Dallas/Ft. Worth 2010:05

The Official E-Newsletter of the DFW Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the DFW Branch
May 2010

PROACT LAUNCHES DFW
SCRIPT TO SCREEN

When: Sunday, May 16
4 - 6 p.m.

Where: Contemporary
Theatre of Dallas
5601 Sears Street
Dallas, TX  75206

lucas and lazaria


What happens when the children of Cupid and psyche are left to handle love on earth and the arrows stop working? ProACT has chosen to launch the DFW Script to Screen reader series with Lucas and Lazaria, a fantasy romance by Pete Alegre, produced by Barbara Bratton and directed by Sharon Garrison.

The successful Script to Screen program that began in Houston, and bloomed in Austin, has now arrived in Dallas. This film script, read LIVE with professional talent before an industry audience, launches the inaugural Dallas read on Sunday, May 16.

The focus of the Script to Screen program is to bring interested industry parties together with professional actors and scripts that are ready for production.

Script to Screen reads are held live for one day only and are free and open to the public. For more information regarding the Script to Screen series, contact Trish Avery at trish.avery@sag.org or call (972) 361-8185 or (800) 724-0767, option 7.

JOINT BARGAINING OK'ED;
HOWARD TAPPED TO LEAD

Meeting in a videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York on March 13, the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors approved 78 percent to 22 percent a joint bargaining agreement with AFTRA for the negotiation of successor agreements for the contracts covering theatrical motion pictures and primetime dramatic television. The AFTRA National Board of Directors previously approved joint bargaining at its meeting February 27.

Guild President Ken Howard said, “I applaud the board’s action. Bargaining together is a smart decision and voting up this agreement clearly serves the best interests of all SAG members. I’m grateful to the board and look forward to working with our partners at AFTRA toward a successful negotiation.”

Added Guild National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White, “This is a positive step that delivers a significant benefit to our members. There is no disputing that we are stronger together and joint negotiation of these contracts makes sense for both our organizations."

At its April board plenary, the board appointed President Howard as chair of the Guild’s TV/Theatrical Joint Wages and Working Conditions Plenary and Negotiating committees. He will be a voting member of both committees.

Dates and locations for Hollywood Division Wages and Working Conditions meetings and caucuses will be made available to Hollywood Division members once they are finalized.

WORKING IN FILM
OR TELEVISION?


How’s that TV/Theatrical  Contract working for you? Go ahead. Tell us a thing or two.

Plug into the upcoming joint SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical W&W (Wages & Working Conditions) discussions. Call SAG at (972) 361-8185 and say, “I want to be a part of the W&W.”

WHITE HOUSE URGED TO
STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST
DIGITAL THEFT

On March 24 a wide coalition representing American movie, television and music industry and labor groups urged the Federal Government to bolster its efforts to protect intellectual property and protect the jobs and wages lost because of content theft.

In response to a request for public comment by the White House’s Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, SAG, AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, the NMPA, the MPAA and the RIAA submitted a joint filing that outlined the organizations’ collective views.

The groups commended Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, for embarking on this landmark effort to develop the first Joint Strategic Plan for enforcing intellectual property rights. And while they hailed the promise of online distribution models, in their submission they emphasized that its potential was undermined by the theft of creative content.

Click here to download the filing.

Click here to download the AFL-CIO Statement 3-2-10.

Click here
to download the Letter to US IPEC Victoria Espinel from AFM, AFTRA, DGA, IATSE & SAG.

Click here to download the release.

SAG AGENT OF THE MONTH

Are you represented by a terrific, franchised agent that you believe does not get the recognition that he or she deserves? Is your agent always there for you, guiding your career, advising you, watching your back, and generally being a mensch without much fanfare or praise? Well, now is your chance to change all of that!

Let us know why your agent is the best agent out there and he or she may be the next SAG Agent of the Month. Tell us (and the world) in your own moving way why your agent is special to you. And, if chosen, SAG will run a picture of your agent (and you!) celebrating your agent’s star status as SAG Agent of the Month.

Mention this program to your fellow SAG performers, and keep those letters coming. We will choose a different agent at the start of every month and feature the honoree on SAG’s website for the world to see. With your help, your agent can finally get those richly deserved kudos!

Please send all entries by e-mail to agentquestion@sag.org, or by mail to SAG Agent of the Month, SAG Agency Department, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600. We look forward to hearing from you!

