New York 2011:02

The Official E-Newsletter of the New York Division
The Official E-Newsletter of the New York Division
February 2011

VITA OFFERS TAX HELP 
TO MEMBERS ONCE AGAIN

When: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (No Tuesdays)

Where: 165 West 46th Street, 14th Floor

Paid-up members of AEA, AFTRA and SAG may avail themselves of a free tax service, sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service  and located at the Equity Building, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (no Tuesdays) from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Equity Building is located at 165 West 46th Street, 14th Floor. The phone number is (212) 921-2548.

• All appointments MUST be made in person (no appointments by phone).

• Your paid-up union card must be presented to obtain the worksheets and to make an appointment.

• You will not be seen unless you have the following:
1. A copy of last year’s tax returns,
2. The VITA worksheets COMPLETED and
3. W-2s, 1099s and other statements sent by employers, banks, credit unions, other states, etc.

• Those with appointments will take priority over those on a walk-in waiting list. The walk-ins will be limited to 15 per day.

• The program is run by VOLUNTEERS whose schedules vary. As a result, there is no guarantee as to how long you must wait or if you will be seen. We do our best to accommodate those with appointments and those on the walk-in list.

• VITA is an IRS program and must adhere to strict rules governing accuracy and fairness. Therefore, we must require your cooperation in not requesting special treatment (you may not choose who prepares your returns) and by providing accurate information (deductions must be actual expenses). VITA may only file returns that reflect honest and accurate accounts and may not assist in the filing of fraudulent or dishonest tax returns.

• VITA at Actors’ Equity is supported in part by contributions from AEA, AFTRA and SAG to assist its members. None of the volunteers are paid to provide this assistance and none are on staff at any of the unions.

This program is not intended to imply an endorsement of any individual or company by SAG. The information provided through the program is given for informational purposes and may not be a suitable substitute for the advice of a tax preparer/professional, legal or financial counsel. You should always use good judgment in these matters and should not act or refrain from acting based solely on information provided through the program.

IN CELEBRATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH
SAG ETHNIC EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
COMMITTEE PRESENTS:

“African Americans On-Screen: Our History… Our Future”

Join Moderator Nancy Giles (Actor, Writer and Contributor on CBS News' Sunday Morning) as she leads an unparalleled panel of industry insiders and trail blazers including Mike Hodge (SAG NY Division President; Law & Order; upcoming Arthur; Broadway: King Hedley; Fences), Warrington Hudlin (Film/TV/Internet Producer; founder, Cast and Crew of Color.org), Ellyn Long Marshall (Co-Founder, Orpheus Group Casting), and Sharon Washington (SAG NY Division EEOC Chair; Michael Clayton; Broadway: The Scottsboro Boys). As a dynamic point of entry to this candid dialogue surrounding the accomplishments of African Americans on-screen, the evening will begin with a screening of the short documentary Oscar’s Comeback, about the legendary filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, with the filmmaker, Lisa Collins, in attendance.
 
When: 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Please arrive by 5:45 p.m. Program begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.
 
Where: Screen Actors Guild
360 Madison Avenue – 14th Floor – Leon Janney Boardroom
New York, NY 10017
(Entrance on 45th Street, between 5th and Madison Avenues)
 
RSVP: There is limited seating.
You MUST RSVP by CLICKING HERE
Limit 1 guest per person.

NY CASTING ACCESS
PROJECT WORKSHOPS

The SAG Foundation’s New York Casting Access Project workshops are now in their sixth year, and thousands of SAG members have availed themselves of the opportunity to meet with and learn from New York-based casting directors.

We hope that those of you whom we have not seen in a while will join us soon. We now provide advanced notification of when to register for the five to eight sessions we offer on a monthly basis, so everyone has a fair chance to make a reservation.

Listings for upcoming events can be accessed at sagfoundation.org.

SF2: SHORT FILM SHOWCASE
SEEKING SUBMISSIONS

The SAG Foundation is now accepting submissions for its May showcase. The short must be produced under a SAG contract and not be more than 15 minutes in length.

This event is a great opportunity to network with up-and-coming filmmakers – some of whom are SAG members – and learn how to create career opportunities for yourself.

