Tag Archive for: actors

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For those of us in the industry we can’t help but be aware of the writers’ and actors’ strikes in the US, not only because of the impact it’s having on international productions coming into New Zealand but also because of the issues being raised, particularly when they relate to having a sustainable career.

Of the 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members on strike for three weeks now, only 10 percent of them are the actors you see working the red carpets and earning massive fees for their performances. 86 percent of their membership (136,600 members) don’t earn the US$26,000 per year required to qualify them for the guild’s health insurance. In 2022, the US Bureau of Statistics reported that the average pay for an actor in California was US$27.73/hr.

In the gig economy of the screen industry in the US where most screen workers are considered independent contractors, the residual* payments that actors used to receive prior to streaming could help them to ride through the choppy waters of no paid acting work between jobs. There’s an article showing supposedly successful actors on highly successful streaming shows and the residuals they received—cents, or sometimes a few dollars. See it here.

The 11,000 WGA members are coming up to 90 days on strike. Like SAG members, WGA members have base minimums that they cannot be paid below for the work they do. The WGA also negotiated residuals for their members. However, over time and particularly with the advent of streaming, what the majority of writers have been paid has dropped towards or onto the minimums, which were negotiated three years ago. At the same time, streaming has continued to grow and the residuals from streaming are measly, unlike what used to be earned as residuals from broadcast, cable, etc. The studios are also trying to use fewer writers to do the work required, amongst a number of other issues for the WGA.

Both guilds are also concerned about how the studios will use Artificial Intelligence to replace humans in the execution of writing and acting work.

The Directors Guild of America was able to reach a settlement that addressed their issues with streamer residuals and AI, and other claims—The reason they aren’t on strike with the writers and actors.

Sitting here in li’l ol’ New Zealand, we can only marvel at the fact that these US guilds have collective agreements in place that offer base minimums, healthcare, superannuation, and residuals amongst other benefits.

Of course, New Zealand is different from the US. We have a public health service (no matter that it’s getting worse by the year). We have accident compensation (ACC). We have a government retirement scheme, which we call ‘super’ or ‘the pension’. And we have Kiwisaver.

But if we look a little closer to home to Australia, where screen workers are generally treated like employees rather than contractors—because most screen workers don’t have the freedom of executing their work how and when they want to—we can see that ‘Fringes’, i.e. holiday pay, superannuation (our Kiwisaver), and workers compensation (our ACC) are built into production budgets and paid accordingly by the production company.

In New Zealand in the screen industry, pretty much everybody is an independent contractor, even though you are required to turn up at specific times, on specific days, just as employees are required to do.

You, the independent contractor, are required to pay your own taxes, ACC, Kiwisaver, and GST if applicable.
You have no base minimums, meaning you can be paid less than the minimum wage set for employees.

Most below-the-line crew get paid overtime, which stops their pay going below the minimum wage. That’s not the case for writers, directors (and producers), who often do unpaid or low-rate work to create the shows that crew then get hired to work on. This contributes to driving their pay rates below the minimum wage. Take a look at the just released WIFTNZ Screen Industry Gender Pay Survey here. It states that according to the census, approximately 40% of women and 28% of men in the screen industry earn less than the minimum wage.

While crew get to work on international projects where they can charge higher rates and still get their overtime payments if required to work it, it’s almost impossible for NZ above-the-liners to get onto them, apart from actors who might be able to secure supporting or minor roles—domestic production is pretty much all there is.

In New Zealand at this point, there is no established residual system that allows above-the-line creatives to earn some income from their work beyond their fees, to help get them through those times of no or unpaid work. There is, though, a mechanism for producers to gain potential additional income through being gifted equity in a production, either from the NZFC through the ‘producer corridor’ for non-NZ Screen Production Rebate (formerly NZSPG) projects, or through the 40% producer equity gifted to the producer for NZ Screen Production Rebate projects. It’s at the discretion of the producer as to whether or not they will share this equity with anybody else.

Which brings me to the Screen Industry Workers Act, of course. It’s the means by which the guilds and unions in New Zealand hope to address the pay rates, terms, and conditions for New Zealand screen workers to help them have sustainable careers—Something the US guilds have sought and continue to do for their members through decades of negotiation and collective agreements.

We at DEGANZ are preparing for our first negotiation of a collective agreement, which is likely to take place in the first half of 2024.

You can see from the picket lines of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA a visible expression of “it’s better together” not only with each guild’s members supporting their guild but with the separate guilds supporting each other.

We are going to need all your support in the preparation and negotiation ahead. So get behind us and the other guilds, too, to make it better for everyone.

*Residuals are long-term payments to those who worked on films and television shows, negotiated by unions, for reruns and other airings after the initial release.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

DEGANZ and the Pan-Asian Screen Collective welcome screen directors and actors of Pan-Asian heritage for this Rehearsal & Performance workshop, led by actor/director Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

Pan-Asian participants will get to practise their craft in a fun, supportive environment; expand their knowledge of rehearsal processes; and discover language for rewarding collaborations.

