Antigone by Sophocles - Another Players in The Pub

Antigone by Sophocles - A 2009 adaptation by Annie Bilton

Media Room at the Toxteth Hotel, corner Glebe Point and Ferry Roads.

November 10th - 7:00pm - 8:30pm


Facebook event notice

Antigone: Laura Munro
Kreon: Nicholas Gledhill
Ismene: Mary Haire
Soldier: David McLaughlin
Haemon: Evin Donohoe
Tiresias: John Keightley
Eurydice: Mary Haire
Palace Guard: David McLaughlin
Chorus: John Grinston, Corinne Younan, Bobbie Gledhill



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On purge Bébé - Players in the Pub

On Purge Bébé by Georges Feydeau - lots of fun, free entry. Come along.

Media Room at the Toxteth Hotel, corner Glebe Point and Ferry Roads.

October 6th - 7:00pm - 8:00pm


Facebook event notice

Maximilion Follavoine - Nicholas Papademetriou
Julie Follavoine - Mary Haire
Toto (Baby) - Bertholomew Rose
Rose - Patricia McLoughlin
Abélard Chouilloux - Nicholas Gledhill
Clémenee Chouilloux - Beccy Iland
Horace Truchet - Stephen Vasquez



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Light Bites and Tasty Treats - reviewed in The Scotsman

Our next review - for Light Bites and Tasty Treats.

The Scotsman says "not a single weak link in either programme".

See details on the Light Bites and Tasty Treats web site.

Or - read the whole review.


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Open Letter from MEAA

In response to the open letter from the SPAA - MEAA have released their own open letter:

________________________
19 August 2009

Geoff Brown
Executive Director
Screen Producers Association of Australia
34 Fitzroy Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia

Dear Geoff,

Open Letter to SPAA regarding the Offshore Commercials Agreement

On Friday 14 August, Equity visited your office to ask you to sit down and negotiate the Offshore Commercials Agreement – the agreement you recently ripped up and walked away from.

Rather than sit down and talk you decided to pull your blinds down and turn your lights off.

Indeed, rather than talk to Australian performers you apparently preferred to engage a law firm to hire a private investigator and videotape Equity coming to your office.

All we are asking for is the opportunity to sit down and negotiate an Offshore Commercials Agreement that works for both TVC producers and for performers.

Performers do not want to strike – we want an agreement!

Everything in the Offshore Agreement is negotiable.

So Geoff: JUST TALK TO US!

You know my number.

Yours sincerely,



Simon Whipp
National Director


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Open letter from the SPAA - response

This open letter from the SPAA to the TVC community, yesterday. My responses in blue:

_________________________________
Dear Performer,

As you are aware the SPAA/MEAA Commercials Offshore Agreement, which set out additional terms and conditions for contracting of Australian performers for international commercials, ceased to be in effect from August 7 2009.

SPAA holds Australian performers in high regard and did not take this serious step in any ‘cavalier’ manner. In fact, SPAA has expressed its concerns about the decline of the international TVC sector to MEAA for more than two years.

Did you try to negotiate a new agreement with MEAA? Or have you simply complained about the current one?

SPAA’s decision to withdraw from the Agreement is about capturing more work and re-building opportunities in the Offshore TVC sector for all industry participants.

But will that actually benefit actors? More work isn't always better - if the conditions of that work is untenable.

The facts are that Offshore TVC sector is depressed, our brand internationally is compromised and the SPAA/MEAA TVC Offshore Agreement hasn’t been working. It has been working to protect the pay rates and conditions of Australian actors trying to negotiate with large multi-national advertising interests. We also know our domestic TVC sector works well with no additional binding performer agreement, instead performer fees are negotiated with the market expectations of all parties well understood. 1) It's a very different story when you're negotiating within your own economy. 2) The pay rates for these jobs has declined heavily whenever economic conditions have been negative - and often don't recover again afterward. Usage for these commercials is also often cleared for overseas. Yes? SPAA members have looked at how the domestic sector operates and simply want the same effective system to be applied to offshore commercials production. It simply isn't the same story.

SPAA does not seek undermine work practices. With the Agreement no longer in effect, Producers can instead put different offers to performers and or their agents for each person to consider. But if the power is in the hands of one side of the negotiation - and there's no protecting agreement then work practices WILL be undermined, whether that is what the SPAA seeks or not.


