New York 2011:09

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

THE ACTORS FUND HAS THE ANSWERS — AND ITS PROGRAMS AND SERVICES ARE FREE TO SAG MEMBERS!

Q: I need some good sideline work but no one “gets” actors. Where is there a career counselor that can help me?
A: The Actors Fund Work Program is just for you. Not only does it help SAG members find work you love when you’re not acting, it also has a cool Podcast Series, so you can get pointers on your job search at any time!

Q: I’m over my day job. What other ways can I earn a living while still pursuing my acting career?
A: How about The World of Arts in Education? At this free seminar on October 20, you’ll hear from AWP members and teaching artists about their work in educational, community and therapeutic settings, as well as about the current labor market for arts in education professionals. Reservations not necessary. You can just show up!

Q: Help — my apartment is too expensive and too small! Where are the affordable options for actors in this city?
A: Come to The Actors Fund’s free Housing Seminar on September 19, where you’ll hear about affordable 80/20 housing, tenants' rights information and more. Reservations not necessary. You can just show up!

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

ACTORSFCU CREATES NEW UNION INITIATION FEE LOAN FOR MEMBERS

In response to member requests, and with support from SAG leadership, ActorsFCU now offers Union Initiation Fee Loans for members of the entertainment community, including potential SAG members.

Rates start as low as 5.9 percent with terms up to 36 months. Maximum dollar amount is $3,000.

Union Initiation Fee Loans may be used to pay for all or part of a member’s union initiation fee. They may not be used for past-due obligations.

For details visit Consumer Loans at actorsfcu.com or contact ActorsFCU’s Lending Services Department at (212) 869-,8926, option 4. ActorsFCU serves more than 18,000 members and has assets of more than $135 million.

Nothing contained herein is intended to imply endorsement by the Guild of the referenced company or of any information, material, products or services provided. 

FREE COLD READING AND AUDITION WORKSHOPS

The Foundation’s N.Y. Casting Access Project (NYCAP) offers workshops conducted by well-known casting directors, several times each month.

The sessions are designed to help SAG members upgrade their knowledge of the casting process, and to sharpen the skills necessary to book work.

Completion of an orientation process is mandatory, in order to participate in the workshops. Note that THERE IS NO EVENT TO ATTEND. The entire process is conducted via the Internet and by mail.

This workshops are for SAG members only, and open to those who have not previously participated in a CAP orientation in Los Angeles or New York.

Click here to make a reservation. Once your SAG membership has been confirmed, we will provide you with additional information. For more information on the SAG Foundation and its programs, please log on to sagfoundation.org. We look forward to having you with us soon!

SAVE THE DATE – CELEBRATE SAG FOUNDATION DAY

The SAG Foundation invites you and a guest to join us for a day of inspiration, cinematic creativity and networking!

On Monday, October 3, two great events will kick off in celebration of SAG Foundation Day. From 5 – 6:30 p.m., come to the NYIT Auditorium at 1871 Broadway (at 61st St.) for LifeRaft: Branding for Actors with Renowned L.A.-based CD, producer and author Bonnie Gillespie. Bring your questions to this interactive session and get ready to learn how to tier jump! RSVP here.

At 7 p.m., the Foundation presents SF2: SAG Foundation Short Film Showcase. There will be a post-screening Q&A with the filmmakers. Starting on the morning of Wednesday, September 28, SAG members may log on to the Foundation’s website and make a reservation.

Looking forward to having you with us!

SAG FOUNDATION SHORTS SHOWCASE — SUBMISSIONS

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation presents its short film showcase three times a year — usually in January, May and September, in New York City.

All shorts must be produced under a SAG contract and should not be more than 15 minutes in length.

We are now accepting submissions for our January 2012 presentation.

Please send a DVD copy of your film to:

Franz Reynold
SAG Foundation
c/o Screen Actors Guild
360 Madison Ave. – 12th Floor
New York, NY 10017

Thanks!

SAVE THE DATE! FALL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

When: Monday, November 7, 2011, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Directors Guild of America, 110 West 57th St., New York City

REMINDER: Please bring your Membership Card!

SINGERS AND DANCERS: YOU’RE SAFER THAN YOU THINK!

