Florida 2008:11

Florida 2008:11

November 25, 2008

WELCOME TO THE 15TH EDITION OF THE SUNSHINE SLATE

This quarterly e-newsletter gives you news and information about the Florida Branch of Screen Actors Guild. If you have any comments or suggestions with regard to The Sunshine Slate, please contact South Region Executive Julie Balter at (800) SAG-0767, option 5, ext 222, or via e-mail at jbalter@sag.org.

Florida Branch members enjoy a reception and movie screening with their annual membership meeting at Cinema Paradiso. At foreground table, clockwise from top: Vincent Locurto, Judith Epstein, Frances Mansfield and Julio Torresoto.

MEMBERSHIP MEETING AND FILM FESTIVAL MIX FOR FULL HOUSE ATTENDANCE

Membership meetings are always important resources for career information, but they’re even more compelling when you’re rewarded for your free time.

Thanks to the Florida Branch’s sponsorship of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, members attended a reception and free festival film screening after our general meeting at Cinema Paradiso. Each attendee also received two complimentary tickets to FLIFF films, and our grand prize winner claimed all-expense passes to every festival film, event and party.

“We had our biggest turnout for our annual meeting in recent memory, and I can only attribute this to marrying our meeting to the film festival,” said Branch President Steve Gladstone. “We will continue to blend facts with festivity wherever and whenever we can.“

SAG returned to host all-day events for the Festival’s Sunshine Celluloid Day, which features films made entirely in Florida. We started off with a Low Budget Contract Workshop, including a panel of SAG staff and the creative team of the feature film Patsy—Florida SAG member, lead actor and producer Brett Golov, writer-director Anton Jarvis and Florida cast member and SAG National Low Budget Committee member Rod Ball. A big thanks to them, as well all of the Los Angeles and Florida cast members who came out to encourage indie producers to go SAG.

“In spite of our small budget, it never even occurred to us to try to make this film without SAG actors,” said Jarvis. “The staff at the local SAG office was great to work with and made this so much easier for us.”

Cast and creative team of Patsy:
(bottom) SAG members Carmen Lopez
and Ryan Matthew, (top) SAG member
Judy Clayton, write-director Anton
Jarvis, casting director Ellen Jacoby,
producer and member Brett Golov and
SAG member Patrick Michael Buckley.

Patsy played to a packed house after the workshop, and was capped off by a SAG-sponsored networking mixer. Attendees included the Patsy team, as well as Florida Casting Director Ellen Jacoby, whose credits include the locally filmed television series Burn Notice and such films as The Hours and There’s Something About Mary.

The 2008 Festival closed with SRO attendance for the Florida-based film Bart Got a Room, which also earned a Best Director Award for native Brian Heckler. We send huge shout-outs to both Heckler, who fought for Bart to film in Florida, and to the local SAG principal cast: Mike Benitez, Carrie Elizabeth Drazek, Elena Maria Garcia, Kate Karpinski, Betty Knowles, Lisset Deval Lao, Margot Moreland and Joan Turner.

We look forward to an ongoing partnership with FLIFF throughout the year and encourage members to support Cinema Paradiso’s unique venue for SAG indie films.

BRANCH PRESIDENT'S REPORT

By Steve Gladstone
Florida Branch President

I am buoyed by the wonderful member turnout at our last annual meeting held in the surroundings of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Enthusiasm is high. Our recent surge in new e-mail signups (200-plus) and our iActor penetration of greater than 17 percent (our goal is 20 percent) is some blue sky I appreciate.

It's all about the value an actor places on his or her performance and the contracts born of that value. The longer a nonunion commercial runs, the less the actor makes. The objective of our contracts is to pay a fair wage and protect the future value of our performances.

It's worthwhile to remember that a nonunion shoot means higher agent commissions, slow and sometimes no payment, no overtime, no residuals, no pension and health, no FICA and unemployment contributions and compromised safety standards.

I will not attempt to expose “right to work” laws for what they are but simply will point out they are anti-union laws. They strike at the very heart of organizing, the foundation of any union, by encouraging workers not to join.

