NATIONAL BOARD SEEKS
ENGAGEMENT WITH AFTRA
Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors voted January 31 to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract. Approved 82 to 18 percent, the resolution states:
"It was moved and seconded that in light of SAG's historically productive negotiating partnership with AFTRA, the SAG National Board of Directors directs President Ken Howard and National Executive Director David White to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract, under the terms of Phase One, modeled on the agreement used successfully in the 2009 Commercials Contract negotiations. President Howard and NED White shall bring a recommendation to the National Board at the earliest opportunity."
Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard said, "I am very pleased with the vote and thank the Board for their leadership and foresight on this important issue. I so appreciate the Board's cooperative spirit in this discussion and throughout the day, and feel confident that our Guild is moving in the right direction."
In other actions, the National Board voted unanimously to create a National Performance Capture Committee to address the unique concerns and experiences of members who render performances that are recorded using "performance capture" technology across all media, and to advise the Guild on all matters pertaining to work in this rapidly growing area.
The board also approved 83 percent to 17 percent the unanimous recommendation of the finance committee to authorize the extension of existing initiation fee reductions in targeted markets across the country and to have the Guild's Joint Strategic Planning and Finance Committee review the initiation fee structure nationwide.
For more details from the meeting, click here.
WATCH LIVE STREAMING
VIDEO TUESDAY NIGHTS
By Betsy Beard
Executive Vice President
If you didn’t already know this, everything in the entertainment industry has changed. The people in charge have changed, the time available to cast and shoot a project has become miniscule, and budgets have dropped. The landscape, especially in the major markets, has changed forever.
But your union has developed a program that can get members up to speed and competitive in today’s entertainment business.
The SAG Foundation LifeRaft is floating once again.
In this extraordinary program, members can simply log on to to this link and be transported to live, scheduled panel discussions with the top people in the biz. Agents and casting directors willingly answer your questions and expound on their take on everything from headshots to self-sabotage. It is a freewheeling, fun event, as relaxed as an evening in your living room, where you can learn that agents and casting directors are delightful people who want you to work.
In a January 19 program, a handful of commercial casting directors appeared. Members in the room asked a mix of questions, and questions were sent by e-mail by member-viewers across the country. It was charmingly moderated by actor and director Bjorn Johnson.
Budget pressure on casting directors makes it more important than ever that an actor be precise with her audition time. No longer do casting directors have the luxury of seeing you later if you can’t make your time. Most agents have a pet peeve of actors who don’t arrive on time, or don’t show up at all. They want actors to be stable enough to participate in the business, and our job is to show up and remain open. They really notice if you come in and have an attitude. Try not to take anything personally, do your job brilliantly, and exit gracefully.
FREE ONLINE BUSINESS
OF ACTING SEMINARS
Screen Actors Guild Foundation and Screen Actors Guild continue to present weekly “business of acting” LifeRaft Live Stream events to Guild members across the nation at no charge, via live video stream on the Internet.
LifeRaft provides career-enhancing knowledge to actors by way of panel discussions with seasoned industry professionals. The innovative Live Stream program lets you participate online every Tuesday, 6-8 p.m. Pacific, through April 27, 2010.
To participate in these programs online, simply visit the SAG Foundation LifeRaft Live Stream show page here. All LifeRaft Live Stream events are available for later viewing here as well.
Live Stream Schedule
"Journey of the Working Actor"
Join accomplished actor/author Michael Bofshever and a stellar panel of working actors as they guide you through the foundation to having a career, including audition know-how, life on set, agents and managers, and the art of perseverance.
"Indie Series Pt. 1 - Making Your Own Movie with SAGIndie"
Gain valuable knowledge to help you “make it happen” with your own indie projects. SAGIndie National Director Darrien Michele Gipson and a panel of established independent film producers will share their experience and explore such topics as crafting a budget, acquiring funding, managing production, lining up distribution, and much more.
"Indie Series Pt. 2 - SAG Contracts Corner: Low Budget and Theatrical 101"
Learn about overtime, working conditions, making an indie project signatory and more while exploring the basic provisions and signatory requirements in the SAG Theatrical and Low Budget Contracts. Please note that this presentation by the Screen Actors Guild Theatrical and Low Budget Departments is pre-recorded and will follow with a live Q and A with presenters online.
