THE VIEW FROM NATIONAL
National Board Director
The combining of SAG and AFTRA (aka “merger”) or the creation of a new union (whatever you want to call the challenge) remains high on the to-do list of the leadership of both unions. They are taking a deliberate, seemingly slow, methodical process to preclude missteps (or at least minimize them) in reaching the goal. It is doable!
The leadership of both unions is committed to that; however, it is important for you to understand and accept the fact that final resolution of Pension and Health issues will not reach conclusion until after the unions are combined. Detailed explanations and how it is anticipated that we will get from here to there will eventually be disseminated well before completion of the overall plan. Everyone involved in the process is acutely aware of the importance. Your thoughts, concerns, questions are welcome and encouraged. Visit the One Union page on SAG's website and contact me through our office at email@example.com.
Regarding the Industrials Contract, it is now named the 2011 Corporate/Educational and Non-Broadcast Contract. In my opinion, the contract that was nationally approved is mostly beneficial to those in the Hollywood and New York Divisions. Just in case you’ve forgotten, the Guild has three Divisions: Hollywood, encompassing the greater Los Angeles area; New York, covering New York, Northern New Jersey and Connecticut; and the Regional Branch Division (RBD) — that’s us. Arizona is one of the 20 Branches in the RBD covering the rest of the United States. In an attempt to make the contract attractive to producers operating outside Los Angeles and New York, each of the RBD Branches was asked to request specific waivers to be used in their market that could be pre-approved for the local executive to use as needed. The short of it is that your Branch Council is identifying the type of waivers that would enable producers in our market to increase production here. Your comments and suggestions are encouraged. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a heads-up for those that desire to serve on a national or local committee. The SAG website has information regarding committees. In July/August, you will receive e-blasts advising on how you can request to serve both on national or local committees. Visit the national website to determine what interest you may have and act accordingly when the notices are later sent to you.
Keep in mind, on any subject, if you are wondering, so is someone else…so please contact me for an (well, almost) immediate response!
To be continued…
NEW MEXICO'S TOP CASTING DIRECTOR JO EDNA BOLDIN MEETS ARIZONA TALENT
By Amanda Melby
New Mexico Casting Director Audition Chair
On Saturday, March 19, Jo Edna Boldin, CSA, took a short break from her heavy casting workload in New Mexico and Texas to visit Arizona and audition paid-up current members of Screen Actors Guild. Living in New Mexico and working in New Mexico and Texas, she has cast such feature films as True Grit, The Book of Eli, 3:10 to Yuma, No Country for Old Men, The Spy Next Door, Crazy Heart, Terminator Salvation, Sunshine Cleaning, Friday Night Lights, Alamo, Miss Congeniality, 8 Seconds, Hope Floats, Office Space and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? In addition to feature films, she casts television shows such as Crash and Chase as well. She is a busy and important casting director.
Overall, it was a well-run event and the members appreciated the opportunity. However, since we had the perspective this time of being on the other side of the casting process, we were able to see things in a different light.
Being SAG means being a professional at all times, at every step of the casting process. SAG members should hold themselves to the highest standards and should, in all cases, be better than those without SAG behind their name. It was astonishing to see how many SAG members did not conduct themselves as true professionals.
The hope in holding this event was that Arizona members would start booking work in New Mexico and that Ms. Boldin would fly away from Phoenix ready to cast 80 percent or more of the Arizona actors that she saw in New Mexico or Texas projects. This, unfortunately, was not the case.
Here are some facts about the casting event: Of the 98 available slots, 81 people signed in. We had some that didn’t show up and didn’t bother calling in to cancel, and more who cancelled less than 24 hours before the auditions, which meant no opportunity to schedule wait-listed actors. We had more than a few who sent their application to the wrong address or did not include their SAG number or their phone number. A large number came in without their headshot and résumé cut to the proper size and stapled together. Some even had out-of-date photos, came in at the wrong time or had not printed out their sides beforehand.