There are some sobering dots to connect. If you look at wages and conditions across the 50 states, in the 22 states with ”right to work” laws, Florida and Texas being the largest, the average worker in a ”right to work” state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other states ($35,500, compared with $30,167).

Weekly wages are $72 greater in union security states than in ”right to work” states ($621, compared with $549). Where health insurance is concerned, 21 percent more people lack health insurance in ”right to work” states compared with union security states. Moreover, the infant mortality rate is 16 percent higher in ”right to work” states.

Safety is a huge issue for all workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 51 percent higher in ”right to work” states. Such states also have a poverty rate of 12.5 percent, compared with 10.2 percent for other states. Maximum weekly worker compensation benefits are $30 higher in union security states also ($609, compared with $579 in ”right to work” states).

It is difficult to organize when workers are willing to work for lower wages. We can’t force an employer’s hand to raise wages and working conditions when they have the workforce they need to get the job done for less.

It is up to each one of us to get the word out to the nonunion talent pool that being in the union is the good, right and healthy thing to do. We call this ”internal organizing“—bringing them in one actor at a time. When that nonunion talent pool shrinks, the more union production grows, as do our wages, rights and conditions.

CARLOS GUERRERO: BEST ACTOR OF THE  NEXT GENERATION

It’s quite fitting that Florida SAG member Carlos Guerrero received California Next Gen Film Festival’s Best Actor Award, considering that he comes from a family of actors. Guerrero, son of the late SAG member Jorge Guerrero, and the father of emerging actor Carlos Jr., was recognized by the festival for his leading role in Joel Rodriguez’ film Undocumented.

Guerrero

Carlos first appeared on camera as a young child, cradled in his father’s arms. As an adult, he’s established himself as one of Florida’s leading bilingual actors. Guerrero’s credits include everything from Spanish soap operas to leading and supporting roles in more than 20 short films, as well as countless national commercials for both markets. However, he always returns to his father’s advice: “to be happy in life, you must do what you love.” Guerrero is passing these sage words along to his four children, including Carlos Jr., who is striving to earn his SAG card.

The Florida Branch congratulates Carlos on his auspicious award, and we look forward to representing the next generation of Guerrero Guild members.

NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION, TRAINING SEMINAR AND UPCOMING EVENTS

By David Fazekas
South Region Executive

The Central Florida office held a new member orientation on July 30 at The Lisa Maile School in Winter Park. I conducted the orientation with the assistance of Florida Branch Councilor Rich Carey. The orientation program reviewed such important topics as the basic provisions relating to your employment from the audition process to how residuals work, your relationship with franchised agents, services and opportunities provided by the Guild and Screen Actors Guild Foundation and understanding the rules of being a member of Screen Actors Guild.

I thank Rich Carey for assisting with this important program and for providing the members with his personal experiences and insights. I also thank Debbie Wisner and Debby Tapia of The Lisa Maile School for providing a classroom for this orientation.

The Central Florida office held its second iActor training seminar for Guild members on October 30 at Strayer University in Maitland. Guild member Tom Hillmann and I conducted the training seminar to provide hands-on assistance to members in registering on the iActor site. Members also received help in uploading their résumés and headshots to the iActor site as well as advice regarding posting their video and voice clips on the site. I thank both Tom Hillmann for once again volunteering his time and expertise during this seminar. I also thank Dan Dominisac, campus director of Strayer University, for the use of the computer lab and for being so accommodating to all of our needs.

Central Florida Informational Meeting

When: Monday, December 8, 2008
6:30 p.m. Mixer with refreshments
7:30 p.m. Meeting commences

Where: Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa
1900 Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

www.buenavistapalace.com

Please check your e-mail and the Florida Branch website in the near future for more information on these and other events. If you have any questions, please contact South Region Executive David Fazekas at (407) 788-3020, or (800) SAG-0767, option 7, or via e-mail at dfazekas@sag.org.