NEW WEBSITE FOR
YOUNG PERFORMERS


The SAG National Young Performers Committee has created a new website specifically to educate and inform young performers and their parents about Screen Actors Guild and the entertainment industry.

Funded through a grant from the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund, the Young Performers website features video interviews, an interactive on-set feature, quizzes, frequently asked member questions, plus an online version of the SAG Young Performers Handbook. “We wanted a place where kids and their parents could go to get information in a fun, cool way,” said committee chair Justin Shenkarow. “With the new Young Performer’s website, we’ve definitely achieved that.”

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
AND TRANSFERS-IN

New: Valencia Esposti, Margaret Lake

Transfers: Kevin Abercrombie, David E. Allen, Cowboy Kenny Bartram, Betsy Beutler, Robert Gus Blue, Shelley Buckner, Brian Burt, David Chrisman, Mark Dealessandro, Emma Lynne Duke, Burton Gazzara, Virginia Gear, Marjorie Hayes, David Hollander, Joyce Lynn Johnson, Michael Ben Kimmel, Myles Mason, Sean A. McGaughy, Raymond McKinnon, John Gibson Miller, Kelly Mize, Shane Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Cheyenne Rushing, Chris Salcedo, Carol Speed, Lawrence Sullivan, Patti Jo Vazquez, Jennifer Wilkerson

CURRENT TEXAS
PRODUCTION ACTIVITY


The Guild has been contacted by the following productions about becoming signatory to one of our collective bargaining agreements. These producers may not have completed the signatory process at this time. It's the responsibility of each member to confirm each producer has signed the applicable contract before making an agreement to render services.

Failure to confirm the signatory status before rendering services may lead to disciplinary charges being filed.

If you have any questions, please contact the office at (800) SAG-0767, option 7, or (972) 361-8185.


HOW TO GET
THE AUDITION!


1.  List your current e-mail address at SAG.org.

2.  Register on Twitter to TxSAGNetwork.

3.  Upload your headshot/resume to iActor.org.

DFW MOURNS PASSING
OF KIM DAWSON


Kim Dawson — internationally known model, franchised agent since 1971, and industry advocate — died recently of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. SAG and AFTRA members mourn the loss of one of our best advocates in the entertainment business. Dawson’s influence in the world of modeling, broadcasting and education has left a significant mark on the Texas landscape and touched the lives of many around the world.

brend anderson

Notes from the Prez

By Brent Anderson

Howdy folks, I’ve got a couple of important issues to talk to you about today that will have an impact on all of the union talent in North Texas. However, I hope you’ll understand if I take a moment first to pay tribute to a very special lady who we lost recently.

Kim Dawson

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the passing of Dallas’ own Kim Dawson. This industry pioneer did as much (if not more) than just about anyone else to help put Dallas on the map both nationally and internationally. From her early days as a model and teacher in New York, to her success in establishing the Kim Dawson Agency as a modeling and talent powerhouse, Kim  did everything with style. But for those who only knew her by the public image and reputation, I’d just like to say how sorry I am you never got to meet Kim personally. 

I signed with K.D. back in 1992, and from the moment I met Kim, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smile more sincere or friendly. She could walk up to anyone, offer a warm embrace, and make that person feel as if they were the center of the universe. To demonstrate this further, Kim had a habit of writing all sorts of congratulations to her actors and models on their paychecks, happy for their success that week and thanking them for being a part of the agency. It was a personal touch that made me want to work as hard as I could for this wonderful lady.

Well, Kim stopped signing the checks several years ago, as her battle with Alzheimer’s made it difficult for her to keep working as she once did. And of course, as you know, the economy has hit all of us very hard, so like everyone else, my checks have been a bit fewer and far between. 

But wouldn’t you know it, sometime not long ago, I had the good fortune of landing some nice little jobs all around the same time. I knew a respectable payday was coming, but what I didn’t expect was a personal phone call from Lisa Dawson — Kim’s daughter and owner of the agency — congratulating me for my success that week!

And just like that, everything old was new again…

Thanks Kim, for all you did, and for all the lives you brightened. Your beautiful smile will be missed…but you left us a wonderful legacy, and your personal touch lives on.

Third Time’s the Charm…


I want to bring up a topic that’s been debated endlessly over the years since I first joined both unions. And that subject is MERGER. You may already be hearing rumors of new attempts at merger coming up, so I wanted to give you my perspective, while I can.

