Florida 2012:02

The Official E-Newsletter of the Florida Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the Florida Branch
February 2012

SAVE THESE DATES FOR FLORIDA EVENTS:

South Florida

DON’T MISS FLORIDA BRANCH’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT OUR SAG AWARDS SHOW PARTY!

Event: Florida SAG Awards Show and 50th Anniversary Celebration with special guests casting directors Ellen Jacoby, Dee Miller, Brad Davis and SAG-franchised agents
When: Sunday, January 29, 2011
Time: 6 to 10 p.m.
Where: Cinema Paradiso, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

If you can't make it, be sure to watch the 18th Annual SAG Awards, January 29 at 8 p.m. on TNT and TBS.

Event: Tri-Union Picnic with SAG, AFTRA, and AEA
When: Monday, February 20 (Presidents Day)
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: TBA

Event: Central Florida Informational Meeting
When: April 2012

Where: St. Petersburg, Fla.

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. 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; send email here. Sign up, stay tuned, and see you at the next casting

SAG FOUNDATION'S DALES SCHOLARSHIP APPS AVAILABLE

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation is once again happy to announce availability of applications for the John L. Dales Scholarship.

Just one of the nonprofit foundation's many free programs offered to assist, educate and inspire Guild members in their careers, lives and communities, the John L. Dales Scholarship Fund has helped qualified Guild members and their children reach their educational potential by providing more than $6 million in scholarships for study at accredited institutions of higher learning.

Two types of scholarships are available. Standard scholarships benefit eligible members and children of eligible members for college education. Transitional scholarships are designed to assist SAG members seeking further education to change careers.

Dales Scholarships are awarded specifically toward education at accredited and licensed universities, colleges, junior colleges, adult specialty schools or trade/vocational schools. Printable applications, as well as further details including eligibility guidelines, are currently available by clicking here. Submissions must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2012, to qualify.

JOIN FLORIDA BOOKPALS & THE NEA FOR READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY

Have you been meaning to become a BookPAL but haven’t been able to commit due to other scheduling demands? If so, please consider joining us for a one-time special event this March in honor of the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day.

As a national co-sponsor for NEA’s Read Across America Day, the SAG Foundation’s BookPALS program invites you to participate in this ninth annual reading motivation and awareness program. Students across Florida will join millions of their peers across the country to celebrate reading on Friday, March 2, 2012.

The event, which falls on Dr. Seuss' birthday, is expected to motivate more than 45 million readers, both young and old, to pick up a book and read to a child.

To honor the good doctor and celebrate the fun and value of reading, Florida BookPALS is asking you to join NEA and many of America's leading literacy, youth, and civic groups in bringing a nation of readers together under one hat — the red-and-white stovepipe made famous by the Cat in the Hat — for a flurry of reading excitement!

This year’s theme is green in honor of The Lorax Movie, which opens nationwide on March 2, 2012.
Our goal is to show America's children the joy of reading and build a nation of readers — on March 2 and every day. To sign up to read at an elementary school near you the week of March 2, please contact Natalie Rogers, Florida BookPALS Director, by email or (321) 229-0638. To learn more about NEA’s Read Across America Day, click here.

BEVERLY MCDERMOTT: A TRIBUTE

Beverly McDermott, who was honored as Florida’s “first lady of film casting” by Gov. Claude Kirk in 1962, passed away on January 19, 2012 at the age of 85.

A key player in the growth of Florida’s film industry, McDermott cast more than 250 films and television series over her 40-year career as a casting director. Her film credits include Lenny, nominated for seven Academy Awards, Black Sunday, Scarface, and the original Cocoon and its sequel. Her television credits include Flipper, Gentle Ben, The Jackie Gleason Show, and Miami Vice.

She and her husband of 54 years, SAG member Jack McDermott, were also active in the music business, including a professional and personal association with singer Connie Francis.

McDermott was the first Florida casting director to become a member of the Casting Society of America. She also served as 1st vice president of both the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and Women in Motion Pictures.

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

Atlas Global Travel is pleased to offer members special SAG pricing and a 10-percent discount on cruises booked through the agency. This special discount is also extended to family members.

