Colorado Branch members gained a victory in the recent Screen Actors Guild national elections with the re-election of Alan Rosenberg, the incumbent national president. Alan's re-election is a good thing for us, as he has reached out to the regional branches, such as Colorado, and helped unite the divisions within the boardroom. Secretary-Treasurer Connie Stevens was unopposed and re-elected for an additional term.
More good news includes national recognition of Screen Actors Guild over the coming months. On October 25, Screen Actors Guild will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. National Board member David Hartley-Margolin and I will be representing the Colorado Branch members at the official unveiling ceremony.
And in conjunction with the 75th Anniversary of Screen Actors Guild, June 21, 2008, has been designated "SAG Day." Our local branch is working out the details of the events we plan on having here in Colorado. You'll receive more news as the event starts to come together.
We're also keeping our eyes on next year's contract negotiations. Screen Actors Guild's Theatrical/Television and Commercial contracts are due to expire in June and October, respectively. Our national leaders are preparing for intense negotiations to protect our rights under those contracts.
One of the issues in the spotlight of those negotiations is the area of new media, which is exploding and completely changing the playing field. SAG recently announced that the new webisodic production quarterlife, set to debut November 11 on MySpaceTV.com, has signed a SAG contract and will be using SAG talent for this production. "This is another sign that the Internet is maturing into a productive distribution channel for professionally produced content," said Doug Allen, the Guild's national executive director.
"There's a growing audience expectation for higher quality programming on any platform. That's what Screen Actors Guild members provide," said Ray Rodriguez, the Guild's deputy national executive director for contracts.
Given these new opportunities, if you still haven't signed up for iActor, I encourage you to do so. It's important to have a strong branch showing.
Locally, our branch has been meeting with the Colorado Tourism Office to encourage the use of SAG talent in future commercial advertising. We've also been attending Democratic National Convention meetings to look for new opportunities for the Guild and meeting with the Colorado Film Commissioner to discuss film incentives.
Finally, the proponents of a right-to-work law continue to gather support. This is something we will watch closely in the coming months and will be working hand-in-hand with the Colorado AFL-CIO to ensure a RTW bill never makes it to the governor's desk.
That's all for now...
The arrival of Paramount Pictures' Nowhereland certainly created a buzz around Denver with news of Eddie Murphy and Thomas Hayden Church sightings appearing in all the major media outlets. The hoopla was great, but did the presence of Eddie and company actually benefit our local members? The answer is "yes"...in several ways. A number of our performers were cast in principal roles, and, of equal importance, it got folks talking about filming in Colorado again. Or more accurately, the question was asked: why aren't there more film, television and commercials being shot here? The answer is we don't have a decent incentive package.
However, we're hoping the current buzz will provide a springboard for changing that, and as members of the largest performers union in the state, you have a vested interest in helping to make this happen.
Step one: On Saturday, November 1, the Colorado Branch of Screen Actors Guild and the Colorado Film Commission are hosting a Film Incentives Organizing Meeting for the entire community. We'll have guest speakers from the Colorado State Legislature, business and film communities. This is more than just an informational session -- it's a call to action. We encourage you to get involved. We'll follow up with more details, but save this date:
When: Saturday, November 17, 1 p.m.
Where: Starz FilmCenter, Denver (Gallery 30)
Screen Actors Guild and SAGIndie Present:
"Casting the American Scene:
Diversity in the Entertainment Industry Today"
Saturday, November 17
Starz FilmCenter (Gallery 30)
Although great strides have been made in promoting the use of diverse actors in independent film, more can be done. It's still hard to find good storylines featuring strong characters who are seniors, women, persons of color, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
SAGIndie and Screen Actors Guild are committed to increasing employment opportunities for performers of all types. This issue affects not only actors, but also the communities they represent.
With this in mind, we are pleased to present the following:
Special screening of Invisible Women
This provocative and insightful short documentary, featuring Susan Sarandon and Christine Lahti, highlights the role of women over 40 in the industry today.
Panel Discussion - "Casting the American Scene"
Join us to discuss the film and participate in a panel discussion about diversity in filmmaking.
Our panelists include Susan Davis, the producer of Invisible Womenand a 30-year show business veteran with numerous film, television, theater and commercial credits to her name. (www.invisiblewomen.com)
Sara Davidson, a best-selling journalist and screenwriter, whose latest book, Leap! What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives? was bought by ABC for a series that will feature Goldie Hawn. Sara will be available after the panel discussion for a book signing. (www.saradavidson.com)
Other panelists as of this writing include:
Gregg Vigil, who with four friends founded the critically acclaimed musical theatre troupe for people with disabilities, PHAMALy, Inc. (The Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League, Inc.) in 1989.
Peggy Larson, C.S.A., the pre-eminent independent Colorado casting director who owned Colorado Casting for 20 years.
Moderator: Sheila Ivy Traister, an award-winning Colorado actress and Colorado Screen Actors Guild Council member, who most recently landed principal roles in Kevin Costner's Swing Vote and the television series In Plain Sight and Wildfire.