And this isn’t even considering talent yet! These procedural mistakes in auditioning are all things that make a bad impression and are all things that could easily be fixed.
Regarding talent, here are some comments overheard in the casting room:
Accents – Don’t Hee-Haw It Up: A lot people used accents that were not called for in the breakdown or script. This was mystifying to the CD and unnecessary.
Props and Costumes Are Unnecessary: For most casting directors, these are distracting. The only exception would be a telephone — never use your fingers or hand for a phone; it’s OK to use your cell for a phone scene. Some casting directors are OK with props/costumes and some even prefer it, so find out and keep notes on each individual casting director’s preferences.
Don’t Overdo It: Less is more — film and TV work call for calm and natural vs. big and over the top. Boldin could tell that many of the members work in theatre.
Headshots in Color, Properly Attached: You must have updated materials. Color headshots have been standard for nearly 10 years now, so a black-and-white headshot shows you have been out of the game for a long time. Most CDs want those headshots stapled together with the resume, and both cut to 8 by 10 inches.
Be Ready to Audition: At least a third of performers were not prepared. Some actors did not use their scripts and would forget lines and have to start over. Only 54 people were prepared, just over half of auditioners. With only four minutes time allotted to each audition, being unprepared not only sabotages your own audition but also is rude to the CD and other members.
Be Yourself: Being you is enough. A casting director is looking for who you actually are, not a character far removed from who you are.
As members of the SAG Council, we are working hard to get you more opportunities and work, such as this audition. What are you doing to get yourself work? If you were one of the people who had the opportunity to audition and you made one of the faux pas above, commit to doing better next time: get updated headshots, get in a class, practice your cold reads. And, do it before the next audition; an audition with a major casting director is not the time to “jump back into the game.”
ARIZONA ACTORS GRATEFUL FOR JO EDNA BOLDIN'S VISIT
By Harold Dixon
I went to the SAG auditions for Jo Edna Boldin today. I think it is wonderful that SAG arranged this for us. What a great opportunity. Let’s hope for more in the future. She was very organized and pleasant. I had memorized my side, so I felt that I was really able to create the scene with the reader. I used to hate auditions. Now I think they are fun. Go figure.
Ms. Boldin was very attentive, but she also videotaped everything, so she will have the tapes to review at her leisure. More and more often, it is only how you come across on the camera that matters. She did not have me do the scene a second time with any adjustments, which would have been fun, but for a general call like this, they probably saw what they needed to.
Four minutes seems a short time to many actors. But I am also a director and have been on the other side of the table, and I can tell you that a few minutes is plenty. So, my advice is to be focused, in the moment, do your best work, and don't obsess about it!
Getting there from Tucson was tough this morning. The traffic on I-10 crawled to a stop just north of Casa Grande, then we crept along bumper to bumper in the middle of nowhere for a long time. I know Phoenix well, so I got off at the earliest possible chance on the southern edge of town and took surface streets, arriving 30 minutes late for my audition! The trip took over three hours! Luckily, Don knew about the problem (which, evidently, all the Tucson people ran into), so I was still able to audition.
It was a good lesson for an actor, however. You can't get mad at the traffic. You must keep your focus, so that when you arrive, you will be ready to act, without displaying your road rage!
This type of project doesn't happen without a lot of effort by many people, including Ms. Boldin's willingness to make the trip, and I think this one was well worth it. Here's what others had to say:
From Greg Joseph: “This is tremendous. We’ve grown up! New Mexico look out. A big round of applause for Amanda Melby — who also brought Alan Arkin here — and now this! Wonderful congratulations to all. Jo Edna is a pro!”
From Katherine Gardner Bauer: “Staying open to any and all forms of casting is good. The learning never ends.”
From Elizabeth Waller: “Great! Jo Edna was lovely. I'm so happy this event occurred. Yeah!”
From Barbara Glover: “Very well run audition. Thanks for doing work to get her here!”
From Michelle Lambeau: “Many thanks for organizing this. I appreciate the time and effort it must have taken, and admired the smooth running of the audition process.”
