In NYC, one of the hot button issues is the Showcase Code. Note this if you haven't, and read the Code here if you're curious what I'm talking about.
One of the major components of changing this Code to reflect the needs of the community is engaging with actors. Much of the discussion and movement about Showcase Code reform is from playwrights, producers and directors who find themselves economically and administratively stymied by the Code's increasing irrelevance and age.
I'd like to ask actors what their experiences are with the Code. What does it do for you, and what would you like to see changed? Do you find it frustrating? Do you find it protects you?
I'll throw out a thought: Currently an actor must have 12 weeks of covered employment in order to qualify for 6 months of Health Insurance through Equity. Would it be a help to AEA members if NY Showcase Code shows could contribute at some reasonably adjusted rate to their Health Insurance? So that, for example, one could accure two weeks of your twelve needed weeks by way of four weeks in a Showcase? In return for this, Code shows could lengthen slightly, to perhaps double the number of performances?
Forgive me...I have no idea if that's remotely feasible mathematically, and it's probably impossible to get Equity to agree to that without, of course, a groundswell from membership in NYC.
In fact, there are some far more coherent and specific thoughts about this in the White Paper.
But anyhow... I'd love to hear thoughts, stories and concerns from NY actors.
Response from Zack Calhoon on his blog.
- 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.