SPAA believes we can build a more prosperous TVC sector in 2010. But will it actually be of benefit to the people doing the work?


STATE OF TVC OFFSHORE SECTOR

A recent SPAA survey found Australian TVC companies pitched for but lost more than $60m of offshore commercials work in the past 12-18 months. If Australia had secured just half of this production, it would have meant hundreds of jobs for actors, crews and productions companies. Is this a reasonable target? This sounds like a spurious and/or dangerously vague statistical estimation.

The reality is that despite the best intentions of the parties, the Commercials Offshore Agreement has been working as a barrier to employment. Again, not all things that increase employment are of benefit, if the working conditions are eroded.

The offshore industry is an export industry and as such we compete internationally. The SPAA/MEAA Offshore Agreement was a very different agreement to all others in place between SPAA & MEAA and has no equivalent in USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or the UK. I will assume from this that having an agreement is actually INTERNATIONAL INDUSTRY STANDARD. Why can't the SPAA try to negotiate one that IS closer to other international agreements - and not just rip up the current one.

The TVC sector internationally is undergoing immense change. Media use, value of traditional media, segregation and mix of territories, campaign structures and advertising budgets are increasingly variable. International agencies have been telling us that, despite the appeal of using Australia’s highly regarded performers, our world class crews, production facilities and diverse locations, they have been choosing to make commercials in competitor countries such as New Zealand, South Africa and Canada because it has been too expensive, inflexible and complex to employ actors here. So... negotiate a less expensive, more flexible, less complex and appropriate agreement.

The Australian TVC industry cannot compare itself with the US, just as our film and television sector can’t compare itself with the US. Canada, New Zealand, South Africa are our direct competitors. Yes?

At the moment we’re in a ridiculous situation where Australian actors are being flown to NZ for offshore commercials. It doesn’t make sense to lose these jobs and export dollars. So... let's negotiate.


WHY END THE TVC OFFSHORE PERFORMERS AGREEMENT

The Offshore Agreement between SPAA and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) signed in 1999, was intended to attract business to Australia by standardising rates and delivering certainty, transparency and competitiveness. However, the SPAA/MEAA Agreement is not working. SPAA has acted according to the Agreement and given 45 days notice to end the Agreement. Negotiate a new one. You don't HAVE to end it just because you can.

SPAA has enormous respect for performers. This decision is not about forcing the lowest price: the international market finds our Agreement confusing and inflexible in a variety of ways, including formulaic terms for buyouts/usages and numbers of edits of a commercial. This makes it much more difficult to employ actors in Australia than our competitor countries. So, let's fix the agreement, then.


Why Not Negotiate with MEAA? So are we to understand form this heading that you WON'T negotiate?

SPAA members are about attracting jobs and economic actively to Australia. MEAA advised in October 2004 it was not.

“The intention from the Alliance’s perspective is not that the Offshore Agreement generates work in the Australian industry. The intention of this agreement is that performers are paid appropriately for this work when it is undertaken”

OK - let's take a break here for a moment and look at this section. Presumably, by using this MEAA quote, the SPAA are saying, categorically, that they ARE focused on generating work in Australia EVEN IF THIS MEANS PERFORMERS AREN'T PAID APPROPRIATELY FOR THIS WORK.

Surely, attracting jobs and economic activity to Australia is of no use, if that work is not paid at a high enough rate and the general working conditions of those undertaking it are not protected. Priorities have to be made here... Surely the working conditions of our actors is, and has to be, the priority. This is what the agreement was in place to do. That's all MEAA is saying in the quote above.

We can negotiate a new agreement - but to throw it away all together is to leave our performers "high-and-dry" - at the mercy of the negotiating power of the international advertising interests. Surely we can negotiate an agreement that sees to that AND answers the other issues the SPAA have raised here.


SPAA was never comfortable with the terms of the revised 2004 Agreement. After a long and difficult negotiation that strained our business relations internationally we signed the Agreement. In good faith we agreed to give it a try. But it just did not work. To make matters worse, the market has become even more competitive since 2004. So - let's change it. MEAA is offering to discuss the issue.

In 2007, SPAA met and subsequently wrote to MEAA expressing concern with aspects of the Agreement requesting further discussion and consideration by the National Performers Committee, MEAA did not respond. (A copy of the letter is attached) They are now offering to discuss the issue.