From Craig Oldfather: “I am very appreciative of the chance to audition for Ms. Boldin, who was very nice and welcoming, with the volunteers helping her out the same. My sincere thanks go out to Don Livesay and everyone involved in making this happen. What a pleasure to be seen without making the trek to Albuquerque.”
From Sandy Gibbons: "I think you, Don Livesay, and your whole team should be congratulated for this remarkable achievement! Edna Jo was very gracious with a good sense of humor and I felt very comfortable auditioning with her...I'm sure some Arizona talent is going to get some much needed work!"
Greetings to all from Sedona! I confess that I have been somewhat out of the loop while rehearsing and performing in A Marriage Minuet for Sedona’s Canyon Moon Theatre. Great fun to play comedy onstage!
Our Executive Vice President Betsy Beard graciously served in my stead for the recent RBD standalone in Orlando, Fla. last month.
I have had the opportunity to chat with several Branch members here in Sedona who were engaged by film students at the Zaki Gordon Film Institute and have reported positive experiences. Student films and independent shorts may not be financially rewarding but are a great way to keep our skills sharp for when the larger and more lucrative projects are cast. Sedona also has an annual International Film Festival that has proven so popular that it continues year round with a different film every Tuesday evening at the local Harkins, and showings are well attended.
I’ve had much conversation about Hollywood’s love affair with the area. In the past it was a favorite location for Westerns. The original 3:10 To Yuma was shot here, along with Broken Arrow, The Rounders, Firecreek and many more, including the recent Blood into Wine, featuring Tool frontman and winemaker Maynard Ferguson. And more recently, Sedona has been known as a place for industry folk to get away and enjoy the incredible scenery.
I hope all of our members can enjoy the many great places our state has to offer this summer and I look forward to seeing everyone at our next membership meeting!
Executive Vice President
In the spring 2011 issue of the SAG magazine, recently sent to you in a digital version, the new column on digital theft says, “In a rapidly changing online entertainment landscape, it’s difficult for consumers to know what’s legal and what isn’t.” Truer words were never written.
In fact, illegally copied versions of copyrighted work have never been more freely available. We are long past the days where a thief with a video camera attended a first-run film and made illegal copies to sell from behind his trench coat or on a table outside a hotel on Broadway. We have even graduated from the days when only geeks and computer nerds knew how to upload songs, movies and TV shows on peer-to-peer (P2P) sites that others around the world could download to their computers. The innocuous name “file sharing” raises images of fair use and sharing among friends, but the fact remains that this type of “sharing” most often involves unauthorized copyrighted material, and that’s what is illegal.
Of course, some of these FTP (that’s File Transfer Protocol) sites are located outside the United States and thumb their noses at any kind of copyright violation complaint. They claim to be simply a site where transfer of materials is facilitated between individuals or other websites, never storing anything, such as movies and television shows, on their servers. Some believe themselves to be to be so safe that they post insolent and rude responses to groups like Warner Brothers and the MPAA.
Now, content theft has become so sophisticated that a viewer doesn’t need any particular computer skills, but can simply look up a movie or a show on Google, and then go to a “streaming” site and just watch for free, no strings attached. The bottom line is this: Some of these sites are legal and some are not. How do you know which sites are okay to watch and which are not?
In many cases, it’s almost impossible to tell. One way is to find out how the website supports itself. Does the user pay for a subscription or per download? A site like iTunes or Amazon is completely legal and requires users to pay for the item, either as a rental or a purchase. A subscription-based service has the user pay a fee and then download whatever they want — with material becoming unavailable when the subscription is ended.
Advertising-based free streaming sites, like radio on the Internet, Yahoo Music and Pandora, distribute content on which an entitlement fee has already been paid, much like the licenses that stores and restaurants pay to surround customers with music.
However, illegal sites can get advertising clients and charge for subscriptions, even take credit cards. So, it becomes more important to check the sources of content. However, when you are downloading content from an individual or a shady website, there is rarely a copyright holder in the middle.