For more details, please send an e-mail to shortsny@sagfoundation.org.

THE ACTORS FUND OFFERS
FREE SERVICES TO SAG MEMBERS

Did you know The Actors Fund offers ongoing workshops, groups and seminars, all FREE OF CHARGE for Screen Actors Guild members? What a bargain! Come to The Actors Fund and get answers to these questions and more:

Q:  Interested in affordable health care options or insurance?

A:  Try “Getting and Keeping Health Insurance,” held Thursdays at the fund offices from 12:30 – 1:30 pm. No reservations are necessary.

Q:  Looking for affordable housing options, tenants' rights information and more?

A:  Drop by their “Housing Seminar” on Monday, March 28, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at The Actors Fund offices. No reservations are necessary.

Q:  In need of supplemental work outside “the biz?”

A:  Sign up for The Actors Fund Work Program orientation. AWP offers individual career counseling, job training and education, financial assistance, and job placement services. Orientation is held every Monday except for legal holidays. No reservation or pre-registration required, but keep in mind that doors close at 12:05 p.m.

The Actors Fund is located at 729 7th Avenue, 10th Floor, between 48th and 49th Streets. For up-to-date listings and other resources offered by The Actors Fund, go to actorsfund.org or call (212) 221-7300, ext. 119.

Many programs of The Actors Fund are supported by funding from the Screen Actors Guild Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund. For more information about the fund, go to SAG.org/mppwf.

mike hodge

A Message from the N.Y. Division President

By Mike Hodge

First, I want to thank all of you who voted in the recent TV/Theatrical Contract referendum for giving us an overwhelming 94 percent of the vote in favor of the contract. I expected it to pass, but that margin told us just how good the contract is, and how much everyone wants to keep working.

Now we are asking you to vote on the Basic Cable Live Action Agreement. This contract financially mirrors the TV/Theatrical Contract we just approved, including the 1.5 percent pension and health increase and the 6 percent wage increase.

Ballots must be received in the enclosed envelope via U.S. Mail at the Everett, WA Post Office box no later than 5 p.m. PST on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. If you have questions, please email the Guild at contract2011@sag.org or call the Contract Hotline at (323) 549-6665. This is not a joint contract, which is why it was sent separately. Only SAG members will be voting this time around.

On another note, Nancy Fox, our national director of government relations and policy, along with AFTRA’s Ed Fry and Equity’s Maria Somma, worked closely with our employers to encourage the New York State Department of Labor to restructure and complete the state regulations for young performers. We expect a new draft soon and look forward to greatly improved work rules.

Now the one real and pleasant surprise I have been having consistently for the last year is the number of people who ask with great anticipation, “Are we going to merge?”, “When are we going to merge?” and/or “Why hasn’t it happened yet?” Well this is yet another affirmation of members’ desire to create one union.

We are in the process of soliciting input from the members about the kind of union we want the merged union to be. One of the real issues for both organizations is that each one was created when communication technologies were in their infancy. Prior to the advent of digital technology, it was expensive and time consuming to complete a project and it almost didn’t matter what the project format was.

I remember when a voice-over or radio spot was recorded on a big analog reel and the editing was done by cutting the strips of magnetic tape at the point that you wanted to save and taping them on the wall, then mixing and matching with an adhesive for desired effects. I also remember all work in front of a camera being done in front of a huge clunky thing on wheels, one shot at a time. There were individual radio stations all across the country, three television networks, and pretty much all movies were done by the studios.

These days, editing is done in a matter of seconds on a computer; shows can be shot on a set in front of three cameras and presented without editing. Radio stations have been distilled to just a few owners across the country. Television is several hundred stations and more than three networks. Pretty much anybody with a camera can make a movie - and I’m not that old. Plus we now have distribution on cell phones, smart phones, the Internet, interactive game machines and whatever else is coming down the pipeline.

So while we are keeping up, we are running to keep up. Our intent is to have a union that will easily and readily accommodate the changes that have already been made, but malleable enough to accommodate anything new.

So we are having listening tours. The first one was held here in New York. It was invitation-only and designed to see how the meetings would best work. The presidents of each union are traveling the country to find out what the members want and what’s important to them.

They will be back in New York soon. Keep an eye out. They want to hear from you.

