Los Angeles 2014:02

The Official E-Newsletter of the Los Angeles Local
The Official E-Newsletter of the Los Angeles Local
February 2014

GET FREE TAX PREP

Need advice on your taxes? The Entertainment Industry Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is being hosted once again at The Actors Fund with support from SAG-AFTRA, SAG Foundation, Actors’ Equity Association and IATSE. This free service is open to low- and moderate-income members on a first-come, first-served, appointment-only basis. IRS-certified volunteers receive training to help prepare returns. None of the volunteers are paid to provide this assistance. 

To make an appointment, visit The Actors Fund's website and click on VITA. Please review the eligibly criteria and assess if you are a candidate to use this program. From the website, you will fill out a request for an appointment and get your VITA workbook. Access to VITA is only available through The Actors Fund website.

NEW: If you earned less than $58,000 in 2013 and prepare and file your taxes yourself, click here to file your taxes for free. There is a free hotline for support as you go.

Questions? Call (323) 933-9244 ext. 462.

W-2 Hotline Info: For a list of studio and payroll houses to assist with W-2 questions, click here.

CAREER TIPS FOR SINGERS

On Jan. 13, Los Angeles Local Singers Committee members Angie Jaree’ and Randy Crenshaw, co-chair of the Los Angeles Local Singers Committee, provided vital career tips to a room full of singers at the third Educational Meeting for SAG-AFTRA Singers. The meeting aimed to enrich the careers of singers, strengthen relationships with their peers and equip them with sound contract knowledge to make strong business decisions. During the evening, various sound recording artists such as Oren Waters, Alvin Chea and Edie Lehmann-Boddicker imparted useful information from past business experiences to an audience of vocal artists.

Speakers encouraged members to work on the card, understand the contracts, negotiate rates, network with other industry professionals and utilize SAG-AFTRA staff for assistance when interpreting contracts and completing paperwork.

For more information about sound recording contracts and royalties, click here.

A Message from L.A. Local President Clyde Kusatsu

Clyde Kusatsu

Dear Member,

As our union advances into a new year, we have been honoring past accomplishments and focusing on our future. We ended 2013 on a celebratory note with our Winter Spectacular, organized by the Los Angeles Local Host Committee. Our event provided nearly 1,000 Los Angeles-area members with the opportunity to gather, mingle, celebrate and enjoy the holiday festivities.

We all hit the ground running in January with the start of local W&W meetings to prepare for the upcoming TV/theatrical negotiations. As you may know, our agreements with the AMPTP expire June 30, 2014, and much of our focus is on preparing for those negotiations, which will take place later this spring. The wages and working conditions process, or W&W, is an extraordinary experience, and I invite every member to attend and take part in the discussions. You help our negotiators better understand which parts of the contract are working and which need change. So whether you work as on-camera actor, in a recording booth, as a background performer or as a singer, dancer or stunt professional, you can make your voice heard and empower your union to focus on the issues that matter most to you.

W&W continues through Feb. 28. Please take a look at the full schedule on the website, and try to attend if you can. By participating in the discussion and sharing your thoughts, concerns and questions, you help us negotiate a stronger contract.

January also saw the telecast of the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. It was another amazing show and makes me so proud to be a member of this union. I want to especially commend the Los Angeles Local staff for their creative thinking in hosting one of the best SAG Awards viewing parties in the country! This year, we were able to move the viewing party from the James Cagney Board Room to the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14. More than 500 of our members were on hand to watch the red carpet broadcast and the SAG Awards show in the comfort of the movie theater. The members loved it!

Tom Hanks and Clyde Kusatsu at the SAG Awards
Tom Hanks and Clyde Kusatsu at the SAG Awards. Photo: Christopher Polk/WireImage

The show reminded me how aspirational actors are. Every one of us, from veterans to beginners, has at least one common bond: We all start at “zero” on our personal artistic journey through this intensely challenging and competitive business.

Our show is also unique among awards shows because it is performers honoring performers — and we all get to put in our two cents by voting. It is a point of pride that the SAG Awards have grown into an influential indicator of acting excellence as well as an internationally renowned presence on the awards scene.

We have a lot to be proud of. We have accomplished much since merger, but now, as a unified organization, the best is yet to come.

I am going to end with a paraphrase of something Beau Willimon, the creator of House of Cards on Netflix, had to say about writers (I’ve substituted actors for writers): “Don’t act … it’s a tough life. If you’re going to ignore this advice, congratulations, you were meant to be an actor!”

In solidarity,
Clyde Kusatsu