The Central Florida Film Festival (September 2–5) is offering SAG members a 25-percent discount on their movie watcher pass, which is good for all seminars, panels and screenings, plus a popcorn and soda.

Note: The products and services noted herein are provided as an informational service to SAG members and are administered by entities independent of SAG. Any questions must be handled by the provider. This information is not intended to serve as an endorsement by the Guild nor is any warranty or guarantee implied.

Click here for more details on these and other discounts.

NEW MEMBERS & TRANSFERS

The Florida Branch welcomes the following members — we hope to see you all at our SAG Awards Show/50th Anniversary Celebration:

New Members:

Alex Buric, Amanda Ayers, Amy Seimetz, Anabelle Blum, Austin Abrams, Bernhard Seifert, Christopher Allison, Damian Lang, Gabriel Suttle, Jennifer Fain, Jim Burgin, Keil O. Zepernick, Keith Johnson, Kenny Waymack, Lance Tafelski, Louise H. Beard, Luis Fernandez, Manolo Zota, Margarito Coego, Michelle Bellaver, Mike Litz, Oren Cohen, Scott Rosen, Steve Conroy, Tommy Gun Quinn, Vicente Soles, Vivi Pineda, Ward G. Smith

Transfers:

Anand Vadehra, Barbara June Patterson, Barbara Maggio, Bernie Shanahan, Britt Napier, Brook Park Bello, Brooke Wood, Carol A. Woods, Carole Gordon, Christopher Railey, Claudia Rocafort, D. Garrett Smith, Derek Morgan, Doc Wayson, Douglas Cooper Getschal, Ed Heyduk, Emily Paul, Fred Griffith, Fred Russell, Gavin Ravens, Georgia L. Wells, Greg Pitts, Haes Hill, Hunter Clary, Ivy Purdy, Jack Lodato, Jack Pacheco, Jack Philpot, Jade Rivera, Jan Britain, Janine Mitchell, Jeff L. Green, Jeff Lewis, Jerry Cifaldi, Jim McKeny, Joey Marmo, John Faxon Otis, John Martin Kruk, John Roland, John Terry, Joli Julianna, Joseph McAvoy, Kay Jemison, Kayla Clary, KeriAnne Mowry, Kevin Bangos, Kris Johnson, Kristine Toegemann, Lara Coulter, Lise-Marie Thomas, Marc Aaron, Mark Anthony Mainardi, Martin G. Enterlin, Matthew Viens, May Zayan, Megan McCracken, Mel Clark, Michael A. Liberty, Michael C. Robinson, Michael Crider, Michael Durrette, Michael O’Hagan, Michael Viens, Michele Marie smith, Miguel Paneke, Noni Tulk, Pamela Salem, Paul Cagney, Penni Danielle Tinsley, Ray Castellanos, Richard Alleman, Richard Capalbo, Ross Morgan Ruben, Ryan O’Neil DeSouza, Saúl Sutel, Susan Dohan, Teresa Trinwith, Todd Holland, Tom Perna, Vernon Gray, Wes Day, Zack S. West

WELCOME TO 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) 724-0767, option 5, ext. 7089 or via email.

From the Executive Director

Leslie L. Krensky
Florida Executive Director

Every time I’ve attended an event this year where Guild members are in attendance, I am asked about the possible merger of SAG and AFTRA. I was honored to be selected as one of the Regional Branch Division Staff to directly participate in the meetings of the AFTRA and SAG Group for One Union (G1). 

As a G1 participant, I was very impressed by the dedication, deliberation, and diligence of the SAG and AFTRA members involved in this process. SAG Florida Branch National Board member Nancy Duerr was one of the members skillfully representing the Regional Branch Division membership during this process to ensure that your interests and concerns are addressed.

A series of workgroups were established by the G1 to discuss the six key areas: (1) Governance and Structure, (2) Finance & Dues, (3) Collective Bargaining, (4) Pension, Health & Retirement, (5) Operations & Staff, and (6) Member Education & Outreach.

Although the information that can be relayed at this point is limited, I encourage members who have questions about the process to visit the SAG and AFTRA websites. Stay tuned, as there will be more information to come. If you have comments, you can email oneunion@sag.org.

