Revamping of New York AEA Online Audition Structure

Revamping of New York AEA Online Audition Structure

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Richard Lear started this petition to Actors Equity Association

Revamping of New York AEA Online Audition Structure

This is a multi-faceted proposal that will be sent to Actors Equity Association. I is broken down into sections. If it is not possible to move forward with the entire proposal, hopefully, pieces can be implemented until the entire proposal is fulfilled. This entire proposal is contingent on the I.T. department’s implementation.

Membership Cards

The savings in postage, envelops, paper, and manual labor should cover the costs I am putting forward.

Change Membership Cards to Credit Card Style

  • Put a magnetic strip on the back.
  • Magnetic strip has the member name, AEA number and active/non-active status.
  • Going forward cards will only be mailed every 2 years.

Alternant/Future Direction

  • Card is accessed through your smartphone on Future AEA App.
  • Phone Card can be used in the same manner as Apple Pay for audition sign up.

At dues renewal, the member is asked if they want a physical card or to use their smartphone.

Requirements for the Monitor at Auditions

Physical Card Reader

  • This would be the same as a Paypal swipe that plugs into a tablet or phone

Apple Pay type Reader for Phone App (near field communication - NFC)

Computer Tablet with internet capability

  • Monitor will swipe card or use NFC.
  • Member will show as active on screen.
  • Monitor will ask what appointment time or alternate list they want.
  • Monitor will have Casting Director type their name and address for member contact.
  • This will do away with bad penmanship.
  • This could also be put on the backend of the breakdown. It will not appear online but will appear on the day of the audition.

Audition Day Requirements for I.T.

With the current situation the website will show the following on the day of the audition:

  • Number of available Appointments
  • This will automatically decrease as the monitor gives members a timeslot.
  • If someone cancels their name is automatically removed and the available appointment is shown.
  • This gives the member a clear idea of whether they should try to make the audition.
  • All appointments the day of the audition still have to be made in person.
  • Number of Alternates signed up
  • All Alternate Slots have to be given in person.
  • Last Alternate Called
  • This will provide the member the opportunity to go about their day and check the Website/Future App to see if they should head toward the audition based on the last alternate called. It will stop the over-crowding in the holding rooms. It also gives the member a clear picture as to the likelihood of getting into the room.

Resolution to Overcrowding at New York EPA Auditions

Most auditions have an abundance of EMC’s standing in line with members to sign up in the morning, or filling seats waiting for their chance to get in the room. Members have no place to sit, to the point of standing or sitting outside the holding room and taking the chance of not hearing their name called from the alternate list while they are trying to learn sides.

Immediate Fix

  • Allow EMC’s to do online signup
  • This would start at whatever time & day does not impede on member sign ups.
  • There is no reason to close this sign up until the end of the audition day.
  • It would be a numeric list like the current situation.
  • Do not allow EMC’s to arrive at an audition until the call has started
  • This stops the lines being full with non-members while members are trying to sign up.
  • This allows members to sign up quicker and go about their day.
  • Put the number of EMC’s signed up on the website/Future App
  • This allows the EMC to go about their day and not sit around waiting for an opportunity that may or may not ever happen.
  • If the EMC does want to wait, even though they have a higher number or the AEA alternate list is very full, AEA will heavily encourage them to use the room on the 4th floor of the AEA building. They will also encourage them to follow the Alternate/EMC list online.
  • For auditions offsite, AEA will encourage EMC’s not to take up seats in the holding room. Obviously, if there are very few AEA alternates and the EMC is close to being called they could use an available seat in the holding room. AEA would encourage them not to take up seats if the room is full of members.

Back End Requirements for I.T.

With the current situation the website will show the following on the day of the audition:

  • Total Number of EMC’s
  • Number of EMC’s seen
  • Create a different card for EMC’s – Magnetic/Phone
  • I would think for EMC’s you would just do a phone app for their card. I do not know the statistics, but I would guess that 90% or greater are under 30 years of age and are accustomed to using their phone for most everything.

Back End Requirements for I.T. for Monitor

  • Monitor will have full access to EMC sign up list on tablet

Casting Call Auditions

Two Part Process

Sorting Casting Call

  • Gender
  • Age Range
  • Stage Manager
  • The website already has 3 sorts, Call Type, Contract Type, and Region. Putting in 3 more should not be a problem.

Online Forms for CD’s

  • Build forms with required fields for each contract type to make sorting possible.
  • There should be a character description for all roles beyond just age and gender. (I know that is currently not required by some contracts. That would need to be changed upon renegotiation.)
  • Having the casting directors fill out these forms frees up wo/man-hours for AEA staff to work on other projects.
  • AEA staff would check the submission, not retype them like they currently do, and approve or deny it.

It takes members hours to go through each call to see if there is something in their age-range and gender. When a casting director submits on Actors Access they are required to fill out these fields. Maybe it would be a possibility to partner with Actors Access so the CD only fills out the form once.

Sides In Advance

Giving an actor 20 minutes of preparation for an audition is not acceptable when an actor going to an agent call gets more time. Every casting director I have ever met has said they want an actor to do well. The union’s purpose is to govern work conditions and to create opportunities for actors to get work. I hope the union can see that leveling the playing field for an actor attending an open call is necessary.

Providing Sides 24 Hours Prior To Auditions (AEA legal has said this is a copyright infringement. If that is true, how do casting directors legally provide sides to actors brought in for appointments?)

Worst Case Scenario

  • If the play is already published the casting director should provide the Act, Scene, and beginning and ending sentence for each set of sides a minimum of 3 days prior.
  • This allows the actor time to get the script.

Option Two

  • 24 hours prior to the audition there is a link to the sides on the AEA website.

Option Three

  • The link generates an email to the actor with the sides.
  • Add a watermark of either the actor’s name or member number.

Where this is Heading

Our industry is quickly moving toward being completely digital. We have online submission through Actors Access. We have email submissions through AEA. When you are called into a casting director’s office they rarely ask for a headshot and resume. They already have it digitally.  I see this moving to all digital images and resumes in the future. At some point I see the member using a headshot and resume they have on file with AEA, when they make an appointment. When they walk into the audition room the CD will have a digital version on their tablet that is organized by the sign-up sheet.

In addition, this will allow tracking of jobs. Then membership can finally know the actual percentage of members hired from an open call for each contract. This would be useful in bargaining to get put a percentage of actors hired from an open call on certain contracts. (I keep hearing, we cannot tell producers who to hire, which is true. But, if we are forcing them to have an open call, surely we can force them to hire 10% of actors from said call. That is not saying who to hire. It is saying where they have to find them.)

How does this Help the AEA Member

  • Cost of printing 100 Headshots - $90 with setup - $65 for repeat printing
  • Cost of printing resume…..
  • Cost of taking the whole day off to try to get into an audition……
  • Toll on mental health after sitting all day to get into an audition and not getting in……
  • Cost of time……

I believe AEA needs to take an active role in moving our union into the digital age. It is a win/win for everyone.

Please sign below if you are an AEA member or an EMC candidate and you would like to see these changes.

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