The film department staff of Dearborn High School had arranged for an interview with Director Joel Zwick (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Full House ), but it turned out that they had no interviewer. When they called Screen Actors Guild for assistance, Detroit SAG member Tom Force came to the rescue. After extensively researching Zwick’s history in the entertainment business, Force came prepared with a wide variety of questions--and the students listened, silent and mesmerized. They especially liked the anecdotes relating to Full House, a television program that they watched as children.
Zwick was incredibly generous with his time at the school, and we thank Force for his efforts and commendable interview skills.
1. Public Act 657
It has been six months since the incentive bill became a law (now referred to as Public Act 657), and several production companies have already taken advantage of the incentives. This is a cash-back incentive plan that covers films, documentaries AND commercials. To qualify, a company must submit an application to the Michigan Film Office for pre-approval, and the company must spend at least $200,000 in Michigan.
As a commissioner of the Michigan Film Advisory Commission, I am working with others to grow our commercial industry via Public Act 657. Here are some of our steps:
- · To inform advertising and production companies about Public Act 657 and how they might use it.
- To inform buyers of advertising about the new economic advantages of keeping their commercial productions in Michigan.
- To develop a “Keep One Home” campaign, a plan to urge Michigan companies to bring at least one commercial production back to Michigan.
If we can just KEEP ONE HOME – one more commercial spot produced here in Michigan instead of elsewhere – we will all benefit.
2. Film Festivals in Michigan
I recently returned from the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, Michigan. This festival, one of the best in the country, offers three days of 70 films, five seminars and several venues for meeting-and-greeting of actors and producers. As a panelist, I had the opportunity to talk about SAG at the “Made In Michigan” seminar. I was joined by Janet Lockwood, Director of the Michigan Film Office, Representative Bill Huizenga, sponsor of the film incentive bills and Hopwood DePree, founder of The Waterfront Film Festival and TicTock Studios.
I encourage SAG members to attend film festivals whenever possible. Go to thesagshop.com and purchase your “uniform” of a SAG shirt or hat. I had a different SAG shirt on each day of the festival and the shirts truly attract attention. And have fun. A film festival offers the perfect entertainment to those who love movies.
3. The Latest Right-To-Work Actions in Michigan
A new bill, HB 4811, was introduced to the Labor Committee of the House on May 22, 2007. This bill is different from previous right-to-work bills as it allows for a city, county, township or school district to authorize “a right-to-work zone within its boundaries by a vote of its governing body or by adoption of a measure initiated by the people...”
In other words, if it becomes too difficult to pass right-to-work for the state of Michigan, then perhaps it will not be as difficult to pass such laws by communities.
There has been an abundance of right-to-work discussions in the media this past year, and members have asked me for refutable points. Here are some prepared by the Michigan AFL-CIO:
- Shouldn’t individual workers be able to choose to be in or out of the union if they want? No, that’s not the way majority rule works in America. A majority of workers vote for the union to represent them and the minority has the same representation. Just as one politician represents Democrats and Republicans after the election, so the union does too, with an all-union contract clause.
- Aren’t there any union members who want right-to-work in Michigan? There would only be a few. Some members might be mad that they lost a grievance or are otherwise unhappy with their union. The large majority of union members know that a unified organization is stronger and will produce a better deal for workers.
- Don’t right-to-work states have better economics. No, the only state to go right-to-work in 46 years, Oklahoma, has now lost over 22,000 manufacturing jobs after right-to-work took effect. North Carolina is a right-to-work state. They have lost an even greater percent of manufacturing jobs in the past few years than Michigan has. Right-to-work has not meant more jobs in these states.
Our SAG branch is taking an active role in fighting right-to-work legislation in Michigan. As always, we will keep our members posted on important information and possible actions.
Branch executive director
Screen Actors Guild is the first labor union to receive an Award of Excellence Star and is only the fifth organization ever to receive a star. The SAG Foundation will be honoring the Screen Actors Guild’s 75th anniversary and the Award of Excellence Star. The SAG Foundation is accepting donations to raise funds for the Foundation, and its programs, as well as the installation and maintenance of the star. Contributions in excess of the amount expended to cover the cost of the star will be used to fund other SAG Foundation programs, including those that assist performers in need.
Please consider making a generous tax-deductible donation in support of your star and the SAG Foundation by going to www.sagfoundation.org or by mailing a check to: SAG Foundation, Award of Excellence, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Please welcome our newest members:
- Tai Chou
- Elecia Jaon
- Angel Mao
- Liz Rezler
- Ethan Helman Scherrer
- Jared Helman Scherrer
Please welcome those SAG members who recently transferred to our Detroit branch:
- Louis Balestra
- Loren Bass
- Ed Cole
- Kathryn Dobson
- Kirk Erickson
- Paul Jackson-Miles
- Jeanine Newcombe
- Jim Schultheis
- Mike Shepherd
#1 Unlimited or Extended Editing Rights and the Maximum Period of Use (MPU)
When you freely bargain for extended or unlimited editing rights for an Internet and/or new media commercial that has been moved over from broadcast or cable, make sure to bargain for the rights to coincide with the use. If you don't bargain for the same period of time as the use (one year for an initial term), the producer may continue to utilize the editing rights up to the maximum period of use of 21 months.
On a made for Internet or made for new media commercial, extended or unlimited editing rights, if negotiated, would coincide with the negotiated maximum period of use. Please note that the maximum period of use on a made for Internet or made for new media commercial is negotiable, but in no circumstances can the initial use be longer than 21 months.
#2 Insurance Conflicts
If you are booked on an automobile insurance commercial at scale rate, the conflict area you are being held for should ONLY be automobile insurance. If you are being held for additional insurance areas, such as life insurance, health insurance, or comprehensive insurance, you should be compensated for those additional areas. One to three non-competitive products or services are paid at a minimum of 150 percent of scale rate for session and use. Four or more noncompetitive products or services are paid at a minimum of 200 percent of scale rate for session and use.
Questions? Please contact the Commercials Departments:
Screen Actors Guild National (323) 549-6858 or in New York (212) 827-1454
Just sign in as a member at www.sag.org.
Questions? Call the helpline at (800) 724-0767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Detroit branch iActor training session is in the planning stages. More information coming soon!