Nevada 2011:01

The Official E-Newsletter of the Nevada Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the Nevada Branch
January 2011

adrienne mann
A LETTER TO THE
BRANCH MEMBERSHIP

To all Members, Council, National Representative and Branch Executive Director:

Thank you for all your support over the years that I have served you on the Nevada Branch Council. Thank you for trusting me and allowing me to be a part of a terrific union group here in Nevada. Please know that I will always be grateful and will still be around for you.

I feel it is time for me to step down from my position as secretary and let someone else with new and different ideas take over. I hope we continue to remain a strong and united group as a guild.

- Adrienne G. Mann

wolff

THANK YOU FROM A NEW
COUNCIL MEMBER

I am very honored by the faith the Nevada Branch Council has shown with their appointment of me to fill the council seat left vacant by the election of Arttours Weeden to vice president. I look forward to working with the council and promise all of you that I will do my best to serve the needs of the Nevada Branch membership. Please come up to me on set and let me know what you think, or you may contact me through our executive, Steve Clinton.

- Bobbie Wolff

heart
A LETTER FROM A NEW
BRANCH COUNCIL MEMBER

By Heart Shapré

It is always a delight to turn on Channel 40 and find a famous and/or old-time movie. I find myself very lucky to have the opportunity to watch the former actors and delight in the fact that it is a possibility. How fortunate to be in the position to absorb their acting abilities and personalities and plots from years far gone. It is a tremendous legacy and one I wouldn’t trade for the world. Of late, I saw Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and I think WOW they are right here in my living room with me as if it were the time the film was released. Is that not incredible?

Obviously, I’m a through and through fan of the film industry. As a kid, in my very small home town, we had only one theater. On that screen I saw Bugs Bunny, the magic of Walt Disney, many Westerns (that included Hopalong, Gene Autry, Roy, Trigger and, of course, John Wayne), and one of my all-time favorite films, An American In Paris. The theater-owner always brought us the latest and the best, so I was weaned and hooked on film and the wonders of it.

The magnitude of film stars was widespread, as I remember when one died, everyone knew about it. I think actors definitely earn a space in time.

My desire for a movie career took a back seat when, after college, American Airlines found a place for me on their airplanes and I became a “stewardess.” As fate would have it, I flew between New York and Los Angeles and met a large number of our actors – Loretta Young, Ginger Rogers (and  mother), Alan Ladd (and son), Keenan Wynn (and father), Red Buttons, John Wayne, Gabby Hayes, Carol Channing and several others. After flying, my position was international vacation consultant, where I spoke to Peter Lawford, in the interest of Liz Taylor, and eventually Lee Marvin.

When my time was up at American Airlines, I jumped in my VW and drove straight to Hollywood, registered with Atmosphere Agency and went to work on my first film – Heart Condition with Bob Hoskins and Denzel Washington. It would be the beginning of a six- to seven-day work schedule for more than a year, and it provided the means for me to join Screen Extras Guild.

With a break in my schedule, I took a mini vacation to Las Vegas, where I loved the glitz and glamour of this oasis in the desert. The thought popped in my mind: why don’t you think of living here? It took about six years for that move to materialize, but I finally made it.

Of course, I still planned on working in film, so I headed for the nearest agent I could find in Las Vegas. The wait was not long, and soon I had the qualifications to join Screen Actors Guild, and that is exactly what I did.

It is a privilege to be in the position today to directly contribute to SAG in the Nevada Branch, and I welcome this chance to tell everyone that I am “true blue” for SAG and our Branch. I feel I have been dutifully prepared (as you can see from my writing) and now I have an opportunity to contribute actively, not only to the Branch but to the members as well. I bring you the desire for success that our founders felt. I feel my roots reach back to the beginning of SAG and that somehow I was always a member. So when you speak to me, it is a matter of talking to all those actors who went before us. Their talent is rare, amazing and magical; we see it on the screen in a big way from films of the past and some of them in the present. I desire to uphold this respect and attitude for this select group known as SAG and encourage filmmaking here in Nevada.

In looking at our meetings, I think it would be uplifting to invite different speakers to present a part of film history at each of the SAG meetings. This fall I had the opportunity to attend a W&W Committee meeting, and it was enlightening to hear about the issues being discussed and learning of the new issues to be presented for consideration and vote. It was a very fine way to be a working part of the Branch, to have a say and be heard on ideas and suggestions that contribute to good negotiations.

We, in the Nevada Branch, are sitting in an opportune position and can develop a model Branch. It just takes all of us working together. It has been said, “there is safety in numbers.” Posing new ideas in solidarity can develop a voice that is heard on matters concerning our work ethic and other Branches need to know it. We have a pot of gold in our hands and the talent to mold it.

