A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
For this issue, we asked Zino Macaluso, national director/senior counsel, Agency Relations, one of the most common questions we get from Arizona members.
Question: Is there a SAG talent agreement I need to sign with my agent?
Answer: SAG-franchised agents can only sign performers to SAG-approved agency contracts, which are available to the agents free of charge off of the SAG website.
Any nonconforming contract used by our franchised agents is null and void and has no effect by virtue of the protective language inserted into SAG’s Agency Contract, Rule 16(g). No SAG member should sign any contract that is not SAG — please note that AFTRA contracts do not cover SAG work. If you are represented by a SAG-franchised agent in Arizona, make sure that the only contracts that you sign are SAG-approved, not only to protect your rights, but those of the agent as well.
TRUE OR FALSE?
1. No member of SAG may engage, use or deal through any agent for work in the film industry unless such agent holds a franchise from the Guild. A list of Arizona franchised agents can be found at SAG.org on the Arizona page.
2. The agent shall owe the duty to the actor to consider only the interests of the actor in any dealings for the actor, and shall never consider or act upon the interest of the agent when such interests are adverse to the interest of the actor.
3. The agent may not use or authorize the use of their agency name to be advertised in conjunction with other groups or schools, e.g. photograph; business management; radio, television, dramatic schools; coaching; or little theater.
4. No commissions shall be payable on the following:
> Travel expenses, living expenses or per diems.
> Reimbursement for travel, mileage, wardrobe, special hairdress, etc.
> Penalty payments (i.e., late pay, meal period violation, forced call, rest period violations, etc.)
5. After the initial 21 months, commercial re-use is commissionable only when the employment contract provides for overscale payments and does not reduce payment below minimum scale.
Answers: All of the above are true.
AFTRA '3RD THURSDAY WORKSHOPS' OPEN TO ARIZONA SAG MEMBERS
The Phoenix Local of AFTRA invites members of SAG to sign up for its exciting programs of workshops led by well-known professionals in Arizona. The following are scheduled events that take place every third Thursday of the month.
When: 7–9 p.m. Check-in 6:45 p.m. Workshops will begin promptly.
April 19: Introduction to Green Screen Performance Technique. Dearing Studio (see below for address). Instructor: Matthew Dearing. This workshop will offer the opportunity to experience firsthand the challenges and demands of the genre. You will be introduced to skills required to achieve a convincing performance in an environment where nothing is as it seems.
May 17: Improving Your Improv. Verve Studio (see below for address). Instructor: Jeff Rawls. Improvisation is the art of thinking on your feet and off the top of your head. It’s unscripted, shoot from the hip and on the spot. This class will show how improving your improv skills can help you in the audition process.
June 21: Nailing the Audition. Verve Studio (see below for address). Producer and director instructors to be announced. Through this workshop, you will attain meaningful insight from the best of the best in this business, gaining two different perspectives of what end result is desired during the audition.
Dearing Studio Location:
108056 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85028
Verve Studio Location:
7735 E. Gelding, Suite 5, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Cost: Pre-registration is required. $15 for each workshop for AFTRA and SAG members, $30 for nonmembers. Checks or money orders payable to AFTRA Workshop should be mailed with your name, phone number and the desired workshop(s) to: AFTRA Workshop, 20352 N. 51st Avenue, Suite 134, Glendale, AZ 85308.
Questions: Contact Roxanne Chaisson at (623) 687-9977 or by email. Seating is limited. Register right away.
MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS BENEFITS
Screen Actors Guild members and SAG-franchised agents who may be in the market for extra protection for their families are now eligible to receive the lowest rates Aflac offers on various supplemental insurance options — just one of many benefits SAG members enjoy.
Unlike health insurance, Aflac pays cash benefits when a triggering health event occurs, which can help with things major medical insurance doesn’t pay, like mortgage payments, rent, groceries, car payments or other bills and expenses. Aflac will pay cash benefits regardless of any other insurance coverage, and is available to all SAG members and franchised agents, regardless of qualification for other insurance programs. Call Aflac’s toll-free line at (800) 788-4031 for more information.
You can find plenty of other moneysaving deals and special offers at SAG.org. Log on and check out the Deals and Discounts tab to learn more.
The Guild does not endorse any particular insurance agency, carrier, coverage, plan or product. You should review the terms of all coverage carefully and evaluate each carrier using your independent judgment.
