AEA Logo

About Equity
     


Home
Member Portal

  About Equity Home

  Offices & Staff
  Contracts & Codes
  The Foundation
  History & Awards






   

AEA President

From the President

Deputize Yourself

AEA President Nick Wyman

President Nick Wyman
photo credit: newhartphoto.com

By Nick Wyman

November 4, 2010

There is an infamous moment during the first three days of rehearsal when a cast elects the Equity deputy. The election process tends to follow one of a few classic paradigms. After the jokes about electing whatever cast member is absent, the cast turns to the guy or gal who is known to have served (frequently repeatedly) as deputy or said guy/gal volunteers for duty. Absent a recidivist deputy candidate, the choice usually devolves upon some newbie who is assured that "being deputy is a great way to learn the contract." Or a long uncomfortable silence ensues, finally broken by some poor soul offering herself/himself up in some sort of martyred self-sacrifice.

So what is this suicide mission, this hideous burden of being deputy that causes members to sit on their hands and stare at the floor? The deputy is the go-between, the liaison between a cast and our union, our eyes and ears in the field. Frequently it is a sinecure, a do-nothing job on a show that is all smooth-sailing. Some contracts require the deputy to file a report of the rehearsal hours so that the appropriate AEA business representative can see if overtime is due. (I always cribbed mine from the stage manager's records; don't tell anyone.) Sometimes there is a question about the schedule or working conditions, and if the stage manager is unable to resolve it satisfactorily, the deputy calls the union and speaks to the business representative - and the business rep handles it. Sometimes the smoothly-sailing show hits rough water or even an iceberg; that's when you want a deputy with good listening and consensus-building skills, a diplomat and a leader. If you are a leader (and I think all actors are natural leaders), volunteer to be deputy; when the lifeboats are lowered, you want the best person in charge - why not yourself?

Being a deputy benefits not only yourself and your show, but the union. We have three primary ways of communicating with our members: Equity News, the website and stage managers and/or deputies. Deputies (and stage managers) bring timely information to working members who may not read Equity News or visit the website. Conversely, the problems a deputy encounters and the questions a deputy raises serve as a key source of real-world information for Council and Staff; they are filed away for the next time proposals are developed for contract negotiations.

In New York, the local deputies used to gather once a month during the Eastern Regional Board meeting to air grievances and exchange information. A deputy would bring up an issue and another deputy would think, "Oh, yeah, we have that problem too." Or "I didn't realize we were supposed to do that (or not do that.)" Another deputy might offer a solution to that same problem that they achieved with their management. Ideally, it was a beneficial and useful process of cross-pollenization, educating and raising the consciousness of not only Staff and Council, but also one's fellow deputies.

What limited the effectiveness and usefulness of these meetings was the level of participation. Actors, particularly working actors, lead busy lives; and discovering a universally workable time of the week to hold these deputy meetings was problematic. And the meetings were only held for deputies in the NY metropolitan area. Council is currently looking at the possibility of telephone meetings. Perhaps we can establish a Deputies' Forum on the "members only" section of our website or on Facebook.


From the President Archives:

Telling Our Story

Why I Do Theatre

You Have a Dream

Abundance and Gratitude

When Good Shows Go Bad

Make Your Own Luck

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Work Art and "Work"

CashCowasaurus vs. CatchMeasaurus

Can I Get Some Service Here?

Touring 101 or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Touring 102 - A Look at the Business Model of Touring

Exit, Gracefully, a Champion

Happy 100th Birthday

The Five C's

Love and Boundaries

Plenary Panoply

Which Side Are You On?

March 24, 2011
Marching in Madison

March 1, 2011
A Vision for All of Us

February 2, 2011
Three Requests

December 16, 2010
Earn Your "MBA"

November 4, 2010
Deputize Yourself

September 1, 2010
The Fall of the Twin Tiers

July 27, 2010
Mosaic

June 21, 2010
Thank You

Long-time Councillor Nick Wyman is elected the President of Actors' Equity Association

Back to Presidents Page

Contact President Nick Wyman at president@actorsequity.org.

 

Equity Government pages:

Constitution
President
Council
Regional Boards
Committees
Area Liaisons
Labor Affiliation


Click here for AEA Offices & Staff pages



From the President Archives

To Join or Not to Join? My Rejoinder

Wait ’Til This Year!

Attention Must Be Paid

Beginners, Please

One Voice: 50,058 Strong

Mirroring

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

One for All, All for One All Over

Springtime for Equity

Resource-Full

Keeping the Faith

Substantive Work

At the Big Table

What in the Heck am I Doing?

Telling Our Story

Why I Do Theatre

You Have a Dream

Abundance and Gratitude

When Good Shows Go Bad

Make Your Own Luck

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Mentor Up. Mentor Down.

Work Art and "Work"

CashCowasaurus vs. CatchMeasaurus

Can I Get Some Service Here?

Touring 101 or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Touring 102 - A Look at the Business Model of Touring

Exit, Gracefully, a Champion

Happy 100th Birthday

The Five C's

Love and Boundaries

Plenary Panoply

Which Side Are You On?

March 24, 2011
Marching in Madison

March 1, 2011
A Vision for All of Us

February 2, 2011
Three Requests

December 16, 2010
Earn Your "MBA"

November 4, 2010
Deputize Yourself

September 1, 2010
The Fall of the Twin Tiers

July 27, 2010
Mosaic

June 21, 2010
Thank You

Long-time Councillor Nick Wyman is elected the President of Actors' Equity Association

Back to Presidents Page

 
Home | Members Only | About Equity | Member Benefits | Document Library
FAQ | News and Media | Membership Department | Contact

© 2017 . Actors' Equity Association. Terms of Use | Privacy