CENTRAL FLORIDA SCREEN ACTORS GUILD CONSERVATORY

Weekly On-Camera Cold Reading/Practice Workshop

Date: Tuesday evenings
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Casselberry, Fla. (Orlando area)
Details: Free, very small classes (1–3 actors). Bring your script, or select one from our library. Individual sessions can be arranged if you need to practice for an audition. Reservations for this ongoing workshop must be made one day in advance (Monday). Available to paid-up Florida Branch Members only. Please call Walter Nill at (407) 695-0049 or Dave Fazekas (SAG) at (407) 788-3020 for scheduling and information.

CHECK YOUR BACKSIDE: ACT AS ONE ON 1.01

Check the back side of your Screen Actors Guild membership card, and you'll see the most important rule by which SAG members must abide. Rule 1 states that no member shall work for or agree to work for a producer who is not signatory to the appropriate SAG agreement. Starting January 1, 2009, Rule 1 will be vigorously enforced in new media.

New media means the Internet, cell phones, PDAs and any other technology that may be invented in the future. That means every time you work on a project intended for new media, you need to be covered by a union contract. Being covered by a SAG contract right from the start is a good thing because in new media, you never know where you’ll find an audience or how successful a project may become.

Keep reading Guild communications for information about the SAG New Media Agreement and the opportunities and protections it provides to SAG members as well as general information about new media. You’ll also find articles and ads that have appeared recently in Guild publications and in the trades discussing why the rule and the contract are so important.

Screen Actors Guild can provide more information and answer your specific questions at organizingnewmedia@sag.org or (323) 549-6777.

COMMERCIAL AUDITIONS: ALWAYS SIGN IN AND OUT

Marilyn Kirschen
South Region Business Representative

Whether you’re attending an audition for a principal role or an interview as an extra, always remember to sign in and out at the casting session. It is a requirement for the producer to provide Audition Report Forms at all SAG commercial casting sessions.

These sheets are submitted to the union and assist us in gathering valuable data. They even could serve to generate some additional payment to you if there are violations at the audition or interview. Generally we cannot pursue a claim for you if you do not fill in the Audition Report completely and sign out.

The relevant sections of the Commercials Contract are as follows:

“If, at either a first or second audition, the principal performer is required to remain for more than 1 hour from the time of call or arrival, which is later, he/she shall be compensated for all time on said call in excess of 1 hour, at straight time, in ½-hour units, at the rate of $35.45 per unit.”

“A third audition shall be not less than 2 hours, for which the principal performer shall be paid a minimum fee of $141.80. For all time in excess of 2 hours, the principal performer shall be paid at straight time in ½-hour units, at the rate of $35.45 per unit.”

“Extra performers (other than hand models) may be called for the first interview which shall not exceed 1 hour without payment of an interview allowance. For the second hour of interview, extra performers shall be paid 1/8 of such extra performer’s applicable minimum wage…”

In addition, in order to process any payment for overtime on a first or second audition or payment for a third or fourth audition, advertising agencies and payroll houses need an identification number. Some companies will not pay if there is no Social Security number or member ID written on the audition sheet. Writing “on file” or any other variation is not the same as writing an identification number and will not protect your contractual rights. We do not recommend that you use your SSN, but we ask you to always write down your Member ID. That way, if you are ever owed monies from an audition, you will be paid.

For clarification or additional information regarding commercial auditions, contact Marilyn Kirschen, business representative, at (800) SAG-0767, option 5, ext. 228, or via e-mail at mkirschen@sag.org.

SAG FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS

2009 Applications Available Now

Thanks to the SAG Foundation’s John L. Dales Scholarship Fund, for the past three years Florida Member Henderson Gilleland received a $4,000 scholarship for his daughter’s education at Appalachian State University. That’s a $12,000 savings, all because Henderson is a SAG member. In 2007, another Florida member, Kaci Kennedy received $4,000 toward tuition for the College of William and Mary. “We are so grateful for their help,” said Kaci’s mom, Charlene, who also has another daughter in SAG. “This has made a huge difference for us in being able to pay for her education.”

Apply today to find out whether the foundation can help you or a family member with education or career transition. The 2009 John L. Dales Scholarship application for eligible SAG members and children of members is available at the foundation website, SAGFoundation.org/scholarships. There are two types of scholarships, standard and transitional. The application deadline is March 16, 2009. For more information, contact Davidson Lloyd at
(323) 549-6649 or dlloyd@SAG.org.