Tech is Changing the Times

By Steve Gladstone
Florida Branch President

I was happy to recently hear from a filmmaker at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival that he used SAG actors for his ultra-low budget film that he lensed entirely in Missouri. With a $40k budget, a digital camera and a computer, he co-produced and edited this two-hour film with his sister. Though I found the story not well drawn, the acting was good, as was the sound, and apparently, it looked quite good visually.

It reminded me that over the past two years, technology has not only changed the way we shoot projects, but the way our employers employ us. I’m sure you, my good brothers and sisters, are aware that a mighty team of talented and intelligent members and staff from both SAG and AFTRA have completed a proposal on how to merge these two fine organizations. The endgame will be stronger dollars per contract for all of us and, if I might wax with vision, a more affordable health plan and a more robust pension. This workgroup, called the G1, has the nature of a negotiation, and negotiations, by nature, are confidential.

The main reason to merge remains to simplify and strengthen our collective bargaining agreements. There are currently 250 different contracts between SAG and AFTRA. The only reason not to merge appears to be that our employers don’t want us to! The national boards of both SAG and AFTRA will be voting on a merger proposal in late January. In the meantime, your Florida Branch prez has been asked to serve on the subcommittee charged to come up with the new name for the new union. My honor.

Our annual meeting last October was quite the success with our guest, Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino. Our attendance was the highest it’s ever been (I think it was due to the free dinner and dessert). I continue to love actors getting together with actors for our networking events and well-planned meetings. There seems to be more and more connective tissue between our members these days. This remains the best way to stay in touch with what is happening in the industry and pick up tips on current auditions and productions.

Billy the Dog (my new guide) and I completed the 5k Walk to End Alzheimer’s last November. This was a shared fundraiser between national SAG, Equity and AFTRA. Locally, our three unions raised more than $2,000, and nationally more than $22,000! I look forward to our future fundraiser for The Actors Fund, which will benefit our own retiring brothers and sisters and those players in need.

I’m jazzed about SAG’s new Production Center, where our employers can download any of our contracts and actually sign our members entirely through the Web process on five of our current contracts: Student Films, Short Films, Ultra Low Budget, New Media and Corporate-Educational (formerly Industrial). Since its launch last June, more than 3,000 signatories have applied through the site. So my New Year’s wish for you: May you begin to reap and continue to reap the fruits of these new tools!

Amy Aquino, center, with Florida National Board members Dave Corey and Nancy Duerr
Amy Aquino, center, with Florida National Board members Dave Corey and Nancy Duerr

Amy Aquino and Florida Branch President Steve Gladstone
Amy Aquino and Florida Branch President Steve Gladstone

Ellen Wacher, Leslie Krensky, Wil Shriner, Julie Balter, Nancy Duerr, Amy Aquino and Nancy Duerr
From left, Ellen Wacher, Leslie Krensky, Wil Shriner, Julie Balter, Amy Aquino, Nancy Duerr

Membership Meeting with Amy Aquino

Our annual membership meeting at Cinema Paradiso, complete with its wide movie screen and courtyard dinner, is always an anticipated event, but this year marked the unprecedented participation of a national officer, Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino, who showed up in a very big way.

Rather than delivering perfunctory reports, Amy arrived in town early to meet with our officers and staff, and to learn all about our local issues. She made a point to meet all of our members at our pre-meeting dinner, and stayed long after it ended, exchanging ideas and taking photographs with new members, who were so proud to stand side-by-side with a national leader and tireless volunteer.

Most important, was the meeting itself, which included a substantial discussion and Q&A about plans to merge with AFTRA (for a summary of merger information, see our executive director’s article). Another special highlight was our new-member pinning ceremony, conducted by Amy Aquino and National Board member Nancy Duerr. It was a chance for Florida members to invite emerging actors into our special family to celebrate, support and mentor their career.

The evening was rounded out with career advice, thanks to the SAG Foundation. Taking advantage of Paradiso’s full movie screen capabilities, we were thrilled to share the Foundation’s recent LifeRaft program Prep for Pilot Season: Participating from the Regional Markets, which offers essential information for increasing employment opportunities for Branch-based actors.

“After years of working closely with Florida's extraordinary elected and staff in the boardroom and on committees, it was a pleasure to see them all on their home turf — or should I say, home sand,” said Aquino.

