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    Posted February 17, 2010

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Council Approves Changes to Members' Project Code

The Members' Project Code (MPC) has recently been revised and includes a number of important changes. Created in 1987 by and for Equity members, the Code is administered by the Area Liaisons in 24 cities nationwide and is designed to permit members in those communities to showcase their talents.

How does it work?

The MPC is intended to allow members to generate future work for themselves without having a producer. It can only by used by individual members and unlike the Showcase Code in New York or the 99-Seat Plan in Los Angeles; it is not available for theaters, individual producers or producing organizations to use. It permits up to 20 performances in a five week consecutive period.

Among the revisions are:

  • Internet is now considered a publicity tool but this doesn't included any "captured" material

  • The budget for the MPC is now increased by $500 to $4,500.

  • The revised MPC is now extended through December 31, 2012

  • Requires rather than suggests a house board, a cast list or a program and encourages all three. Adds that an acknowledgement that the production is operating under the Members' Project Code must be included in publicity

  • New wording permits the MPC to be used in San Francisco if it can be determined who is an appropriate Liaison Committee since it is no longer an Office City. The MPC can be used in the Orlando area.

  • Language clearly establishes that the MPC is not available in New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles.

  • Requires a copy of the MPC to be given to all participants.

"Austin/San Antonio uses the MPC with great success," said Bill McMillin, Liaison Chair. "Most, if not all of our MPC productions have sold out and offered future employment to our members. The MPC creates opportunities not otherwise available in our community and allows actors to stretch their creative talents." Babs George, who acted as Treasurer in an Austin MPC production of THE CHERRY ORCHARD, added: "Our production gave us a deeper understanding of Chekhov. It increased our ability to reach a diverse audience with classic texts; and resulted in industry recognition for future employment and projects."

Philadelphia Liaison Chair Tom Helmer explained: "The MPC has been around for over 20 years allowing fellow AEA members to work together on material, either established or new, that excites their artistic desires to tell good stories. It's a great way for our members to stretch their artistic muscles when they're not working under an Equity contract."

Tom Moriarty, who served for five years as Kansas City Liaison Chair and recently relocated to Seattle, helped to organize a "showcase" for the past six summers using the MPC to present an evening of six short plays. "The format had been so successful in Kansas City" Moriarty says, "that most performances sold out S.R.O. More importantly, this use of the MPC has directly created concrete work opportunities for our members locally, which encouraged a number of Equity Membership Candidates to join the Association as full Equity members."

The Members' Project Code is used for productions that are member-produced is a viable way for members to showcase their talents. For more information, contact your Area Liaison.

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