If you can find a website’s “About” page, you can get a feel for the level of legality the website represents. If that page is upfront about its content suppliers and guarantees their material has copyright validity, you can feel confident about watching it. If, on the other hand, this page is missing or has disclaimers about where its material is from, better to click away.
If a website seems weird to you, or has you jump through a bunch of digital hoops to watch your program, or sends you off to numerous other websites to watch, then use your intuition and find something else. Many illegal sites try to look normal, but that shady guy in the trench coat is standing there behind them, flashing you his product and hoping you’ll fall for it.
P.S.: If you really want to educate yourself about what sites are legal, visit the MPAA's website. There you will find a list as long as your arm for streaming and downloading television shows and movies that are perfectly legal, some for free and some for a fee.
Legislative action is heating up on this issue, and SAG has partnered with other entities in the entertainment industry to educate the public about content theft and strengthen laws against it. Find out more on SAG's site.
BE THE BEST
Arizona Executive Director
I ran into a producer friend of mine the other day. We had taken a lot of time convincing him to go union on his next project, and he did. I asked him how it went and he said quite well. I wasn’t surprised, after all our people are the best, and of course hiring them would insure a higher degree of excellence compared with what he would have ended up with had he not gone with us. He said it was a very satisfactory experience. He just wished he could have employed more members of SAG.
I asked him how many he had hired in his cast. He said just a handful. I pushed him to tell me why so few members were engaged, when we have so many good ones to choose from. Hoping not to offend me, in so many words he told me he needed to hire the best.
I asked him about his auditions. He said that the auditions were very smooth, and he felt he had been successful. He had hired the best.
“So again, why was it that you needed so many non-members this time?” I asked.
“Like I said, Don, I needed to hire the best.”
I hope this story hits home to you. Too often, I believe, actors take what they store in their acting “toolbox” for granted, believing everything will be there all bright and shiny when the next audition comes around. The hard reality is that tools get rusty, especially when they are not used. Sure, maybe you haven’t had that many chances to audition recently. But opportunities to practice your craft are out there, and judging from some comments I’ve heard lately, our members need to find them.
Understand this: The decision a producer makes to go union is not solely based on dollars anymore. More often than not, choosing to go SAG is determined by the talent pool available, and the number of good, non-union talent in our state has grown significantly. If the specific quality needed is on hand in the non-union sector as opposed to the union sector, guess where producers will go to find it?
Your competition for your next job is more than likely going to be a non-member. If you demonstrate better skills than the competition, your chances for work are good. The more members are hired by producers, time in and time out, the more they will be needed for the next shoot and the shoot after that, and a greater number of projects will go SAG. But the reverse is true as well. When more and more non-members are hired, audition after audition, it is less likely members will be considered the next time, and eventually producers become less inclined to turn to us at all.
As I’ve said before, consistent excellence in performance is the product SAG sells. Let’s keep it excellent. Be the best.
Stunt and Safety Chair
I first met Bob Hoy in the wardrobe department of Old Tucson. He was playing Joe Butler in the long-running series The High Chaparral. He played one of the hired hands on the ranch, and brother to Tucson favorite Don Collier, (better known as Tucson casting director Holly Hire’s husband), who played the foreman, Sam Butler. Hoy came right up to me and introduced himself, welcoming me to the set saying, “We’re like one big, happy family here on Chaparral.”
He helped me join that family and gave me some advice. “Even the horses,” he said, “are affected by this Arizona sun. If they aren’t ridden 10-15 minutes before they come to us, they are a little risky to say the least. But that aside, it is a real safe and happy show to be on.” I thanked Bob for the heads up.
I asked him how he came to be cast in the series. He told me that the creator and executive producer of the series, David Dortort, had liked Bob’s work on his other show, Bonanza, and personally invited him to play the role of Joe Butler. When Bob had auditioned for Bonanza, he’d put on his resume that he had worked as a cowboy on a cattle ranch in Nevada in the mid-to-late 40s, which was true. “So being around horses and cattle came very naturally to me,” he said.
