William Salyers – What’s your 99 seat story?

William Salyers photographed at Circle X Theatre

William Salyers photographed at Circle X Theatre

William Salvers – What’s your AEA 99 Seat Story?

I love my job: voice acting for an Emmy Award-winning cartoon, but 99-seat theatre is where I go to return to my roots. It’s an arena that lets me take big risks performing live; the kind of risks that are not welcome in venues that have to make bucks and turn a profit. I’m afraid that, without the 99-seat plan, the theatres I love will not be able to afford me, and the ones that can will be doing the kind of material that, frankly, I just don’t find that interesting.

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Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.

Alina Phelan – What’s your 99 seat story?

Alina Phelan photographed at Circle X Theatre.

Alina Phelan photographed at Circle X Theatre.

On a personal note, 99 seat theatre has been my home and heart since I graduated college. It’s where I play and grow, stretch artistically and do projects that excite and challenge me. It’s also the place that keeps me sane. We live and work in this crazy little town called Hollywood where everyone you meet is pursuing some kind of art form. Acting is such an odd little beast. It’s a profession where you always feel like you’re waiting for someone else to give you permission to do what you love. You have to wait to get auditions, wait to get agents and managers, wait to get cast…etc. Sure you can take classes, but that does not fill the heart parts.
The whole dance can kind of make you crazy.
99 seat theatre, theatre in general, is the place where I get my personal power back. I get to work with the most talented actors, directors, writers, producers and technicians. I get to create worlds and beef up my confidence.
I have worked under full equity contracts and 99seat waiver contracts. I tell you truthfully, I’m no more artistically satisfied doing a full equity show than I am 99. In fact if i were to weigh in growth points which has stretched me furthest- it’s 99 seat- hands down.
I never remember how much I was paid for a particular experience in theatre, but I can tell you the memories I’ve had playing Hamlet, or a girl who thought she was Bjork. Or working on world premiere productions from writers that now have huge theatre and film/tv careers. Or working with fellow LA actors who excite and inspire me. Not to mention other local theatre companies and directors that I can’t wait to work with, that i aspire to work with.
We have to be able to keep our incubator going, to cross-pollinate with each other.
Bottom line: I don’t want to wait to do what I love.
Passing these ridiculous proposals from Equity is going to take away my opportunities and I’m not okay with this! There are not enough Equity opportunities in this city to keep my theatre addiction satisfied. And at the end of the day I think that’s the difference between pro-99’rs and the Yes folks. I can’t believe in my heart that theatre drives and fulfills them. I can’t believe that they see it as absolutely essential to breathing like I do. Because if they did, they wouldn’t be okay with saying yes.

Of course actors are vital to the process and deserve to be paid. But there is a reality that needs to be taken into consideration. These proposals are not based in any kind of reality. Certainly not the one that exists in Los Angeles
Alina Phelan
Equity member since 1999

Learn more about Alina Phelan on her website, twitter, and IMDb.

Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.

Curt Bonnem – What’s your 99 seat story?

Curt Bonnem photographed at Circle X Theatre

Curt Bonnem photographed at Circle X Theatre

Curt Bonnem – What’s your AEA 99 Seat Story?

The entire reason I have my Equity card is due to 99-seat theater. Every single paying contract job I’ve had in theater has been through a 99-seat show that has gone to contract. Every single one. Because of the 99-seat plan, I’ve done shows that have taken me across the world, to places like Moscow, Scotland and yes, the mecca of theater, NY. Just last fall I was in a production that began at my home now, Sacred Fools, and we won the NY Fringe. That’s right NY, one of our little shows won! That same show also went to contract at South Coast Rep and is still moving forward. And I can also directly link being seen in 99-seat shows and getting hired for on camera work, though that is by no means the reason I do small theater. I do it because it’s a place where I get to originate roles in exciting new plays. Where I get to play parts I could never get to play, in shows that would likely never be produced anywhere else. I have friends who make their living doing on-camera work who have told me they were jealous of me because of all the amazing intimate theater I have gotten to be a part of. And I have friends who are successful outside of 99-seat who have said the entire reason they have a career is because of the work they got to do in 99-seat shows. What this new proposal will do is limit my ability to participate in the very productions that got me into the union, which went to contract and did get me paid, and which keep me going as an actor, an artist and frankly as a human being. My participation in 99-seat theater is what has allowed me to SURVIVE as an artist in this town.

Learn more about Curt Bonnem and contact him on his twitter page.

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Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.

