Nevada 2008:03

Nevada 2008:03

JOIN US!

Nevada SAG Membership Meeting

When: Sunday, April 20
Noon-2 p.m. Casting Directors Fair
(SAG members only)
2-4 p.m. Membership Meeting
(Paid, current SAG members)

Where: Tropicana Hotel and Casino, Hawaiian Room
3801 Las Vegas Boulevard, South
Call (702) 739-2222 for hotel information.

Meet Nevada casting directors and hear them speak about their agencies. Bring headshots and resumes. Join fellow SAG members, council and staff for an informative afternoon. Only paid-up SAG members may attend.

The Nevada Branch membership meeting will follow the casting directors' fair.

All paid-up, active SAG members will be permitted to attend. A parent may accompany a child member. In order to gain entrance to the membership meeting, you must present your SAG membership card.

If you have any questions, please contact
Hrair Messerlian at:
5757 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(800) SAG-0767, prompt 7
e-mail: hmesserlian@sag.org


NEVADA BRANCH PRESIDENT'S REPORT

By Steve Dressler

The Nevada Branch of Screen Actors Guild continues to work through challenges on local and national issues.

Locally, we continue to strive to be relevant and visible in the community. The Nevada SAG Conservatory, under the able leadership of Council Member Barbara Grant, continues to put together stellar workshops for actors in the community. These events are not intended to be moneymakers for SAG. Rather, they are intended to raise actors’ awareness of the industry and to increase the professionalism in their craft. We all want to work more, so it is extremely important to be prepared when the opportunity presents itself. The conservatory is open to non-members and members alike. Non-SAG members pay more for a season than members do, but it’s still the best deal in town.

The Branch Council is also starting to draft plans for a 75th anniversary celebration for SAG in June 2008. (This celebration will be held at local levels across the country.) Expect to hear more about these events in future publications.

Our annual membership meeting is scheduled for April 20. Details will be sent out regarding time and place. Hope to see you there.

On a national level, the WGA and the DGA are back to work. Our SAG representatives are currently working within their respective committees regarding important discussions on the future direction of the Guild. We also recently concluded our branch's Wages and Working Conditions proposals for consideration by the national negotiating committee in preparation for the upcoming talks on the Basic Agreement.

Your input on all issues is always encouraged and welcome. Please send your feedback to us through Nevada Branch Executive Director Hrair Messerlian at hmesserlian@sag.org, or (800) 777-4014, prompt 7.


NEVADA BRANCH VICE PRESIDENT'S REPORT

By Lollo Sievert

A strong union needs member participation. I recently chaired the Nevada Wages and Working Conditions Committee meeting. As usual, only members from the council attended, even though a notice asking for participation went out to the membership. I find this to be the case so many times. I know it's difficult to find enough time for everything, and that is the reason that you vote for members that you trust. It is still very important for you as a member to stay informed and take an active interest in your union.

Why not start by taking an active interest in one of our current issues? SAG’s 75th Anniversary Celebration Committee needs your help. You may contact your elected leadership through Nevada Branch Executive Director Hrair Messerlian at (800) SAG 0767, prompt 7, or hmesserlian@sag.org.







NATIONAL BOARD REPORT

By Art Lynch
Nevada Representative, National Board of Directors

Brothers and Sisters in the union:

Directors have a new contract and the writers strike is over, but that does not mean that SAG will sail through with flying colors and to victory on every point we ask for. Whether it is at traditional negotiation tables or in a more public and painful strike arena, there is much to be discussed and gained from producers before a new contract is offered and ratified.

The Contract Road

The Nevada Wages and Working Conditions Committee met, as have committees coast to coast and at the national level. We will be seeking ambitious contract gains we feel members are entitled to. The process is not open to the public, so details will remain tight and in the hands of negotiators as we enter contract negotiations. The nature of acting and the performing arts differs from the needs of the directors and writers in many ways, so our approach may be different. In addition, some of the advances hard fought for in a writers strike are paper thin and exist to set a precedent for future negotiations, regardless of which direction new media, distribution and the product we help form may take over the next few years, decade or well into the future.