ONLINE CASTING: AN
ESSENTIAL CAREER TOOL

Simple, functional, convenient and free, iActor – SAG’s online casting directory – is an essential career and production tool. iActor is the only online casting directory that exclusively features SAG members and automated Station 12 cast clearance.

Available to all casting directors working on signatory productions, iActor allows casting professionals to search through members’ headshots, resumes and media by any combination of terms, such as gender, ethnicity, special skills or credits.

Members can even use the service to e-mail resumes to casting directors directly, any time of the day or night.

To sign up, simply log on to SAG.org. It could change your career.

chris rogers
COMPUTER GEEK'S CORNER

By Chris Rogers

The Nevada Branch is starting a new column on how actors can use their computer more efficiently in their pursuit of work. Today’s topic is how to save your headshots.

Using e-mail is one of the implements every actor should have in his or her tool belt in today’s industry. Many productions require electronic submissions, and you should make it easy to e-mail your picture and resume to anybody and everybody who requires it. Create a folder on your computer where you will remember where you put it (the desktop is common) and call it something that will remind you quickly and easily what is in it, e.g., “headshot images.” Get into the habit of saving all scanned or e-mailed images of yourself into this one folder so it will be convenient when you are looking for them.

Many brands of scanners are affordable and reliable now. As with most new technology, the longer it has been around the more quality goes up and the cost goes down. I suggest buying an “all in one” machine that has a scanner, printer, and fax modem. You can find a reliable brand machine that runs around $100.

The hardware is reasonably priced; however, the companies make their money in the ink. I suggest buying off-brand/generic ink. Yes, it voids the warranty, but the money you’ll save far outweighs the risk.

Each scanner comes with its own software, but they all do the same job. In the settings, you want to choose 72 dpi (dots per square inch) if the scan is going to the Web. For printing, you will want to increase the resolution to 300 dpi. NOTE: This produces a dramatically larger file size. Do NOT e-mail the 300 dpi version. People get irate when you e-mail pictures with too large a file size because it slows the download. A color 8x10 should be under 200k, and since your photo is flesh-toned, choose jpeg compression format when saving it.

Save the file to the folder you created and choose a file name that allows you or anyone else to quickly identify the picture. When the casting director receives your photo, he or she will put it in a folder with many other actors’ photos. You want to make it easy for them to find your headshot, rather than using a file name like “green sweater.jpg.”

That’s it. Next time, we’ll talk about creating your resume in Microsoft Word and how to attach it and your headshot to an e-mail.

P.S.: If you are computer-savvy, we always need members to help other SAG Nevada Branch brothers and sisters that are not technically inclined. If you’d like to help, contact President Barbara Grant at nevadapresident@sag.org or Branch Executive Director Steve Clinton at sclinton@sag.org to volunteer.

“Live long and prosper.”
– Spock, Star Trek

MOVING FORWARD
AS ONE UNION

The AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild Presidents’ Forum for One Union has been traveling the country gathering input and presenting key issues. SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon have joined in conversation with member representatives of both unions from across the country.

The group is reviewing possible parameters for future discussions and is committed to hearing from a wide array of member groups in both unions about their specific needs and concerns. The forum also has discussed the benefits of retaining an independent facilitator to help develop a process and timeline.

Howard described the meetings as “a successful first step” and said he was committed to “engaging in a public and transparent process.” Reardon, too, said she looked forward to the outreach on this “exciting and important project.”

Joint Board Approves Tentative Agreements, Deals Go to Member Vote

On December 4, 2010, the Joint SAG/AFTRA National Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreements reached between SAG/AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for the 2011 Codified Basic and Television Agreements. We applaud all those members who have voted and will vote, and we especially stand and applaud the Joint Negotiating Committee and staff who worked so diligently to bring this jointly negotiated agreement to fruition.

We live in a time when many unions are being forced to give up pensions and health care, and in some cases are taking wage cuts, but our great negotiating team held the line and fought off concessions and brought home increases in wages and P&H. Have we got everything we need and earned? No, but we are still taking steps forward and we still keep our eyes on the prize. We are pleased with this contract, and along with every other Guild member around the country, we will keep our shoulder to the door until it is fully open to us. In this spirit and with love for our union we urge Nevada Branch members to vote YES on the 2011 SAG/AFTRA Codified Basic and Television Agreement.

