Nevada 2005:08

Nevada 2005:08

SAG Nevada Branch Membership Meeting

To Members of the SAG Nevada Branch: Official Membership Meeting Notice Time: 1 to 4 p.m. Date: Sunday, September 25 Place: The Tropicana Hotel and Casino 3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South (702) 739-2222 (Tropicana phone# for directions) Please join us, your branch council, Nevada Branch Executive Director Hrair Messerlian and our special guest speaker, SAG Senior Advisor John McGuire, for an informative evening. Only Nevada SAG members will be permitted to attend - except a parent may accompany a child member. In order to gain entrance to the meeting, you must present your SAG membership card. If you have any questions, please contact our office at: 5757 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 or reach us toll-free at (800) SAG-0767, prompt #7, or email Mr. Messerlian at

National Board Representative Report By Art Lynch

My fellow actors; You may have followed the major changes occurring within the AFL-CIO and organized labor over the past year. While at this time I am not allowed to write as full and honestly as I have been in the past, I can share a few key observations freely. Unions are changing and with them almost constant legal review and potential legal threats. Therefore, I am not allowed to share with members in writing many of the observations or realities I may have been in the past. I invite you to attend the Nevada branch membership meeting for an open discussion of information and to have any and all of your questions answered by the membership and staff. Speaking of staff. You can’t get more knowledgeable than John McGuire as the senior member of SAG’s staff. His history as a negotiator, administrator, leader and union activist means that almost any questions concerning Screen Actors Guild. and in general, can be answered honestly and openly by John, as our guest at the Nevada branch membership meeting. John is an expert on contracts, wages, working conditions and the history and role of our union. I think you will find his smile, personality and wealth of experience charming and well worth your time on a Sunday afternoon. As I asked in a previous newsletter, take time to imagine there was no Screen Actors Guild. There would be no “bumps,” “benefits,” contracts, protections on working conditions, no guarantee of being paid, no water or amenities on the set, no livable wages for those blessed with full time careers, and no wage comparable to make it worthwhile for anyone to seek a career or take the time needed to pursue acting. There are the threats that challenge Screen Actors Guild, the American Labor Movement, employees everywhere, and in many ways the fabric of this nation, as we have known it for over a century. The National Right-to-work Foundation, lobby and those who believe in a fully open marketplace controlled by management. Those who trumpet Right To Work (RTW) or other incarnations of similar laws, fail to understand that when there were not unions there was no check and balance on low wages, long hours, unsafe working conditions and no guarantee of timely (or accurate) payment for services. They fail to understand that the wages of the work force are what they are because employers know union minimums (scale) and to protect themselves from union organizing. There are companies in town and nationally who spend tremendous amounts of money or even close factories or stores just to keep their employees from unionizing. There are those who have forgotten what a union is, why SAG is a union, and the real alternatives hiding in the political shadows. We are in perilous times as a branch, a division and a union. As a union, SAG is sound, although we may not be taken as seriously on the streets or across the table by management as we would like. Not only is there a strong anti-union movement on the outside, but also there is a division on what it means to be a union and on who unions are for internally. Simply look at the many changes within SAG, including staff, over the past few years. Be cognizant of who you vote for at the national level this fall. It is your choice. I believe unions’ hold the torch for all workers, to keep work places and working conditions safe, to make sure workers are paid on time and at wages that truly compensate those who work for their talent and efforts. Unions do not create employment, but unions are a strong force in persuading employers to treat those who do work as professionals and as the asset we are. As a division, the Regional Branch Division is also sound. In fact, we operate on a civil level, accomplishing great deals of work over short periods of time and respectfully debate each other in a civil manner and soundly represent our division and the individual branches at the national level. Steve Fried of Arizona is our elected 3rd National Vice President, the chair of our division. We are in very good hands with Steve on our side. The 3rd VP is elected jointly by the branch representatives on the national board and the local branch presidents. I see in the Regional Branch Division a democracy reflecting that of our nation. We have diversity in every way, including in availability of work, in how we make a living, in use of contracts, in urban and rural membership, in our beliefs, in the diversity of union and RTW state laws and of course in a geography covering the entire nation outside of Los Angeles and New York City. We work together, though we differ, and we stand up for our members and the national nature and integrity of this union. As a branch, we remain sound but in need of reinforcements. The closure of our office, redefinitions and financial limitations on staff and staff time, periods of inconsistent production and an evolution of our membership have radically altered the branch. Attendance at membership meetings is down, as is committee participation. At the same time the cost of doing business has risen and continues to rise. This comes at a time when the burden of building this branch as a benefit for all members has increased and even crucial importance. We cannot rely on staff to do everything. We need your input into how to organize this market to increase the amount of work available for all of us. We need to know what you want to see your branch become. While your council is hard working and dedicated, we need your participation, input and leadership to remain strong well into the future. The realities of politics, economics and a rapidly changing industry demand that we stand up and fight for unionism, for SAG, for all branches and for our proud Nevada branch. As a board member, I carry the torch. Your president and board alternates carry their share of the load, as does your council. We need your support and your help as well. Step up to the plate and let your voice, talents and dedication be heard! -Art Lynch

