Are you a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance?
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I voted 'No and considering if I should'. Every year or so I look into joining, but get quoted ridiculous amounts (last time it was $300 for a year, and that was a discounted price because I was joining as both a techie and a journalist!) and I really can't afford it.
These days I work only on profit-share shows and only a couple every few years, so it is really not worth the money at the moment. I do want to join, but it's just too expensive.
Sticky Apple Legs
Puppets in Melbourne
When I joined Equity, I was a little concerned about the cost also, however, they Weighted the fees based upon actual earnings, which was something I found out after further research and conversation with Union Reps.
Jeff WatkinsPerth based Actor/Performer Fight/Sword ChoreographerVirgin Director
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Yes, I knew that, which is why they advised me that $300 would be the cost. Apparently I could afford it because my income at that stage was $30k p/a.
What they don't take into account is that most of my income is going into savings so I can move out of home or get a car, and the rest is going into the usual bills/food/transport/clothes and making shows.
I spend about $5000 each year on producing something, and never see it back. Really another $300 on MEAA when I could be spending it on publicity... I'm sorry, but for me it's a no brainer. I'd rather spend it on the publicity.
Maybe if I was doing theatre full-time (ie. every minute of every day) I would consider it more closely.
I guess it's also that I'm a techie, and don't feel as though I need MEAA as much as actors. (I know it's about having security and backup when you need it, but I weigh the cost vs. risk, and it comes out as not being as necessary as, say, buying a car)
Anyway, my two cents.
Ouch that is sticky and I smack myself as I think we've discussed this before....
That's ok. It sometimes bears repeating because we often promote MEAA, but forget that some of us can't afford to join. Which is why I choose 'I'd like to, and am thinking about it'. In the future, if I have a little bit more income, I'll be joining.
And I do encourage those out there to join if they can.
I've just voted 'What's the MEAA?' because...well I do know what it is, but I'd like to know more- currently I'm nowhere near considering anything about joining etc.
What are the benefits of being part of this Union?
What ares does it help with?
Is the money one invests a good investment?
Thanks for any answers.
Currently working on:
A nice break before jumping into my next project.
MEAA is like any other union: they can provide advice on any number of areas (legal areas) specific to artists; they can provide advocacy and support to you in situations where you require legal help; and they lobby the government and other peak bodies and protect artists' rights across the board.
They can help you negotiate contracts with employers and ensure that you are not getting screwed.
The investment is like insurance, it's a backup, in case anything does happen in your career, and you need assistance.
(Oh please correct me if I'm wrong... I haven't read their promotional materials in a while)
This is taken from their site www.alliance.org.au
The Alliance is the union and professional organisation which covers everyone in the media, entertainment, sports and arts industries. Our 36,000 members include people working in TV, radio, theatre & film, entertainment venues, recreation grounds, journalists, actors, dancers, sportspeople, cartoonists, photographers, orchestral & opera performers as well as people working in public relations, advertising, book publishing & website production ...in fact everyone who works in the industries that inform or entertain Australians. The Alliance was created in 1992 through the merging of the unions covering actors, journalists and entertainment industry employees: Actors Equity (AE) The Australian Journalists Association (AJA) The Australian Theatrical & Amusement Employees Association (ATAEA) Since amalgamation, the Symphony Orchestra Musicians Association (SOMA) & the NSW Artworkers Union have joined the Alliance, a Professional Sports Branch has been created & the Screen Technicians Association of Australia (STAA) reconstituted itself under the Alliance banner.
The Alliance is a trade union that is interested in the broader concerns of our members. We run professional program activities, which originated from member requests and suggestions. The Alliance campaigns on broader issues that affect our membership, such as the Free Trade Agreement “Free to be Australian” campaign, the Media Ownership campaign and Occupational Health and Safety campaigns. The Alliance also lobbies governments on policy issues such as performers copyright, unemployment regulations, dismissal laws, press freedom issues and tax regulations
No. The Alliance is a member based not for profit organisation. To use our resources, which come from financial members paying their fees, to help non-members would be to the detriment of financial members of the union, so the Alliance can only provide assistance for financial members. This includes pre-existing claims; that is, if you have an ongoing issue, and then join the Alliance, whiles the Alliance will be happy to assist you with advice on future scenarios, we are unable to assist on matters that started before you were a member. If you are calling regarding an issue that affects your whole workplace, please notify the Alliance Inquiry officer of this.
The Alliance is affiliated to the International Federation of Actors and the International Federation of Journalists, is a member of the Copyright Council, and is represented on all major training delivery bodies catering for its members. It is affiliated with the ACTU and State Labor Councils on behalf of its actors and other entertainment industry sections (excluding journalists*) and in some states some sections are affiliated to The Australian Labor Party.
*Under AJA rules the journalists’ section cannot be linked to any political party for professional and ethical reasons.