You’ll be able to submit your questions to panelists and moderators during the events by e-mail or you may tweet your questions at #LRLS. Guild members are encouraged to register with the SAG Foundation in order to receive e-mail updates.
Deborah Lee Hall, Marla Price, Nancy Hall and Linda Rae Jurgens at the Arizona Film & Media Expo. Photo by SAG member Earl Smith.
Deborah Lee Hall, Marla Price, Nancy Hall and Linda Rae Jurgens at the Arizona Film & Media Expo. Photo by SAG member Earl Smith.
Recently, the Arizona Branch Council met to devise a strategy for enabling our members to speak to non-members about the value of SAG membership and taking the step to join once a decision to go professional has been made. As a result, we are in the process of refining several approaches for members to use when they meet non-members on the set or on other occasions. Called M2NM, shorthand for member to non-member, the strategy will initiate the development of a speakers’ bureau made up of members willing to speak at drama classes and high school career days, hand-outs that trigger one-to-one discussion with non-members about why joining SAG is a good step for serious professionals to take, and participation at industry events, such as the Arizona Film & Media Expo that took place on January 23.
Expo team members at work. Photo by SAG member Earl Smith.
We need you. If would like to help in some way, please call Arizona Branch Executive Don Livesay at (480) 264-7696, or send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know how you would like to assist, and please share any ideas you think might help us.
Creating a stronger, more effective union in Arizona means members sharing about their union, about the industry and about their careers to prospective new members. Your own story about what SAG means to you is better told by you yourself than by anyone else. It’s a better outreach for SAG.
By Mark DeMichele
Happy belated new year!
We are looking forward to an exciting, and hopefully rewarding, year for our union: increasing our outreach and networking with local filmmakers, improving conservatory offerings, special SAG-only events like the New Mexico Casting Director Audition, a member to non-member education campaign, establishing a speaker’s bureau and much more.
This year may be a good year to consider getting involved with some or all of Arizona’s SAG activities. The economy is still slow, so if you have some extra time, why not make some new friends or reacquaint with old ones? Maybe serve on a committee or take that workshop to keep skills sharp? We’d like to start a list of members interested in speaking to students or interested filmmakers about Screen Actors Guild. (See “M2NM – A Better Outreach” above.)
Getting involved is as easy as sending an e-mail to me at ArizonaPresident@SAG.org or through our executive director, Don Livesay, at email@example.com, or by calling the office at (480) 264-7696. We have a dedicated group of leaders whose work can only be enhanced with your help and involvement.
I also wanted to mention the increasing SAG cyber-support for actors. I hope you are all aware of iActor and the recent service upgrades, and perhaps you’ve had a chance to click around the SAG.org and SAGFoundation.org websites to find the LifeRaft series videoes. (Click on the live stream schedule and plan to watch live!) Here’s a response from a Florida member:
Hello SAG Foundation Organizers,
I firmly believe this effort could help me hook up with SAG again, I moved away from L.A. in '74 to N.Y., Paris and London and in 'o8, to Florida. I am two and four hours away from Branch offices: Orlando and Miami. Just attending the various SAG Film Festivals has been a great learning and entertaining experience. This Internet SAG LifeRaft thing could be the greatest idea of possible SAG creative contacts for those SAG members who do not live in the immediate L.A. or New York City area any more. Thanks for your continued improvement of SAG.
And, when you’re online, please consider becoming a fan of SAG on Facebook or join fellow members on LinkedIn. I believe the increased connectivity could have a positive impact for professional performers.
Lastly, and I paraphrase council member Jon Simpson, “May we all live well and prosper in 2010!”
By Phil Bradstock
Film Office Program Manager and
Film Office Program Coordinator
The Greater Phoenix film industry accounted for $38,089,441 in economic impact on the local economy during the 2009 calendar year. Film, in all its forms (including but not limited to: movies, television shows, still photography, commercials, documentaries, corporate/industrials, reality), employed a workforce of 4,795 skilled technicians and actors spanning a total of 362 projects accounting for 1,290 shooting days and occupying 2,080 hotel nights.