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation is a humanitarian, educational and philanthropic organization that offers substantive programs to Guild members and the greater community through its programs. For more information, or to make a charitable donation, please visit SAGFoundation.org.

FLORIDA BOOKPALS CELEBRATES 10 YEARS

The 2008–09 school year marks the 10-year anniversary of the inception of Florida BookPALS. In that time we’ve achieved many great things. More than 300 volunteers have touched the lives of more than 15,000 children across the state each year. We’ve put 25,000 brand new books into the hands of children who most need them. We’ve raised more than $70,000 in grants and fund-raisers to expand our commitment to early literacy through programs like We the Children, Family Reading, Storyline and PencilPALS. More than anything else, the people we call BookPALS and PencilPALS have changed lives and made a real difference to the children they serve.

Special acknowledgement goes to a handful of Super Stellar BookPALS who’ve not only been with us for the long haul, but who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve. Their enthusiasm and passion for this cause are indeed what keeps us alive and thriving in these uncertain times. They are the stars of countless shows and the reasons for so many smiles. My heartfelt thanks to each of you for the part you play in advancing children’s literacy: Judy Babcock, Sondra Barrett, Angela Bomford, Bill Cordell, Dan Fitzgerald, Peter Haig, Taylor Mathews, Wendy Michaels, LeRoy Mitchell and Diane Shaheen.

If you’re not a BookPAL or PencilPAL yet, it’s never too late to join our fold! Contact Natalie Rogers at (321) 229-0638 or nrogers@sagfoundation.org to sign up. Visit www.bookpals.net or SAGFoundation.org to learn more about the SAG Foundation’s literacy projects.

SAG, AFTRA AND AEA ANNOUNCE I AM PWD CAMPAIGN

The Performers With Disabilities Tri-Union Committee of Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Actors’ Equity Association announced the launch of a major disability rights campaign to increase the visibility and equal employment opportunities for actors, broadcasters and sound recording artists with disabilities throughout the entertainment and news media—I AM PWD (Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People With Disabilities). The announcement was made October 6 at news conferences in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Florida Branch president and co-chair of the Guild’s National Performers with Disabilities Committee Steve Gladstone observed, “The struggle for inclusion for performers with disabilities is not unlike the struggle for civil rights in the 1960s. Because we exist on our sidewalks, in our grocery stores, back alleys, court rooms, dance halls and in lover’s triangles, we belong on our big and small screens. We are ordinary folks who are assumed different, but indeed the same as anyone else.”

Robert David Hall, national chair of the Tri-Union Performers with Disabilities Committee, said, “I’m fortunate to have a good career as an actor and creative artist. The normal struggles any performer faces, however, are complicated tenfold by our industry’s reluctance to include people with disabilities in the full landscape of entertainment. In the 21st century, media is the world’s common cultural environment. Society’s values and priorities are expressed and reflected in film, television, theatre, news and music. If you aren’t seen and heard, you are invisible. People with disabilities are largely invisible within the arts and media landscape. I AM PWD will awaken the general public to the lack of inclusion and universal access for people with disabilities by uniting with a network of industry, labor, community and government allies.”

SAG’s National President Alan Rosenberg said, “Screen Actors Guild is committed to inclusion of all actors, and will work tirelessly to advocate and seek visibility and equal employment opportunities for performers with disabilities, as they are an integral part of the diverse landscape of the Guild membership and the American Scene.” 

AEA President Mark Zimmerman said, “Actors’ Equity acknowledges that the growth and vitality of our collective industry is dependent upon the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion, and wholeheartedly endorses the I AM PWD campaign. The theatre should, and must, reflect the true diversity of our society.”

“Our responsibility as union members is to challenge any and all roadblocks to inclusion and access in the workplace,” said AFTRA President Roberta Reardon. “AFTRA has led the fight against all forms of discrimination on so many fronts throughout our history and I am proud to be part of this important day in announcing this landmark disability rights campaign. Now is the time to stand together to combat discrimination and truly integrate our brothers and sisters with disabilities into the promise of the American Scene.”

