New Policies – lots to look out for

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Some significant changes were made yesterday relating to the employment of overseas actors on productions in New Zealand, including those productions funded in whole or part by public money.
One of the main changes relates to the employment of performers on contracts of less than 14 days in duration and makes it easier than before for overseas performers to fill those positions. The NZ Actors’ Guild and other industry groups have worked hard during the consultation process to shore up jobs for kiwi performers and we are concerned that new regulations do not undermine these job opportunities going forward.
Whilst we understand that barriers to productions being made in New Zealand are not always desirable care must be taken that under these new regulations New Zealand talent is not overlooked both behind and in front of the camera. If this was to happen New Zealand may become merely a filming location and the creativity and innovation currently present in our creative sector could be lost.
We will continue to work to make sure that Kiwi actors get their chance to shine alongside our fellow creative professionals and that we are an integral part of making this happen

Brand new workshop for actors rolling out in Wellington

September 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here’s some details of a new workshop to help actors function as arts entrepreneurs which the NZAG is running in October in Wellington. If the workshop is a a success we will be looking to an Auckland version in the near future….


Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th October 2011
Saturday: 9.15 am registration, 9.30 am start – 5.30 pm
Sunday: 9.15 am arrival, 9.30 am start – 5.30 pm

Toi Poneke Community Room, 61-65 Abel Smith St

COST: $300 +GST for non-members / $225 +GST for members
Introductory membership fee until 31 March 2012 is $50 +GST

What’s My Brand? is a professional acting workshop to learn what typing and branding can do for you and to get some perspective from leading industry professionals – Peter Feeney (actor / teacher), Miranda Harcourt (actor / acting coach) and Liz Mullane (casting director/ actor). The workshop will give you a better understanding of your strengths as an actor and how best to serve your talent.

Miranda Harcourt will talk about the importance of ‘Connection in Performance’.

Liz Mullane will conduct a Q&A session about casting, headshots, presenting yourself at auditions.

Peter Feeney will work with actors on their monologue and scene, and facilitate workshop exercises on Branding, First Impressions and What’s My Type.

– To book your place contact Anita at NZAG, include headshot and CV
– Invoice on acceptance
– Pay 20% non-refundable deposit to secure your place, pay outstanding amount by 1 October
– Workshop packs will be sent out upon receipt of deposit
– We have places for up to 20 actors
– Place preference goes to NZAG members, including new members

Miranda Harcourt

Miranda Harcourt’s long-running career as both actor and acting teacher has seen many notable excursions into screen work – from television soaps like Gloss and tele-movie Clare to the dramatic feature For Good, which she helped bring to the screen.

Liz Mullane

Liz Mullane trained as an actor in theatre and improvisation. Liz is a comedy specialist and appeared as core cast in – TV sketch comedy – Issues, More Issues, and That Comedy Show. Her film roles include Heavenly Creatures and Brain Dead. Liz is also an experienced casting director with recent films such as 1&2, District 9, Avatar, and of course The Lord of the Rings trilogy to her name.

Peter Feeney

Peter Feeney has worked in TV, film and theatre in New Zealand and Australia, including at Circa, Court, Fortune and the Queensland Theatre Company. He has had lead or ongoing roles in numerous TV shows and telemovies, including for UK, US, Australian and NZ networks.
Peter has taught actors since 2000 in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and at Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School in Wellington. He has participated in workshops, theatre and Film productions with Cicely Berry (Royal Shakespeare Company, London), Robert Benedetti (Award-winning US Film producer and Broadway theatre Director), Rob Marchant (Sydney Film Director and proponent of the Mike Leigh method) and Dean Carey (Director, Actors Centre Australia).
See Peter’s full film and TV credits ( and find his full bio (


‘I can thoroughly recommend Peter as a marvellous proponent of the principles and techniques he has encountered and uses himself in his acting processes. He is a gifted man with much to contribute to his profession.’ Dean Carey, Director, Actors Centre Australia.

‘You are a wonderfully insightful and optimistic actor, and this allows you to draw the very best work out of everyone.’ Lotte St. Clair, Sydney Participant, Bell Shakespeare Co Actor

Cake sales for public broadcasting?