There are more than this on their site, but this covers the basics well enough.
Hi Sean (and all the other Theatre Australia friends),
I would definately recommend being a financial member of the MEAA.
Like most people I get a few paid gigs a year and do co-ops, fringe, independant and 'for love' gigs the rest of the time. I spend more on agency fees, MEAA membership and petrol to get to castings etc. than I actually make in a year.
So why am I a proud member of the MEAA? Actors are often very vulnerable. In our ardour to perform, audition and land work we can often be tempted, or obliged, to undertake activities which are illegal, underpaid, exploitive, unethical or just a downright rip off. The erosion of award wage conditions in this country and the introduction of 'negotiate it yourself if you want the work' agreements mean that, more than ever, performers are on very shaky ground. As a community, performing artists must unite to protect our basic entitlements and our industry.
The MEAA is not just for jobbing actors. It is concerned about every aspect of the performing arts industry in Australia, including co-op and profit share productions.
Many years ago I did a job as an extra for a television commercial. It was an 8 hour call on a Sunday. Payment for that job took ages and when it came through we had been paid single rates rather than the double time which was required. The agent I had at that time refused to acknowledge the issue or assist me. I called the MEAA. They were great and even though this was about 100 extras getting paid they got right behind us. Turns out that agent had acted illegally by agreeing to a contract with lower wages and the client was ordered to pay and additional $15,000 in wages to all of us who worked that day. The client and the agent were severely reprimanded by the MEAA as they had broken the law. Without the MEAA 100 extras would have missed 50% of their pay entitlement and the client and that agent would have most likely attempted a similar scam again.
I receive regular e-mail updates from the MEAA. Quite often we receive an alert about a production which is casting but working illegally, without contracts or ripping off actors so that we can avoid that production if we are offered a role.
I like being a part of my industry. I financial and ethical contributor. I have never looked at the MEAA with a 'but what's in in for me?' attitude. THEY are there for me. Whenever I need them and I am happy to be part of the union.
MEAA membership is a yearly, tax deductable, expense. Along with photo updates, agency fees, Showcast or A2 listings. Anything to do with 'puttin' on a show' costs money. I would urge everyone to include MEAA membership in their yearly budget.
Love to you all,
I would like to point out that in addition to MEAA being the union for actors, it is also a union for:
journalists (they have several branches, one of which includes journalism)
and a whole range of other types of arts industry roles
I think a lot of the time people forget that it's not just for actors, and that a lot of actors do tech work (and vice versa) and MEAA will support them just the same.
Thanks Na and Labrug for the information
Currently working on:
A nice break before jumping into my next project.
No worries. It's helpful to know.
Had to dive in and add another choice to the poll to accommodate my own circumstances. I joined *mumble* *mumble* years ago and was a member for *mumble* years.
--Director, actor and administrator of this website
Thank you Tulipa for this first hand opinion. I was hoping for a few of these.
Quick link to Tulipa's comments http://www.theatre.asn.au/comment/reply/29584/34462
I've been a member of the ATEA branch of MEAA since *mumble* I was a proud "Theatrical" before we joined the combined group. It has been many years since I have had to call on the MEAA for assistance but when I did they were always there for me. We live in a world where the Unions are painted as the bad guys, they exist for you. Your protection as a worker relies on the combined strength of the organisation that protects you. It is no secret why the Federal Governemnt is very careful in it's treatment of it's own employees, a far higher percentage of them join the Union than is true of the wider community and the union is strong.
Unions are not there to bully employers and make it impossible for them to run a business, they are there to ensure that you, the employee, are treated fairly and honestly by your employer. People died to win you the right to belong to a Union and organise to protect yourself and yet we have bought the union bashing tactics of the Liberal Governemnt to the extent that we can be robbed of our protection so easily with the so called IR reforms.
I am, as I have said before on this site not a member of the Labour Party but I am a proud member of my Union and I always have been.
Is that all there is? Well if that's all there is my friend, then let's keep dancing.
joined the musicians section when it was the Musicians union in 1993. Back then in order to play with the WASO (as I was) you HAD to be a member of the union.
I have stayed since, and also use equity for my work in the opera co. now.
I have made all of my money back in disputed claims where I have received the money owed, which other non-union members did not.
and they are currently assisting me with 2 claims worth more than $10000 for my group.
So I think they are clearly worth every red cent!
It's the simple things stupid...
I never realised there were things like this for this industry. I guess i hadnt since im only just going into it out of the secluded country, finding this site is so awesome! im actually learning things that country folk, who base their lives on every day labour cant tell or teach me. Its great to know that things like the MEAA exist!
Rannon ~ Who was the guy who defined the line between normal and abnormal? i wish to ask him something....
By Thor Bjorn Krebs
Translated by David Duchin
Directed by Kat Henry