Florida 2011:04

The Official E-Newsletter of the Florida Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the Florida Branch
April 2011

WELCOME TO THE
SUNSHINE SLATE

This quarterly e-newsletter gives you news and information about Screen Actors Guild Florida Branch. If you have any comments or suggestions with regard to The Sunshine Slate, please contact South Region Executive Julie Balter at (800) 724-0767, option 5, ext. 7089 or via e-mail at julie.balter@sag.org.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER FOR YOUR NEXT FLORIDA CASTING

Florida members can now get up-to-the-minute information on local and regional castings, as well as SAG events, by following us on Twitter at: twitter.com/SAGFLBranch. Our for-Florida-members-only site provides local casting information and notices to SAG members around the clock. 

Adjust your own setting to keep your information private, if you choose, and enable your mobile device to send the information directly to you. We are thrilled to offer this opportunity. Feedback welcomed at julie.balter@sag.org. Sign up, stay tuned and see you at the next casting

SAVE THESE DATES FOR EVENTS ACROSS THE STATE:

South Florida

Event: SAG Mixer
When: Thursday, May 12
Time: 6–8 p.m.
Where:  The Yardhouse, The Village at Gulfstream Park

Event: Film Florida Legends Awards (honoring Burt Reynolds and Dee Miller)
When: Thursday, June 30
Time: 6:30–10:30 p.m.
Where: Keith and Elaine Johnson World Performing Arts Center at Lynn University in Boca Raton

Central Florida

Event: Valencia 5k Run, Walk & Roll
When: Saturday, April 9
Time: 6 p.m.
Where: Valencia Community College (West Campus), Orlando

Event: Picnic
When: Saturday, April 30
Time: 12–4 p.m.
Where: Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, Orlando

SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US

Everyone has a story about becoming a member of SAG. We’d like to hear yours. Each one is special, and each one is what makes the Florida Branch as strong and unified as it is today. How did you feel when you finally became a member? What was your first job? How has SAG helped your career? We’d like to hear your story, so don’t be shy. Please send your submission to: julie.balter@sag.org.

TRACI DANIELLE OF BREVARD TALENT NAMED SAG NATIONAL AGENT OF THE MONTH

Traci Danielle of Brevard Talent Group in Orlando, Florida has received Screen Actors Guild’s Agent of the Month honor for January 2011. The SAG Agent of the Month program kicked off last year as a new way for SAG members to recognize their franchised agents and give them the recognition they deserve.

Agents are always there for actors, guiding their careers, and this program is a way for Guild members to be there for their agents. Members submit letters to the SAG Agency Relations Department explaining why their agent should be chosen. A different agent is selected at the start of every month and featured on the SAG website.

Mark Lanier, a SAG member from the Florida Branch, submitted a letter on behalf of his agent, Traci Danielle. “She is not the only agent I’ve ever had, but she has been the best,” said Lanier. “She has seen me through good periods and bad, but has always gone to bat for me when it counted, treating me and all her clients fairly, honestly and with respect. I am very proud to be represented by her, because she represents some of the best SAG talent in Central Florida. If you see a movie or TV show filmed in the Southeast, chances are very good that you’ll be seeing one or more of Traci’s clients.” 

Danielle said she’s honored to be selected for the award. “Although it is nice to be recognized for your hard work, it is through the dedication of my wonderful actors, casting directors and clients that Brevard Talent Group has been in business over 20 years,” she said. “It has been a privilege to share in the success of BTG actors and I look forward to saying ‘Congratulations you booked the job!’ for another 20 years.”

For Lanier, there’s no substitute for his SAG-franchised agent. “She has also always been a champion for SAG. She stood with us during the commercial strike a few years ago,” he said. “Her solidarity and support were incredibly welcome at a very difficult time. Traci always makes sure that we are as well prepared as we can possibly be, and that we comport ourselves with professionalism. And casting directors know this and appreciate it. Traci is an advocate and ally for her clients, respected by the casting directors with whom she works, trusted by all those with whom she does business and damned good at a very tough job.”

ACTORS CORNER: A COMPLETE LABORATORY CENTER FOR FLORIDA SAG MEMBERS

SAG members now have one more advantage over non-union actors: The Clarence Thomas Actors Corner (CTAC), and everyone is using it, from emerging actors to established veterans like Steven Bauer of Scarface fame. 