Background Safety Drop-Off

Notice to SAG Background Performers Dismissed From Work at 9:30 p.m. or Later:

Beginning July 1, 2011, it will become mandatory for production companies who must provide transportation after 9:30 p.m. to one of three Manhattan drop-off locations (Grand Central Station, Penn Station or Port Authority Bus Terminal) to additionally stop at the day’s original pick-up spot.

The work day for performers who are still on compensable travel time will end upon arrival at the first drop-off location.

Commercials Tips and Tools – When Are Payments Due?

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presidents at sag awards
New York Division President Mike Hodge and National President Ken Howard on the red carpet at the SAG Awards

New York Takes SAG Awards by Storm

The New York Division was well represented at this year’s SAG Awards. Steve Buscemi along with the cast of Boardwalk Empire, which is shot in Brooklyn, won for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, respectively. The award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series went to Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife, which takes place in Chicago but is lensed in New York. For the fifth consecutive year, Alec Baldwin took home the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series for his role on the New York City-based series 30 Rock.

Natalie Portman won for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Nina Sayers in Black Swan, which was filmed in New York City and the award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries went to Al Pacino for his role of Jack Kevorkian in You Don’t Know Jack.

Congratulations to all of our members who appeared in these nominated series and films.

N.Y. SAG Conservatory Presents:
“What Actors Need to Know About Industrials Today”

When: 10 - noon, Friday, February 25, 2011
(Doors open at 9:45 a.m.)

Where: Screen Actors Guild Boardroom (14th floor)
360 Madison Avenue (Entrance at 45th Street)
New York, NY
 
Carol Nadell of Selective Casting will share up-to-date and practical insight into current industrial production. Industrials include talent for film, video and web productions, museum exhibits, trade shows and live events for corporations and not-for-profits.  A few selected actors will have the opportunity to work on scripts with Nadell.

Nadell has been a respected member of the acting community for more than 25 years, both as a performer on Broadway, television, films and commercials, and as a casting director. She has specialized in industrials for 22 years and is also a casting consultant for theater and independent films.

A sign up sheet is on the NY SAG Conservatory bulletin board on the 12th floor. Walk-in members will be admitted at 10 a.m. after signed up members. OPEN TO NY SAG CONSERVATORY MEMBERS ONLY. Join now!  Bring a check or money order only to the Committees Office on the 12th floor in the amount of $20 made payable to “Screen Actors Guild” or download the application here and mail in with your payment.

March Emergency Blood Drive for Everyone in the Arts 

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Where: AFTRA New York Headquarters, 260 Madison Avenue (between 38th and 39th Streets), 7th Floor

Due to the horrific snows of December and January, the blood supply in New York City is dangerously low, so we are holding a March emergency blood drive for everyone in the performing arts. No registration required, no union membership required,  just come, donate and help save lives. Bring a friend. Everyone who shows up will receive an mp3 version of Lisa Gold's 90-minute seminar Networking Know How.

This event is being administered by a provider independent of Screen Actors Guild.

paperless billing  

Go Paperless with Online Billing

Paperless billing is yet another way we’re more efficiently serving our members: cutting costs (not to mention clutter in your home), making your billing instantaneous and, as part of our ongoing green initiative, doing our part to save the environment. If you haven’t yet signed up, consider these dollars-and-cents reasons to do so:

• Save paper and stamps. You won’t just save yourself money, but you’ll save the Guild money, too. With more than 125,000 members, and dues bills being sent out twice a year, the Guild has a hefty business expense that can be significantly lightened by paperless billing.

• You can download to your computer or mobile device an exact virtual copy of the bill you would normally receive in the mail. That will reduce clutter, and if you live at the frantic pace that most actors do, it will also reduce the chance that you’ll misplace this important information.

• With the complete detail provided by paperless billing, you’ll fully understand what you owe and be better empowered to use the Guild’s free “Pay Dues Online” service, if you so choose, saving yourself the cost of mailing. “Pay Dues Online” is free, more secure than the U.S. mail and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Here’s a link to help get you started with paperless billing as well as answers to any additional questions you may have. Don’t worry; should you change your mind, you can always revert back to a paper bill with a simple click if you determine it’s not right for you.