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    Posted June 9, 2011

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Facts to know about
Festival/Code Productions

Summer is here and another Festival Season is upon us. Equity recently hosted an informative NYMF Seminar. AEA business reps Michelle Kelts and Kenneth Naanep were present, along with Gil Rogers, Chair of the Off-0ff Broadway Committee. Equity members brought up their concerns regarding NYMF and Fringe productions.

This seminar was informative and pointed out the fact that many of our members still don't quite understand how Festivals produced under the Basic Showcase Code differ from an AEA contract. Therefore, I thought a FAQ column might help.

1st off - it's wonderful to be part of a festival and a new production. If you get the chance to do a Festival show…enjoy! But…as an Equity member you should be armed with some facts about the CODE/Contract or Agreement that you will be working.

All Festival/Code productions follow specific AEA guidelines outlined through our AEA Showcase Codes. You can check out these individual codes by visiting our website at Look in our document library. The 2011 NYMF Season will be under a NYMF Special Agreement unless on an AEA Contract.

Questions from our members:

  • Am I guaranteed (2) comps just as I am in other showcase productions?
    ANSWER: Yes. All AEA actors performing in the show are given (2) comps, however, you must request these comps before the producer sells all of their allowable tickets to a performance.

  • Do I get health weeks on this code?
    ANSWER: If your Festival show is on an AEA Code you will not receive health weeks. Only shows on an AEA contract receive salary, health weeks and a pension contribution.

  • How much money will I make on my Festival production?
    ANSWER: This depends on the Festival. At minimum you will receive travel and expense reimbursement.

Bullet Points:

  • If you have any questions at any time…call AEA. Speak to our Showcase Rep. Equity can only help if our business reps are informed of a problem. Be assured that all correspondence with Equity is confidential. It is vital that you call while you are in production. Calls made regarding concerns afterwards are difficult to verify and correct.
  • NOTE: As an AEA Member, you have the right to walk away from any showcase production at any time. This may be hard to do…but if you feel that your rights are in jeopardy…leave.
  • Don't rehearse extra hours that aren't stipulated by your Code. The AEA Showcase code was created to help showcase our member's talents, not to workshop new material. If there is not enough time to develop your show through the Festival guidelines, perhaps your show is better suited to an AEA contract.
  • Elect a deputy and report any questions/concerns to Equity. Remember, if you don't report something, Equity will not know and therefore cannot help you.
  • Check on any subsidiary rights you are entitled to by being a part of your festival production. This is especially helpful if your production graduates to a contract production in the future.

Our best resource as actors/stage managers is communication. Communicate with your fellow AEA members. Ask questions of our AEA Reps and enjoy working. I know how fulfilling doing Festival shows can be. I have done two myself.

In Solidarity,
Nancy Slusser

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