August 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently it has been revealed that the Concert Programme has applied for charitable status in an attempt to secure future funding. This is a further step in the erosion of Public Broadcasting and the wider erosion of arts funding in this country. When combined with the cuts already in place at RNZ and the impending death of TVNZ7 Public Broadcasting is being allowed to wilt on the vine. This may seem to be removed from actors to some extent but it is Public Broadcasting that is supposed to nurture the commercially riskier projects and these projects, in turn, nurture and grow industry professionals who go on to provide further work for all sorts of creative professionals, actors included.

What also happens, when Concert Radio becomes a charity, is that a big and well-perceived player enters the charity fundraising game. The size of the pot doesn’t increase but a large new applicant comes in and can only serve to shoulder smaller players aside as the competition increases significantly for the already existing thinly spread funds.

The dismantling of Public Broadcasting can also be seen in the sale of Avalon Studios in the Hutt Valley. This is a fantastic resource, funded by decades of broadcasting fees, and being allowed to largely rot because of the inconvenience of its location. There is no doubting the quality of its equipment or of the skeleton staff who remain but the fact is – Avalon Studios is not in Auckland where TVNZ wishes to make its television and so it is surplus to requirements. There is every likelihood that it could be purchased by overseas interests or even pulled apart for another use entirely and lost forever.

And funding for bodies like the Film Commission and Creative NZ are also changing and tightening. This means that there is less funding available to nurture less established professionals and foster their growth. An increasing commercial imperative on funding bodies for projects to be commercially successful also takes away any chance that risks will be taken on less than “sure things”.

All this limits opportunities for us, the performers, to have opportunities to work, to collaborate with fellow professionals and to grow and develop. We need to be aware of what is happening around us. True, with the events in the South and around the world we are in “interesting times” but by starving organisations like the Film Commission, Concert Radio, the NZSO and smaller groups a message is being sent out that the arts are not important.

But what will happen is that much of the growth that is being played on on the world stage – that we are a creative and vibrant nation of world-beating lateral thinkers – will be wasted. Its true that the arts sector can’t expect everything to be done for it but we are important. As actors we need to be aware of what is going on and looking for ways to help stop the trend.

The arts, especially live performance, provides a connection with other people through the shared experience of being an audience and the interaction between performer and audience that many people have no chance anymore to experience. When one of the many causes being provided for the violence happening in Britain right now is that people are becoming increasingly isolated from each other surely any experience that is directly shared between human beings is good. It would be naive and pretentious to argue that the arts alone is a solution to these sorts of problems in society but surely anything that encourages a shared experience that takes you out of your own world for a period of time needs to be encouraged.

Which is why the thought of once proud public arts institutions having to go cap-in-hand to the community is not a comfortable thought to deal with.

Bollywood deal signed

June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today the Prime Minister’s office released a press statement revealing that a Film Co-Production Agreement had been signed between India and New Zealand. According to the press release:

“Film co-production agreements allow approved film and television projects to gain the status of “official co-productions” which gives film projects access to the benefits accorded to national films in each of the co-producers’ countries. This includes access to funding and incentives, as well as facilitating temporary immigration and importation of equipment – within existing regulations.”

The NZ Actors’ Guild sees potential benefits for New Zealand performers and film industry professionals and is more than happy to work with co-productions to ensure that these benefits bear fruit. We are excited by the prospects for film and television professionals from all crafts not only in New Zealand but India as well.



Casting Directors’ Guidelines

May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last year a big group of NZ’s casting directors created and endorsed a set of guidelines for their profession. The NZAG thinks that’s a great step!

You can have a look at them here

Online performance and voicework survey

May 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

As part of our ongoing work to improve the ability of actors to function as self-employed contractors the NZ Actors’ Guild is doing some research into the standards and conditions surrounding online performances and voice-work.

At the moment there is no real standards operating in either field and, especially with online and new media performances, incredible opportunity for growth. In the online environment, particularly, there is little universal understanding of how much exposure an actor gets from online performances, how well theyshould be compensated for this and the life cycle of online work once its been posted.

So with this in mind the NZ Actors’ Guild is doing a little research into both fields. As part of this research we’ve posted an online survey. It would be very useful if you could complete, anonymously, as many questions as you can.

You can go to the survey here

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

A new ad that we'll be running, a little larger than this, in the next issue of OnFilm magazine