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Equity At Last

February 5, 2013

No more getting up at 5am, signing up on unofficial lists, waiting all day to not get seen, sitting on the ‘non-equity bench of shame’ at AEA, getting thrown out of holding rooms or being generally stressed at Equity calls. This girl finally got her Equity card. It’s pretty much, a ‘shout from the rooftops’ big deal, if only for the fact that I know I’ll at least get SEEN at dance calls and can now get an asterisk next to my name in programs! First step towards the dream, right? Now all I need is that call from Broadway saying I’m cast so I can afford my dues. (PS, I’m ok with ensemble).

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So, I’ve already started putting some mileage on my card hitting up some ECC’s and it’s amazing how the audition experience has changed. I can plan my day, get enough sleep, have enough time to focus and warm-up and get seen in the first group.

Of course, there are still some things that never change:

If you are going to an audition for Broadway/ Tour and the show has been running for a short while, be prepared to be in a room full of people who already know the combination. There are even audition workshops/ seminars now where you can learn the routine before the dance call (for a price).

The grass is always greener. It is Sod’s Law that 3 days after getting my Equity card, I find out that I have booked a non-equity show. However, the peanuts that I would have got paid make me feel better about turning it down.

Despite being non-Equity before, I still managed to get callbacks for Broadway and National Tours. Now I just need the same results combined with more sleep and my agent’s help getting me appointments…oh, and actually booking them in the end.

You still get to hear some gems in the holding room:
Girl to monitor at ‘Wicked’ Broadway audition: ‘I’m non-equity, do I need a headshot?’
Monitor to girl: ‘Yes.’
Girl to monitor: ‘What if I don’t have one?’

I almost feel like I did things the wrong way round. In California, it has become apparent that non-equity get seen at nearly every AEA call, often even in the first group (a rare occurrence in NY). I’ve also seen casting panel’s disregard some Equity rules about who gets to perform first. Additionally, there are a higher percentage of non-equity shows here. The kicker is that the pay is generally, significantly lower than anything I saw in New York. There have been multiple times that I have read casting notices where I’m saying, ‘This show is perfect for me!’, ‘This is just the audition I’ve been waiting for!’, to then see the words ‘No Pay Provided’ sneak in the last line. Girl’s gotta live!

Last week, I had a free day and thought I’d drive all the way to San Diego for an audition (I’m THAT committed to booking a job already). It was a show I have been dying to do since I first saw it on the West End. The role I wanted had to attend the dance call first (perfect for a dancer who can sing) and, even better, the role was for a dancer/ alto with a belt/ who can dress to impress (that’s pretty much me). There was one, miniscule catch….They only had 1 Equity contract.

This pretty much summed up my predicament. I was in NY for a year, wishing every day that I was Equity so I wouldn’t have to waste hours, hoping to get seen, cramped in the hallway of Ripley Grier. Now, in CA, I was frustrated that I was Equity because I knew I would have at least booked an ensemble part in this show that I really wanted to do. The good news was that I actually got through the dancing, singing, sides, dancing, singing, singing, sides etc, for the lead role I wanted. It meant they were considering me for that 1 Equity role. If I don’t get it, perhaps it is just because they needed to give the Equity contract to a role that was harder to cast. Either way, it made me feel like I was right to take my card. If I can be highly considered for a lead role with only 1 Equity contract available in the whole cast, I did the right thing.

So here goes. The beginning of life as a ‘proud Equity member’!

The British Dancer sig

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. The Enterprising Actor permalink
    February 5, 2013 10:14 am

    Congrats! Welcome to the joys and concerns of being an Equity member! Yes, it is a much more civil audition process, but there are a whole slew of other challenges once you have that precious commodity, as you are quickly discovering. Ultimately, though, its pretty flippin’ awesome, I still beam with pride when my shiny new card shows up twice a year.

  2. February 5, 2013 12:22 pm

    Congratulations!

  3. California Triple-Threat permalink
    February 5, 2013 1:12 pm

    Woohoo!!

  4. February 5, 2013 4:33 pm

    Congrats!! Although there are some new challenges ahead that are unique to AEA status, I don’t regret for a second becoming a part of our fantastic union. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for you!

  5. The British Dancer permalink
    February 5, 2013 7:28 pm

    Thanks guys! I’m excited for what me and my Equity card can achieve in 2013. The super official hot pink permanent card just came in the mail…it’s pretty amazing :]

  6. The Growing Artist permalink
    February 6, 2013 10:48 am

    Congrats!! 🙂

  7. February 6, 2013 11:47 am

    yay British Dancer! I agree totally with Redheaded Actress, that there are new challenges (I just got my “late dues” statement!! 🙂 but lots of exciting things in store for you. Can’t wait to see you on Broadway!

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