With new employment opportunities on the horizon this fall for singers and dancers in the New York area, members should know that the Screen Actors Guild’s New York staff is committed to all issues affecting singers and dancers employed under its jurisdiction.

All Screen Actors Guild singers and dancers are encouraged to contact the TV/Theatrical Department at (212) 827-1553 or the Commercials and Corporate-Educational Department at (212) 827-1454 with any questions and/or concerns about each contract or to speak with a New York staff member about possible contract violations.

If you have any general concerns you would like to bring to the attention of the chairs of the New York singers and dancer committees, please describe them in an email to Stephanie Perry at sperry@sag.org. The New York singers and dancers committees meet periodically and are very interested in hearing about issues that are important to Screen Actors Guild members.

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT SAG AGENT OF THE MONTH?

Hey, SAG performers! Are you represented by a terrific, franchised agent that you believe does not get the recognition that he or she deserves? Is your agent always there for you, guiding your career, advising you, watching your back, and generally being a mensch without much fanfare or praise? Well, now is your chance to change all of that!

Let us know why your agent is the best agent out there and he or she may be the next SAG Agent of the Month. Tell us (and the world) in your own moving, personal way why your agent is special. Please be sure to make all submissions more than 150 words, to fit publication specifications. If chosen, SAG will run a picture of your agent (and you!) celebrating your agent’s star status as SAG Agent of the Month.

Mention this program to your fellow SAG performers, and keep those letters coming. We will choose a different agent at the start of every month and feature the honoree on SAG’s website (and other publications) for the world to see. With your help, your agent can finally get those richly deserved kudos!

Please send all entries by email to agentquestion@sag.org, or by mail to SAG Agent of the Month, SAG Agency Department, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600. We look forward to hearing from you!

NY Conservatory logo

REGISTER NOW FOR THE 2011-2012 SEASON OF THE N.Y. SAG CONSERVATORY

The N.Y. SAG Conservatory is now accepting new applications for the 2011-2012 season. 

Click here to download an application or visit the Committees Department at 360 Madison Ave. (Entrance on 45th Street) to rejoin for the new season.

It’s the best deal in town! Membership is only $20 a year (check or money order only, payable to Screen Actors Guild). Click here for more information about the N.Y. SAG Conservatory.

New York Division President's Letter

I had a wonderful afternoon in August at the 23rd Street Clearview Cinemas, when I attended a panel discussion during the New York International Latino Film Festival called Through Her Eyes: A Latina’s Perspective in Media. Introduced by SAG New York Executive Director Jae Je Simmons, the symposium featured five prominent Latinas from the industry: actors Soldanela Rivera, Olga Merediz and Olga Segura, as well as media scholar and consultant Dr. Clara Rodriquez. The moderator was Latina magazine Editor-in-Chief Galina Espinoza.

It was a fascinating conversation about the portrayal of Latinas in contemporary media. Rodriquez, who consults on the portrayal of Latino children on television, noted, “Judges are missing; doctors are missing; no girl next door. There are expectations on how Latinas should act.”

I was reminded of my time as a reporter. In those days, I was only able to report on the black community. But the insult was coming back with the story only to have my editor tell me how I got the story wrong. I realized after a very short while that the story was wrong because it didn’t fit his stereotype of who black people are.

As I listened to these very self-assured, clear-eyed women discuss the dilemma of their careers, which reflects the dilemma of their culture in America, I began to realize that their story is my story 40 years ago.

When I went to Europe in the early ’70s, it was stunning how many people were surprised I was an American black man and I wasn’t a criminal.

The discussion of Latinas in media could have taken place at any point in the last 50 years. While the Latino profile is higher now, mostly because they are the fastest-growing demographic in America, we are still culturally stuck in stereotypes. “I still get offered the maid character. They don’t know to be diverse,” said Merediz. “Actors should orient the directors, writers and audiences to who we are.” Most neglect is born of ignorance.

There was a discussion of characters with over-the-top accents and behavior. There was a general consensus that the over-the-top character helped because it gave visibility, but it hurt because there was no depth to the character and helped perpetuate the stereotype. The issue is not helped by the Hispanic media, which also often plays to the stereotype, it was said.

