the media and entertainment union
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11 March 2010

Join the union's Writers, Producers and Directors branch for their Spring debate: Low Budget Collaborations and the National Minimum Wage.

Thursday 18 March, University of London Union, Malet Street, 19.00 hours.

In the wake of the recent London Dreams' tribunal ruling, which retrospectively awarded Nicola Vetta, an unpaid intern, the National Minimum Wage for the hours she worked on a feature film, there has been much industry debate about the effect this decision will have.

Does the verdict represent the long-overdue protection desperately needed by the industry's most vulnerable workers, or the death of creativity and collaboration which often provides a stepping stone for those who are new to the industry? Should the decision be viewed as a victory or a disaster?

To discuss both sides of the argument, BECTU’s Writers Producers and Directors' branch brings you:

Shooting yourself in the foot?

A Debate about Low Budget Collaborations and the National Minimum Wage

Please join us on Thursday 18 March at 19.00 hours at The University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY and make your voice heard. Nearest tube stations: Goodge Street and Russell Square.  Please arrive promptly as spaces will be available on a first come, first served basis.

The proposition:  

Working for free is the only way for new entrants to get a foot in the door of the film and television industry but are you shooting yourself in the foot?

Jess Search from Shooting People and Martin Spence, assistant general secretary of BECTU, will be among the key speakers to address these issues. They will be joined by Benetta Adamson (TV-Wrap) and Chris Jones (co-author The Guerilla Film-makers Handbook). The debate will be chaired by Stephen Overell, associate director, the Work Foundation. 

The event will take the form of a parliamentary-style debate with prearranged speakers setting out their point of view in support of, or in opposition to, the motion. The audience will be invited to participate throughout the debate.

The aim 

We hope that this event will kick off a process leading to an industry-wide charter endorsed by BECTU, Shooting People and other interested parties setting out how microbudget films can flourish while staying on the right side of the law. We really hope this will be the beginning of an end to the confusion and misunderstandings surrounding what does and does not constitute a collaboration.

For more information contact  Writers Producers and Directors branch. Please note we are unable to take bookings for this event; admission will be on a first come, first served basis.


First published 23 February. Amended 11 March to add details of full line-up.