Conceived by your Florida Branch Council, the CTAC is modeled after the SAG Foundation Actor’s Center. For members, and run by members, it offers a complete laboratory space including:

• Digital video recording equipment
• Wi-fi computer lab, including editing software, DVD and CD burner, scanner and printer
• iActor tutorials
• Complete library of SAG Foundation Conversations DVDs (high profile members speaking to SAG members about their craft) and LifeRaft DVDs (series addressing the business side of acting)
• Lounge for rehearsing and running lines

Volunteers are needed — we can’t run our center without you. Here’s how you can help:

Expertise: We’re seeking skilled members to assist with camera recording and editing, including teaching a seminar on how to edit and send audition reels online.

Resources: Donate books or DVDs on the industry.

To volunteer or book a block of time for your personal use, please contact membership coordinator Eileen Neel at (800) 724-0767, option 5, extension 7079, or eileen.neel@sag.org

PRODUCTION UPDATE

To find out about productions scheduled to film in Florida and the greater Southeast, click here to connect to the Florida homepage. Remember, you must register with the SAG website in order to access this exclusive members-only information.

LOCAL MEMBER DISCOUNTS

We’re always interested in promoting special discounts for our members. If you know of a local vendor who might be willing to provide SAG members a discount on their services, let us know. It’s a win-win for everyone: It saves money for members and offers free advertising and exposure for approved vendors.

For suggestions, please contact julie.balter@sag.org, or david.fazekas@sag.org, and provide all the relevant information pertaining to the proposed discount.

Click here for details on discounts currently available

Note: All deals and discounts are administered by entities independent of SAG. Questions about each offer must be handled by the providers. The Guild does not endorse any of these services.

TAX ASSISTANCE WORKSHOP

On January 19, Central Florida members attended a first-of-its-kind tax assistance workshop in Florida. The workshop was conducted by Certified Public Accountant David Cole of Cole & Associates, LLC, and was held at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (District Council 78) meeting hall in Orlando. During this free members-only workshop, David reviewed and discussed what you can write off, where you can write it off, general record-keeping information, how to form a company and several other questions from members.
Thanks to David for conducting this important workshop for our members and IUPAT (District Council 78) business representative Steve Hall and staff for providing the meeting hall for our event and for being so accommodating.

CENTRAL FLORIDA SAG CONSERVATORY WORKSHOP 

Conservatory Cold Reading Workshop for SAG actors, Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in Casselberry.

To make a reservation, please call Walter Nill at (407) 695-0049 one day in advance. Workshop limited to two to three actors.
Cost: free

Must be a paid-up Florida Branch member to participate.

NEW MEMBERS

The Florida Branch welcomes the following new members and transfers:

New Joins:
Aaron L. Berger, Alex Wiggins, Ana Fletcher, Camilo Villegas, Carlton Byrd, Christie Miro, Connie Francis, Cristina Figarola, Daniel Patrick Graham, Dave Bautista, David Weathers, Dylan Lyons, Eddy Munoz, George Kokkoris, Gio Ott, Grace Feeney, Ian Poulter, Jacqueline Renee Schmidt, Jamie Noel, Jannette Sepwa, Jason Hill, Jessica Tuttle, Joseph Martelli, Kevin Humes, Kevin John Waterman, Kimbo Slice, Louis Santos, Lucia Salgado, Madalyn Ileia Horcher, Mandy James Morgan, Maribel Costa, Megan Lozicki, Owen Harn, Paulette Dozier, Pedro Barquin, Puerto Rock, Roger Payano, Sami Gayle, Taylor Rouviere, Travor Murray