WHERE ARE MY RESIDUALS?
By Don Livesay
Arizona Branch Executive Director
To a member, the session fee is more often just a partial payment. The rest of your pay is in the residuals generated when the recorded product is used. And that product can be edited, tweaked, cut, sliced and diced and distributed hundreds of different ways, all meaning more money to the producer and more money to the performer.
Because residuals show the worth of the work, policing unauthorized use of the product is of primary importance to SAG, and you can help us get that job done. Please keep in mind the size of the check you receive and when you receive it are determined by the contract under which you worked. Because most of the work we do in Arizona is under the TV/Theatrical and the Commercials contracts, I will review very briefly the steps you can take when the residual check doesn’t arrive for these two areas of employment.
Movies and Television
I always advise our members to keep track of when they see a release. Clip the TV listing from the paper and put it in the file for this film, along with your contract. Or, if the film has been made into a DVD, find the promotion or listing online and print it out.
Be sure the Guild has your correct contact information. If so, then email the Residuals Department or phone us at (800) 205-7716, and they will help answer your question. Many times the check might not be late at all; it's just not time for the check to be sent. If you think we have lost touch with you, try the Residual Tracker in the Member Services section at SAG.org. When dealing with the Guild, always be ready to provide your name, member number, project title and a brief description of the problem. You will be contacted promptly as to the actions being taken on your behalf, and periodically updated as to the status, if necessary.
Depending upon the different types of use the advertiser is making of the spot, residual payments can come within 15 days, quarterly and seasonally, and checks can appear in your mailbox when you might not be expecting them at all. The different types of residuals are explained here.
How a commercial was used can be determined by what appears on the residual check stub, but that information is coded and can be confusing. If you have trouble understanding what you received, give me a call. If you don’t receive payment or believe you have not been paid properly, you should file a claim inquiry. For commercials, it is necessary to provide us with date, time, station and city where the commercial was sighted, to the best of your knowledge.
Filing a claim inquiry with SAG
Filing a claim inquiry form is a means by which you can help us help you. To start the process, call (323) 549-6507 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for TV/theatrical; to initiate a residuals claim for a commercials, find the claim form here. Once a claim inquiry has been filed with SAG, it is investigated by members of the Contracts team to determine if it is valid with respect to the apparent facts and relevant contract provisions. If the claim inquiry has been determined to have sufficient validity, it is filed by SAG with the employer as a formal claim. If it is not valid, the inquiry is closed and the performer who submitted the inquiry is advised of the Guild’s decision and the reasons for the determination.
Remember, the Arizona Branch office is here as well to answer any questions you might have along the way. Call (480) 264-7696, (800) 724-0767, or email email@example.com.
The Arizona Close Up is published quarterly by the Arizona Branch. Your ideas and articles are what make it work and are respectfully requested. Please send them to Executive Director Don Livesay at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is your newsletter and we need YOU. Thanks!
— Arizona Close-Up Editor Betsy Beard
By Mark DeMichele
Arizona Branch President
Greetings fellow actors!
The column for this issue is pretty short and simple:
Vote yes! (aye, affirmative, in favor of the referendum, si, da, thumbs up…however you express it.) Please take a look at our national director's report elsewhere in this issue for details. For my part, I can say that I was able to attend the plenary session in L.A. on January 26, heard more than six hours of speakers both for and against the referendum, listened to the explanations of questions relating to the new constitution and the merger agreement, and watched as 87.13 percent of the National Board approved the agreement.
The constitution and agreement have been posted to the SAGAFTRA.org website and, if you check it out, I feel confident that you will agree the merger is in every Arizona SAG member’s best interest.
Are the documents perfect? Most certainly not, but the new union will be better and stronger than what currently exists, and the documents are intended to be “living documents,” in that they can be changed or further specified to reflect the needs of the (larger) membership, or in response to changes in technology or the industry.
I will make myself available to any member who has any questions, and if I can’t answer them, I will find someone who can. Leave a message for me with Don Livesay at (480) 264-7696 or send an email to email@example.com.
Every vote counts, so please return your YES vote.
The reasons to vote yes are numerous and articulated on the SAG-AFTRA website, as well as in our National Board member’s column.