The mission of the Tri-Union PWD Committee is to serve as the means to enhance the status and promote the advancement of performers with disabilities; nurture members’ knowledge and skills; improve members’ professional careers through the sharing and dispersing of information; promote the profession as a whole; further the understanding of the profession and foster understanding and respect for the disabled performers within; develop and improve working standards; and assist in the continuing development of ethical standards for practitioners in the industry.

Over the course of the three-year I AM PWD campaign, the group will reach out to the entertainment and media industries, the general public, political and legislative leaders and to national and global civil rights, labor and community allies in an effort to urge the entertainment industry to open up equal opportunities for disabled performers.

Interested allies are urged to join the I AM PWD network of supporters by signing up at IAMPWD.org.

iActor: ONE CLICK COULD CHANGE YOUR CAREER

Simple, functional, convenient and free, iActor—SAG’s revolutionary online casting directory—is an essential career and production tool. iActor is the only online casting directory that exclusively features SAG members and automated Station 12 cast clearance.

Available to all casting directors working on signatory productions, iActor allows casting professionals to search through members’ headshots, résumés and media by any combination of terms, such as gender, ethnicity, special skills or credits.

By creating their résumés and adding their headshots, SAG members will be at the fingertips of the industry’s top casting professionals. Members also can use the service to e-mail résumés to casting directors directly, any time of the day or night. To sign up, simply log on to SAG.org. It could change your career.

PRODUCTION UPDATE

The Guild has been contacted by the following productions about becoming signatory to one of the Screen Actors Guild’s collective bargaining agreements. Please be advised these producers may not have completed the signatory process at this time. It is the responsibility of each member to confirm that 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 5.

Central/North Florida

Prime of Your Life
Prime of Your Life Pictures, LLC
Location: Tampa
Start Date: November 24, 2008
Contact: Nicole Abisinio at nicoleabisinio@yahoo.com

ScareZone
FWC Pictures, LLC
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Start: November 4, 2008
Contact: Tim Powell at (407) 595-0749

South Florida

Miami Guns—Ultra Low Budget

Supersonic Entertainment
Location: Miami
Start: August 8, 2008

Sub-Prime—Theatrical
The World is Ours, LLC
Location: Miami
Start Date: September 28, 2008

For the complete listings of productions across the Southeast, click here. (This is for members only and you must log in.)

Because access to our update is restricted to SAG members in good standing only, we ask your continued cooperation in maintaining the confidentiality of its contents. Therefore, please refrain from sharing this update, or forwarding e-mailed updates to anyone.

NEW MEMBERS AND TRANSFERS

The Florida Branch welcomes the following members:

New Members

Kirsten Banka, Jose Antonio Beltran, Tamar T. Berk, Javier Carrasquillo, Georgia Chris, Peter Corrdova, Angelo Paul Costa, Carlos Michael Diaz, Oscar A. Diaz, Elise Girardin, Catherine Hayden, Kate J. Holliday, Natacha Itzel, Courtney Paige Kramer, Lindsey Erin Krom, Euriamis Losada, Larry Milby, Brandon Perry, Tania Pilar, Avery Kristen Pohl, David Perez Ribada, Janmarco Santiago, Jaynee Silvers, Montana Tucker and Ricky Wayne

Transfers

Afa Anoai-Somoan, Ian Aronson,Tammy Bass, Matthew Bergen, Patrick Brody, Patrick Michael Buckley, John Paul Campbell, Tommy Canary, Steve Carnahan, Dennis Creaghan, James Charles Curkenm, C.J. Davis, Robert DeFrank, Iake, Eissinmann, Paul John Ennis, Lai-Si Fernandez, Danielle Ferretti, Christopher Field, Tabitha Field, Shannon Franklin, Zach Franklin, Richard A. Haitz, L.A. Hardy, Victoria Hester, Channing Humphries, Gregory Iseminger, Lawrence Johansen, Michael H. King, Daniel Ladmirault, Rachel Shelle Littman, Devlin Mann, Amy Elizabeth McKenna, Matthew McKerrow, Richard James Neilan, Philip Edward Olivas, Mariam Pearlman, Daniel Petcovic, Laura Pinner, Clay Rivers, Olivia D. Robinson, Joy Rosenthal, Desiree Russo, Dianna Scott, Michael H. Small, Mella Varos, Craig Lee Watson, Fred Weinberg, Jerry Winkowski, Donald Wolfe and Crystina Wyler

UNCLAIMED RESIDUALS: GET YOUR MONEY!