Transfers:
A Thomas Smith, Aaron Carter, Adam Wasserman, Aisha Colon, Amy Lynn Tuttle, Anne Marie Kortright, Betty Lakey, Billie Walter, Blake French, Candice Walton, Carlos Saenz, Charlotte Reillo, Christopher Brockmeyer, Connie M. Kurtz, Connor Kelly, Christina LoCastro, Curtis Credel, DL Verducci, Daniel William Baldwin, David Avila, Deborah Bowman, Desmond Howard, Donna Wenger, Edloe Blackwell, Ellen Greenfield, Gary A Levine, Gary Beach, Heather Wrigley, Janice Mayte Garcia, Jennifer Keister, Jimmy Ferraro, Joey Principe, John Galindez, Jordan Werner, Joseph C. Sanchez, Josh Petro, Julie McCullough, Kylie Delre, Laura Juilly, Laura Meckling, Leydy Lopez, Martin Cerruti, Mauricio A Salas, Melanie Freeman, Melissa Padron, Melody Krell, Michelle Blair Martin, Nancy Jeris, Oleg Aleksandrovich, Paul Bernard, Paul Lagreca, Paula Lemes, Pukaua An Nee, Ronald Mangravite, Ronnie Lee Marino, Sergei Louzginov, Sevin Akbar, Shalin Agarwal, Shawn Fornari, Steve Witmer, Tanya Stay, Tate Bradford, Todd Jensen, Todd Parker McLaren, Ulises, Vonna Bowen

WRITERS GUILD JOINS SAG FOUNDATION'S PENCILPALS PROGRAM

The SAG Foundation’s PencilPALS writing program is blossoming across the country, thanks to a partnership with the Writers Guild of America East Foundation and the volunteer efforts of Writers Guild Members who have joined our fold in Florida and New York.   

The PencilPALS program (an adjunct to BookPALS), is designed to make writing a first-person experience for elementary school children. Reviving the lost art of letter-writing, volunteers are paired with elementary students and correspond by postal mail. Each pair is given a questionnaire to complete that generates ideas for first letters. After that, a correspondence evolves, with letters exchanged once a month on topics ranging from favorite books and school happenings to long-term aspirations. Teachers designate time during class for students to read and write their letters. The project often begins and ends with PencilPALS gatherings to give volunteers an opportunity to meet students in person.

In this age of emailing and texting, students have fewer and fewer opportunities to chronicle their experiences in thoughtful, polished prose. Reading, writing and spelling skills improve when children write habitually in this way. In addition, students gain a sense of pride in their own writing and their own stories by sharing them with an interested reader. We welcome Florida’s Writers Guild Members as well as others who may be interested. 

To learn more, click here.

Volunteer applications are available here

Dave Corey, Nancy Duerr and Ken Howard

National Board Members Dave Corey and Nancy Duerr with SAG National President Ken Howard.

Contracts, Merger and Movie Action

By Steve Gladstone, Florida Branch President
 
With the television/theatrical ballots now behind us, I am reminded of the good work that our leaders and negotiating committee demonstrated these past many months leading to this moment. The intelligence, grace and humor that the chieftains and legal counsel from both SAG and AFTRA brought to the table was hardly exceeded by any leaders from any government from any enterprise in recent memory. I was in the negotiating room and watched our national presidents and national executive directors work seamlessly to bring us a successor deal that substantially improves our pay, residuals and working conditions. It is worthy to point out that our employers, the AMPTP, also behaved with the intelligence and strategy any successful businessperson would respect. We did not get all that we wanted nor did they; when both sides walk away equally unhappy, you have a successful negotiation.
 
We here in Florida fought hard to get coverage for background players for TV and film, and were unsuccessful. If the truth be known, what we need is wall-to-wall background coverage, zone-to-zone coverage, where all actors are covered anywhere they shoot. We’ll have to figure out how to do that. To set it straight, the rules of negotiation require a robust give and take, not an “us against them” mentality. We need each other to tell all the stories on the screens the world watches. With a ringing approval of more than 93 percent from SAG and AFTRA members voting up the deal, both our employers and our members now have a fair and reasonable working accord for the next three years.
 