Rivera pointed out that the problem is not necessarily the stereotype, “It’s how you enter into the stereotype. There is a movie called The Maid, and it is fantastic,” she said, because the maid is the central character who is three-dimensional and well-developed. And programming, however stereotypical, is raising the visibility. Hopefully, this rise in visibility will help diversify the image. Rodriquez offered a note of hope for the future: “In children’s programming, there is a tendency to show diversity and more and more they are employing Latinos.”

Latina panel

From left, Daniela Bajar, Soldanela Rivera, Olga Merediz, Jae Je Simmons, Clara Rodriguez, Olga Segura, Galina Espinoza, Marlena Fitzpatrick.

Olga Segura noted, “SAG helps a lot thanks to the Diversity In Casting Incentives [for low-budget independent films] because it forces us to write our own stories, and it forces producers to promote characters that represent us.”

Merediz agreed, “It is important to write.” I agree too. They are our stories: We should write them. It can be difficult because financing is an issue, but that’s one reason the SAG Diversity Incentives are important. Segura expressed her gratitude for these incentives and the import they had in her life.

At some point I think it will be recognized that we — Caucasian, black, Latin, Asian, Native American, people with disabilities, LGBT — the great amalgam of humanity, exist in all areas and in all strata of society. It is important that our stories reflect that.

In solidarity,
Mike Hodge

SAG Supports Annual N.Y. International Latino Film Festival

The New York Division of Screen Actors Guild enjoyed a packed house for the third consecutive year on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 as filmmakers of the 12th Annual New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) attended an exclusive private luncheon.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by SAG Interim National Director of Affirmative Action & Diversity Adam Moore, who introduced SAGIndie representative Michael Sladek. Sladek reminded independent filmmakers that SAG provides incentives for them to hire the best talent available. Manager of Organizing Marlena Fitzpatrick introduced NYILFF executive directors Elizabeth Gardner and Calixto Chinchilla, before turning it over to the filmmakers to introduce themselves and speak briefly about their films.

Different from past years, there was a screening of the winner of the HBO short film competition, a SAG film titled Crush, directed by Gloria LaMorte. After the seven-minute film, Fitzpatrick introduced the keynote speaker, Rashaad Ernesto Green, director of the Sundance Award-winning SAG independent film Gun Hill Road. Green reflected on his experience at a past luncheon, when he was part of NYILFF with a short film in competition: “I knew who I wanted to hire to play two of the main characters. The first step was to contact Marlena to make the film SAG. Thanks to the SAG incentives and the union’s help I was able to hire my first choices.” Due to the overwhelming success of this film, he was honored to come and share his experiences working with SAG with the other filmmakers in attendance. After his remarks, he led an impromptu and candid forum where filmmakers asked him questions about his journey from actor to writer and director. 

Michael Sladek

Michael Sladek

Rashaad Ernesto Green

Rashaad Ernesto Green 

Adam Moore, Marlena Fitzpatrick, Calixto Chinchilla and Rashaad E. Green

From left, Adam Moore, Marlena Fitzpatrick, Calixto Chinchilla and Rashaad E. Green. Photo by Gary D. Santana, GDS Arts.


 NY Host Committee logo

Upcoming N.Y. Host Committee Events

SAG N.Y. Host Committee Friends and Family Day at the Museum of the Moving Image

When: Saturday, October 1, 2011
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Shuttle bus service from the SAG offices begins at 10:30 a.m.)

Where: Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave. (at 37th Street), Astoria, NY 11106
Free shuttle buses to the museum will start running at 10:30 a.m. from the front of the SAG offices, located at 360 Madison Ave. (entrance on 45th Street). Please make sure to stop by the SAG Hospitality Suite at the museum for light refreshments. There will also be raffle drawings. You must bring your current SAG card and photo ID.

Cost: Free!

The Museum of the Moving Image is the country’s only museum dedicated to the art, history, technique and technology of the moving image in all its forms. This promises to be an excellent event, so please mark your calendar so that you can join us. For more details and to RSVP, click here.

Questions? Send an email to sagnyhostcommittee@sag.org.

SAG N.Y. Host Committee Annual Holiday Party

SAVE THE DATE: Please note that the SAG N.Y. Host Committee will have its annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 6 from 2 – 5 p.m. Details will follow in November. Please save this date so that you can join us for this wonderful event. 