Since then, SPAA members and their representatives have asked repeatedly for variations to the Agreement in order to secure work, but such approval has often been delayed and in many cases denied by MEAA. The fact that so many variations have been sought clearly indicates that the Offshore Agreement is being ‘honoured’ in the breach. Moreover, SPAA is no longer prepared to accept the role for the MEAA as the gatekeeper on Offshore TVC’s. Who, in the SPAA's opinion, SHOULD be protecting the working conditions of Australian performers then? We need someone. Who should it be?

This process has been problematic not least because international bids require fast turnaround, usually only a few days. So, lets make it right and get an agreement that allows flexibility AND protects rights.

Our industry is small and struggling. If we want to keep its doors open, we need to get back in there and fight for the work that we’ve missing out on. Canada, New Zealand, South Africa regularly out bid Australia. And how will working conditions be maintained while we do this, without an agreement?


ALL OTHER MEAA/SPAA AGREEMENTS REMAIN

SPAA is aware that many performers are concerned that the decision to end the Commercial Agreement is a precursor to SPAA terminating other agreements it has with MEAA. This is NOT the case. Why not? If you can simply cease to negotiate on one agreement, why not the rest. You've gone to great pains to explain (earlier in this letter) how you were perfectly within your rights to end the agreement with 45 days notice. Presumably you have similar clauses in other agreements. Is it any surprise that people would see this behavior as setting a dangerous precedent?

The decision to withdraw from the TVC Offshore Agreement was made by the TVC Division of the SPAA Council and is a consequence of international market conditions for the TVC sector. It has NO bearing on other MEAA/SPAA agreements. MEAA has suggested that SPAA has an agenda to withdraw from other agreements. This is inflammatory and simply not true. MEAA has not stated, to my knowledge, that this is part of an agenda - they have simply pointed out that if you manage to do this, with no ill effects, and little difficulty, that the SPAA might be tempted to do the same for other agreements... and... they've got a point.

SPAA will retain its MPPA, AFFA, ATPA and ATRRA agreements. For how long? How much notice do you need to give in those agreements to teminat them? Would you be as "well within your rights" to end those ones as well?

It should also be noted that the Offshore Commercials Agreement was never an Industrial Agreement and performers working on offshore and domestic TVC’s will continue to be protected by Award conditions. But those Award conditions do not cover many of the rights that performers in TVCs were (until recently) protected by.


SPAA IS WORKING TO ATTRACT MORE JOBS

The Offshore Agreement is inflexible and has resulted in our actors missing out on work on big budget international TV commercials. SPAA is confident that ending this Agreement will give actors the opportunity to work more regularly and increase their annual earnings overall. I doubt very much that overall annual earnings will be increased if wages fall far enough. How much work will need to be done in order to maintain, or increase our earnings I wonder?

Jobs are a top priority for SPAA – jobs for actors, jobs for crews, jobs for production companies. Whatever the conditions of those jobs? No matter what? I'm not sure that's the right priority.

From now on, producers will be seeking to negotiate with local performers, just as Advertising Agencies do for domestic TVC production. Its important to know that domestic TVC production successfully operates delivering value for performers and advertising clients without a separate agreement above and beyond the particular industrial award. Good fees are still paid and there is no issue of exploitation of actors. This is a lucrative source of work for local actors and crews. SPAA is simply looking to establish similar conditions for offshore commercials. Are the award conditions for TVCs the same as those for local? If not, why not? Let's at least try to negotiate the outcome first. Lets make sure there's no holes in the awards that could leave the local actors open to exploitation. Let's negotiate.

What we’re talking about is creating opportunities for actors to earn thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, for less than a week’s work in Australia. And when the work is brought to Australia, there’s an economic stimulus for the whole production community and indeed for the entire Australian economy. But are the conditions fair? Is the pay actually good enough for the amount of exposure involved (and therefore loss of future work).


Casting opportunities

SPAA believes there will be significant new work opportunities and invite performers to consider what is on offer. With what conditions and pay?

SPAA respects performers’ rights to accept or reject attendance to auditions or contract terms offered to them in relation to Offshore TVC work. But they don't respect performers' rights to protect their conditions and pay through collective bargaining?

Regardless of what you decide, it is worth considering that the system SPAA members are moving to is the same system performers already work within for domestic TVC production. We think it’s only fair to offer the same rules that our local clients enjoy to our international business partners. But negotiating locally is completely different to negotiating internationally. It isn't the same - and to claim it is simply avoiding the point.