David Bickford – What’s your 99 seat Story?

David Bickford, Circle X Theatre, Portrait Photographer

David Bickford photographed at Circle X Theatre

David Bickford – What’s your AEA 99 Seat Story? 

I have devoted much of the last 21 years of my life to the growth and development of a membership company, Theatre of NOTE, and am incredibly proud of the work we have been doing.  I’ve watched plays we developed move on to larger venues (one script that started in our writing lab made it all the way to the Booth Theatre on Broadway), and seen some of our actors, designers, writers and directors become hugely successful.  The greatest reward has been the work itself, the art we create, but I have also benefited financially from having been seen in 99-Seat plan shows, both at NOTE and other L.A. venues.   I believe if this plan were in place five years ago, I personally would have missed out on over $10,000.00 in income earned from jobs that were the fruit of being seen in two particular 99-seat productions done on shoestring budgets.   These plays absolutely would not have happened, or the opportunities would have gone to non-union actors, under the proposed rules.

To learn more about David Bickford, you can follow him on twitter, or check out his IMDb page.

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Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.

Tim Wright – What’s your 99 seat story?

Tim Wright, Artistic Director Circle X Theatre Co.

Tim Wright, Artistic Director Circle X Theatre Co.

Tim Wright – What’s your AEA 99 Seat Story?

I’ve held off on adding my thoughts because I have an obvious bias, but I do think it’s important for anyone on the fence to know why I’m voting no, and that it goes beyond my role as a producer and Artistic Director.

I joined AEA in 2000. At the time I was also running a small not for profit theatre in New Jersey. I went to undergrad to get my degree in acting but I was also good at producing and most of all I loved the community of actors, directors, playwrights, designers and technicians that had assembled in support of a common goal – the development and production of new work for the stage. I had it all – I was running around all day doing plays and getting paid under a TYA contract and at night I was working with my closest friends in plays that we loved and getting paid under an SPT contract. Not a lot of money, but insurance and enough to live. I would have done it for free. As a matter of fact, I do now.

My grandma called me an asshole, because she thought I was being taken advantage of, because I was at my theatre all the time: taking out trash, cleaning bathrooms, building sets. To me, it didn’t matter – I wanted to be at the theatre. Even if I was there by myself, I was in service to something larger than myself. I was in service with and to my friends and the mission of our theatre. Sharing those common goals was important to me. It made me a better actor and a better person. It wasn’t all about me, it was about what I could do to serve the play, the production, the theatre and my fellows.

When I moved to Los Angeles I was told that theatre didn’t exist, that theatre was for showcases, that no one took it seriously. That was 15 years ago. I take it seriously and I know most everyone else I’ve worked with and come in to contact with the past 15 years takes it seriously. I joined Circle X almost immediately upon arriving and I found a new group of friends and collaborators and it’s been my artistic home since day one. I have been an actor, a stage manager, a designer, a producer, a custodian, an audience member and just about every other thing a person can do in a theatre. I approach everything I do professionally, whether or not there is a wage attached to it. That’s about respect for the craft and for myself and for everyone around me. I’m proud of the work we do, of the relationships we have with artists and other companies and I’m proud that it happens in Los Angeles. An outside eye may see our budgets or tax returns and think we have tremendous resources, but the fact is we struggle and scrape and beg for everything we get. We fight together as a company to realize our goals and our potential. We fight together.

I’m voting no on the AEA proposal for 99 seat theatre in Los Angeles because I believe it is wrong and I believe we can do better. We must do better. I think actors can and should be paid more but this jump is not reasonable and should have been negotiated and discussed with people like me. No matter what my title is I am an actor first. I would think that if AEA had a choice between a producer that was an actor (and member of the union) and a producer that was just a producer they’d prefer the union member, but that is clearly not the case.

Vote No and let’s send a message. We want change, but not this change. ‪#‎pro99‬

Tim Wright
AEA Member / Producer

Connect and learn more about Tim Wright on the Circle X Theatre twitter, or his LinkedIn page.

Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.

Victoria Hoffman – What’s your 99 seat story?

Victoria Hoffman, Circle X Theatre

Victoria Hoffman photographed at Circle X Theatre

Victoria Hoffman – What’s your AEA 99 Seat Story?