His very good friends Cameron Mitchell (who played Buck Cannon) and Collier were veterans of the Western genre. “We all did our research for the show, especially on customs — Henry Darrow and I were the only Mexicans who always wore their guns right around their waist.”
I admitted to Bob that I couldn’t wait to see Linda Cristal, the beautiful actress who played Victoria, wife of John Cannon, the rancher played by Leif Erickson. Bob told me he’d worked with Linda when she was 18 or 19 in The Perfect Furlough, when he was a double for Tony Curtis. He called Linda a “delightful professional person who never holds the company up and has great composure in all this Arizona heat.”
I was surprised to learn he was a stuntman. He said, “You bet!” He started out as an actor/stuntman because there is and was more stunt work than acting. He saw some stuntmen doing stunts and said, “I can do that,” and started that day. In fact, Bob Hoy was one of the co-founders of the Stuntmen’s Association in 1961. He did stunts and doubled for many stars, including Charles Bronson, Tony Curtis, Ross Martin, Tyrone Power, David Janssen, Telly Savalas, Richard Long, Charles McGraw, Jay Silverheels and even Abbe Lane! There is a picture of Abbe with Bob wearing a dress and earrings, but Bob told me, “I can’t let you have that picture, as you might sell it to the National Enquirer.” Instead, he gave me one of his favorites: Bob doing a horse fall while fellow stuntman Dean Smith is bulldogging him.
Hoy appeared in such films as The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Lone Ranger, Nevada Smith, Bronco Billy, The Enforcer and The Great Race, and was seen on television in shows like Wanted Dead or Alive, Walker: Texas Ranger, JAG, Dallas, The Wild, Wild West, Magnum P.I., The Young Riders and Zorro. He also worked as a stunt coordinator and second unit director on several projects.
Bobby Hoy worked with many greats, including Clark Gable, Robert Mitchum, Robert Taylor, Alan Ladd, Elvis Presley and Errol Flynn. I asked Bob who was his favorite. He said, “Out of all these men, I would take off my hat to John McIntire, without a doubt.” According to Hoy, the well-known character actor was the ideal man and the epitome of an actor, both onstage and off.
Bob Hoy was a fine actor, stuntman and friend; we’re all sorry to see him go.
Friends for life, Paul Napier and E.E. Moe, at Arizona’s Conservatory workshop
Paul Napier Commercial Workshop Returns
By Elaine “E.E.” Moe, Arizona Conservatory Chair
The May 7 commercial workshop with Paul Napier was an inspiring and fully engaging experience for all who attended. Sponsored by the Arizona Branch Conservatory, the event was moderated by E.E. Moe and co-hosted by Greg Lutz, and took place at the MEGAW Actors Studio, donated by Syd Morrison. The sold-out event included SAG members and our invited sister union members from AFTRA and Equity, as well as several nonmember participants. Director of Photography was Jeff DeAvila.
The level of talent was very high, all professionals committed to constantly updating their skills with workshops and training. Under Paul Napier’s brilliant direction, the impressive group was encouraged to move past comfort zones and take risks. His in-depth personal critiques, coaching style, sense of humor and passion for his craft created an atmosphere of total trust. His practical approach and suggestions, along with the willingness of each actor to “get out of the box,” had all of us working without any self-consciousness. The full-day event featured on-camera, on-your-feet applications as a spokesperson in the morning, followed by two-to-three-person spots in the afternoon. The selected copy was challenging and spot-on for each person auditioning. It also included full rehearsals and slate, with tape and playback critiques. Yes, we had a working brown bag lunch!
None of us wanted the session to end and he begged us not to come to L.A. for casting, for fear that he might lose a job to one of us. We all felt the session was exemplary.
Paul never fails to inspire and bring out the best in each person. I have known Paul since the early days of the MEGAW studio in Los Angeles, where our involvement in our unions and wide group of mutual friends cemented our friendship. It was wonderful for me to reconnect our long-time association in L.A. theatre/film and to know that no matter where we go, the friends we have made in this business are always lasting and treasured gems.
