One of my former students stopped by today to record a couple of auditions. His setup was on the fritz, so I let him use my wireless laptop studio in my ISDN space. I couldn’t let him use my main studio because those darn roofers are still across the alley pounding away (yeah – they’ll be finished by noon – yesterday! Ha!).
Anyway, this kid is very talented and is the voice of a new video game that is using AFTRA talent and now he is a “must join” and has to fork over the $1,400 initiation fee. Because this is a video game, he is not being afforded the opportunity to pay in increments. I don’t have all the facts, but with unions losing ground day-by-day, you would THINK they would be open to this option.
Because he does on-camera, comedy, stage and voice work, and is planning to move to Los Angeles, he thinks that joining AFTRA (and ultimately then SAG) is the right thing to do. I don’t disagree with this. As long as he is in a town with signatories and can land auditions and compete with the rest of the talent, then he should go for it. Being young and single has its advantages.
What I grow increasingly dissatisfied about with the unions is the lack of understanding of the evolving nature of our business. As more and more of our work is performed in our own studios, with our own tools, on our own time, without anyone telling us how to do our jobs, we move away from the traditional employee model that the unions were based on.