Art Lynch 
National Board Director

Barbara Grant
Nevada Branch President

sag awards

Join Us for SAG Awards Viewing

The 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held on January 30 at 5 p.m. Pacific, and the SAG Nevada Branch is throwing a gala viewing party to watch the live broadcast at Tommy Rocker’s! Tommy Rocker’s is (again) giving us happy hour food and beverage prices, so why not come join us for food, fun and camaraderie instead of watching it at home? Please join your SAG Nevada Branch brothers and sisters as we watch our fellow Guild members on the SAG Awards show.

Only active, paid-up SAG Nevada members, plus one guest, may attend. Please e-mail Branch Executive Director Steve Clinton at sclinton@sag.org or call (702) 737-8818, option 3, to reserve your spot or ask questions you may have about the event.  Tommy Rocker’s Mojave Beach Bar & Grill is located at 4275 Dean Martin Dr., Las Vegas, NV  89103.

As always, we will need volunteers to help make the event another success.  If you’d like to help, contact SAG Nevada Branch President Barbara Grant at nevadapresident@sag.org.

Sign up at http://sagawardsRSVP.org for info on studio screenings. Most are in Los Angeles and New York.

barbara grant 

Branch President’s Letter

By Barbara Grant

I congratulate all of you who took the time to vote in the recent SAG election. Your participation in our great union is what keeps us strong and vibrant. I especially want to thank everyone who voted for me, and I take their confidence in me and my leadership quite seriously. With the addition of Mary Ann Hebinck, Heart Shapré, Bobbie Wolff and the election of Arttours Weeden to vice president, I foresee the advent of many new ideas and renewed energy from the Nevada Branch Council.

Having gone to my first plenary in October as your president, I experienced an almost transcendental understanding of the obstacles and barriers we face in our industry, but at the same time I also see the potential and possibilities that come from these challenges due to our great national leadership and their vision for our union. The intense approach to our contract negotiations, the understanding of the importance of unity among all performers, and the recognition of our Branch and Division contributions all give me hope that Nevada’s and the rest of the Branch’s future is still bright and gleaming. I witnessed firsthand the diligence of many of our National Board and the staff that serves us with long hours and a tremendous amount of knowledge about our business, and we all now know that this work and diligence have paid off in a tentative SAG/AFTRA joint agreement that appears so far to be a terrific agreement.

I would be remiss in my observations if I did not take a moment to thank those members of the Nevada Branch Council who will no longer be serving during this next term. The service to the Branch by Steve Dressler and Adrienne Mann-Garcia is greatly appreciated and its value and sacrifice cannot be understood until you walk in their shoes. Thank you, Steve and Adrienne!

At present, I, along with my conservatory co-chair, Steve Lizotte, will continue the job of organizing and running the Nevada SAG Conservatory, which is one of the best "almost free" tools that our membership has available to them. The conservatory committee will continue to do its utmost to provide a dynamic range of presenters and programs that the Nevada membership can be proud of and value.

art lynch

National Board Representative's Letter

By Art Lynch

Nevada Branch members on the 2010/2011 SAG National Committees and Task Forces:
• Casting Online Task Force: Art Lynch
• Financial Core Outreach Task Force: Rick Rockne, alternate
• Right to Work Task Force: Art Lynch
• Background Actors Committee: Art Lynch;  alternates: Charlie DiPinto, Leonard Turner, Mae Turner, Barbara Grant
• Commercial Performers Committee: Richard Rockne, Scott Mirne and Nate Tannenbaum, alternates
• Communications Committee: Art Lynch
• Conservatory Committee: Art Lynch; Barbara Grant, alternate
• Guild Government Review Committee: Art Lynch, alternate
• Honors and Tributes Committee: Art Lynch
• Legislative Committee: Art Lynch, alternate
• New Technologies Committee: Art Lynch, RBD Division co-chair
• Performance Capture Committee: Art Lynch, alternate
• Singers Committee: Adrienne Garcia Mann, alternate
• Stunt and Safety Committee: Kim Renee, alternate
• Young Performers Committee: Kim Renee, Art Lynch, alternates

Each national committee has a fixed number of member positions allocated to each division. The ratio of member positions from each division is based on proportional representation and the current breakdown is 11 members from the Hollywood Division, 4 members from the New York Division and 4 members from the Regional Branch Division.

Division co-chairs are nominated and approved by the division boards. The national president recommends national chairs from among the approved division co-chairs for each committee and candidates are approved by the National Board. Members and alternates for each committee are then recommended by each division co-chair and approved by each division board.

Nevada Branch SAG members who applied and were not appointed are encouraged to contact Nevada Branch President Barbara Grant for consideration to serve on or launch active local committees. Although there are only a limited number of positions available for service for each division on national committees, your participation in Guild matters locally is equally important.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Mary Ann Hebinck
Nevada Branch Secretary's Letter

By Mary Ann Hebinck

To my fellow SAG members, I'd like to say how thrilled I am to be your new Nevada Branch secretary.

