Equity and the BBC are set for quite the showdown because the union is accusing the network of favoring bigger names from high-profile agencies for roles. Equity wants the BBC to give more opportunities to other actors and account for their casting procedures.
A motion was passed last week asking the U.K. network for “openness and fairness.” Actor Daniel Page, who brought the motion to the union, feels that since they are publicly funded, “Equity members should be able to know what jobs are available.”
He feels that there is favoritism towards “selected agents for a minority of members who are able to pay for top drama schools.” Page continued, “There are really talented people out there who aren’t with the top agents, so they are not getting the information or those opportunities.”
In the U.K., the casting directors use Spotlight Link which sends casting breakdowns to the agencies they want to work with. Some of the top agencies in the country include United Agents, Independent Talent Group, William Morris Endeavor and Conway van Gelder Grant.
Martin Brown, assistant general secretary of Equity, said, “There is a method of getting casting information out, but generally they’re closed off to casting directors’ favorite agents or actors. We’re asking whether that can be opened up to everyone in the acting profession.”
The BBC responded to Equity’s claims with an open mind, “We do seek to be diverse and cast from the widest pool of actors possible and we would welcome a conversation with Equity about how to further our reach in the future.”
However, the secretary of the Co-operative Personal Management Association, Peter Barnes, had a more dismal view. He thinks that an open casting process would just be too time consuming. He said, “They probably don’t want to get inundated.”
Equity and the BBC have yet to set up a meeting to hash out their issues.
Via The Independent