Archives for the month of: April, 2015

The Fairy Princess has been staying out of the 99 Seat Theater Contract Debates. The reason being that she no longer works those contracts because it is not financially viable to work for a $100 honorarium for several weeks of rehearsal, every night, and pay a babysitter. Or eat. Or buy clothes.

Plus, they usually ask the Actor to donate the $100 back so they can make their budget!

For the record, TFP always said no on that.


Thus, TFP spends more time on the East Coast where, to be quite honest, she has been much busier and has had the opportunity to work on some very cool developing musicals. Musical workshops where she was paid more for working on it for a WEEK, than she would be paid to ‘run’ a play in LA for six weeks. Or two months if it gets extended for good reviews and response. Repeat, more in 29 hours than in 2 months of rehearsal.


Now, to those who say TFP knows nothing about running a theater company in LA, they should stop right now – she knows way more about running a theater company than the average actor. She was on the Board for a theater company in New York, she has worked with AEA as a deputy, and her husband was a Co-Artistic Director of an API Theater company in LA for 10 years. Which ran under the 99 Seat Plan.

TFP actually does know about the financial burdens on smaller theater companies in LA and guess what?



There is no magical difference between Los Angeles theater and theater anywhere else, except in LA, Actors have managed to convince themselves that their talent and time has no value. Because that is what they have been told by Artistic Directors and Producers. They have been told, over and over, that should Actors get paid, LA Theater would end in a horrible explosion and the death of theater would be on THEIR shoulders.


Actors have been convinced that they do not need to be paid for doing theater in LA, because they get more than enough money when they do Television and Theater roles…right, because those roles just fall magically from the sky like gumdrops in a Depression era movie starring a curly moppet who tap dances and has a lisp.


LA Theater is not dying. TFP repeats, it is not dying. There’s life in the Old Girl yet….


LA Theater has always had consumption on a certain level, and that is because, as is universally acknowledged, Actors in LA journey there to focus on television and film, and theater is something they do to

1. Get discovered

2. “Work on craft’

3. Have something to do


Loving one’s job does not make it of less value. Loving one’s job is a huge bonus. If one auditions, and is hired, it is a job – a job that is part of a vocation, but a job nonetheless, and in this country, when a Union Member does a job – ANY Union Member in ANY Union, when they perform a task that falls under the title of ‘job’, according to the rules and statues of that Union – they get paid.

tumblr_inline_mf7xxos7T41ry4qimEveryone likes to keep busy. That is and was the reason for the LA 99 Seat Plan to come into being. TFP gets that.

After all, when someone asks you “What are you working on?” this –


is not a fun answer to give.

But it does not mean that you, as a Union Member, should work for free. We got 99 Seat Plan Problems, don’t you be one…


Actors Equity finally took a look at this situation and came up with a plan to get the Actors more than $100 total for weeks and weeks of rehearsal and performance.

They want Actors to receive…wait for it – NINE DOLLARS AN HOUR!


May TFP take this moment to remind everyone that there are people who work in the Fast Food Industry who are marching in cities across the country, for a $15 an hour wage.


So, one can do an Ibsen play and make LESS than flipping a burger, that is, oh what is the word TFP is searching for?


 Of course, LA Artistic Directors and Theater Companies responded to AEA’s plan to pay Actors Minimum wage….


Their stance is that LA Theater companies working under the 99 Seat Plan cannot afford to pay the Actors. The ones that people are ostensibly paying money to see, oh NO…THEY cannot be paid, that would break our theaters!

(Plus they have to pay for the theater rental, rights to the material, staff, designers, and stage management)

(Some companies are all volunteer, one imagines, but TFP has never been to any 99 Seat show where the SM and Designers did not receive some sort of salary for their contributions)


And the crazy thing is – ONCE AGAIN, the ACTORS BOUGHT INTO IT!


With what money, one has not a clue, but yet again, the Actors of LA have convinced themselves that the work they do is valueless. That the Union, their Union, which represents ALL Actors, ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, a Union that has been criticized so harshly for allowing this contract to be in place in the first place, a Union that they were SO excited to join…they have decided this Union is launching a war against theater that can only be comparable to those shown with British accents on cable.


So then Union Actors decided to protest their own Union for lobbying for them to get paid.