About Paul Napier:
Paul Napier is one of the founding members and continuing producers of the annual, nationally televised Screen Actors Guild Awards show. He began his career 40 years ago as the announcer for the then-new Rochester Americans professional hockey team. After moving to Los Angeles, he originated the Mr. Goodwrench character for the General Motors commercial campaign. Among his more than 400 commercial credits are his recent appearances for Washington Mutual. He has been on the national boards and involved with policy decisions for SAG and AFTRA for more than 20 years, and has been a member of negotiating teams for the unions since 1981.
Arizona BookPALS Coordinator
BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is a program established by SAG and devoted to developing a love for reading in young people. Members in 13 chapters nationwide read to more than 100,000 elementary school children each week, using their skills as actors and storytellers to bring stories alive and inspiring children to read.
BookPALS volunteer for an hour a week (one half hour in two classrooms) for a semester to read and discuss stories with the children. Readers work with teachers to choose literature good for the class and the curriculum. Volunteers usually read the same story to two classrooms in the same grade, at the same time and day of the week.
BookPALs commit to an entire semester or an agreed-upon number of weeks. If the volunteer is ill or has a work-related commitment come up, they must let their coordinator or teacher know and reschedule. Children come to rely on the BookPALS volunteer’s visit, so treat the occasion as a regular job and don’t disappoint them.
Volunteers chose their own reading materials, with advice from teachers and librarians regarding age-appropriate materials. Reader workshops are held regularly and provide suggestions about materials and performing for this specialized audience. Be sure to get a copy of the school calendar, so you will know when the school is not in session.
If you cannot make a semester commitment, you can be a storyteller or reader at BookPALS special events or telephone storylines throughout the year. Many other ways of contributing include book drives and fundraising. A BookPALS volunteer gets back many times over what he or she puts into the experience — the satisfaction of acting for the most appreciative of audiences cannot be equaled.
The Arizona Coordinator for BookPALS is Ellen Dean. She can be reached by telephone at (602) 750-2923 or (602) 870-9458, or by email at email@example.com. She can help potential volunteers connect with a school and particular classrooms that need their service. For more information, go to www.bookpals.net. Start reading and have fun.
IF YOU NEED AN AGENT, BE SURE IT’S A SAG AGENT
Arizona members are reminded that members’ talent agents must be franchised by the Guild. The following Arizona agencies are SAG:
• Dani’s Agency
• Ford/Robert Black Agency
• Fosi’s Talent Agency
• Leighton Agency Inc.
• Signature Models & Talent
For contact information, go the Arizona page on SAG.org and look under Local Resources. If you have any questions, please call the Arizona office: (480) 264-7696 or (800) 724-0767.
(Since January 2011)
New Joins and Re-Joins: April Coleman, Daniel Jay Cook, Michelle Lambeau, Brian A. Mulligan, Ann Reining, Lilah Ruiz, Alexandra Shipp, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Sam Yahyawi
Transfers In: Muhammad Ali, Daniel L. Bennett, Katrin Biemann, Lloyd Botway, Diana Charles, Daniel Diaz, Jeff Jay Edwards, Vania Elise, Laura Fallon, Stephen K Gadd, Stan Garner, Rick Hamilton, Nikia Haqq, Taft Hartley, James Henriksen, Frank M Holtry, Shannon Hudson, Josh William Johnson, K. P. Johnson, Lincoln F. Kennedy, Mike Maxx Knox, Peter Lupus, Gena Nolin, Nancy Parsons, Stephanie Perlman, Shannon Power, Nicholas Ravencroft, Chris Robinson, Staci Robbins, Peter Samuel, Leon B. Stevens, Donald Thomas Sumski, Johnny L. Watkins, Amy Wiese, Paul Winters, Pete Wooster, Joy Zavaleta
5757 Wilshire Boulevard, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, California