And now on to the next big order of business: the merger. I recently attended the President’s Listening Tour, which is traveling around the country to hear what members have on their minds about merging SAG and AFTRA. I am even more confident that both SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon have the intelligence and tenacity to make sure that a merger can get done in a win-win fashion. They are steadfast in their knowledge of the business and the issues. To me, it's a matter of "when" we merge, not "if" we merge. When merger comes, it will deliver significant benefits to SAG and AFTRA members by reducing the duplication of efforts between the two unions and adding strength at the bargaining table. Protecting the existing pension plans of each union and finding a way to bring them together is, of course, important to all members and I am positive that it can be done. More importantly, I don't see timing of this as a crucial issue. I know it is possible to merge the plans even after we merge the unions. Other unions in other industries have successfully merged their plans, so there’s no doubt that this can be accomplished. Both plans are multi-employer plans, not a single-employer plan, so existing pension benefit amounts are protected by federal law. In other words, any actor who is fully vested in either plan at the point of merger would remain fully vested and would not lose their current level of dollar benefits. I can also tell you that the mood at the Listening Tour was very positive and ripe for merger, and opposition to merger does not seem significant. And that is good news for us all.

We have two television series returning, five more possible, new film production and our thriving commercial biz. It is my wish for all of you to take a little piece — if not a sizable chunk — of the work in this 2011 season. 

 Women's Committee Group Shot

From left, moderator, National Women’s RBD co-chair and Florida Branch Vice President Ellen Wacher; Miami Herald TV columnist Glenn Garvin; Invisible Women producer Susan Davis; and Wharton School of Business Dean Dr. Barbara A Kahn 

Florida Branch Takes On Employment Opportunities for Women Over 50

In 2011, will women over 50 avoid the trend of being practically invisible on movie and television screens? Or do 18–49 year olds still hold an unbreakable allure for the advertising and entertainment industry? This is what RBD Women’s Committee Chair and Florida Branch Vice President Ellen Wacher set out to explore. On March 3, sponsored by the SAG National Women’s Committee, Wacher organized and moderated a panel discussion at the Florida Branch Office titled “Is 50-Plus the New 18 – 49?”

“It’s become my passion on the Women’s Committee to address the subject of women over 50 in our business,” said Wacher. “There are about 80 million of us with money to spend who are poorly addressed by the minimal marketing efforts and limited advertising dollars geared towards our demographic. Our ability to work is greatly influenced by those with purchasing power. Our event is centered around getting to the heart of the ‘why’ and moving toward a new direction.” 

To kick off the initiative, Wacher assembled esteemed expert panelists Susan Davis, producer of the acclaimed documentary Invisible Women; Dr. Barbara A. Kahn, Wharton School of Business; and Glenn Garvin, television columnist for the Miami Herald. The afternoon was rounded out with a viewing of Invisible Women, which underscored both the limitations and potential solutions, as statistics shift buying power toward the 50-plus generation — in particular, the opportunity to accurately brand the image of older women as personally and financially empowered. 

The panel discussion included feedback from some of Florida’s leading female performers and Elite Miami Model & Talent agent Allee Newhoff. Most importantly, the afternoon extended beyond lively debate to engaging solutions, including a forum for women to formulate plans for branding and marketing campaigns targeted at reintroducing the positive, proactive image of 50-plus women. The Florida Branch gives a special thanks to the panelists, and particularly Wacher and Davis, for their dynamic presentation and commitment to this important cause. 

Picnic group shot  

SAG, AFTRA, and AEA celebrate second annual
Tri-Union Picnic

Ana Fletcher will always remember this past Presidents Day as the day she signed her SAG membership application at a wooden picnic table, then cheered on her fellow actors in a three-legged race. That day, Fletcher, along with more than 60 other union members of SAG, AFTRA and Equity, showed up in solidarity for our second tri-union picnic. The celebration, held at Greynolds Park, was a way of saying thank you for our members’ support and a day to share union pride with family and friends.

A special acknowledgement goes out to Florida Councilor and Event Chair Deanna Case, who coordinated games, food, entertainment and children’s activities. Her efforts received rave reviews. “Getting together with my brothers and sisters from all three actor unions reminds me that, whether we are performing on the stage, in front of the camera or behind a microphone, we all share the same two sides of the coin,” said Florida Branch President Steve Gladstone. “We get pumped with childlike enthusiasm when we are working and never have enough work. And, oh yeah, we all love free food!”

With such a supportive turnout, we hope to make this an annual event and will continue to seek more opportunities to unite our unions, whether it be for social outings or solidarity organizing.  

To see a slideshow of picnic photos, click here.

