Detroit 2008:07

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Detroit 2008:07


By Marcia Fishman
Detroit Branch Executive Director

Recent events have showcased our Detroit Branch and our state.

In our Branch domain at SAG, the Detroit Branch hosted a Regional Branch Division meeting at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency, May 1-3. In attendance were the Regional Branch presidents, national board members and essential staff from across the country. Since Detroit was this year’s location of choice, branch members diligently worked at creating a true Detroit experience. Some of Detroit's finest union leaders put a special light on the city as they inspired the audience with their knowledge and fervor.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger first spoke of the challenges we face as union members. Following Gettelfinger were two experienced organizers, Terry Thurman from UAW and Jon Curtiss from AFT. AFSCME Council 25 Secretary-Treasurer Lawrence Roehrig was the last of the morning speakers. The day, however, was concluded with Michigan AFL-CIO speaker Mark Gaffney, as he passionately discussed the strategic plan behind the unions' fight against potential right-to-work laws in our state.

A catered dinner at The Automotive Hall of Fame was the perfect backdrop to end the meetings in Michigan. This mini museum offers antiques, stories and interactive messages, all demonstrating our state's influence on the automotive industry.

We hope that our brothers and sisters enjoyed their stay in Michigan. We were certainly proud to be their host.

In the motion picture domain, Michigan has surely become a frontrunner as a prime location. Since the new film incentive package bill became law on April 8, 2008 (Public Act No.77), producers have been eager to bring their projects to Michigan. In summary, the law states that qualifying productions (film, tape, digital) include, but are not limited to: motion picture (narrative or documentary), television, Internet programming, music videos, video games, animation and interactive websites. Commercials are presently not included in the laws.

Fiscal facts include 40 percent refundable tax credit or monetary rebate (if there is no Michigan Business Tax liability) from all expenditures incurred in Michigan, 30 percent rebate applied for non-resident crew members and 2 percent additional rebate when shooting in one of 103 core communities. The minimum expenditure is $50,000, with no project cap, no annual cap and no sunset.

To date, 33 film projects have been approved by Michigan Treasury. Some include:

Street Boss
The Job
Youth in Revolt
Prayers for Bobby
Whip It
Right Angle
The Falls
Seven Below Zero
Starlight & Superfish
Not So Fast
The Saint
Clock Tower
Gran Torino

We all share the hope that members of SAG and our production community prove that Michigan is a viable state for the motion picture industry.


On June 21, SAG members throughout the country commemorated the 75th Anniversary of Screen Actors Guild. Detroit members joined the celebration with a picnic under a tent at the Detroit Zoo. With a hot catered brunch, door prizes and impending weather held at bay, a good time was had by all. Following the meal, everyone scattered to view the animals that patiently awaited their spectators.


Detroit members had a rare opportunity to discuss negotiations with National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen, Deputy National Executive Director of Contracts Ray Rodriguez, and Deputy National Executive Director and General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. This Member Town Hall Meeting was held via video conference on June 24.

After brief remarks by President Alan Rosenberg, Doug Allen gave a PowerPoint presentation as he updated the members on the TV/Theatrical Contract negotiations. He also discussed the present relations between SAG and AFTRA. The meeting was open for questions, and since the Detroit Branch was the sole Branch at the meeting, all questions were addressed. Members remained after the video conference so that they could converse further amongst themselves.

Although this meeting was created with short notification, the room was filled with intelligent and concerned members. If there is a future opportunity for such a town hall meeting, I strongly encourage members to attend. This was an incredible use of time and effort.


Michigan is now one of the most popular locations for film production and yet, as of April 8, 2008 (same date as the film incentive bills became Michigan law), only 12.15 percent of paid-up Detroit Branch SAG members have entered at least one resume in iActor. Those who cast from iActor will choose non-Michigan residents if Detroit Branch members do not appear on the site.

iActor is the only online casting directory that features exclusively Screen Actors Guild talent and puts onsite Station 12 cast clearance at the industry’s fingertips. If you are on iActor, you can be seen 24/7 by industry professionals who are searching for talent for work in SAG-signatory productions.

Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage because you are not on iActor, especially when the film industry is growing at such a great rate. Find out more at You may also call (323) 549-6451, or write to



More often nowadays, we are seeing commercial producers shoot behind-the-scenes footage. The usage for this type of footage varies: Internet, director’s reel, advertiser’s in-house reel, etc. This work is covered under the SAG Industrial & Educational Contract and should be negotiated separately from the commercial work. If behind-the-scenes footage is not negotiated at the time of booking, contact SAG immediately, and we will notify the producer that they are required to negotiate and pay for this under the Industrial & Educational Contract.


Under the 2006-2008 Extension Agreement, extended or unlimited editing rights on commercials originally made for broadcast or cable and subsequently moved over the to the Internet or new media must be negotiated. The negotiated amount must be above and beyond the minimum 300 percent move-over fee for use in each area. As an example, a producer MAY NOT offer 300 percent for a move-over fee on a commercial that was originally made for broadcast and will now be shown on a cell phone and include five edits in that amount. Payment should be negotiated at not less than 300 percent for the cell phone use plus a separately negotiated amount for additional edits. To include additional edits as part of the use fee undercuts the contract and the union should be notified immediately, as claims for non-payment of edits will be filed against the producers on behalf of all principal performers in the spots.

Questions? Please contact the Commercials and Industrial Contracts Department:

Los Angeles
(323) 549-6858
New York
(212) 827-1454


Although Detroit members celebrated the 75th anniversary of Screen Actors Guild on June 21, everyone can continue to commemorate it with the new 75th anniversary items in Buy a tee shirt or polo and wear it proud.


If you haven’t done so already, please pay your dues today. If you are not an active paid-up member in good standing, you will not be able to serve on the Council or committees. You also must be paid to date to register on iActor, the Guild’s online casting program, which is now being used by casting directors nationwide. If you have any questions regarding your dues, please contact the Membership Department at (800) SAG-0767, prompt 2, or (212) 944-6243.


Contact Detroit Branch Executive Director Marcia Fishman at (248) 351-2678, (800) 724-0767, ext. 7 or