THE NEW EMC PROGRAM
I became an Equity Membership Candidate in 2006 as an Apprentice at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. By the time I joined Equity with a contract in 2010, I had 46 EMC weeks, and felt ready to become a member. At that time, in a market like Minneapolis/St. Paul, a 50-week membership threshold was a useful and appropriate measure of a Future Member's readiness to join the union.
However, once I moved home to New York I began to hear from current and Future Members about how the EMC Program wasn't working for them. Given the ever-shortening rehearsals at resident theaters as well as the lack of EMC theaters in New York, it was taking longer and longer to acquire 50 weeks, leaving many eager and well-qualified stage managers and actors not only without a pathway to join Equity, but available to the non-Equity marketplace.
It was clear that what we had was a national initiative struggling to meet regional needs. So, I sat down (on a bus to New Jersey) and wrote out the proposal that would eventually become Equity's new two-tiered EMC Program. It allows candidates to join Equity once they've reached 25 qualifying EMC weeks, but gives them the option to remain in the program for up to 50 weeks. This new flexible system allows those who are ready to join the opportunity to do so, without forcing membership upon those who still need more time.
About 17 months passed from the day that the initial proposal was written on my iPhone to the day the Council approved the new EMC Program, and I worked hard in true "How A Bill Becomes A Law" fashion to ensure that this idea would become a reality.
Of the many accomplishments of my first three-year term on Council, the New EMC Program might very well be the one I'm most proud of.