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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Friday, March 16, 2007

"The League of Independent Theaters"

This is brilliant and demands everyone's attention. Take a read, comment, and link to this.

Personally, I believe in Unions, and I believe in the essential importance of Actor's Unions. I also believe that the Showcase Code in NYC was/is intended to avoid the abuse of actors who are willing to go to great lengths, for free, to be on stage.

That being said... the current system actually does far more harm that good, not only for producers (who struggle with the economics) but I would argue that it actually harms actors as well, whose own industry is making it harder for them to commit themselves to projects they believe in.

Anyhow...let's TALK about this.


david d. said...

Sounds great to me.

While I am not an expert on the LA 99 Seat Plan, I can't see any reason why those same guidelines could not be used in New York. It would be that middle step between the Showcase and the Off-Broadway/Mini that is needed and doesn't exist.

I could see that there might be pressure on Equity from Off-Broadway and Broadway Producers to keep longer-running/ unlimited budget shows like the LA 99 seat plan allows out of New York City. But it is not the interests of Producers that Equity was formed to represent.

What I like about the post you have pointed us to is that it is not just complaints about the code, it is also a specific proposal.

Adam said...

so how do we get equity to read it and take it to heart?

Mark said...

I've posted some comments over there. I think John Pinckard and co. will take care of making sure Equity reads it. What we can do is stay over there and make sure the proposal reflects wide agreement about how the showcase code should be reformed.

There are many things to admire about the LA code, but there are some elements I'd just as soon avoid. The reason they have such a lax code in the first place is because theater doesn't command any respect in LA. I'd like to see the good parts of the LA code (of which there are many) repeated, but the parts that aren't swell for the actor (no money to speak of until after nine weeks? How about five?) be worked on.

nick said...

It's important to remember that the LA code came about because the actors out there demanded it. They knew that being on stage was important for them to "showcase" their individual talent for film and television work. The small theaters in LA are built and sustained mostly by "actor gangs" who function essentially as their own producers. Comparing and constrasting the different natures of NYC and LA small theatre is a long discussion. And it's beside the point except to remember that no "league" (who are the members of this League, anyway?) forced Equity to offer that 99 seat code, Equity members did.

This proposal will only have authority if Equity actors in the city are mobilized around it. This is something that’s very possible. Actors in the city would support this change, but the proposal coming out in this manner is wrongheaded. Regardless of whether this League of Independent Theater exists or not, it’s presumptuous and condescending for any group of producers (or playwrights, directors) to speak on how actors should regulate their union. Find some actors to join in a “League of Independent Artists.” Playwrights, directors, and actors—linked together--they are the real “producers” of Off-Off. I think if the League and the proposal came from a place like that it would have a chance to gain membership/momentum.