The Union is not trying to kill theater. The Union is trying to protect the rights of all Actors that it represents.


Since 1972, Actors in Los Angeles have been devaluing their own worth – because that is when Equity Waiver theater started happening. At that time, any Union member could waive their rights at a Union member, and perform for free – completely.


It was amended and changed in 1987 and called the 99 Seat plan. This provided ‘basic’ rights for the Union Actor participating – rehearsal hours, mandated breaks, and that the Producer should purchase Insurance to protect everyone. It was amended in 2000, and that plan, the 99 Seat Plan, is what we have today.


TFP quotes from the current 99 Seat Plan, as set forth by AEA:

B) The Plan is based on the premise that Plan Theatres utilize the work and talent of Equity Members without wage or compensation.


The rest of the agreement is about safety, how to treat costumes, how many times you may be called back (3) without financial compensation, the ‘break’ schedule, the rehearsal schedule and what the duties of the Producer and Stage Manager are. However that line, B which is in the FORWARD section on Page 1 is really all that you need to know.

The Plan is based on the fact that they will not pay you. Everyone can get paid, except the Actors.


There is nothing wrong with wanting to work for free – as long as you do not call yourself a Professional. If you want to work for free, if you want to work for love only, then you are an Amateur.



The word comes from Amo which is Latin for l love. Amateurs do things because they love it, they just do not love it enough to invest their life in it. Amateurs do not pay Union dues. Amateurs are not concerned about rehearsal breaks, or how costumes are kept, nor do they worry about Producers devaluing their work to keep them broke and grateful for ‘the opportunity’. They are too much in love with what they are doing, and that is called….community theater.


There is absolutely nothing wrong with Community Theater, and there is nothing wrong with being a Non Union Actor – but TFP has never met a Non Union Actor that does not aspire to join the Union, because being a Union member stands for something. LA Actors who are venting against the 99 Seat Plan and being awarded minimum wage, are not standing for anything – they are bending over.


TFP is not saying that Producers and AD’s do not love Actors, of course they love Actors – just not enough to pay them.


You see, they want Actors to believe that “Opportunity’ is enough. That if those theaters provide the opportunity for people to ‘be seen’, then of course, the talent should come free.


The Fairy Princess believes that if tickets are sold, and money is made, then Actors should be paid. If TFP goes to see a show and buys a ticket, she would like to know that the Actors in the show are reaping some benefit from her dollars.

TFP believes that if monetary value is placed on AEA Actors and their time within the 99 Seat Agreement, then their time AND their talent will be valued higher, by both the Actors themselves and the Production Team.

TFP does not feel sorry for any of the theaters moaning about closing – not even the ones run by friends – and here is why:

They have had a ‘free ride’ from the Actors since 1972. It is now 2015. That is 43 years of contributions by Actors.


It should be a goal of any theater company that wants to grow and expand, to want to pay their talent, and if there are any who are 10, 20, 30 years old who have NOT figured out how to pay the Actors, there is a problem there that is bigger than giving Actors $9 an hour.


This plan does not go into effect for ONE YEAR beginning in June.


Quite a lot can happen in a year…a baby can be born, a person can graduate from college, a tree can grow…and…financial plans can be redrawn and steps can be taken to make sure that a theater company can meet it’s goals and pay their Actors.

Will it be easy? No.


But theater people are tough, and LA Theater Producers are some of the toughest.


There might have to be more fundraisers.


There might have to be those hideous Kick-Indie-Go-Go things which are insidiously replacing the old fashioned ‘get a day job you hate and save your money to do your project’….


They might have to write more Grant proposals, or add people to the Board who can bring in the


It will just take more work, that is really all it is…it is more work,  TFP knows that LA Theaters can do it


Yes, many Actors may feel…


But you should really be feeling more like…


Remember, AEA Actors…if you feel that you absolutely cannot take minimum wage from a theater company, if you are ‘in the money‘,  you can always donate it back…


Theater in Los Angeles will not die because AEA Actors will have to be paid, it hasn’t in ANY other City….


TFP stands with AEA on this decision.


Once tempers cool and reason returns, she hopes that the AEA Actors in LA, who fought against themselves and their own best interests, will realize that this decision is not the end of the world.

