The world of British television off and on the screen, as it was sixty years ago.


Although it repeats some of the information from The Times last weekThe Stage‘s TV Page goes into more detail about the agreement between Equity, the actors’ union, and the Association of Specialised Film Producers and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

It begins by clarifying that the agreement doesn’t cover “live” commercials or shopping guides of over six minutes duration. The artist – and that’s someone who speaks, sings, mimes or illustrates a commercial message but isn’t an “extra” or “walk-on” merely filling the background – will be paid for services in two parts by two different bodies. To quote…

(1) The film producer will pay the artist for the filming of the commercial message at a rate of £7 a day minimum, and at £2 a day minimum when asked to “stand by” but not actually called. This payment allows one transmission from each commercial station.

(2) The advertiser pays the artist for further transmissions of the film. This will be called a “use fee” and this will be paid for transmissions in each of the three groups – London; Birmingham and Manchester; all other stations in the United Kingdom.

For a block of nine transmissions, a sum of not less than 50 per cent of the artist’s basic studio fee will be paid. Or, alternatively, for a single transmission, a sum of not less then 10 percent of the basic studio fee.

After the first 10 transmissions, a sum of not less than £3 10s will be paid for each block of 10 transmissions thereafter, or after 30 transmissions, £3 10s for [an] unlimited number of transmissions for each six months or part of six months.

There is also something called a “Slogan Fee”. When an artist is engaged “to put over a slogan or take part in a trade mark of fill a time signal, he will be paid a fee of not less then £10 10s for each period of six months, or part the film is used, instead of a ‘use fee'”.

All “use fees” must be paid within 14 days of the first transmission of each new block of transmissions and the fee cannot be recovered from the artist if the advertiser decides not to transmit the film.

Finally there is also a “barring agreement” for which the artist is paid a sum for each period of three months or part thereof that the bar is imposed. This bar may be limited or general.

If a limited bar is imposed it prohibits the artist from appearing in commercials advertising competitive products or services. For this, the advertiser shall guarantee a sum of not less than £50 for each three months (or part of three months) that the bar is imposed, the sum to be made up of the “use fee” plus the difference between the “use fee” and the fee guaranteed.

If the bar is a general one, prohibiting the artist from appearing in a commercial for any other person, firm or company, he shall be paid a fee of not less than £100 for each three months, or part thereof, that the bar is imposed.

The agreement also specifies that the artist shall bear his own travelling expenses to any studio which is within 30 miles of Charing Cross, London, unless the time when the call is for or the artist is detained until, a time when public transport is not available.

It’s the job of the producer of each commercial to send a cast list to Equity before starting each film and to inform the union of any artists added during the making of the film.

The agreement also records that:

The producer has sole right to decide how the artist’s personality will be used in the film, what he shall wear, how he shall be made
up (if great changes in appearance arc contemplated, the artist must be told of them before the contract is signed). and has the right to lengthen, shorten, rewrite or eliminate the artist’s part in the commercial and to substitute another artist in the place of the first artist, provided the eliminated artist is paid in full.

Special negotiations must be made if the producer wishes to dub the artist’s voice or use a double in the artist place.

The agreement is to be in force until 1 October 1956, when it will be reviewed.

More from The Stage tomorrow.

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