Screen Actors Guild is facing a dilemma: getting performers or their heirs to collect their unclaimed residuals. A surplus of unclaimed residuals sits unable to be sent out. Although the Guild knows to whom these funds belong, it can’t send the checks to these performers, in most cases because the Guild doesn’t have the correct mailing information for the residuals recipients. Some residuals checks belong to nonmembers or one-time actors, many of whom aren’t even aware that they have residuals coming to them. In an effort to reduce this surplus, the Finance Committee is embarking on a marketing campaign to get the word out to possible residuals recipients. The campaign, called “Get Your Money,” will reach out to SAG members and non-SAG members through internal publications and online campaigns. If you would like to see whether you have residuals owed to you, visit www.SAG.org/GetYourMoney. Enter your name and “Get Your Money!” Have questions or want to speak with a residuals representative? E-mail residualtrust@sag.org, or call (800) 205-7716 or (323) 549-6535.

A MESSAGE FROM THE SAG FOUNDATION

Since 1985, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation has embraced its mission to assist, educate and inspire actors to their fullest career potential and to give back to the communities in which they live. While we are not a part of Screen Actors Guild, we are dedicated to serving its members.

From board of directors to staff to volunteers, the foundation’s diverse makeup is a large component of this non-profit 501(c)3 organization’s success. Governed independently of the Guild, the non-political, non-partisan foundation is a collective body bringing different personalities, attitudes and opinions together in service of actors who, like us, come from all walks of life.

Chances are that we’ve already helped you, or someone you know, with financial assistance in a time of crisis, scholarship monies, efforts we make toward children’s literacy, time spent in the Actors Center (the only resource center of its kind in Los Angeles), or seminars, workshops and other career-informing events. In any case, please visit our website at www.sagfoundation.org to find out more about us.

Our work is rewarding, but not easy. Our programs and benefits are supported not by your Guild membership dues or fees but by grants, donations and our own fundraising efforts. Resources are limited, and times have been exceptionally hard. Our Emergency Assistance program, overtaxed by economic blows such as the recent Writers Guild strike which put countless actors out of work, has far exceeded its budget and the livelihood of the foundation as a whole is in delicate balance.

It takes an actor to understand an actor’s struggle. Most of us at the foundation are actors, and by learning more about the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, we hope that you will gain a greater understanding of our work and what it takes to keep us going. Your tax-deductible donation can make a huge difference in the life of a fellow actor. You can donate online whenever you wish, make automatic monthly donations, or send us a check made payable to Screen Actors Guild Foundation. You can also think about residual checks, no matter what their size, which might benefit your peers by signing them over to the foundation as a charitable contribution.

Meanwhile, we also encourage you, as a SAG member, to think about the services we make available in support of your own career. Knowing, understanding and giving to the SAG Foundation is an investment not just in the foundation’s livelihood, but in yours.

Screen Actors Guild Foundation
5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 124
Los Angeles, CA 90036
phone: (323) 549-6708
fax: (323) 549-6710

SAG HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPING — thesagshop.com

Visit thesagshop.com for the latest in must-have, union-made merchandise. Buy gifts and accessories that demonstrate your good taste and your union pride.

KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BRANCH WEB PAGE

The Florida Branch Web page of SAG.org is an important resource for the membership. Visit http://florida.sag.org to stay updated on the latest Branch news.

HOW TO CONTACT US

Have a question about contracts, talent agents, your dues status? Need to file a claim? The Florida Branch Office is here to answer your questions and assist.

Telephone:
(800) SAG-0767, extension 5
E-mail: lkrensky@sag.org
Fax: (800) 844-5439
Mail: 7300 North Kendall Drive
Suite 620
Miami, FL  33156-7840