Ellen Jacoby and Michael Dock

Casting Directors Ellen Jacoby and Michael Dock   

Florida Members Celebrate Union Pride at SAG Awards Viewing Parties

Members came out in record numbers to celebrate the return of our SAG Awards Viewing Parties. In South Florida, members enjoyed a pre-show dinner with many of our franchised agents, casting directors Ellen Jacoby and Dee Miller, and SAG member/director Wil Shriner (Everybody Loves Raymond, Gilmore Girls). The viewing party was held at Cinema Paradiso, a perfect venue with its giant movie screen and free popcorn. We also took time to celebrate our 2010 member volunteers and present a dedication to Miller, who is receiving this year’s Florida Legends Award.

In Central Florida, members celebrated at the Big Belly Brewery in downtown Orlando. The Brewery is becoming a popular spot for member events, and the casual setting was great for comparing bets on winners and catching up on all of the news about production coming to the local area. Guests also included local producers and student filmmakers from four local film schools. Members appreciated the food and drink discounts, free popcorn and door prize giveaways. We also celebrated Central Florida member Bob Cherry’s 65th birthday and enjoyed the large cake he brought to share with everyone.

Both parties paid special tribute to all of the Florida Branch members included in this year’s SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series. Read on for a special commemoration...

Michael Hartson and Kiana Politis

Guild members Michael Hartson and Kiana Politis, a Television Stunt Ensemble Nominee for Burn Notice.  

Florida Branch Stunt Performers Receive SAG Award Nomination for Burn Notice 

Producers familiar with Florida have always known that our professional stunt performers can go toe to toe (or rather, punch to punch) with Hollywood stunt performers, so we were thrilled to see our local members recognized for an award competing with the best in the business. In fact, almost every stunt performer included in the nomination was a Florida Branch member. Our diverse, experienced and now highly recognized stunt performers are one more reason why so many producers are looking toward Florida this year. We congratulate and salute the following Florida members on their auspicious nomination:
 
Don Abbatiello
Kevin Ball
Chick Bernhardt
Juan Bofill
Jessika Brodosi
Henry Gilbert
Dean Grimes
Erika Grimes
Juan Hernandez
Amy Jordan
Artie Malesci
Christopher Parker
Kiana Politis
Bill Scharpf 

 Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald  

Florida Branch Member Dan Fitzgerald Wins
Howard Keel Award 

Distinguished Florida Branch Member Dan Fitzgerald was recently named as a co-recipient of the third annual Howard Keel Award for his significant contributions to the Guild. The Howard Keel Award is the highest honor given by the Screen Actors Guild Regional Branch Division, and will be presented in May at the Regional Branch Division’s annual Regional Branch Conference in Orlando, Fla. 

Fitzgerald joined SAG in 1957, a year before Howard Keel took the reins as national president, and is also a member of AFTRA and a former Actors’ Equity Association member. He has worked steadily in films, television shows and commercials, while juggling board, SAG Foundation and community service over the course of three decades. As a performer, he had featured roles in the television series Wiseguy and Miami Vice, as well as in theatrical films In Her Shoes, Mean Season and The Greatest, to name a few.

Fitzgerald served as a Branch councilor from 1982–95, and again from 2003–10. He also served five terms as Florida Branch vice president (1984–94), three terms as Florida Branch president (1994–2000) and three terms on the National Board (1989–98). He chaired and served on many national and local committees, and was often on the frontlines during the 2000 commercials strike.

In 2001, Fitzgerald received the Florida Branch’s highest accolade, the Bruce McLaughlin Award. He has been deeply dedicated to spreading literacy through the Screen Actors Guild Foundation’s BookPALS program, and was instrumental in bringing it to the state of Florida. Since its inception, he has been a tireless volunteer, reading to children in schools on a regular basis. In 2008, he was recognized as Florida BookPAL of the Year.