Producers of national and international commercial spots such as GoDaddy.com, Red Bull, Barbasol, University of Phoenix and Volkswagon selected Phoenix as their filming location. Television shows such as After Armageddon, America’s Most Wanted, Family Dynamics, Wife Swap, Supernanny and Sunset Daze also chose the Phoenix area as their backdrop.
Maneater, a two-part miniseries set in Los Angeles by Sony Pictures Television and 3 Arts Entertainment, which aired on the Lifetime network, was the largest project filmed in the Valley in 2009. The producers selected Phoenix because of the Motion Picture Tax Incentive Program (MOPIC), administered by the Arizona Department of Commerce and the visual similarities that Phoenix has to Los Angeles. The project employed hundreds of local crew members and actors during their three-month stay while frequenting local hotels, retail stores, car rental agencies, restaurants and building supply companies.
From July 2005 through June 2009 the film industry as a whole contributed $147,454,455 to the local economy. Of this total amount, approximately $82,413,174 was a direct result of the MOPIC program.
MOPIC offers production companies with a minimum spend of $250,000 in Arizona up to a 30 percent transferable tax credit based on Arizona spend and local hires. This has made Phoenix an attractive option to producers and led to the filming of major projects such as The Kingdom, S.I.S., Kids in America, Middle Men and Maneater. Clearly, the MOPIC program has been of significant benefit to the city of Phoenix and the local film industry. The MOPIC program is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2010, but a movement is underway by local organizations to extend this date.
The 2009 Year End Economic Impact Report for Greater Phoenix marks the first time the Phoenix Film Office has published a calendar year-end report on the film industry. Traditionally, the film office’s annual report is published every July to coincide with the city’s fiscal year (July to June). While this will continue, it is important to bring the data in line with other agencies that track the industry based on a calendar year.
All data was compiled based upon surveys sent to productions that filmed in Phoenix and local production companies. En lieu of completed surveys, economic impact estimates were based upon the Association of Film Commissioners International’s “Tracking Production Revenue: Direct Spending for On-Location Production (U.S. Dollars).” No multipliers were used. Job creation and hotel nights are listed as reported, and estimates are not utilized.
By Don Livesay
Arizona Executive Director
I recently attended an industry event where there were a substantial number of non-members present. In fact, our people were outnumbered four to one. But that didn’t stop them from speaking. One SAG member after another got up to share how much Screen Actors Guild had meant to him or her. SAGIndie was on hand to share as well about how the contracts can be made to work for almost any budget.
Then a non-member raised his hand, someone who was known to have worked dozens of union jobs but had never joined. He said, “I appreciate Screen Actors Guild for all it does. I just don’t know how to support you guys.” The response came quick in chorus of members all saying the same thing: “If you really want to support us, join us!” The message was loud and clear.
Arizona is fast approaching wild flower season, the time when our desert landscape explodes with color. With all the rain we have had this winter, this spring should be spectacular with wild flowers. But that beauty lasts only a few weeks as temperatures soon rise, the flowers dry up and our desert returns to its dry, barren state. Wild flowers are, after all, just weeds.
It’s much the same with non-union jobs. As attractive as they might appear to be, they wither away and eventually dry up when no residuals follow, when no health retirement credits are earned, and when no remedy for unauthorized use is assured.
Since you asked, Mr. Non-union Guy, here’s how you can support SAG . . .
How about refusing to take any non-union job that doesn’t provide the same protections that our jobs provide? It’s that simple. Refuse jobs that don’t pay use fees equivalent to ours. Turn down work that doesn’t offer health insurance and pension credits paid for by the producer like our jobs do. Walk away from any employment that doesn’t protect you when your performance ends up in a venue that you didn’t authorize. And turn away any job that would require you to pay more than 10 percent in commission to your agent.
And since you asked, refuse any booking unless minimum working conditions are in place, where you are respected as a professional, and where payment for working overtime hours, inadequate rest periods and late meals is understood as customary, not waived because you are supposed to feel some obligation to the director for hiring you. And finally, make my day. Turn your back and run for the hills unless your next non-union contract provides a support staff like SAG’s staff, dedicated to see that you get everything the producer has agreed to as a condition of hiring you.
If you really want to support us, do all that. And once you find out the obvious, that no non-union job comes close to matching what SAG provides, then follow the steps taken by many before you, and join. We’ll be here.
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