 2-3 solid regional theatres or legitimate off or off-broadway (meaning a recognized off or off-off company like the Mint or Pearl, not simply a production that rented a theatre space for a weekend) before joining the union.
Hm. If you are already a SAG-AFTRA member then I believe you shouldn't be doing any non-union theatre anyway - because it's a violation of SAG-AFTRA's reciprocal relationship or Global Rule One or both or something.
Someone else correct me if I'm wrong?
If a squeaky clean relationship with union policy is important to you - then maybe you've got the answer right there?
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