Jennifer (Te Atamira) Ward-Lealand, CNZM, has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for 40 years. She is also an accredited Intimacy Coordinator (Intimacy on Set, UK) for stage and screen. Jennifer is a co-founder of The Actors’ Program and President of Equity New Zealand (since 2007). She is a patron of Q Theatre, Theatre New Zealand and the Te Manu Tīroriori Trust, and a trust board member of the Actors Benevolent Fund.

Her film work includes Desperate Remedies, Vermilion and Dead. TV and web series include Friday Night Bites, Xena: Warrior Princess and intimacy coordinator for Creamerie. She has directed a number of theatre productions and in 2021, directed her first short film, Disrupt, which has been accepted into three international festivals thus far. She is now in post-production as a co-director for the te reo children’s series, Poniponi.

Workshop Details

When: Saturday 18 June, 9:30am – 4pm

Where: St Luke’s Church and Community Centre, 130 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland

Cost: DEGANZ / PASC / Equity NZ members – Free
Includes lunch and tea/coffee

Our Cancellation Policy

Open to directors and actors of Pan-Asian descent who are members of either DEGANZ, PASC and/or Equity New Zealand.

Spots are limited as participants will break out into groups to rehearse scenes. We will be taking in five directors and ten actors. These include three standby and observer spots for one director and two actors.

If your name is selected, DEGANZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation.


DEGANZ will provide scenes for the class at least one week in advance. Both directors and actors will be expected to do some script prep beforehand.

Orange Traffic Light Notes

For the safety of yourself and others:

  • Do not attend if you are sick with COVID-19, cold or flu symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate.
  • You must wear a surgical or medical-grade mask or higher when indoors. You do not need to wear a mask when acting, eating or drinking, or if exempt from wearing a mask. DEGANZ will supply you with a mask if you need one.
  • Please observe 1 metre physical distancing during scene work.
  • We may organise Rapid Antigen Testing at the start of the day. We will assess this closer to the date.

Register Your Interest

Registrations close Tuesday 7 June, 11AM.


The Rehearsal & Performance Series is hosted by Directors and Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand with the support of Equity New Zealand and funding from the New Zealand Film Commission

This workshop is part of a DEGANZ initiative aimed at supporting the development of new and emerging Pan-Asian, Pasifika and Māori directors

Presented in association with Pan-Asian Screen Collective

Logos NZFC, PASC and Equity NZ

Online Session

The online sessions of Rehearsal & Performance give screen directors and actors the chance to meet, practise and gain confidence rehearsing by video call in a safe and supportive space. We will focus particularly on how to sustain connection and engagement online.

Similar to the in-person sessions, all participants will spend time in Breakouts of one director and two actors. Groups will rehearse the same scene and perform them later for the class.

About Alison Bruce

Alison has worked in the theatre and screen industry for nearly 40 years. She’s primarily an actor, but is also a tutor and a maker. She has worked with Massive Theatre making work on Zoom during the lockdowns and, last year, co-directed a production of Julie Hill’s Stories Told to Me By Girls on Zoom. Her screen credits include Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, One Lane Bridge and The Gulf.


Selected directors and actors will be expected to do some script prep beforehand. We recommend actors are off-book. DEGANZ will provide the scene at least one week in advance.

Workshop Details:

When: Sunday 10 April, 9am – 12pm

Where: Zoom Meetings

DEGANZ / Equity NZ / Ngā Aho Whakaari members – Free
Non-member – $49 (billed upon selection)

Our Payment and Cancellation Policy

Register your interest

Registrations close Friday 1 April, 10AM

Spots are limited to four directors and eight actors. If your name is selected, DEGANZ will contact you directly to confirm your participation.

Suitable for film school graduates (or equivalent) to mid-career directors.

Registration Form


Made possible with the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission


The workshop tutor, a woman, at home against a bookshelf.

How do you rehearse in the midst of an outbreak?

In this workshop, Miranda Harcourt brings front-line advice and on-set insights to you from the major projects she works on every day around the globe. As an acting coach, Miranda has recently led online rehearsals for three BBC projects and for Garth Davis’ film Foe, starring Saoirse Ronan, Paul Mescal and Aaron Pierre.

This workshop is perfect for screen directors who want to learn exercises, tools and tips for running successful rehearsals via video call.

Four of the directors in the class will get to direct pairs of actors in Zoom breakouts and receive helpful input and feedback from Miranda. We will provide the scenes ahead of time.

Workshop Details:

When: Saturday 26 March 2022, 9am – 1pm

Where: Zoom Meetings

Member – Free
Non-member – $49 (billed upon selection)

Our Payment and Cancellation Policy

About Miranda Harcourt, ONZM

Miranda’s approach is based on years of writing and performing verbatim theatre in prisons in NZ, Australia and the UK, as well as her work as an on-set acting coach with renowned actors and directors on films all over the world.