30th Anniversary Starz Denver Film Festival: November 8-18 (www.denverfilm.org)
*SAG members who join the Denver Film Society get a special limited edition poster from the 1991 Denver Film Festival (a beautiful black & white poster of a Colorado Drive-In Theater - very cool!) as well as special benefits at the film festival. If you're interested, call Eileen O'Brien at the Denver Film Society and she can handle everything right over the phone: (303) 595-3456 Ext. 222 or email her at email@example.com. (Be sure to tell her you're a SAG member.)
Mike Cerbo (above, right), recently named executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, chats with (from left) Colorado Screen Actors Guild President John Singer, Colorado Branch Executive Director Julie Crane and Colorado SAG Council Member David Stoddard at the October 6 state AFL-CIO barbecue held in his honor.
Cerbo is the former Colorado state representative from the 2nd House District and chairman of the House Majority Caucus. He represented Central and West Denver for five years. Before being elected to the Legislature, Cerbo was business manager for the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 14.
Among working family issues he plans to address in the coming months, Cerbo has pledged to help push for significantly increased incentive funding to attract motion picture and television production to Colorado. "It's inconceivable to me that year after year we've had to stand by and watch millions of film-business dollars pouring into the economies of states all around Colorado, simply because they've had the sense to put money on the table to bring that business into their jurisdictions," Cerbo told the Colorado Labor Advocate.
- Story and photo courtesy of the Colorado Labor Advocate.
The following individuals were re-elected to the Colorado Branch Council at its annual membership meeting on July 31.
Council members at large:
Sheila Ivy Traister
New Members: Carol Fullerton, Hailee Denham, Richard Volp, Debra-Jayne Brown, Joel Quenneville, J. Lonnie McFadden, Matt Wood, Jesse DiGrappa, Chelsea Barber, Cody A. Longo
Transfer Members: Krystle Amberson, John Vincent Hoff, Chris Johnsen, Debra Niewald, Daniel E. Shadwell, Trevor Clark, Delno Ebie, Trista Sutter, Corinne Laurance, Arizona Brooks, Charlee Chiv, Garret J Edington, Heather Wheeler, Sharon Kay White, Michael J. Duran, James Legros, Eric Margerum, Kathleen O'Brien, Mike Oshiver, Tom Paris, Robert Bubon, C. J. Simmers, Kim Bubon, Robert Trentadue, Vanessa Lunnon, Alexandra L Berlin, Kim Lankford. Connie Charlton Hovland, Kurt Michaelson
On June 13, the SAG National Board approved the new policy toward re-instatement of those members who choose to resign from the union - making that choice a permanent one. In accordance with Article IV of the Screen Actors Guild Constitution, members who resign are not eligible for reinstatement to the Guild. However, such persons may petition for a waiver of this policy.
The reinstatement candidate seeking a waiver of this policy is required to schedule an appearance before the Disciplinary Review Committee and present a petition for reinstatement that includes a list of all non-union work done during the period of time between resignation and reinstatement. A petition for reinstatement does not guarantee reinstatement.
"Individuals who make the choice to quit their union cannot expect to be allowed back in without the union asking some questions about why they quit and what sort of work they were doing," Screen Actors Guild Director of Organizing Todd Amorde said.
"Union membership is between the members and their union, not their agents, not casting directors and certainly not employers. Screen Actors Guild membership offers opportunities and resources that many members are not aware of, so we urge anyone considering resignation, for whatever reasons, to call the union first. We're here to give you straight answers and discuss your options."
This change will apply only to those individuals who have resigned from the union, not to those whose membership was terminated because of failure to pay dues. It also does not apply to members on honorable withdrawal or suspended payment status.
Screen Actors Guild has set up a hotline for reporting Spanish-language non-union commercials: (888) 297-4SAG (4724).
When should you use the hotline?
Our goal is to turn these non-union jobs into SAG-covered jobs. You can help by calling the SAG Spanish Language Non-Union Commercials Reporting Hotline toll free at (888) 297-4SAG (4724).
Please provide as much information as you can, such as the name of the advertiser, the advertising agency or production company, the pay rate, the location and the name of the casting director.
The SAG Commercials Department will investigate and follow up. You do not need to leave your name or contact number. All information will be treated confidentially.
Thank you for doing your part to help create more SAG jobs!
Marcia Smith, executive director of the SAG Foundation, reported that 100 scholarships at $4,000 each were awarded to eligible members and children of eligible members for the 2007 scholarship competition.
The Dales Scholarship Program was established in 1973 to honor John L. Dales, who served as Screen Actors Guild executive secretary for 37 years. Since 1974, 943 scholarships have been granted to eligible members and children of eligible members to assist them in pursuing their educational goals.
The 2008 application will be available November 1, 2007, by going to www.sagfoundation.org or calling (323) 549-6649. The Dales program is open to all eligible SAG members and their children.