It is important to note no one can tell you not to go to an audition or to accept work. Industrial action in relation to the Offshore sector has at this time no legal protection and any effort to intimate, harass or mislead people into thinking they cannot accept offers of work is open to serious legal challenge. So, if we want to strike we should 1) turn up for the audition 2) get the job 3) then refuse to do it. Would that be better? A "strike" is simply a collection of people refusing to do work because the conditions being offered aren't right or fair. This is no different. Don't try to muddy the waters with inappropriate details. It may be true that "Industrial action in relation to the Offshore sector has at this time no legal protection" but it is also true that no one can get into trouble for not going for a job. So while there is "no protection" there is also "no issue". We can strike - in a practical sense - with no fear of retribution... and we should until the SPAA is willing to negotiate a new agreement.


WINNING PRODUCTION

Long-term sustainability for the industry will not be achieved if we simply begin a race to the bottom on price. Every commercial is different. To attract production many factors, in addition to cost, are at play; the reputation of individuals, depth of creative talent, services and facilities, ease of locations, general infrastructure and security and, most importantly, a desire to do business. This ignores the fact that the international advertising interests have all the power in bargaining on individual agreements. Where do you think they want the race for prices to go?

The fact is that actors aren’t being paid at all for all those commercials we’re missing out on. But they are being paid reasonably for the one's we do get.

Australia’s TVC sector is being watched internationally. SPAA has signaled we want to do business as a professional industry. SPAA members have offered to stand by additional employment conditions above and beyond those available to the domestic sector but we cannot bind members to minimum commercial rates that are impervious and inflexible to the market in which they apply. In other words, you need our conditions to be flexible, endlessly downward in order to get the jobs. What does this imply about where pay rates will go when this happens?

Other sectors of the industry are tightening their belts and agreeing to negotiate flexible terms in order to secure work, including crew, post production companies, directors and producers. Margins for production companies are being slashed. Production companies face a stark future and equipment is sitting idle with five production companies closing in recent times, and others on the brink of closing. There's a global financial crisis going on. Jobs WILL be scarce. Companies WILL close. When conditions improve, will the pay rates come back? Experience form local TVC production would say "no".

SPAA wants a brighter future for all in the Australian TVC sector – producers, performers and technicians. We believe the work is out there, but we need to be bold in order to secure it for our industry. And we need to reduce actors' rights and pay rates to any level in order to achieve this?

If you're happy to negotiate changes - why not negotiate?

If you're not - why not?

If there are certain inalienable rights you are sure will never be broken, even by an open market - why not write them down anyway, in an agreement, and not leave it up to chance?

If there are no inalienable rights - then, presumably, you're saying jobs at any price, any conditions, any pay.


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Call to action from MEAA - Just talk to us!

This - today - from MEAA:

Today we sent SPAA a direct message regarding the Offshore Commercials Agreement:

JUST TALK TO US!

Despite repeated requests from Equity, SPAA has refused to negotiate a new Offshore Commercials agreement. So today we went direct to SPAA’s Office.

More than 100 striking actors protested outside the SPAA offices in Surry Hills in Sydney this afternoon. They were addressed by Alliance federal president Patricia Amphlett and Equity president Simon Burke.

The rally was designed to tell SPAA this message:

PERFORMERS DO NOT WANT TO STRIKE – WE WANT AN AGREEMENT!

If SPAA think they can rip up one agreement, what’s to stop them from ripping up any other agreements in film and television? SPAA's move to rip up the Offshore Commercials Agreement is an attack upon all performers and all our rights

The Next Step:

Email SPAA and tell them to JUST TALK TO US! Send SPAA Production Executive Bethwyn Serow the following email at: bethwyn@spaa.org.au (cc. mail@alliance.org.au)

-------------------------------------------------
Subject: Just talk to us!

Bethwyn,

As proud Equity members all we want is for you to meet with our union to negotiate an Offshore Commercials Agreement that works for both TVC producers and for performers.

Just talk to us!

Yours Sincerely
<your name>

-------------------------------------------------


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Tasty Treats - Reviewed by The Groggy Squirrel

Today, our first review of the Edinburgh Fesitval.

The Groggy Squirrel has given us quite a good write up. "A very entertaining way to spend your lunchtime". See the rest here.