When I joined SAG and AFTRA back in 1991 here in Dallas, I experienced something unique, as did every other actor who joined here last century. When I plopped down my cold hard cash for a down payment on my initiation fee, I instantly became a member of BOTH SAG and AFTRA. I joined BOTH unions with ONE payment.

At the time, I’d heard about SAG but had no knowledge of AFTRA. I had no idea how health insurance worked, or that I could possibly be covered by two separate pension and health plans. I didn’t realize that I was making ONE payment to ONE union office, which was being split between TWO unions.

In fact, when I started receiving information in the mail (back in the pre-civilization days before e-mail), I noticed there was ONE president as well as ONE set of officers representing DFW locally. My agent, my peers — heck, even my parents — talked about SAG and AFTRA as THE union — as in ONE union.

Of course, I didn’t care because all I knew was that I was going to be a proud union actor. For all practical purposes, I believed I had joined one union.

But now, as the years have gone by, the split between the unions has become more obvious. We make dues payments to both SAG and AFTRA. We receive health and pension information twice, from two different organizations. One union covers one job, and the other union covers another. We use the same skill sets to perform in different jobs, resulting in contributions to separate pension and health plans that have ever-increasing earnings requirements.

We live in a separate world with separate unions and separate dues payments, working hard under separate contracts, hoping to earn insurance in two separate health and pension plans. All the while, we’re using the same basic skills to do the same thing: act.

Yeah, I don’t think it makes much sense either.

Well, since I’ve been a member of the unions, there have been two attempts to merge them into one entity. The last time, the proposal was defeated by roughly 2 percent of the SAG membership, when the vote to merge was 58 percent in favor (60 percent is necessary to change our constitution). AFTRA members voted YES to merger by a ratio of 78 percent to 22 percent. The vote was close…. But not quite close enough.

Which has always seemed just a little bit silly to me. You see, we here in Texas used to be a bit of an anomaly in the SAG and AFTRA world. We were one of the few (if not the only) Locals/Branches in which performers routinely joined both unions at once, and were served by a joint office staff that effectively operated as if employed by one union. We already had a merger, and it seemed to work pretty well.

Look, there’s a lot more to merging these unions than I can cover in this article. And I know there will be challenges for sure. But I’d like to go on record as saying I’m one Texas actor who believes strongly in creating ONE, NEW UNION that will work to the benefit of us all.

Whether you agree with me or not, do yourself (and all of us) a favor the next time you hear the subject of merger come up: RESEARCH the FACTS, TALK to other members to see what people think, and MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND.

Working together, maybe we can find a way, once and for all to WORK TOGETHER. Third time’s the charm, right?

proact logo

Marketing for Success

proact group

The ProACT ”Marketing for Success” workshop’s featured panelists — Brad Barton, Ron Gonzalez, Lar Park Lincoln and Selma Pinkard — join workshop participants April 26 for a group photo at Robyn Flatt Studio, Dallas Children's Theater Discover more ProACT workshops by visiting Facebook: ProACT in DFW.


New Dawn, New Day and New Digs

By Linda Dowell
Regional Branch Division Executive Director

Do you know those times when you feel like you are going in circles? I had that feeling recently as I sat with a group of energized SAG members talking strategically about the marketplace and about ways in which we can grow the work opportunities for our members. Every few years, this seems to happen. A group of inspired leaders step up to the plate to say, “Hey, how can I contribute to our growth and make things happen for union actors here in DFW?” Some may say going in circles is pointless, but I see it differently. I look at these moments as new dawns. As not only a time to reflect on where we are, but more importantly, where we want to be and what it will take to get us there. Without these periods where we circle back together to focus our efforts on our mission and our big-picture initiatives, we would remain stagnant in an ever-changing production environment. We would lose what we gain and waste opportunity to use the creative ideas that typically spawn from these discussions. The circle would unravel, and we would find ourselves sliding downward.

Become part of the inner loop. Join us in our leadership discussions and you will find you learn a lot about the DFW marketplace and just how much your fellow members care about the profession and improving the livelihoods of those working here. Perhaps contribute to one of our designated teams or committees and see what’s possible when members come together to make things happen. Play a role in supporting our efforts to improve standards for all performers. The Texas Moving Image Incentive Program, passed by the legislature in 2007 and funded in 2009, has brought much business to Texas. Television pilots and series, film projects, animation, video games and commercials have all reaped the benefit of this successful program and work opportunities are up as a result. While Texas is again one of the hottest production destinations in the country, we cannot take the incentive for granted. With the approaching 2011 legislative session, it will be essential for the industry to come together to fight for an adequate allocation of dollars to continue to bring business to the state. To find out what you can do to help, go to txmpa.org, or give me a call at
(972) 361-8185.

