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Actra Apprentice Soap Box

A soapbox allows you to stand up and speak your mind, so if you have a subject that concerns you and want it to appear on this page, let us know.

Since March we have attended the Actra Toronto Performers board meetings to represent the interests of Apprentices. Many matters have been raised, and in May we presented to Actra a discussion document for consideration.

In it we outlined many of the problems currently facing apprentice members, but we also offered possible solutions. The content of this document was studied in depth at a special meeting of the Executive Council, and it was decided to form a sub-committee to look into and deal with the points that we had raised. Members of the Apprentice caucus committee will also be brought into this group, and we expect the first meeting to be held in June.

The Right to Work: The apparent denial of our right to work because of implementation of the "Preference of Engagement" clause in the IPA
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The 3% deduction: Whether the 3% deducted from our cheques under the heading of "Actra I & R" (Retirement fund) is legal
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The commission rates to agents: Most appear to charge 10% to full members and 15% to Apprentices and cash background. It was, therefore a better proposition for agents to send out Apprentices and cash background instead of full members. Are we now suffering the backlash of that?
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Inequities and conflicting information in the IPA: There are too many instances in the IPA where Apprentices are treated as second-class citizens. We are referred to as "members" unless it suits the IPA to treat us as "non members"
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Auditions. Why bother?:Some apprentices have auditioned well and been offered parts only to have the offer withdrawn when casting discovered the actor was an Apprentice and not a full member.
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Use of local talent for non-Toronto shoots According to the IPA - " ACTRA members who reside within the vicinity of the location of shoot shall receive preference of engagement from the Producer." Really? Tell that to Hamilton Apprentices.
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Revamping the Apprentice Programme:The Apprentice programme needs to be revamped totally as it is not working. Originally the idea had merit, but it is quite evident now that advancement to Apprentice status (better pay and better food) has resulted in a massive drop in the amount of work being offered to us. You can get more work NOT being an Apprentice!
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Are we now too costly to hire?: Until the end of 2001 there was a $12.50 permit fee paid by Apprentices for each outing. This is now paid by Production with the result that Apprentices are even more costly to hire than they were before.
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Our own "preference of engagement": If full members are taking the majority of the first 25 background actor spots because of the Preference of Engagement clause, then the same clause should apply to Apprentices being offered preference over Yellow Vouchered extras, except where special skills are required and there are no Apprentices available to provide those skills.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: You may find some quite radical ideas in the suggested solutions we are proposing to Actra, but we are open to comments and input from all Apprentices. The 'status quo' will not get us back to work, and even if there were a vast increase in the number of movies being shot in Toronto, which means we would all be getting out more often, the old problems would re-introduce themselves at some future date. This is why we need to resolve our current difficulties now and plan for the future in a manner that will help everyone in the industry on this side of the camera!

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