Well, blimey, Xmas and New Year 2019 is just a few weeks away and I can't believe this year has almost come to a close. I hope it has brought you happiness and oodles of work, and you've built great friendships and working relationships! I thought it might be useful if I gave a quick rundown of what has happened in 2019 for the ACA...
 After an initial period of setting up and becoming established within the awareness of our industry, the ACA started in earnest, starting with the formation of the WORKING GROUP.
 Following consultation with members and external interested parties, the WORKING GROUP formulated the ACA MANIFESTO. This document outlines our aims for 2020, and is a great way of briefly explaining the purpose of the organisation.
 I was able to have some very helpful and enlightening meetings and conversations with people from across the industry, from publishers and clients, to creatives of all stripes. I was encouraged not just by the response from fellow creatives to the formation of the ACA, but also from the publishers and other organisations. It seems the time is right for us to be heard.
 After one-on-one meetings, the ACA was proud to announce a formal partnership/alliance with Equity UK, through the sterling work of their Audio Sub-Committee. The ACA has also had extremely productive talks with AudioUK and a strong relationship built on shared interests is being built.
 Equity UK kindly invited me to speak at their Audiobook event in London, at which around 100 creatives were in attendance. This was a fantastic chance for me to engage in conversation with narrators and actors, and explain why the ACA will be a good thing for them, but also how their support of the ACA helps us ensure the technical/production creatives in our industry feel they are equally represented and supported.
 As a member of the Publishers' Association audiobook committee, I have added an agenda item to the Feb 2020 meeting where I will formally introduce the PA to the ACA, and start a conversation about all of our manifesto aims.
 Several publishers have started including production credits in 2019, something the ACA is passionate about, including PRH, Orion and BBC Audio.
Moving into 2020, apart from the PA meeting, the ACA will be seeking meetings with the Writers' Guild, BECTU and others (a potential conversation with the DCMS is in the offing). I will also be meeting one-on-one with publishers to start pushing for our manifesto aims to be progressed, including credits, prep sheets...and of course, the thorny issues around fees. 2020 looks to be a big, busy year for us and we really want YOU to be a part of it. We are looking for more volunteers to help the WORKING GROUP, people to submit articles and top tips, help with resources and social media presence. If you think you can help...even just a little every now and then, please reach out.
Now...talking about thorny issues...since the creation of the ACA, we have held back from asking for membership fees. It was important to me that we first learn if the ACA was something people wanted, and then to develop it to a state where members could see the benefit of supporting it. The costs of the organisation thus far have been covered by support from LADBROKE AUDIO LTD (with our deepest thanks). However, from Jan 2020 I would like to put the organisation on a more secure financial footing. With this is mind the WORKING GROUP has voted to agree to the inclusion of membership fees as of Jan 2020. I am running a quick poll on what you feel is a fair fee level (and we will, of course, continue to allow those who cannot afford to pay to remain as members).
PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY BY CLICKING HERE
This income will be spent on the upkeep and costs of the website, the cost of upcoming events, and possible outreach opportunities (sponsorships, etc...) The ACA will remain a not-for-profit organisation and no member of the ACA WORKING GROUP will be paid for their services, including me. Ladbroke Audio will not be repaid for their investment to date. I will look to appoint a secretary to the WORKING GROUP who will maintain the books and we will give an annual report at the end of each calendar year.
So...2020 is almost upon and it looks to be an exciting time. Please continue to be a part of this amazing creative family, and let's all work together to raise up ALL our voices!
Warmest 2019 wishes,