By Kim Renee
Local Board Member
Hello my fellow union members:
Last year was the best year of the last several for the number of union productions. I was lucky enough to work on a few of them, and I hope many of you were able to work as well. We are off to a slower start this year, which I hope with all of my heart will quickly change to the busy years of our past.
The Young Performers Committee is working on a updating the Young Performers Handbook for child performers and their parents who are breaking in to our industry — I promise you parents out there that there are a many things to learn to protect your children. An excellent source of information can be found on the SAG-AFTRA website, or you can contact Nevada Executive Director Steve Clinton. Steve can either answer your questions about young performers here in Nevada or he will help parents find the answers to their questions from SAG-AFTRA or the Nevada agencies that covers our state statutes.
Lastly, I need to talk about safety. Please remember if you feel uneasy about doing something on a set to please let someone know. One of the main purposes for stunt coordinators is be a resource for safety. Our contract allows anyone to question the stunt coordinator on any issue of safety. You will not be fired if you tell someone that you don't feel safe doing something you are being asked — an example might be riding outside of a limo on the window or running on wet metal. If this rises to the level of a stunt then a stuntperson should be hired to do it, but if it is just more hazardous than your normal background work, you have a contractual right to refuse or to negotiate a hirer rate. Please don't feel like a hero and do something that will get you hurt and end your career. Stuntpeople train for years to do what they do, and most injuries occur when people are asked to do more than they are trained for or are capable of doing.
And if you see something that doesn't belong — like a cord or something that will cause an accident — please tell a P.A. or crew member. We are professional and good at what we do, so let’s show them how bright we shine. Remember — there is no job worth doing that cannot be done safely.
WELCOME NEW JOINS
Paige Annette, Jason Wurst, Jessi Fisher, Casey Edwin Roche, Robert Lewis Somgynari, Dan Brandon Bilzerian, Katie Marie Haddad, Nicholas Vigneau, Brian Myllymaa, Rose Savage and Scott Alexander Lang
We would also like to welcome those members who have recently transferred in:
Nicole A Kaplan, Shannon McLaughlan, Eric R. Velarde, Marina Iga Kufa, Mitchell F Martin, Jared North, Caroline Lauzon, Vito Di Barone, Elizabeth McDaniell, Michael Vitiello, Douglas A Hary, Eddy Owdish, Richard Mackenzie King, Melissa Renee, Bass Gabrielle, Beverly M Welsh, Paula Harrington and Sharon Resnikoff
As I write this article, we are fast approaching our new union’s one-year anniversary. While Nevada has had it easier than some other locals, no one is claiming it has been a completely smooth and stress-free transition. From my perspective, I have never questioned the value of merging, as I was not swayed by the myriad details or political ramifications that are a natural manifestation of mergers. Rather, I always believed that the elimination of contractual competition with a fellow performers’ union and a combining of our drives toward pension and health benefits were the paramount and definitive reasons for voting a resounding “yes.”
We have seen our first success in achieving a long-needed music video contract, and the board will be voting on a tentative commercials agreement. I, and many others in SAG-AFTRA, think that for the everyday, middle-class actor that our commercials contract is our best, and it is my most fervent hope that our newly acquired merged collective strength will embolden and empower our new union negotiators. They are in my prayers and I hope yours.
Our National Board has already voted to ask our Pension & Health and Health & Retirement trustees to move forward with talks with the producers’ trustees and the government to combine our plans. Once the two plans are combined and each performance counts toward a retirement or a health plan, I do not believe there will be many negative voices out there decrying our great new union.
Regardless of how many little bumps in the road since the merger on March 30, 2012, we have already seen the benefits in Nevada as several SAG members now are working on AFTRA TV series, awards shows and specials. Former Nevada AFTRA members now have continuous and direct representation in our Executive Director Steve Clinton. I truly believe that great progress has and is occurring, and that after the 2013 elections and the SAG-AFTRA Convention in September, many of the problems will be ironed out and the fact that we were once separated will fade in our memories.
Take care, be safe, and find happiness in every nook and cranny,
From years gone by when crowds were first amazed by the wonderful silent movies that aroused our emotions until today, when even great stars that have passed can be seen interacting with live performers, we are rich in film material created using new cameras, optics, CGI, and more technological change than can be listed in this article. These changes are so great and important to motion pictures that the Academy has a special category acknowledging these advances when they occur.
The technical advancements through the last 150 years since William F. Lincoln’s creation of a zoetrope have allowed motion pictures to provide untold numbers of visions of romance, war and propaganda, social issues, spiritual beliefs, and panoramic vistas of lands far and near. They have made us laugh, thrilled us with crime, drama and horror, provided historical perspective, and given us biographies of the well-known and those who are just trying to live their lives. Motion pictures are an art form that, during the last century, became an integral part of our lives, eventually even entering our homes as technology changed even the venues and means we use to view the art performers and filmmakers create.
Using these advancements have allowed writers, directors, cinematographers and other artists behind the camera to provide the platform we actors use to pour our hearts out and fill these projects with the pathos that transcend the normality of life. They help us cry, laugh, learn and thrill us in ways that few other mediums can achieve.
We are so very fortunate to have lived during such a time where many formidable and wondrous advances in technology have occurred in communications, making our lives so very much richer and more enjoyable.
“The Industry” is a world of its own, adding a valuable dimension to our lives.
“And we’ll have a real good time, oh yeah”
In respect and solidarity,
Nevada Local Board Member
5757 Wilshire Boulevard, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, California