Union Cooperation

You may have heard of the less-than-smooth transition into the upcoming talks due to the actions of our sister union AFTRA. The issues are complex and point of view depends on where you are standing at any given time. Again your union, Screen Actors Guild, is working to move forward in your best interests, preferably in full partnership with AFTRA.

Communications Access

An issue that concerns me is our ability to communicate with you, the membership. I am concerned about our inability to directly communicate with members one on one other than at a membership meeting. All communication needs to be through communications staff or Hrair, whom I trust, but remember he not only answers to us, but to higher level staff, on a daily basis. I am working for complete and open communication with your elected representatives.

Now Lets Get to Work

With the writers strike over, production will again ramp up. Some of this will impact Nevada. When work opportunities come, be sure to stick to your commitments, be professional on the set and let Hrair know of any discrepancies or any questions that may arise. Talking to any of your elected representatives will not resolve a set issue or larger contract issue. In these areas you need to dial the 800 number directly and talk with or leave a priority message for our paid staff. They have direct contacts with our employers and receive training and legal advice far beyond even the most “full time” of your elected council and officers.

We are a Team

I commend our council for the hard work they have put in over the past year on increasingly complex and important issues. The hours we all spend on members’ behalf have increased as the world of entertainment has become increasingly complex and membership has grown. Remember we are all volunteers, receiving no pay or special considerations, while working for Nevada membership and the overall good of the national membership. The next time you see a council member, be sure to personally thank them for their time and efforts on your behalf.

Thank you Steve and Lollo

I want to express a particular note of pride for your president and vice president, Steve Dressler and Lollo Sievert. While you may not see them on the set as often as they might like, Lollo and Steve work harder for all us than anyone I know, even me! Steve and Lollo are involved actively on many national and local committees. They attend often nerve-wracking national meetings in my place or in each other’s place. Key votes on your behalf have been cast not only by me, but by Steve and Lollo. Committee work ranging from New Technologies to Young Performers, Wages and Working Conditions to Background Talent is done on a regular basis by your top elected officers.

Membership Meeting

Mark your calendar to attend and participate in the April 20 Nevada membership meeting. Consider becoming active in the branch and the very dynamic process of providing government and services for the Nevada membership. And one way or another, let your voice be known to all of us. My door would be open, if I had one. For now pass questions, ideas and requests through Hrair.

Nevada Office

Speaking of doors, the hard press to regain a Nevada Branch physical office has never stopped. It may take time, but we are working toward that goal. If you would like to actively participate, again, please contact Hrair. This effort includes actors, and other members of the entertainment and information industries who call Nevada home. For now, we are in the hard-working hands of our executive, Hrair Messerlian, working out of the Nevada Branch Office in exile, at the national headquarters in Los Angeles.

Get active!


STATING SOME BRANCH NEEDS

By Charlie DiPinto
Nevada Branch Council Member

A number of years ago, I worked for a national moving company. Best lesson learned: if one were moving from New York to San Francisco, call the agent in San Francisco to manage the move. Why? Should a problem occur, you will be in the same city as the mover, rather then dealing with a person across the country, who has been paid.

Communicating Nevada Branch concerns to Nevada staff would work to solve problems in Las Vegas, from Las Vegas focused staff. Immediate intervention would nip problems in the bud, saving time, money and resources. The 1,000 dues-paying members of the most photographed city on earth deserves this sense of security.

The "background zone" in Nevada, should be the entire state of Nevada. Productions working outside of a background zone are another way to compensate talent for less, and it is time this practice stops. We must remember, we have brother and sister members in Reno, where respect and dignity is too often replaced by greed in the corporate world.

SAG members who are not vested should be able to purchase health insurance from a national insurance carrier. Rates would be more reasonable, with the power of our union behind those brother and sister members not covered by insurance. If this option is open to other branches in the country, SAG should work to make it available to all dues paying members.

My fellow members, Nevada has come of age. Remember, we teach people how to treat us. As members we pay our dues and need not ask permission to state our needs. We must work for our future and for satisfaction in our work. See you at the popcorn stand.


THE SAG FOUNDATION'S CASTING ACCESS PROJECT

Casting Access Project was chosen by Back Stage West as "The Best Way to Meet Casting Directors in Los Angeles." The SAG Foundation is happy to extend this program to SAG members across the nation.