I came to LA straight out of grad school, AEA card in hand. I knew it was a risk, going from my little pond where I worked consistently, to this BIG pond of the unknown. And I made quite the initial splash! Two shows at SCR, a big Guest Star on the TV.  Commercials. The splash can evaporate quickly. I joined a 99 Seat Theatre company, the first of many, and was revived. In the 25 years I have lived here, I have worked exactly 5 AEA contracts. 5. And I spent 20 of those years as an AEA audition monitor. I know people.  Intimate theatre has kept me sharp, given me joy and confidence, provided me with challenging, career altering roles that have broken me free of the tiny boxes into which so many casting offices and directors have wanted to place me. I sang Sondheim! Reeled in Reckless. Spoke the divine language of Shakespeare and Coward. I belong to a community of artists that lead with passion and conviction, that tell pertinent, timely, necessary stories that commercial theatre cannot touch. It is a landscape that cannot, dare not,  disappear. This is my family, my community, my lifeline. Live theatre. Intimate theatre. Up close and personal. Truth. Blood. Elation. Wonder. 

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Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.

Devin Sidell – What’s you 99 seat story?

Devin Sidell, Circle X Theatre

Devin Sidell photographed at Circle X Theatre

Devin Sidell – What’s your AEA 99 Seat Story?

In 2006, I did “Von Lutz” at the Elephant Asylum (99-seat) which led to “Corpus Christi” at the Zephyr Theatre (99-seat) which led to “Land of the Tigers” at Sacred Fools (99-seat) which led to two Equity workshops of “The Behavior of Broadus” at CTG and a full production at Sacred Fools in 2014.  Along the way, I have met lifetime friends and have collaborated with them many times in film projects, web series, and other theatre projects.  I have gotten to feed my soul on the singing, dancing, and acting that I do not get to do in my film and television auditions.  Work leads to work leads to work…

Learn more and follow Devin Sidell on her twitter, website, or IMDb

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Peter Konerko is a LA portrait photographer shooting out of Los Angeles and New York. This project is a part of the #AEAvoteNO, #Pro99 #unity99 and @ActorsEquity campaign.

Soul Searching, 2

Phase One Camera or iPhone? Peter Konerko Photography

Was this shot with a $16,000 Phase One camera or a second generation iPhone?

What camera was that taken with? Lens? Digital or Film? Does it even matter anymore with the billions of images taken, edited, and shared each year? Does anyone even care about quality or the medium on which an image was captured? Who are the “real” photographers? Is an iPhone image a photo that was made or just snapped on a whim and then filtered until it is “super cool” so people “like” or “LOVE”? These are the questions that I ask myself everyday. As you can imagine these are big questions that directly affect my profession and my livelihood. I hope to find some answers for myself as I dig deeper into my creative self and theories.

Peter Konerko is an American portrait photographer working in New York and Los Angeles.

 

Soul Searching, 1

 

Digital or Film? Peter Konerko Photography

35mm Kodak Tri-x was introduced in 1954. SanDisk card about 35 years later.

I am at a crossroads in my work. I have been really thinking about my process and how I want to spend my time working. Let’s face it, i shoot about three hundred actor headshots a year and that can be overwhelming…especially how I like to work with clients. Everything is immediate and result based. It’s advertising. Actor Advertising. I get that and that is the job. The job-job. I am fortunate that I get to work with my camera, but it is a job-job. I know the process. I like it and my clients get great stuff.
Now, in MY work. Work that is not made to get more work…but work that is made to BE. This is where I am searching. Finding my center again. Finding why I picked up a camera in the first place. It all starts with my ultimate conundrum…”Digital or Film”?

Peter is one of the leading actor headshot photographers in Los Angeles recommended by numerous major agents and casting directors.

Do you want to be a Celebrity?

This is a fair question. Most people say that they don’t care about being famous (a Celebrity) but I think that is bullshit. By definition, Celebrity, means being celebrated for your accomplishments….or one that is famous. I want to be famous within my profession because I want to feel like I earned the respect of my peers and celebrated for it. What is fame anyway? Simply, a ton of people who you don’t know, know who you are and what you have accomplished. That makes sense right? Were you “famous” in high school? They called it popular, but it is the same thing. The problem lies within the machine that creates CELEBRITY today. It has nothing to do with accomplishments being celebrated. It has to do with TMZ, People Magazine, leaked Sex Tapes and photos, and all the other things that have absolutely nothing to do with real accomplishments. This is why people don’t want to be famous…because there is a fear that your accomplishments will be lost as your latest Bro-mance is exposed as you have lunch on Abott Kinney.

Peter is a headshot photographer who shoots out of his studios in both New York and Los Angeles. Contact Peter today to learn more details about shooting with him.