Every young actor dreams of becoming a “legitimately” recognized working professional. I was no exception. As a student of Sanford Meisner’s, training under the auspice of William Alderson at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse (New School of Acting) in the 1980s, I’d worked hard to hone my skills. Eventually trading in my New York City stomping grounds for digs in Chicago, I set out to build a solid resume, working with as many Equity theaters and directors as I could.
Racking up EMC points and securing an Equity contract is no easy task. Young actors need to be mindful of several important things. They need to focus on the craft of acting, in as many creative ways as possible, in and out of the classroom; to understand that building a resume and making insider and union connections take time and to set (moveable) deadlines for accomplishing the goal of union membership.
My admission into our union came as a result of landing a leading role in the landmark production of Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus El Rey at Victory Gardens, spearheaded and directed by Chay Yew. Today, my intent remains much like it was when I started out: to work with the best union directors at the best union houses, to make a living wage doing what I love and to relish my hard-earned union membership. I fully intend to make the most of every opportunity to promote my union, its benefits and its growing pool of accomplished performers.
Originally published in Equity News, Winter 2019.