Nevada Branch Vice President's Message By Lollo Sievert

“Whose responsibility is it?” Always the same story floating around. “The Las Vegas Extras are not professional; we have to bring our own people.” I have heard this for years. Mostly I feel the background community in Las Vegas is a hard working professional group, which I am proud to say that I have worked as many times. Granted there are always slip-ups, I have seen people falling asleep, wandering off or acting like “groupies,” but for the most part I think people here are professional. Why then do I hear complaints from casting, from other people working background, and also some from production companies? Perhaps “they” want to bring their own people here, work is difficult to find, is this a convenient excuse? Whether that is the case or not, whose responsibility is it to make sure our Nevada background members are professional? Is it up to the individual? To whom do you think that the responsibility rests? We held many background seminars in the Nevada SAG Conservatory and they were always well attended. Is it perhaps time to do some more? We need some inputs here, please call (800) 724-0767, prompt#7 or you can email me at Remember, working as an background is work – be a professional and give it your all. Lollo Sievert vice president Nevada branch

The 48-Hour Film Project By Kim Renee

Lights, camera, action, all you have is 48 hours from start to finish to do that film you always dreamed of. Go to 48hourfilmlv@gmail .com and check out all the rules. There still might be time. The deadline has been extended. Angela Abshier moved here from Washington D.C. and knew Las Vegas had to be in this. She was involved in D.C. with it and knows what needs to happen and how great it can be. On June 29, 2005 she had a mixer with Woman in Film also helping out so the teams could meet talk and get some more members on board She also showed last years winners. The deadline has been extended so e-mail her at 48hourfilmlv@gmail .com to see if you can get in. You can do all those things you couldn't do when you were on someone else's set. SAG has approved this. Let your imagination go wild. See ya on the set. Kim Renee (Editor's Note: Visit Filmmaking teams must write, shoot and edit a movie within 48 hours; using new Panasonic HD cameras and editing on the AVID HD Express.)

Nevada SAG Conservatory News By Barbara Grant

Having just come back from the annual summer L.A. Conservatory weekend where they had 52 classes crammed into two days, I am filled with the possibilities of people that have said they would love to come and teach a class in Las Vegas. Our Fall schedule will have professionals in many fields of film and theatre. This August we have Robert Forster, the actor, telling of his career challenges. Barbara Divisek, a casting director and agent, and Ray Bengston, one of the top photographers in the business as well as an acting teacher will be here in September - that will be a "two for one" day. Marsha Meyers, a brilliant improvisational artist and teacher will be coming in October, and Carolyne Barry, an actress who's done film and commercials for 30 years and now owns and runs one of the top commercial acting schools in Los Angeles will be with us in November. Along with others who have not been booked yet, we plan to have a very busy, exciting group of people leading our workshops. As everyone knows, one must check the hotline to make sure the scheduled event has not been postponed because of a last minute change in the facilitator's work schedule. Call the hotline 226-5620 As our membership grows, we might have to implement a rule stating that if you've paid the $10 per workshop instead of the yearly $50 ($40 for SAG members) that you'd be considered an auditor rather than a participant.

