Posted March 30, 2013
Equity Hosts Nationwide Equity Membership Candidate Events
"Being an EMC is significant -
it tangibly symbolizes that you have 'put in your time'..."
--- Doug Shapiro, Actor and former EMC
The Fall and Winter seasons found Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) events and gatherings throughout the country. Through interaction with Equity Actors and Stage Managers the EMC program provides an opportunity in which candidates experience the standards, responsibilities and traditions of theatrical professionalism. Events were held in Albany, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and Washington DC.
National Director of Membership John Fasulo reminded all EMCs that Registration Forms must be completed each time you accrue weeks with a participating theatre and even though your EMC weeks are tracked by Equity, he encouraged candidates to maintain their own work week records. Further, he stressed the importance of keeping all contact information current with Equity's Membership Department.
"Not only are these national events educational and helpful to the future member" said Kevin McMahon, Chair of the Entry To Equity Committee, "they help to foster an early positive and active relationship with Actors' Equity. Many thanks to all the office cities and area liaisons for their hard work in planning and hosting these events."
EMCs mingled a bit, noshed a bit, and then did some networking with local Atlanta Members. There were lots of questions about Equity and the Atlanta theatre scene followed by more mingling and Southern hospitality.
Central Regional Board and Committee Members along with Equity Staff welcomed EMCs to the Chicago Member Center. Board and Member Education and Outreach Committee Member Richard Strimer moderated the event which included guest speakers and Central Region EMC Administrator Susan Cramm. Members spoke of their career and Union experiences; they shared how each received their Equity card and the benefits of being a Union Member.
At the Annual Fall AEA Gathering, EMCs did some high-profile elbow rubbing with local Members, Equity officers and local politicos when Actors' Equity received a citation in honor of its 100th Anniversary.
Los Angeles Business Representative Michael Van Duzer and Membership Staff Doug Dixon guided the participants through a lively Q & A discussion covering information about the program, audition procedures & tips and making the transition to Equity membership. Some attendees won gifts that were generously donated by BACKSTAGE and Audition Trax.
The New Orleans Louisiana (NOLA) Liaison Committee threw a theater picnic in beautiful and historic Audubon Park to celebrate, inspire and connect with existing and future EMCs. The all-day event attracted a wide variety of new and veteran theater community members. Refreshments were provided and EMC information packets and gifts were distributed. All enjoyed the incredible weather and fellowship.
On the agenda of the New York gathering was Guest Speaker Doug Shapiro. Doug, a former EMC and working Actor advised attendees to "think strategy." Being based in a specific city or area may seem somewhat limiting but it can be viewed as an opportunity to develop networking skills. Do research - you should know everything possible about the theatres that are easily accessible to you; their seasons, their personnel, their likes and dislikes. Follow them within every media and repost favorable articles and reviews. Stay strategically active - always be doing something to demonstrate forward motion in your career.
Doug closed with the observation "Being an EMC is significant - it tangibly symbolizes that you have 'put in your time' and should reassure you that when the opportunity arises for you to join - you have done the work - you are ready".
The Phoenix/Tucson Liaison Committee hosted a reception for EMCs, AEA Members and area producers at the Herberger Theatre Center in downtown Phoenix prior to the Phoenix-Tucson Area Liaison general meeting. Western Regional Business Representative Michael Van Duzer welcomed the dozen EMCs, some having made the two-hour drive from Tucson, spoke of the importance of their participation in the EMC program and thanked them for their commitment to becoming Equity members. It was encouraging to note that all of the EMCs in attendance were currently involved in a production in progress on an Arizona stage.
Pittsburgh held a casual and relaxed gathering at a local restaurant with local EMCs and students from the area university theatre programs. The students attended in preparation for their professional life after graduation. Also attending were Pittsburgh Liaison Committee Members Ken Bolden, Richard Rauh and Ingrid Sonnichsen along with Point Park University Professor Robin Walsh.
Throughout the year EMCs enjoyed events including a Tony AwardŽ Viewing Party and the Annual Membership Meeting and Wine & Cheese Mixer. EMCs were also invited to attend "AEA Night at CLYBOURNE PARK," an event in recognition of Black History Month at the San Diego Repertory Theatre with a mixer before the performance, as well as a talk-back with the cast afterward.
San Francisco Bay Area EMCs braved a freakish combination of obstacles and conflicting events to join AEA members at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Obstacles and conflicts included a hugely unexpected 7th game of the National League Pennant Race (causing traffic and BART delays- Go Giants!), a Presidential Debate, a SAG/AFTRA meeting and to top it off - lousy weather. None-the-less the EMC turnout was terrific.
The evening began with an EMC Program overview facilitated by AEA's Western Regional Director, Mary Lou Westerfield, San Francisco Liaison and AEA Councillor, Kelly Ground and Councillors Stephen Pawley & Michael Dotson. Then, following a Q & A session, the EMCs joined AEA Members for a mixer reception.
The Greater Washington, DC/ Baltimore AEA Liaison Committee teamed with Washington, DC's Actors' Center, The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts and The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts to host an EMC reception and panel discussion/Q&A. The panel featured distinguished local AEA Actors, producers and educators. The evening provided an opportunity for community camaraderie and networking.
Serving on the panel were producer Ray Ficca and educators Buzz Mauro and Ricardo Evans (all AEA Members themselves!), and AEA Liaison Committee Members Bill Largess, Barbara Callander and Equity Councillor Jess Speaker, III. Liaison Chair Laura Giannarelli served as moderator. Panelists shared insights and advice on the DC/Baltimore theatre scene and answered questions ranging from how to connect with local casting directors to misconceptions regarding Union membership. Liaison Committee Members provided a bounteous table of food and drink while the Theatre Lab graciously provided wine for the evening.
Compiled by Tom Miller
Coordinator, Equity Membership Candidate Program