The Casting Access Project (CAP) is an exciting program that offers Guild members access to casting workshops at no cost. Made possible in partnership with the support of the Screen Actors Guild Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund and the valuable contributions of the Casting Society of America, the Casting Access Project provides members with the opportunity to meet and learn from respected casting directors.

To participate in the Casting Access Project, SAG members (18 years of age and older with active, paid-up membership status) living in areas other than New York and Los Angeles (membership records must reflect this information) can contact either nycap@sagfoundation.org for workshops in New York or cap@sag.org for workshops in Los Angeles.

In order to request a Casting Access Project orientation packet, SAG members planning to visit either areas may simply contact the CAP region they plan to visit first. The packet is e-mailed to the recipient. Guild members without access to e-mail may request a mailed hardcopy by leaving a message at the appropriate CAP hotline: (323) 549-6022 in Los Angeles, (212) 591-0288 in New York.

Once the orientation process has been completed and the registrant has mailed back the required materials (as per the orientation packet), the individual is noted in the CAP-eligibility records and will be given priority in upcoming workshops provided he or she has contacted the appropriate CAP administrator at least one week in advance (as per the above-referenced e-mail addresses).

www.sagfoundation.org

The non-profit Screen Actors Guild Foundation is funded independently of SAG and offers substantive services to Guild members, free of charge, in its mission to assist, educate and inspire actors in their careers and to give back to the communities in which they live.


iActor UPDATE

The official iActor launch to the production industry was earlier this month, and to date, more than 150 casting directors are registered iActor users. SAG branches throughout the nation have been hosting “Upload & Personal” events to educate members on iActor's many career-building benefits. SAG chapters from California to Chicago to Puerto Rico are hosting these events to prepare members for the extremely competitive job market.

iActor is a revolutionary new tool giving SAG’s 120,000 members an edge against their non-SAG member competition. An industry first, iActor is the only online casting directory that allows casting directors, producers and SAG-signatory production entities the ability to source and then directly verify an actor’s union eligibility for work. By taking the Station 12 cast clearance process online, SAG has delivered a powerful digital solution to what has traditionally been a complicated and time-consuming process. Now any SAG member in good standing from anywhere in the country and at anytime receives the same amount of exposure to industry pros by simply creating a resume and uploading headshots – and the service is free to SAG members and industry members. This truly levels the playing field for every SAG actor to gain exposure to all SAG-signatory productions and major industry players. Someone's big break literally could be a click away.

“I’m excited about the professional opportunities that iActor brings to my fellow Guild members. A level playing field is good for every Guild member who is serious about working," says SAG member Robert David Hall, who plays coroner Dr. Albert Robbins on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


PERFORMERS WITH DISABILITIES

By Steve Gladstone
Florida Branch President

The Performers with Disabilities Committee is composed of members of SAG and AFTRA who are in tune with the challenges an actor with a disability faces. We want not only to land roles where our particular disabilities are portrayed, but we want to be considered for any nondescriptive roles that could be played by characters with a disabilities. For example, if the role calls for a father, a law clerk, a high school coach, a best friend, etc., why can't any of these roles be filled with a performer in a wheelchair or assisted by a guide dog? It is our committee's mission to advance audition and employment opportunities for PWD. We encourage writers, directors and producers to do more to accurately portray the American Scene, 20 percent of which is disabled.


NEVADA BRANCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

By Hrair Messerlian

So much to read, with more to report, so I’ll be brief. We are looking for Nevada SAG members who have access to “TiVo” or other similar recording devices to document and record Rule One violations. Please let me know if you are willing to help out. Speaking of helping, do you need tax help? Screen Actors Guild and the SAG Foundation can provide members tax preparation assistance. Log on to the SAG website and go to this link and read about what is being offered. Finally, please contact me with any question you might have. If you send an e-mail, put “SAG” in the subject line to identify that your e-mail is not “spam.”

SAG CONTACT INFORMATION

The Nevada Branch web page is an important resource for members. Visit www.sag.org/nevada to stay updated on the latest branch news.

Have a question about contracts, talent agents or your dues status? Need to file a claim? The Nevada Branch Office is ready to assist.

Telephone: (800) SAG-0767, prompt 7
E-mail: hmesserlian@sag.org