Corny, perhaps, but on this issue I can’t help but think of Leonard Nimoy’s line as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”
By Steve Fried
National Board Director
Merger is not a done deal unless we all vote it up. Remember, it is imperative the paid-up membership vote! In a SAG election, every vote does count! Not less than 60 percent of each guild's voting members must approve merger. If you have voted YES or are going to vote YES to the merger of AFTRA-SAG, there is no need to read the rest of this.
It should be obvious (but it isn’t to all) that necessity mandates the merger of the two unions. Aside from new technology blurring jurisdictional lines, merging the unions will substantially increase our bargaining power at the negotiating table. As stated in my last article, there isn’t a downside to the merger. I predicted an increase in base dues and that is a reality: $198. If you are already a dual cardholder, that amount will be a reduction. However, if there isn’t a merger, there will be an increase anyway, maybe even more than is established for the new union.
I want to give you a heads-up regarding the naysayer’s attitude. As mentioned in the last issue, the scare tactic is that no one knows if/when P&H will be combined. Unfortunately, knowing the outcome of a P&H resolve is not feasible now, since merger must first occur for the trustees to consider an action.
Two essential points to know are: 1) Legally, there is no obstacle to the merger of the P&H plans; and 2) By law, a participant in the pension plan cannot receive less then they receive now. The trustees of each of the plans must do what is best for their respective membership. Using the P&H issue to get you to vote no is a great scare tactic. Another ploy could be that every single administrative action to be used in the new union is not yet spelled out in detail. That is true; however, there is an excellent plan on the table. It was crafted through gaining consensus of the joint workgroups. Neither AFTRA nor SAG representatives got all that each had in mind, but did achieve agreement on a module that will fill the needs of their members and our members in the new union. There is enough structure for the joint boards and joint staff after the merger is approved to agree on filling the blanks. The last-ditch attempt the naysayers will probably use to skew the vote is the post card you may receive on the day you decide to vote from one of their “celebrities” telling you to vote no. Do not listen to that bull.
Merging the two unions won’t adversely affect the working actor. To the contrary, I need to stress that we will have more bargaining power at the many negotiating tables. Combining/merging our SAG Branch Council with Phoenix AFTRA Local Council will be a non-event. Our interests have always been the same. Back in the day, we met jointly. Our combined membership will jump to more than 1,000 Arizona members (Note: The information you will see refers to our proposed Local as the Phoenix Local, a name to “hold our place” until the joint Branch/Local Councils meet to craft our own rules of procedure, which will include our new Local’s name).
Those who need questions answered before the vote — or anyone for that matter who needs answers — please either email me through Don Livesay or call Don at (800) 724-0767 and request that I telephone you.
To be continued…
Our panelists at the Scottsdale informational meeting, from left, AFTRA 2nd Vice President Gabrielle Carteris, SAG Arizona Branch National Board Director Steven Fried, AFTRA Phoenix Local National Board Director Marge Ghigo and SAG 3rd Vice President David Hartley-Margolin.
Members gather March 1 for a SAG-AFTRA informational meeting at Verve Studios in Scottsdale. From left, Earl Smith, Nancy Hall, Amada Melby, Bruce Halperin, Margie Ghigo, Joe Corcoran, Sean Kapera, Steven Fried, David Hartley-Margolin, Betsy Beard, AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director Mathis Dunn and Gabrielle Carteris.
Attending Tucson’s Informational Meeting on March 5, from left, are Don Frye, Bill Killian, Barbara Glover, Justin Kreinbrink, Harold Dixon, and Steven Fried. Seated in front are Maedell Dixon and Betsy Beard.
Many volunteers in Arizona helped get the message out to our members over the last few weeks. An informed vote is always critically important, and we are grateful to their service.
Arizona Council member-at-large Kyle Marsh was recently recognized as one of SAG’s top five most active team members in our member-to-member outreach in support of merger. The following is excerpted from a note she sent to her colleagues manning the phones.
I've had the privilege of speaking to so many of our members. They are so grateful that I had called. It makes them feel like we really do care about them and what they think, and that does make a difference. It comes with great satisfaction that I could do something to help my union. To all you who are calling, kudos to you. We need to make our unions a strong union with one voice.
By Deborah Lee Hall
Arizona Council Alternate and Awards Show Party Committee Chair
Attendees embraced a “dressy after 5” dress code for Arizona’s gala celebration of the 18th Annual SAG Awards viewing party on January 29, and especially enjoyed entering the venue along a 50-foot red carpet. Several dapper guests were in tuxedos and the ladies were smashing in their finery. In attendance were 40 SAG members and guests, directors, casting directors and two photographers.