Don't forget to follow further updates on our website.


or become a fan of the show by visiting our Facebook Fan Page



or, finally, follow this Twitter feed to get all the latest updates on Light Bites and Tasty Treats.


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SPAA Strike

This, today, from Gerry Sont on his feelings on the SPAA Strike. I liked it enough to repeat it here:


What the SPAA strike is like from an Actors perspective.....

Who and what is SPAA?
Screen Producers Association of Australia. An independent organisation designed to protect
the rights or producers and liase with other industry bodies.

Why did they tear up the Agreement and refusing to negotiate a new one?
They say that Australia loses International Commercial jobs because our actors are too expensive.
(From their website page media release and quoted by their president Geoff Brown)

Are they correct in their reasoning?
Ask yourself how many factors come into play when you choose a holiday destination?
Location, timing, exchange rate, availability, access, who you can get to go with you, travel time,
facilities etc etc etc To single out just one component in the complex formula of TV commercial
production is absurd.

So why is Australia losing ads to other countries?
As above, there are probably about 2 dozen reasons the major one being the GFC (Global Financial Collapse)
Meaning, advertising budgets have been cut because share prices are down, there's less money around
thus people will buy less so turnover will be down and thus profits will be down. Plus, ecomonic forecasting
is divided with half the world saying the worst is over and the other half saying it has just begun. Also,
NZ actors are cheaper and the USDollar has a better exchange rate. Canada has great people and really close to
home so saves travel time and logistics. South Africa is dirt cheap but far far away. We have become expensive from ALL divisions however Australia has always offerred a premium product at premium price.

What does this mean?
Commercials that currently may pay around $8000 might pay only $4000 or even $1000 in future.

What percentage of a TVC budget goes to paying actors?
1.5 % or $15,000 out of 1 Million dollar campaign. Not a lot.

What percentage of a TVC does an Ad Agency or Production Company make?
35% - 40% or $350,000 out of a 1 million dollar campaign. Quite a lot.

What happens if we don't take a stand and they win?
SPAA agreements cover all TV and Film contracts thus like a set of dominio's, all agreements
will not be renewed and thus all wages will go down as there will be no minimum.

How will this play out?
SPAA are playing hard ball. No difference to any bully in the playground. Sure, they have the power
(or believe they do) and actors they assume are weak and apathetic and unlikely to mount a serious challenge.
They are hoping in our desperation for work we will still go for castings no matter what the pay.

Whats our biggest hurdle to achieving success?
We really need all Agents to agree that they also support the strike thus we limit the
amount of quality talent that the producers can get access to.

What's preventing all agents from helping us?
Well, they also may fail to see long term. They just want to make their commission and send actors
to jobs today. They don't realise that if this strike doesn't work, and hence all other agreements fall by the wayside,
that their income may fall at least 50% over the next 3 years as their actors earn less and less and less.

What we need to do
If you can look to the bigger picture and know that long term incomes for all actors in all fields will
fall then you need to refuse to attend castings that are not paying as per equity guidelines.

Whats our bargaining chip?
Firstly, we can limit who they see and secondly, while there is unrest and industrial action happening
here then it is unlikely that overseas companies will take the risk of filming here. The same way Aussie's
ignored Fiji as a holiday destination during the coup (s).

Be courageous. Take a stand!

Please forward to any actors you know.











Gerry Sont





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Sydney Acting Search - your Sydney Acting Portal

After some years, searching for acting work around Sydney, I thought I would chuck some of the things I've learnt, together on a page - to help other actors around Sydney search for auditions and get work.

If you have any advice for me, or links you think should be added here, please contact:
"SpaceCraft Productions" <spacecraft@creativearts.com.au>, with your ideas.

Below you will also find a list of useful and interesting links to help you find auditions and get the jobs on offer around Sydney. Bookmark this page, as your one-stop-shop for all things Acting in Sydney.

Major Bodies (Unions, Associations and more)


News and Other Resources


Auditions and Jobs


Arts Funding


Theatres and Companies


Schools and Training


Media Outlets


Superannuation



Sydney Acting Search


Whether you're looking for professional work, as an actor in Sydney - or looking for a contact for your local co-op theatre company... you've come to the right place. Below you will find a specialist search box for all things acting, in Sydney.
Please enter your term in the box below, and click the search button.

Search Results:




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Image Gallery

Click here - for the "Production Pics" slideshow.


















































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