Executive Director Message By Hrair Messerlian

Your Nevada SAG council and national board representative is committed to creating an effective and respectful forum that provides information to branch members. As our membership grows and participation increases, we want to take this opportunity to reach out to the membership for input and participation in order to meet the expectations and needs of the majority of our members. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. We need your participation to make the Nevada branch viable to the local acting community. Volunteer, attend Conservatory events, and get connected! We’re also seeking a newsletter coordinator to solicit and compile articles for four quarterly print and electronic newsletters. If you’ve received this e-newsletter we have your email information, but reach out to your fellow members and encourage them to submit their email contact information by simply writing SAG Membership, 5757 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Include your regular mailing address, SAG ID number and signature with your email address. If you just want to change your email address with SAG, email the old and new email addresses and your SAG ID number to Respectfully, Hrair Messerlian, Nevada Executive Director 5757 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (800) 724-0767, prompt #7 (323) 549-6440, (323) 549-6460 fax

SAGindie Goes To CineVegas By Darrien Gipson

This year, for the first time, SAGindie has come on board as a sponsor for Las Vegas’ ultra-hip CineVegas Film Festival. This SWINGERS style film festival boasts a solid slate of films, many with the filmmaker accompanying, and plenty of celebrities. Special attention was paid to those films shot in, around, or about Las Vegas. In between rounds at the poker tables, everyone was able to get together to watch and talk about film. SAGindie was able to spread the word about SAG’s low budget contract by handing out our materials at the Filmmakers Lounge; the haven for filmmakers in between film screenings, at the Palms Hotel. Furthermore, we attended the Filmmakers Brunch, where we could talk one-on-one with filmmakers about their current films, and the films they plan for the future. SAGindie’s goal at film festivals such as CineVegas is to outreach to filmmakers who are just starting their careers, or who have had some success on the independent/festival circuit, and to talk with them about how to use SAG’s low budgets contracts. We stress that any filmmaker who wants the best for their film should use professional talent, and that the process to do so has been made exceptionally easy for them. We, through workshops or individual conversations, talk about the different contracts, the correct way in which to utilize these contracts, and the basic expectations of SAG actors who work in independent film. Generally speaking, filmmakers often express surprise at how hard SAG has worked to make this process quick and painless for actors and producers alike. Once they become knowledgeable about the process, everyone sees how these contracts are a win-win situation for filmmakers and actors. Actors get a chance to not only build up their film resumes, gain exposure through film festivals, and to work on some of the most interesting projects available, but producers get talent that comes to set prepared and works in a professional manner, thus saving time and money. The festival proved to be a success, and SAGindie certainly plans to continue, and possibly increase, their support of CineVegas. If you’re in Las Vegas in early June, and love independent film, CineVegas is something you really need to check out. Darrien Michele Gipson coordinator, SAGindie

25 Reasons To Shoot in Nevada By Dennis Conti

From film festivals to prime shooting locations to giant hotels, Nevada is a great state to pick for productions. SAG Awards Nominations SUBMISSIONS OPEN FOR THE 12th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® NOMINATIONS ON MONDAY, JULY 18 Los Angeles (July 18, 2005) – Submissions for the 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® nominations opened Monday, July 18 and continue until 5 p.m. (PST), Tuesday, November 8, 2005. For information including nominations and screenings log on to or call the Screen Actors Guild Awards® office at (323) 549-6707.

BookPALS By Barbara Bidell

Las Vegas BookPALS is seeking actors who would be interested in honing their acting skills while enhancing children’s literacy. BookPALS, Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools, is the literacy arm of the nonprofit Screen Actors Guild Foundation. It is comprised entirely of professional performers who use their acting talents to read aloud to students in "at risk" schools. Our hope is to get kids interested in reading so they will want to pick up a book and practice their reading skills. Who would be better for the job than an actor, trained in the art of storytelling? If you have one hour a week to spare to read aloud to children in Clark County Schools, please give us at call at the BookPALS office at 656-1659. Barbara Bidell Las Vegas BookPALS Coordinator Office Phone: 702-656-1659 Cell Phone: 702-806-2824 Office Fax: 702-656-8593 E-mail: