Nashville 2010:12

The Official E-Newsletter of the Nashville Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the Nashville Branch
December 2010

BOARD-APPROVED DEALS
GO TO MEMBER VOTE

On December 4 the Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreement reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on November 7 – a deal which it is now recommending to the respective union memberships.

Eligible SAG and AFTRA members will vote on the proposed successor agreement to the Producer-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for feature motion pictures, scripted network primetime television and pay television programs; Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, covering scripted network primetime and pay television programs; and The CW Supplement, which applies to both unions.

The board passed the motion to approve and send to the memberships a recommendation of a “yes” vote by 89.29 percent to 10.71 percent.

Ratification ballots will be mailed to all eligible AFTRA and SAG members in the coming days with an expected return date in mid-January. Due to the holidays, the time period for reviewing and returning ballots will be extended to five weeks (rather than the traditional three-week time period) in order to afford every member the opportunity to carefully review the terms of the proposed agreements before voting. Tabulation will occur immediately upon the conclusion of balloting.

Additionally, informational meetings for members will be scheduled in select cities across the country including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D.C.-Baltimore, San Francisco and Atlanta.

Also on December 4, the National Board of Screen Actors Guild overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreement reached with the AMPTP on November 10 regarding the new Basic Cable Live Action, Basic Cable Animation and Television Animation agreements.

The National Board voted to send the Basic Cable Live Action tentative agreement to the membership for ratification by mailed ballot with the Board's positive recommendation. Those ballots will be mailed to eligible SAG members in late January, with an expected return date in early February. Tabulation will occur immediately upon the conclusion of balloting.

The board ratified the smaller Basic Cable Animation and Television Animation contracts directly, effective upon the ratification of the Television and Motion Picture contracts.

Both sets of contracts expire on June 30, 2011, and all of the agreements are for three years. Highlights of these tentative agreements include:

• A 6% wage increase over the term of the agreement, with 2% in each of the three years, effective July 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

• A 10% increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans (and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds under the jointly negotiated contract), bringing the total contribution rate to 16.5% effective July 1, 2011. This represents the largest dollar value increase to the plans, under these contracts, since the plans were founded and is the largest percentage increase to the plans in more than two decades.

For more details on these tentatively approved deals, including deal highlights, visit SAG.org.

LOCAL MEMBER DISCOUNTS
By David Fazekas
South Region Executive

Everybody loves a discount, especially during these tough economic times. The Guild is 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 services, please let us know so that we can contact the vendor and discuss the possibility of a member discount. If a discount can be worked out, the vendor’s offer will be publicized to all Nashville Branch members via our e-blasts, website and e-newsletter. This is a win-win situation for both the member and vendor because the member receives a product or service at a reduced rate and the vendor receives free advertising and, in all likelihood, increased sales.

If you come across an interested vendor, please contact South Region Executive David Fazekas, at david.fazekas@sag.org or (407) 788-3020 and provide all the relevant information pertaining to the proposed discount.

SHARE HOW YOU BECAME A SAG MEMBER

Everyone has a story about becoming a member of the largest and most influential actors’ union in the world. We’d like to print the stories of our members’ first achievement of membership. What is it that made you join? 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 ”how I joined SAG” story.

Please forward your story to South Region Executive David Fazekas at david.fazekas@sag.org.

WHAT DOES MEMBERSHIP MEAN TO YOU?

Every member has specific reasons for joining SAG. What are yours? What benefits have you personally experienced? What would you say to non-member colleagues to help bring them into the union? The more performers who belong, the stronger we can be in negotiation with employers, and the greater benefits we can all enjoy. We’d like to share your point of view, to inform and inspire our members and to bring as many new members into the fold as possible.

Write your testimony in one or two sentences and send it to South Region Executive David Fazekas at david.fazekas@sag.org.

From the Nashville Branch President

By Michael Montgomery

I hope this finds you and your loved ones well and ready for the holiday season. During this traditionally slow time for our business, FilmNashville sponsors its annual Film/Television Town Meeting. This year’s gathering was November 17 at the Belcourt Theater. Hosted by Tom Neff, the meeting featured representatives from every facet of the Nashville film industry.

The Tennessee Film and Entertainment Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development made us aware of their efforts to grow a sustainable lasting industry for our state and Nashville. They explained our incentives are geared toward film companies willing to relocate and call Tennessee home. Hopefully the TFEC will have good news on that front very soon. Marilyn Edwards, from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, informed us that the number of filming permits is up from last year and reiterated the office’s willingness to work with the film community whenever possible.

We had presentations from many educational institutions in the greater Nashville area. Tennessee State University, Middle Tennessee State University, The Art Institute of Tennessee – Nashville, Nashville Film Institute, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, Columbia State Community College and Pearl Cohn Media Academy all pitched their communication and film departments, demonstrating the educational variety that Middle Tennessee has to offer. There were production companies, a film scoring company, even a slot for IATSE Local 798 Makeup and Hair Stylists. I gave a brief overview of SAG’s Short Film, Ultra Low Budget and Modified Low Budget contracts, which was very well received. I gave away a number of our film contracts digests to interested filmmakers, answered questions for some and directed others to our staff for answers.