There are options – you can leave the Union, you can donate the money back to the theater company of your own volition, you can help the theater company you love raise the money it needs to pay you – what you cannot continue to do is give away your talent for free – because other cities who have Producers who currently pay AEA Actors to perform are ACHING to stop paying their Actors.


What if Chicago stops paying their AEA Actors? What if Atlanta and Houston follow? What if NY Producers – who are whittling away as fast as they can at Tour salaries and benefits – what if New York, which has The Broadway – what if THEY decided to stop paying Actors?

Setting precedents that Union endorsed non-payment of AEA Talent is acceptable is dangerous. Sometimes things do not trickle down, they fall up.


TFP out.

The Fairy Princess has noticed that this last week that Asian America, and particularly Asian American males seem to be losing their damn minds….in the press and elsewhere, so she wants to say…


First up on the Isle de Stupid were comments read on the interwebs by API men who were unwilling to consider watching the new Nickelodeon show “Make it Pop“. Why? Because the Producer of the show, at an “Up Front” said that there would be no API young men on the show – a show that is about 3 young API women trying to break into the music industry.


Now, if you click that link above, you will see that even though the writer acknowledges that the answer of “Nope, never. Asian guys in my show? Not gonna happen.” was said as a joke, it made him as an API Male go to the ‘Dark place‘ where traditional emasculated images of Asian men in American media rolled around in his head.


TFP agrees that these images are out there, and that there IS a ‘dark place’ to go to as an API Man in America.


TFP totally gets that you are as sick of comments that reference 16 Candles, as she is of comments made to her that reference Full Metal Jacket.


Yes, a Producer made a bad joke, that does not mean we should all lose our damn minds and miss what is happening here.


What is happening here is that there is a show that revolves around 3 API Teenagers in America.



The answer you are looking at is NEVER. The show takes place in a boarding school on the East Coast and three girls meet and decide to start a band.

Just like The Monkees.


The Monkees was a show about four guys that meet and try and start a band and there were some big pop songs that came out of it.

Never heard of The Monkees….


Nevermind. These kids probably have not heard of The Partridge Family either, sorry Shirley Jones.


Yes, there is a Caucasian male on the show…which is called…wait for it – DIVERSITY.


All the kid’s shows now have a lot of Diversity in the cast – or, as Shonda Rhimes calls it, “normalizing‘ – no one lives in an exclusively Black, exclusively White, or exclusively Asian world on television in children’s programming in America. No one lives in an exclusively Latino or exclusively Native American world either, because the people planning children’s programming have looked at the demographics of America, and the winds of change are coming. THAT is what they are planning for – they are making ‘stars’ of the kids on the shows now, because these are some of the ‘stars’ of tomorrow.

TFP is happy to see that, according to Nickelodeon, at least 3 of these ‘future stars’ are going to be API women.

Not watching a show because you want to protest the lack of Asian American men, where Asian American women are the focus, is sending a clear message that one values males over females – all hail the Motherland!

That kind of thinking went out with foot binding, didn’t it?


What are you saying – that Girls are not worthy of your television viewing support simply because they are girls and not boys?


Look, if this show is successful, and continues to grow, of course we will be given more of the girls’ backstories – including Family members and boyfriends and all sorts of information, that is what happens in television – the Producer already said he is hoping International Superstar and singer of GANGNAM STYLE, PSY will play one of the Fathers, so this rage against the show seems misplaced. Of course if the show continues to explore the world of K-Pop there will be API males, give it a chance.

Let’s not throw the Girl Babies out with the bathwater, okay – Oppa, Oppa?


Moving on….Mindy Kaling’s brother announced this week that he changed his race on his application to medical school to make himself a Black Man and benefit from affirmative action, because he felt that his grades as a Asian male, which were crappy, would not allow him to get in, due to ‘bias’ against APIs having to have good grades.


This is Vijay Chokal-Ingam.




In what can only be described as a rip off of a really bad C.Thomas Howell movie called SOUL MAN….

Mr. Chokal-Ingam decided to claim that he altered both his appearance and his race on his application to medical school, and that is why he got in. The school in question, St. Louis University’s School of Medicine, disputes this, but…Mr. Chokal-Ingam wants to write a book and get an advance. This article by Journalist Jeff Yang is a good read on the situation, the claims and counter claims.