Cliff Robertson

Remembering Cliff Robertson

Screen Actors Guild mourns the loss of former National Board member Cliff Robertson. The actor died September 10 in Stony Brook, N.Y., one day after his 88th birthday.

Robertson’s career as an actor on television and in film spanned nearly six decades, and he served as a Screen Actors Guild Board member for 30 of those years. He began his board service in 1962 with a three-year stint in Hollywood and then served as a National Board member from the New York Division for 27 consecutive years, 1978-2005.

In 2008, Screen Actors Guild New York Division paid tribute to Robertson. He said then about his service on the board:

“Actors are predisposed to bending a little bit if they have to, whether it’s on overtime, or a meal penalty, and it’s mostly born out of a fear of the inability to work. I can’t blame actors for bending a little bit if they have to — they have to get food on the table for their families. But I learned the hard way that you can’t look the other way when people are breaking rules on a set or anywhere else in life. I am proud and grateful for my service to Screen Actors Guild and to my fellow actors.”

With a background in theater, Robertson made the transition to live television in the early '50s. In the 1963 World War II film PT-109, playing a young John F. Kennedy, Robertson had the distinction of being the first actor in a film to portray a sitting president.

He won an Emmy in 1966 for his television work in The Game for Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre and in 1969 won an Academy Award for playing a man with a mental disability in Charly. In recent years he appeared in three Spider-Man films. In 1987, Robertson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Robertson is also remembered for the real-life role he played as a whistle-blower in the check-forging scandal of then-Columbia Pictures President David Begelman in the late 1970s.

"My father was a loving father, devoted friend, dedicated professional and honorable man," daughter Stephanie Saunders said in a statement. "He stood by his family, friends, and colleagues through good times and bad. He made a difference in all our lives and made our world a better place. We will all miss him terribly."

An avid pilot, Robertson received five honorary doctorate degrees and was also a member of AFTRA, AEA, DGA and WGA. His funeral is scheduled for September 16 in East Hampton, N.Y.

According to published reports, Robertson died of natural causes. Turner Classic Movies has scheduled a day-long tribute to the actor on Monday, September 19. For the complete schedule, click here.

Bob Kelly

SAG Members Invited to a Tribute to Bob Kelly 

When: Sunday, October 2, 2011, 7 – 9 p.m.

Where: The York Theater, 619 Lexington Avenue, Corner of 54th Street

RSVP: Barbara Kelly (646) 286-0476 or by email.

Please join family and friends at the York Theatre to celebrate the life and legacy of Bob Kelly. 

Bob Kelly spent more than 60 years in the wig and makeup business. He worked on Broadway, movies and television. In 1958, he founded Bob Kelly Wig Creations. The company eventually grew to include a theatrical makeup line.

During his long career, Bob Kelly worked on countless Broadway shows, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Rothschilds, High Spirits, South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, Legally Blonde, and Beauty and the Beast. The last show that he worked on was Shrek the Musical.

Always generous and giving, Bob Kelly frequently traveled the country to speak at colleges and universities. Bob Kelly retired in 2009 and, sadly, he passed away this past April.

If you would like to have your memories of Bob Kelly included in the program for this event, please send an email here by September 20.

If you are unable to attend this event, you may wish to make a donation in memory of Bob Kelly to the Actor’s Fund, 729 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019. Please make sure to include Bob Kelly’s name on the memo line of the check.

In 2012, a wig-making scholarship will be set up in memory of Bob Kelly. 

Walk to End Alzheimer's

In July, the Screen Actors Guild National Board voted unanimously to support and encourage its members to join members of AFTRA and Actors’ Equity in a tri-union show of strength to combat this terrible disease in walks happening across the country this fall. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s, organized by the Alzheimer’s Association, aims to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

In New York City, join the tri-union team, We Take Care of Our Own — Actors Unite to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, October 23. Click here to find out more and here to join.

Tri-union teams are also being organized by fellow union member Nancy Daly in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Hollywood, Fla. To find out why Nancy is walking, click here to read her personal story. 

According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's Disease afflicts more than 5 million Americans every year and is the sixth-leading cause of death.