The Association for the Future of Film and Television made an emotional appeal to everyone in attendance to get involved with efforts to convince our newly elected administration of the value film incentives can play in an economic development strategy for Tennessee. They introduced a compelling video, which will target lawmakers, that demonstrates what we’ve lost in revenue to neighboring states and what we have to gain by increasing incentives. I encourage everyone to help AFFT in any way they can. All in all it was a very productive evening that left no doubt we have an incredible amount of talent on our doorstep. For that we should be thankful.

National Board Report

By Cece DuBois, National Board Member

As you are all aware, the recent elections rendered a National Board majority that is of a moderate tone, and one that – it appears - will move forward with the idea of consolidating performers unions. At least there are certain, unofficial talks under way.

That is very good for all performers; not only is there safety in numbers, but there is also strength. Recent contract negotiations showed us, in very real and effective ways, that it does not serve any small union well to go it alone in a multi-union industry. So keep your fingers crossed, and we’ll keep our ears to the ground.

Also, there is a concerted effort afoot to reclaim the non-broadcast work. Under consideration are several changes to the contract, which I believe will serve us well. I made my living under that contract in the 1980s and ’90s; I’d love to see that work come back to us. As soon as there is anything concrete to report, you’ll receive an update on this contract.

We here in this ”right to work” state know only too well how challenging it is to make a living in our industry. As chair of the Right to Work Task Force, I can tell you that there are several states right now under siege regarding the introduction of new right-to-work laws. There are currently 22 right-to-work states in the country. And with the recent political shift in Congress, the climate is friendly toward the expansion of right to work.

We’ll keep you posted on any developments there. All the best to everyone.

An Important Announcement from
the Screen Actors Guild Awards

Want to vote for the SAG Awards? Be sure to pay your November 2010 dues! Thursday, December 16 is the deadline for paying your November 2010 dues if you wish to receive the SAG Awards voting information and any “For Your Consideration” screenings and mailings available to the eligible voting membership. If you’ve moved, you must update your address with the SAG Membership Department by the same deadline date.

Help the SAG Awards stay green by voting online. Voting information – with details on online balloting – will be mailed on Thursday, December 30. If you would like to request a printed ballot instead, you must pay your November dues by Thursday, December 16 and call (877) 610-8637 by 5 p.m., PT on Friday, January 14, 2011. Please note: THIS IS A NEW PHONE NUMBER, different from the one printed in Screen Actor.

ruth paul

South Region Business Representative Ruth Paul with Will Packer of Rainforest Films

International Black Film Festival Nashville

Only in its fourth year, the International Black Film Festival Nashville continued to grow by leaps and bounds with more than 100 events over a five-day period from September 29 to October 2.

Screen Actors Guild also continued its strong presence at the festival with South Region Business Representative Ruth Paul in attendance and participating in three panel discussions. The presence of productions done under SAG contracts has also increased from three in 2008 to 13 exhibited and/or having premieres at the festival this year.

Paul conducted a workshop on the Guild’s low budget contracts, which was well attended by producers and performers. She also participated on panels titled “Shark Tank,” which focused on legal issues pertaining to the entertainment contracts, and “Through the Eyes of the Producer.”

“The festival founders all found a way to make the festival even better this year,” said Paul. “Our participation has given the Guild a great opportunity to expand the production community’s knowledge of our contracts and employment of our members.”

AFFT Update

By Jan Austin, Executive Director
The Association for the Future of Film and Television

A critical year is facing the film, television and music industries. With the election of a new governor and the simultaneous depletion of the incentive funds that have brought more than 35 film and television projects to the state in the last four years, we must convince our government leaders that the time to act for new incentives is NOW!

AFFT is gearing up for the challenge. We are already making requests through the governor-elect’s transition team for a meeting with the governor as soon as is reasonable. At the same time, we have created a brief video that we will give to all legislators as they convene in January.

Would you like to become part of the Advocacy Team? We will schedule a day-long seminar in early January for those who are committed to learning about and participating in the fight for our industry. Just join AFFT online at affttennessee.org and make a note on your form that you want to become an advocate. If you’re already a member, just let us know of your interest via e-mail (affttennessee@yahoo.com). You might only have time to come to the Legislature once or maybe twice, but your efforts will be worth it and appreciated by everyone in the industry!

If you are an AFFT member, you can also follow us on Twitter as we share every detail of our journey. You will feel like you’re there even if you can’t come in person!

So many SAG members across the state have already supported AFFT since we were founded in 2007! For that, we are forever grateful and we hope the SAG-AFFT relationship continues for years to come!

Have a peaceful holiday season.

Academy Awards $25,000 to Nashville Film Festival

The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded a $25,000 grant to the 2011 Nashville Film Festival. While grants are awarded for a variety of festival programs, organizers are encouraged by the academy to submit proposals intended to make festival events more accessible to the general public, provide greater access to minority and less-visible filmmakers, and help strengthen the connection between filmmakers and the general public. The grant received by the Nashville Film Festival is for outreach to multi-ethnic and under-served audiences. For more information on the grants program, click here

Welcome New Members and Transfers-In

New Members: Cory Bond, Madeline Daley Hall, Ed May

Transfers-In: Kirk Alexander, Jeff James, Daniel Ruesche, August West

QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS NEWSLETTER?

Contact: David Fazekas
South Region Executive 
david.fazekas@sag.org
(800) 724-0767, option 7
or (407) 788-3020