A bit of background: I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Houston in Theatre, and belatedly started in the industry in 1995 as background in Sgt. Bilko. I earned my SAG card in 1996 after doing photo doubling and stand-in work, joining SAG here in Nevada. I was also active in the Nevada SAG Conservatory during this time, eventually becoming the conservatory’s secretary.

Life in Nevada was interrupted when my husband was transferred to Los Angeles. We lived there seven years, and I stayed active in SAG, though this time with the Hollywood Branch. I volunteered with the Hollywood Conservatory, picketed during the commercials strike, and studied acting all the while, but I never forgot Las Vegas or my friends there. One of those friends, Barbara Grant, would stay with me each summer to attend the Hollywood Conservatory summer session. We made many contacts there, many of whom were invited to present at the Nevada Conservatory. Those contacts have become friends that are dedicated to our craft and willingly share their expertise with us in the Nevada Branch.

My husband and I liked Vegas so much we decided to move back to Nevada in 2005. Upon our return to Vegas, I again was asked to serve as secretary to the conservatory, and ever since I've been active in the Nevada Branch.

As for my secretarial skills, I've employed them extensively over the years and look forward to using them in service to the Nevada membership. As co-chair of the Legislative Committee, I hope to aid in gaining tax incentives for Nevada so that all of us will have more work.

I look forward to serving you on the Nevada Branch Council and encourage you to submit your ideas to strengthen our Branch.  Your participation is vital to our growth.

Branch Executive's Letter

By Steve Clinton

Earlier this year, I attended the festival for the 48 Hour Film Project: Las Vegas, which is the culmination of short films made by local talent and filmmakers using an established formula in a worldwide competition. Each city competing has a local producer, in our case Marko Sakren of Red Rock Media and Glenbrook Studios, who oversees the event and liaises with the national project. Each participating team has 48 hours to write and shoot their short film using an assigned genre, a particular line of dialogue, and a specific character and prop. The best film in each city will then go on to compete against the best from the other cities around the planet.

I very much enjoyed watching the efforts of rank amateurs just having fun and professional teams that use the opportunity to showcase their talent or hone their skills. There were several excellent offerings that moved me on different levels. The only disappointing aspect was how few Branch members I saw participating in the opportunity. I am not suggesting that doing the film project will be the break every actor seeks, but like studying at the SAG Conservatory, it is an aspect of constantly trying to improve your skills. All the non-union actors who participated used their down time to improve. This is your competition folks, and when you hear someone say there is no talent in Las Vegas, this is part of the reason. Constant practice is what distinguishes the pros from the amateurs.

There is another component to becoming and staying a professional actor. Just as you attend the conservatory or continue to take acting classes, you must adapt to a changing and increasingly technological world. As I approach my two-year anniversary as Nevada’s executive director, it is readily apparent to me how quickly the entertainment industry is going electronic. Breakdowns are online and being sent by e-mail. Many casting directors are requiring electronic submissions, and submitting is going nationwide with the ease of the Web to showcase an individual’s talent. Like other industries throughout history, technological change is occurring due to simplicity and cost reduction.

This technological progress also applies to SAG communications. SAG continues to try to communicate with every member using every means available, but as costs rise to use print and ancillary postage, it becomes more and more difficult to maintain this effort, especially during these difficult economic times. It is imperative that you keep your contact data up to date with SAG, especially your e-mail address and phone numbers. If you don’t have a computer or don’t know how to use one, there are ways for SAG to help. Please get a hold of me at (702) 737-8818, option 3, to learn how. I am here to help.

tree

Holiday Mixer a Hit

If you weren’t at Tommy Rocker’s on December 6 for the WILDLY successful SAG Holiday Mixer 2010, you weren’t anywhere! Just under 600 RSVP’ed for the event. In attendance were actors, casting directors, producers, directors, makeup artists, prop handlers, etc. from across the city’s wide talent pool. Tommy Rocker's gave us happy hour food and drink prices for the whole night.

A big THANK YOU to all who helped to make the event so successful: Barbara Grant, Arttours Weeden, Kim Renee, Charlie Di Pinto, Rick Rockne, Bobbie Wolff, Heart Shapré, Audrei Kairene, Chris Rogers, Iva Harris, Rick Crachy, Steve Lizotte, Trace Taylor, Brian Grant and Vicky Curry. A special thank you to Rick Rockne and Arttours Weeden for kicking in an extra $100 from their pockets to the great staff of Tommy Rocker’s.