Miranda has coached Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA-award nominated and winning performances in films and TV shows from Bright Star (2012) to Lion (2015) to Being the Ricardos (2021). She was the dedicated coach for Sunny Pawar (young Saroo) in Lion and was coach and Director: Background Action on Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene, starring Rooney Mara and Joachim Phoenix. Her first feature film The Changeover, co-directed with Stuart McKenzie, was released to acclaim in NZ, the UK and the US. Miranda’s daughter, Thomasin Mckenzie is the winner of the NBR award for Breakout Talent 2018.

For seven years Miranda was the Head of the Acting Department at Te Kura Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa: New Zealand Drama School. She been awarded the ONZM (for services to theatre and the community) and the Centennial Suffrage Medal. Other awards include the NEXT Arts Woman of the Year, the 2018 Women of Influence Arts Woman of the Year and the 2018 Women in Film and TV Award for Achievement in Film. She has also won many awards and nominations for acting and directing including the Media Peace Prize.

Her training was as an actor at Toi Whakaari — New Zealand Drama School and as a Drama-therapist at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.


Participant  — You must have at least ONE directing credit on a narrative drama short film that has been publicly screened at a festival or on a curated platform (e.g. on demand, Vimeo Staff Picks, Short of the Week).

Breakout Participant — 4 places available

  • You must have at least ONE directing credit on a scripted audiovisual work – either feature film, telefeature or series commissioned for broadcast.


  • At least THREE directing credits on narrative drama short films OR scripted web series that have been publicly screened at a festival or on a curated platform (e.g. on demand, Vimeo Staff Picks, Short of the Week).

To Apply

Applications Close: Mon 14 March, 10AM

Please complete the application form below and email your CV to tema@deganz.co.nz. Your CV should clearly list your directing credits and include details such as festival selection, commissioners and/or platforms where your work has publicly screened.

Places are limited – the Guild will select based on applications. We will email you to confirm.

Application Form


Made possible with the financial support of the New Zealand Film Commission


Postponed until Alert Level 1 – Registrations and applications will reopen once we have a new date. We will hold onto all completed applications in the meantime. Thanks for your understanding.

Learn best practices for directing on-screen intimacy with Tandi Wright.

DEGNZ welcomes directors to join us for a one-day Auckland workshop, taught by actor and intimacy coordinator Tandi Wright. We will discuss and work with actors on developing scenes involving intimacy, using a process developed by UK intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien, and Equity NZ’s Intimacy Guidelines for Stage and Screen.

There are four places for directors to participate and additional places for directors to observe.

Please note: this workshop is R18 and there will be no nudity in the workshop.

About Tandi Wright

With over 25 years of experience, Tandi is one of Aotearoa’s best-known actors. She has worked in the US, Australia and NZ and has been nominated for numerous awards.

Tandi is also a trained intimacy coordinator under the mentorship of Ita O’Brien of Intimacy On Set, who has pioneered this work internationally. Tandi has now served as intimacy coordinator on numerous and wide-ranging screen projects – from major studio productions (Netflix, Amazon, A24) to mid-range NZ features (Nude Tuesday, Juniper, The Justice of Bunny King, Punch), to low-budget student films.

Tandi is Vice-President of Equity New Zealand, the performers’ union, and is a founding board member of NZ Actors Benevolent Fund. She is co-author of the Intimacy Guidelines for Stage and Screen in NZ, which were released nationwide in 2020.

Workshop Details

When: Sunday 12 September, 9am – 5pm

Where: MTG RM, 2 Kingsland Terrace, Kingsland, Auckland


DEGNZ member – Free
Non-member earlybird until August 18 – $80
Non-member standard – $95

Lunch and refreshments included


Register below to take part either as a participant director or as an observer.

During the class, the four selected participant directors will take turns directing pairs of actors on an intimate scene under Tandi’s guidance. Upon selection, participants may submit a short, intimate scene for two characters – either with or without dialogue – for consideration ahead of the workshop. We can also provide scene options if preferred.

Eligibility to apply as a Participant Director:

  • You must have experience directing actors for screen.
  • Priority will be given to those who are actively engaged in directing or preparing to direct narrative drama, especially if you are dealing with scenes with intimate content.


Registration Closes: Tuesday 7 September, 1PM

Deadline for Participant Applications: Friday 27 August, 1PM

To apply as a Participant Director, complete the online registration form below and email your supporting documents to tema@deganz.co.nz:

  • a CV/bio with filmography
  • a brief letter summarising why you would like to participate as a director, what you hope to gain from the workshop, and any experience directing intimacy (not a requirement for selection).

If you apply as a participant director and are unsuccessful, we will offer you a place to observe.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.




This initiative is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.