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"How Do I Get an Equity Card?"

By August 31, 2008

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First of all, some of you may be wondering, "What is an Equity Card?" Basically, it means that you are a member of the Actors' Equity Association.

Next question: What is the Actorsí Equity Association?

Answer: Representing both actors and stage managers, the Actorsí Equity Association (AEA) has been negotiating wages and benefits for its members since 1913.

Every year, thousands of Broadway hopefuls flock to New York City hoping to break into the theater business. Before they rush off, they may want to stop and visit the Equity website to find out if a union is right for them.

If you arenít yet an Equity member, you might still land a role on Broadway. But your chances are slimmer. So, how do you get an Equity card?

A) Gain employment under Equity Contract. (This is often tricky because some shows won't let you audition unless you are already a AEA member!)

B) Be a member of a "sister union" -- SAG, AFTRA, or AGMA. Members of these unions can also register for AEA.

C) The Equity Membership Candidate Program. This means is you are an actor or stage manager-in-training you can register with AEA and earn credit towards eventual membership. To find out more about this program, visit the EMC Program Page on their website.

Do you think Actors' Unions are worthwhile? Are they helpful? Are they a hindrance? Share your thoughts in the Plays / Drama Forum.

Comments

November 4, 2008 at 12:27 pm
(1) vaughan williams says:

Is there any chance my wife and i could get an equity card so we could be a extra on Doc martin’s new series. we have watched them all and it would be a nice suprise for my wifes 50 birthday present if it was possible. i know its a long shot but there;s no harm in asking. Thanks Vaughan

November 5, 2008 at 1:37 pm
(2) plays says:

In many cases, to be an extra on a television show, one doesn’t need an Equity or a SAG card — though it can help.

In my experience, the best way to get on a show is to socialize with the crew members — production assistants, catering, casting directors. If you can get to know any of those folks in a friendly (but not annoying way) there’s a better chance that you can get on the show.

June 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm
(3) phil m says:

im in a dramam group in manchester and want to progress to get A equity card how do i get one
im in a play were currently doing but i want to prove myself because its my lifelong dream to become a actor
i just need the correct information for applying and how to qualify to get a equity card please help

October 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm
(4) David says:

I live in winnipeg, canada, and I have been an extra on movies for a while,. an dgot my first credit on a documentary! How many credits do I need to be an Equitty member, and how many credits do I need to be an ACTRA member? What really do I have to do to get credits? When I do get credits, what then do I need to do to ensure that I can stay in?

March 7, 2011 at 10:31 am
(5) david says:

Hi there I realy want to get involved in acting soaps/films at the moment I’m doing a beginners course at bham school of acting I keep getting emails off fame acadamy is this a waste of time is it worth joining also do I need a equity card etc does it cost just realy need some advice can you help
Regards
David brayne

April 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm
(6) jason merle says:

hi i was wondering how i can apply to get a card,, and also wondered if i could use my band experence to ..
i have been doing acting lessons now for the past five months,,but have been doing bands for over 10 years,, recordding twop albums three e,p and two music video,,

and wondered if this would help me to obtain the equity card,,,

jason

August 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm
(7) emma says:

Hi I have just worked on set in Cornwall as a supporting artist (an extra) , for the new Brad Pitt film coming out next year .
I have realised it is what i want to do as a career (its only taken me 18 years ) , I would like to apply for an equity card ,and also a performing arts course , can you advise me on what else i need to know please .
Thank you
Emma

August 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm
(8) emma says:

Hi I have just worked on set in Cornwall as a supporting artist (an extra) , for the new Brad Pitt film coming out next year .
I have realised it is what i want to do as a career (its only taken me 18 years ) , I would like to apply for an equity card ,and also a performing arts course , can you advise me on what else i need to know please .
Thank you
Emma

September 8, 2011 at 7:45 am
(9) laura philip says:

please help me find out how to apply for my equity card as i have been told to get it as eastenders want to look for rolls for myself to cast in

January 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm
(10) Blake Eckert says:

I’m younger and have been in theatre for a few years now. I havn’t been in any paying jobs, but I was wondering when an apropriot age to audition would be. Also, what does the audition includ?

January 16, 2012 at 6:46 am
(11) lorraine gorman says:

hi i would like to apply for an equyity card .. im a backing singer at minute with an elvis tribute band travelling around scotland and i would also like to get into doin singing for tv advertising etc and would like some tips on how id get my equity card ..

thanks lorraine .

March 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm
(12) paralegaldiane says:

So, if you have your sag card it can get you an Equity Card?? I’m confused.
Thanks

August 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm
(13) Jacob Grajales says:

Hello I’m 15 and I want to become a Broadway actor. I was wondering if I can apply for this card if I am his young. I have never been to an audition, but I have some theater experience. I am really comfortable with the stage.

June 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm
(14) Claire Swanson says:

I want to audtion for the Newsies chorus, but it says its an Equity Call, can i still go in without a Membership Card? And also what does Chorus rules in effect?

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