The Raffle Prize Committee, who tirelessly rounded up donations at the last minute, consisted of Audrei Kairene, Barbara Grant and Heart Shapré.

The Planning Committee was Rick Rockne and Chris Rogers, in consultation with the Branch officers.

The video loop that was projected overhead throughout the night was donated by CHRMEDIA (owned and operated by SAG Nevada Branch member Chris Rogers). Look for it online soon along with pictures from the event.

SAG Costs Too Much?

By Art Lynch

When you are ready to make acting a career, and like Tom Hanks at the first SAG Awards, hold your SAG card up with pride and talk about when and why you joined, then you are ready to pay the SAG initiation and join the ranks of professional actors.

I received a message, all caps, saying SAG is a rip off and that the cost of "dues" (they meant initiation) is way too high, and that there is no work.

Let me deal with this one issue at a time:

First off, are you professional enough to join the union? Do producers cast you? Do you work often, or at least whenever possible, in the industry? Do you take classes, do theatre, and spend money on listing your services on the Web or elsewhere? Have you found an agent or manager? Are you investing in your craft, in time, money or both?

If the answer is yes, then ask yourself if you are ready to become a professional by joining Screen Actors Guild. Are you ready for the commitment of joining the union, with the work opportunities as they are today and with the potential for your future that union membership brings?

What you will never get with non-union work: a living wage; checks that arrive on time and when you need them; residuals; protection of your image and talents against future misuse; and a staff working on your behalf to resolve payment issues.

The initiation fee helps fund the union you are joining. It is needed to pay staff who make it possible for you to enjoy the wages, rapid pay, safe working conditions, food and water on set, "bumps" (income increases), protections of your talent (image, voice, uniqueness) and legal services the Guild provides for all members. The initiation helps fund organizing so that there are jobs to employ you. Our staff of paid professionals, who work at well below the rates offered elsewhere in the industry because they believe in you, is there on the set when needed or called 24/7, even on holidays. They are the muscle – just as stars like Tom Hanks are the profile – that makes SAG the most recognized and one of the most respected unions in the world.

There are payment plans to soften the blow, and the initiation fee in some markets, including Nevada, are one-third lower than in markets with more concentrated work. But just as with buying insurance, a car, a house, or a good pair of shoes, you have to pay to finance the costs of obtaining a quality product. Nothing is free.

SAG has among the lowest percentage dues of any union because SAG financing is subsidized by initiations. And unlike the "evil" way unions are being painted as giant political manipulating machines, only a tiny fraction of your Screen Actors Guild dues goes to political purposes, with none going to any candidate. (SAG advocates for issues benefiting actors and is prohibited from endorsing any political candidate.)

It takes union organizing, the commitment of talent in any market and the reality of the business climate to generate jobs that will support families. SAG does not employ actors – we represent and protect them once they get work. SAG can only help in this process by assisting productions to go union when they want to use SAG professionals.

As talent, you have to stop working non-union. The availability of actors willing to work non-union is only an incentive for producers to continue to not pay enough, to pay when they feel like it (if they feel like it), and to not provide the contract wages, working conditions or protections a union enforces. There is no reason to go union and pay union wages if qualified performers continue to do non-union work.

You have to set the value on your talents and time that make you a professional. That value is a union contract. Only then will you be respected as a professional and given the pay, residuals, respect and credits you deserve.

The nation is in, or recovering from (definitely not in Nevada or California), the greatest recession since the Great Depression. The motion picture industry, unlike its fast recovery from the Depression, has proved less resilient this time around.

Agents, casting companies, production companies, independent producers and distributors – even large studios – have folded, sold or scaled back. Many related industries, including the restaurants and other businesses that surround the studios, have gone out of business in Hollywood, much less Nevada.

States where production is booming give away the store and are now finding that incentives are a two-edge sword, as tax income is down. Nevada already is business-friendly and does not have the taxes or fees to put rebates or loopholes for the industry into force.

The person who wrote to me seemed to blame the union for a lack of work.

Look around you at closed business fronts, vacant condos and houses, and the increase in "street people" and you will see that there is a much larger element at work today. Ninety percent of Nevada homes are "under water," with the buyers owing more than the residences can be sold for. Seventy percent face potential foreclosure. Our unemployment rate is the highest in the nation.  Like the plaque on a previous presidents' desk stated, "It's the Economy, Stupid."

But things will get better.

Production is starting to pick up.

And if you keep your instrument tuned, your heart committed and your eye on the future, then the future is only limited by your ability to "tough it out" for the prize of being on a set or stage and acting.