TFP is of the belief that co-opting another Person of Color’s experience is morally wrong. Speaking for herself and for every friend who has read about this and demanded she write about it, we would like him to know –


Has anyone called #BlackTwitter about this yet? Cuz first it will be like…


And then it will be like…


And after all that… he will have to tell his Mom….


She may be worse than #BlackTwitter – we can only hope.


Also, endowing a scholarship specifically to benefit African Americans who want to go to medical school would not be a bad idea to try to make amends, Mr. Chokal-Ingam – got it?


Next up – there is a petition going around, already protesting the white-washing of Mulan, the live action version of the animated film.




Perhaps this is a ‘pre-emptive’ strike on the part of rabid fans, but  TFP cannot get behind this petition. Nope.


This is a movie that has made $304 MILLION Dollars for the studio, just as it is – a story about a Chinese girl who saved China. Disney is nothing if not faithful to their animated films, look at their latest live action Cinderella – now here is animated Cinderella


And here is the new ‘Live Action” Cinderella, Actress Lily James….


Also just announced, Emma Watson as the new live action Belle in Beauty and the Beast.


Do you see what TFP is going for? Cinderella made


by remaining relatively faithful to the look and feel of the animated classic. As will B&B, as will Mulan!

No one will be white-washing Mulan, it would be fiscally irresponsible, and as Disney and ABC are now THE ones leading the pack with Diversity casting and “Normalizing”, they would absolutely never white wash the character of Mulan, Shang, or any of the characters we have grown to love.

Will every actor in the film be Chinese? Probably not. But they will be of Asian descent, and they will be good actors – and that is what we want, good actors of Asian descent in a live action film.

Can the petition, it’s troll worthy, and we are better than that.


Finally, TFP has to mention Eddie Huang and his Twitter rants against his own show.

Eddie! Eddie!


TFP gets that you are mad that every moment from the book is not in the show, but you sold the book to ABC, which is a mainstream network, and you sold it as a comedy. Not even a dark comedy, you sold it as a sit-com.



If you wanted it dark and twisted, sell it to HBO, sell it to Showtime, sell it to….well, heck – The History Channel is doing an awesome job with VIKINGS and that is pretty dark and very bloody….the point is – you could have sold it to a variety of outlets that would have gone as dark as you wanted to go, but you sold it to a Network to go into a ‘family block’ of entertaining shows that can be watched with kids.

No one is asking you to silence your voice – and even if they did you would not listen, but TFP was at that first party where you spoke about how much the show meant to you,

L-R: Eddie Huang, Hudson Yang, Randall Park and Exec. Producer Melvin Mar answer question from Jeff Yang Photo by Lia Chang

L-R: Eddie Huang, Hudson Yang, Randall Park and Exec. Producer Melvin Mar answer question from Jeff Yang
Photo by Lia Chang

and how you were behind it, so what happened? You are acting all like…


Did the check not clear?


TFP has been a writer on a project that got sold, and what she found out the very hard way is…the script is just a jumping off point – Directors, Producers, Actors…just about everyone has more say than the writer – unless the Writer is also the Show Runner. So if you feel you are not a big enough part of the process or being ignored, that’s kind of the fate of the non-showrunner writer, and you…well….you need a mantra – here is one that has helped TFP –


It’s a hard lesson to learn, and maybe the show does not go with ‘your brand’ as a bad ass chef who was a lawyer who talks about hip hop and what it means to you and your journey in America. TFP gets that you are upset, but let’s remember…

It’s still funny.


It’s still important.


It’s still a high ranking comedy.


But it is never going to not be a sitcom. Maybe you feel you danced with the devil here…but you signed the papers.


if you are looking to sink this boat, that’s your right, but remember – there are way more people that want it to float…


You see…the show matters, even if you hate it. So next time that check comes in the mail….even if you hate the fact that you get to deposit it – which makes you part of the 1 per cent….


cuz a lot of people are not quite as fortunate.


TFP awards all those API Males mentioned 10 smacks of the wand – grab yourselves a paddle and steer yourselves out of the sh*tstorms of your own invention. Cuz you makin’ her feel like….