“Perhaps more than any other SAG Branch, the challenges and opportunities facing Florida’s SAG members reflect the future of the union as a whole.” Aquino continued, “Watching first-hand the energy and enthusiasm with which my Floridian brothers and sisters — members, leaders and staff — are confronting those challenges and taking advantage of those opportunities was a real inspiration to me, and can serve as a terrific model as we move toward merger with AFTRA and a much more powerful tomorrow.”

To view the photo slide show of this event, click here.

SAG Leaders Rally in Tally for More Film Jobs

As the legislative session drew to a close last year, swift changes were made to state legislation that could impact the number of high-impact TV series that film in Florida. As a result, industry groups such as the Film Florida Production Coalition (FFPC) and Film Florida have been meeting vigilantly to strategize, fundraise and lobby hard to ensure that we retain and sustain jobs for working actors and crewmembers.

On the SAG side, Vice President Ellen Wacher is once again keeping a vigilant eye on Tallahassee and coordinating strategic outreach with members. Meanwhile, staff is actively working with industry groups, and South Region Executive Julie Balter will soon be joining industry leaders at the State Capitol. Film Florida’s annual Rally in Tally will take place this year on February 8. We encourage everyone to sign up for industry updates to track important changes, and to learn how you can support us at the most critical stages of our industry-wide campaign to create more jobs for our members. Sign up today, or follow through Facebook: Film Florida, Florida Film Production Coalition (FFPC) and Florida State Film Office.

Actors unite to end Alzheimer's

Actors Unite to End Alzheimer's

Actors Unite to End Alzheimer's was organized by Nancy Daly, a member whose mother suffers from the affliction. “I knew I had to do something when I went home for the Fourth of July weekend and my mom didn’t know me,” Daly said.

The walk was endorsed unanimously by the Screen Actors Guild National Board in July, which encouraged members to join the Tri-Union effort. The motion was put forth by Florida’s own National Board member Dave Corey.

The Los Angeles walk was a resounding success, with the actors’ team raising more than $10,000. The nationwide effort continued: Tri-Union teams took part in New York, Washington, D.C. and here in Hollywood, Florida. Locally, many South Florida members from SAG, AFTRA and Equity came out for this great cause on November 5, including our favorite mascot, Billy, the trusted service dog/companion of Branch President Steve Gladstone.

Working to Remove Age Barriers

By Ellen Wacher
RBD Chair, National Women’s Committee and Florida Branch Vice President

The Regional Branch Division’s representation on the National Women's Committee is mobilizing to create more employment opportunities. This year, we set a record for the number of women in our Branches who are interested in joining the committee, and a woman from every Branch volunteered to serve. Our goal is to create a strategic plan for addressing the unique issues women face, such as ageism in the marketplace. At our first meeting on November 21, connecting women across the country by teleconference, we outlined our goal to develop connections and outreach with professional screenwriters to encourage them to develop roles for older women as they are today: involved, active and enthusiastic about their lives. We also formulated plans for a follow-up event for the Women Over 50 symposium that was presented in Florida earlier this year, and can be viewed on the SAG website by clicking here. Announcements about the upcoming event will be coming soon.

The documentary Invisible Women, directed by Susan Davis, was so well received that the committee is also seeking funds for further promotion and showcases across the country.

If anyone would like information regarding my work with the National Women’s Committee, you can reach me by contacting the Florida SAG office (305) 670-7677, ext. 7077. I welcome any questions and feedback you may have.

Kathy Karol, Jon DeLuzio, Iris Lynne Sherman, Steve Zurk and Tracy Frenkel
From left, Guild member Kathy Karol, Jon DeLuzio, and Guild members Iris Lynne Sherman, Steve Zurk and Tracy Frenkel at the Central Florida membership mixer in September.

Members at LifeRaft seminar

Central Florida members turn out in full force for the SAG Foundation LifeRaft seminar Branding for Actors, with renowned L.A.-based casting director, producer and author Bonnie Gillespie on January 13, 2012 in Orlando.

TELL US YOUR SAG STORY

Everyone has a story about becoming a member and what SAG means to you. 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 here.