The incentive program has meant big business and some big-budget projects, but Texas still remains a hotbed for low budget film production and new media work. Most of these projects are produced by local filmmakers, and many of them are producing for the first time. As much as we (your staff) try to get out into the  production associations and college film departments to share information on our contracts, it remains a responsibility of every member to ensure that when you work, you work under the protection of one of our contracts. One member recently believed a producer who said, “Oh, sure, I’m working with SAG and everything is taken care of.” Yet, the member did not sign a SAG Performer Contract and there was no SAG Production Time Report to sign at the end of each day.

Staff should have heard from this member before ever showing up on set, but unfortunately, we did not, and the member is now being investigated for a Rule One violation. It may sound harsh and unreasonable to enforce Rule One for a low-paying (or even no pay) gig for a friend producing a webisode or short film, but realize that if members willingly perform without a contract, there’s no need for contracts and no need for this union. Our sliding scale approach works for low-budget filmmakers and gives members the opportunity to work with the minimal protections you deserve — i.e. standard working conditions and a residual structure should there be additional (and sometimes profitable) distribution. Please take Rule One seriously – it only takes a phone call to staff to know whether the project is cleared and OK for you to work.

Finally, I am thrilled to share with you that we are planning to move into new digs in early June. SAG staff members are setting up a new shop at the intersection of the North Dallas Tollway and Belt Line Road. Having ”lived” in an executive suite for the past five years, it is especially exciting to have a space that we can truly call home and a meeting room that the leadership can call its own. And, a convenience many of you have asked for is coming to fruition: AFTRA will be moving to an adjoining office. That effectively makes our space the roost where unions rule! Watch for details early summer, and we’ll see you at our open house.

suzanne burkhead

Organize, Organize, Organize

By Suzanne Burkhead
National Board Member, DFW Branch

Traditional union organizing doesn’t really work for the freelance performer. So, then, how do we do it in non-traditional ways, using a fresh approach?

In case you haven’t heard, we are conducting the member-driven Professional Standards Campaign  in Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Our goal? Build union density in our market in order to maintain union standards and increase job opportunities for members.

We are working on this through three programs: ProACT, continuing its successful programs and beginning its subscription base; video production, which is in the planning stages for a series of original videos, designed to promote the unions; and outreach. Sharon Garrison remains at the helm of ProACT, and Brent Anderson is leading the video production team.

I am heading the Outreach Work Group. As we make our plans to "reach out" to the performers in Dallas/Ft. Worth, the first steps are underway. In the coming weeks, we will be addressing key issues to implement our plan:

• Internal organizing: training for members;
• Building local alliances: outreach to pre-union performers;
• Local commercials and non-broadcast: what can members do to recapture union work?

Organizing is all about members working together.

To bring about change, performers must come together through our union to share ideas, learn from each other, learn from our friends and allies, and build smart, strategic plans to move us
forward.

So why don’t you join us? Together, we can make a difference. Sign up by contacting sheila.cooper@sag.org.

Pros Leading the Way in a Changing Market

(Back) - Neil Carpenter, John Athas, Suzanne Burkhead, Howard Flaherty, Brent Anderson, T.J. Jones (staff), Carolyn Reis McCormick, Brian Dakota; (middle) - Travis Tedford, Rosemarie Clampitt, Barbara Bratton, Linda Dowell (staff); (front) - Grover Coulson, Sharon Garrison, Sheela Tessler, Kelly Christian

Opportunity’s Knocking

Before too long, you'll find very important information specific to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Branch in your mailbox.  It's something you'll want to look at and not just toss in the pile of "I'll get to it later" mail.

The DFW Branch consists of professional performers throughout North Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas who diligently work to create better opportunities for all.
Wonder where they get their ideas? From members just like you.
Get involved! Discover your fellow Branch visionaries and add your creative ideas to the discussion.

But wait . . . Do we have your correct address? You might want to update your Member Profile at SAG.org so that opportunity knows where to find you.

New Franchised Agent

The DFW Branch Council welcomes a new SAG franchised agent, Danette Linicomn of The Linicomn Agency.