PETITION: BECTU and EQUITY lead the way to Licence agents

Sign the petition for the return of agency licencing

From The Equity Website:

Equity, BECTU and the National Association of Supporting Artistes Agents have joined forces to launch a petition calling on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to examine the case for the licencing of agents in the entertainment industry.

The groups have long campaigned for the introduction of stronger measures to protect the innocent and the vulnerable from exploitation

by rogue agents. Currently anyone is at liberty to set themselves up as an agent and is free to charge up-front fees for registration linked to a promise that work will be found. All too often, however, the fees paid, which can be as much as a £100, do not result in any benefit to the individual and no work materialises.

It is hoped that strong support for the petition will persuade Vince Cable, secretary of state, and his team at BIS that the case for the licensing of agents in the entertainment sector needs to be examined. A licensing regime existed up until 1995 when it was scrapped.

Support for the petition can be registered by clicking the link below

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2 Responses to PETITION: BECTU and EQUITY lead the way to Licence agents

  1. Malcolm Lauder says:

    It’s about time something positive was done to curb rogue agents.

  2. Exploited Actor says:

    Agents aren’t the only problem.

    Casting Director Workshops

    Over 60 casting directors, some whom are CDG members, are now involved in ‘casting director workshops’ run by different organizations in London.

    Some of these organizations just run individual sessions for a few hours on a given day, some block you in to a few hours over a set number of weeks. Audience numbers for these workshops can vary quite dramatically.

    Unfortunately, the indications these organizations are giving, quite heavily, is that their workshops are the places to go to get seen and subsequently cast. This is an abhorrent practice, in no other line of work do you pay to be considered for a job!

    The CDG has guidelines for their members attending these workshops, that state:
    – ‘Casting Director Fees. All fees are negotiable, however, they should be based on remuneration for time commitment and expenses incurred. They should not be so excessively high as to impact on the affordability for attendees.’

    Fair enough…but ‘affordability’ is very subjective.

    – ‘The Workshop Producer shall not represent in any manner, either singly or collectively, in advertising or otherwise:-
    That their attendees have been successful in gaining auditions, interviews or employment as a result of meeting a Casting Director through a workshop. That certain Casting Directors have a preference for hiring or interviewing attendees at a particular workshop. That the workshop has a purpose other than an educational one.’

    Right. But that doesn’t stop at least one of the organizations from building expecation by plainly stating right above that very disclaimer ‘RESULTS!- Already several actors have been brought in for castings by casting directors they’ve met on [our] course! YEY!’. The same site states that the workshops aim ‘to create the introductions for ongoing professional relationships.’ Their testimonials page consistently reinforces how actors were called in after meeting specific casting directors at these workshops. (Either this site is creatively marketing, or is trying to state ‘pay for our workshops and you are likely to get cast’ not because of the content of the workshop itself, but because you have been seen by X).

    Another site states ‘Sign up for a block of six, 3 hour classes and meet, learn from and perform in front of the people that can give you the job. ‘

    – ‘CDG Members will not use workshops to conduct auditions or job interviews. If it appears that the purpose of the workshop may be for the casting of some or all of the participants, rather than for instruction, the Workshop Producer is free to cancel the session and refund any fees paid by the participants.’

    All well and good…however

    – ‘It is at the discretion of individual Casting Directors as to whether they accept photos and C.V.’s at the end of a session. Their choice should be announced at the start of the session’

    Why would a casting director be accepting photos and cvs, an actors marketing tools for gaining employment? This appears to be in direct contradiction to the other statement.

    There are at least four organizations running these casting director workshops in London. Some CDG members are doing the rounds of all four, which, the cynical would suggest, must be quite the good little side earner.

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