In addition, Fitzgerald is a military veteran, having served during the Korean War, and he entertained the troops during his military service and after, including shows performed with Eddie Fisher. Fitzgerald is in prestigious company with co-recipient Will Lyman of the Boston Branch. Lyman, nationally known as the voice of PBS’ Frontline, has been a dedicated union member since joining SAG in 1973. Lyman’s extensive career as a stage, film and television actor includes starring or featured roles in such television series as Commander in Chief and Threat Matrix, and in the films What Doesn't Kill You, Little Children, Mystic River, The Siege, A Perfect Murder and Welcome to the Dollhouse. Lyman first served the Boston Branch in the mid-1990s, and by 1999 served as 2nd vice president of the Boston Council, as well as the Branch’s National Board member from 2002–08.

“I can’t think of two finer examples of actor-activists serving in our Regional Branches today than Dan Fitzgerald and Will Lyman,” said SAG 3rd Vice President David Hartley-Margolin, chair of the Regional Branch Division. “Their service exemplifies the contributions Howard Keel envisioned in his championing of a national union.”

Named for the legendary actor-singer and former SAG president serving from 1958–59, the Howard Keel Award is annually presented to those who make a significant contribution to the promotion of Screen Actors Guild and to the welfare and benefit of members in their Branch, or nationally, as part of the Regional Branch Division.

…And Even More Florida Award Winners: Burt Reynolds and Dee Miller to Accept Legends Award 

Film Florida announced that SAG member Burt Reynolds and casting director Dee Miller, along with Ray Fielding, Victor Milt and Wes Skiles (posthumous) have been unveiled as the 2011 Legend Award recipients. They will be honored at the Legend Awards event June 30 in West Palm Beach. All winners will be in attendance to accept their award.
 
The Legend Award, launched in 2006, honors Sunshine State pioneers in the film, television and production industry. The recipients have made major contributions to the industry.

Burt Reynolds, actor/director: A Florida legend since his days as an all-star quarterback at Florida State University, Burt Reynolds is an enduring iconic actor. His acting career took off in the 1960s in TV westerns, and his tough-guy performance as macho Lewis Medlock in the backwoods nightmare Deliverance made him a bona fide star. From there, Reynolds starred in numerous films, including Shamus, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask White Lightning, The Longest Yard, W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings and Gator. In 1977, he starred in the incredibly popular Smokey and the Bandit with Sally Field. That film’s success was followed by Smokey and the Bandit II and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3. Reynolds also appeared in Semi-Tough, The End, Hooper and The Cannonball Run.

His work in the 1980s included Sharky’s Machine (which he also directed), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, City Heat, Stroker Ace, Stick, Paternity and the popular TV shows B.L. Stryker and Evening Shade. In the 1990s, his critically acclaimed performances in Striptease and as a manipulative porn director in Boogie Nights garnered him a new generation of fans. He continues to work today, with recent roles in the filmed-in-Florida series Burn Notice.

Dee Miller, Casting Directors Inc.: Since launching her business in 1976, Dee Miller continues to cast projects for clients from all over the world. Miller is known for conducting all of her own casting sessions, and for her endless dedication and energy to each and every project.
 
She’s been involved with casting on 65 feature films and 6,500 TV commercials, including The African Queen, The Champ, The Island, Eyes of a Stranger, Smokey and The Bandit Part 3, Easy Money, A Night in Heaven, Flight of the Navigator, Miami Vice (TV series), Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise, Trading Hearts, Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, Married to the Mob, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway and Dostana.

Nominees for the Film Florida Legends Award were open to those who have made a significant impact on film in Florida, whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera. Stay tuned for e-blasts from the Florida Branch about how you can attend the award ceremony and reception on June 30. 

Dee Miller and Nancy Duerr

Legend Award Winner Dee Miller with National Board Director Nancy Duerr

Sign Up Today for Paperless Online Billing

The April dues period is just around the corner — and you can sign up now to receive your dues bill online via e-mail. It’s an absolutely free new service that simply makes good financial sense.
Paperless billing is yet another way we’re more efficiently serving our members: cutting costs (not to mention clutter in your home), making your billing instantaneous and, as part of our ongoing green initiative, doing our part to save the environment. Join thousands of your fellow Guild members who have already signed up and care about the environment and saving resources. Sign up by April 7 to get your April dues bill sent to you electronically.
Here’s a link to help get you started with paperless billing as well as answers to any additional questions you may have. Don’t worry; should you change your mind, you can always revert back to a paper bill with a simple click if you determine it’s not right for you.