Gathering in a two-room clubhouse in Phoenix, gala attendees enjoyed the large meeting room and a smaller library, which contains a large TV where we watched the awards.
The buffet-style dinner offered salad and a variety of hot meat dishes and a vegetarian offering. For dessert, cream puffs and a large sheet cake with the SAG logo were served. As an added bonus, we had decorative rope lighting and fresh Harkins Theatre popcorn, along with chocolate candies for dedicated moviegoers.
The meeting room was smartly decorated in “SAG blue” tablecloths with festive “spray” table toppers of blue and gold with star garland wiring. Sprinkled around the rooms were black, silver and gold star confetti, which really brought the whole design together. Another table decorated in the same style displayed the much-appreciated door prizes and gifts.
The event began at 5 p.m., allowing for one hour of buffet-style dining before the telecast of the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on TBS and TNT.
Guests began arriving before 5, anxious to get the party started by renewing old acquaintances and meeting new friends and members. Don Livesay checked our members and guests in at his own SAG-blue table.
During dinner, mistress of ceremonies Sharon Friendly asked Steve Fried to say a few words about the most talked-about event of the weekend: the upcoming merger vote for SAG and AFTRA members. Steve also explained the meaning of the Aflac ducks, a gift from Aflac for all the attendees.
A few minutes before 6 p.m, Sharon invited the attendees to the library where we watched the "welcome to the party" DVD from Ken Howard, SAG national president.
Sharon continued to keep the congenial audience entertained with questions to win door prizes provided by the SAG Awards Committee and TNT. Other prizes, such as a two-hour acting coaching session at Garth William’s Casting and a beautiful jewelry set donated by Sharon, were also offered.
Our official photographers, Still-N-Motion and members Nancy Hall and Earl Smith, finished setting up their gear and spent the rest of the evening snapping photos of the attendees against our own press wall. These photos can be seen and ordered by clicking here.
During two of the commercial breaks, our six helpers and two casting directors were invited to tell us a little about themselves. Each helper took the stage, revealing their acting goals and sharing their personalities. It is no secret that the Gala would not have gone so well without this dedicated and diligent group of young and not-so-young acting students, all anxious to grow in the craft and join the ranks of the Guild.
Casting directors Jan and Garth Williams spoke of their new studio and their hopes to see more SAG actors in the future.
January 2013 SAG Awards Gala
Want to help out with the Awards event next year? New committee members are always welcome. Contact the Council with your name and contact information. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special note from Don Livesay:
We should be very proud of the team led by Deborah Hall. The help was great — not speaking here about the film by that title, but the volunteer acting students who loaded me down with questions about joining and were so much a valued part of the evening. From everyone who attended, thank you for the tremendous team effort. It really paid off on so many levels. Hoping not to leave out anyone, special thanks also have to go to Sharon Friendly, Nancy and Earl Smith, and Steve Fried.
Submitted by Rodd Wolff
Arizona Stunt & Safety Chair
The following is from The Bulletin of the Screen Actors Guild, dated October 1939.
MINIMUM WEEK SALARY SOUGHT FOR STUNTMEN
The Guild and producers will negotiate in an effort to establish a suitable weekly minimum for stuntmen. Contemplated arbitration has been deferred in favor of negotiation.
Where arbitration procedure would limit the issue to wages, negotiation will permit the Guild to seek other benefits for stuntmen. John Dales Jr., Nate Edwards and Harvey Parry will represent the Guild in the negotiations, which seek to close a loophole in the Basic Agreement.
It was this loophole which enabled stuntmen who accepted a $95 weekly salary contract at Paramount to escape conviction on charges of conduct unbecoming Guild member. The Board of Directors found these stuntmen morally, but not legally, guilty of conduct unbecoming Guild members.
The basic agreement establishes a daily minimum of $35 for stuntmen. It does not fix a weekly minimum. At the time the contract was drawn, stuntmen themselves did not want a weekly rate. They considered they were able to take care of themselves on the problem of weekly compensation.
In the intervening period, a weekly minimum of $200 for stuntmen became a custom, but was not binding upon the producers. There was nothing legally to prevent producers from employing stuntmen who, without regard for the effect of their actions on their fellow actors, would undercut the customary scale.
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