TV/Theatrical negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers began September 27 at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
The Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists met September 12 by videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York and approved a package of proposals for these joint AFTRA Exhibit A and SAG TV/Theatrical negotiations.
SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon are co-chairing the negotiations. SAG National Executive Director David White and AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth serve as the unions’ co-lead negotiators.
24/7 CASTING NOTICES
AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston Branch SAG members can now get up-to-the-minute information on Texas and regional castings. Go to Twitter.com and ask to join the TxSAGNetwork. This is a members-only site providing casting information and notices to SAG members around the clock. Adjust your own setting to keep your information “private,” if you choose, and enable your mobile device to send the information directly to you. Sign up, stay tuned and break a leg!
Donise Hardy, CSA announced the opening of A Casting Place last month. Hardy has been a principal casting director for nearly 20 years, and more than half of that time has been in Texas. While she enjoys casting projects for feature films, episodic television and industrials, her focus has always been on TV commercials. The Austin office, which officially opened September 1, is located in La Costa Corporate Park, 6448 E. Highway 290, Suite D-112, Austin, TX 78723, and is centrally located north of 51st Street, just a half mile east of the frontage road of IH-35N, at Cameron Road.
Hardy is a member of the Casting Society of America, a founding member of the Alliance Austin (a group of professionals dedicated to preserving and increasing production in Austin and Central Texas) and a member of the Core Group of the Network Austin Mixer, the TXMPA and Reel Women. Hardy is a staunch advocate for attracting film work to the state of Texas and utilizing the very talented Texas actors. Learn more at acastingplace.net or send Hardy an updated headshot and resume to Donise@acastingplace.net.
We recently lost long-time SAG member and staunch union supporter Gary Moody. Often referred to by friends and colleagues as “Mr. Moody,” he was a supportive member who dedicated much time to improving the life of his fellow actors. During a lovely memorial service held in his honor, Actors Equity Association liaison Pam Daugherty spoke of Moody’s tireless efforts to unite all union members. He wrote the guidelines for T-CUP (Texas Coalition of Union Performers) and once helped to re-write the constitution and bylaws for the SAG/AFTRA Branch. Agent Mary Collins commended his loyalty to his unions. She noted his service as an elected leader and talked of the many roles he played in films, television programs, industrials and commercials over the years. Mr. Moody, you will be missed!
COFFEE & CONTRACTS
Beginning in November, local staff will help enlighten members on the business side of showbiz with brief, but regular, discussions on contracts. Come learn the basics and take your entrepreneurial skills to the next level. RSVP is required. Respond to Linda Dowell at email@example.com or call (214) 379-1171, ext. 1.
When: Friday, November 5
Where: SAG Conference Room
15110 Dallas Parkway
(Bank of America Building, northeast corner of Beltline and Tollway)
Note: The Friday, December 3 meeting also will be at the above place and time.
**SAVE THE DATES**
When: Tuesday, November 2
Where: The Blue Mesa
When: Wednesday, November 17
Where: SAG/AFTRA Conference Room
15110 Dallas Parkway
When: Thursday, November 18
Where: Hector’s on Henderson
2929 N. Henderson
Dallas, TX 75206
New: Meredith Adams, Phil Blackaby, Danny Cahill, Jonathan William Cruz, Rex Cumming, Troy A. DeGolyer, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Austin Lux, Kate A. Melton, Saxon Sharbino, Kim Smith, Willis Kevin West
Transfers-In: Benjamin Hamilton, Christian Heep, Deborah Jeffrey, Jerral W. Jones, Wendy Loring, Emily Murdock
The Guild has been contacted by these productions about becoming signatory to one of our collective bargaining agreements. These producers may not have completed the signatory process at this time. It's the responsibility of each member to confirm each producer has signed the applicable contract before making an agreement to render services. Failure to confirm the signatory status before rendering services may lead to disciplinary charges being filed. If you have any questions, please contact the office at (800) 724-0767, option 7, or (214) 379-1171.
By Suzanne Burkhead
National Board Member
I’m happy to report good news for all performers. The relationship between SAG and AFTRA continues to improve, and leaders of both unions are discussing the potential for a permanent partnership. In case you missed the recent article in Screen Actor magazine, the SAG-AFTRA Relations Task Force, of which I am a member, spoke out on the subject: “Of course, the defining reason to form a single union is clear: our bargaining power is increased if we cannot be divided… By coming together as one, we can more powerfully protect the SAG and AFTRA members who work so hard to turn their inspiration into reality.”
SAG President Ken Howard and AFTRA President Roberta Reardon have formed the Presidents’ Forum for a New Union. Performers from around the country will begin to explore ideas for a new union that will move us forward in the 21st century and beyond.
Early negotiations for the TV/Theatrical Contract are underway; this joint negotiation with AFTRA is a very good move for performers. Minimums, pension and health contributions, new media—there’s a lot to tackle this time around. After these negotiations are successfully concluded, look for the leadership of both unions to begin to talk about coming together in a more formal way.
SAG leadership outside of New York and Los Angeles has already taken a stand. At its stand-alone meeting in May, the Screen Actors Guild Regional Branch Division Board of Directors voted unanimously to endorse the creation of one union to cover all performers. Dallas/Ft. Worth is one of the 20 Branches that make up the RBD, representing SAG members who live across the country.
As stated in the above-quoted article, “The renewed cooperation between SAG and AFTRA is an encouraging sign indeed, and holds promise far beyond the upcoming negotiations. In addition to sharing the same employers, members of SAG and AFTRA…share another essential characteristic: we became union members to protect our ability to make a living from the challenging, creative work that inspires us…”
Coming together: that’s encouraging, inspiring news for all performers.
The members have spoken and the results of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Branch elections have been announced. Newly elected President Brent Anderson, Secretary-Treasurer Sharon Garrison, Council Member at Large John Athas, and Council Member at Large Jacqueline McCall join National Board Member and Vice President Suzanne Burkhead and Members at Large Ada Lynn, Brian Dakota and Marco Perella. The current DFW Branch Council represents Branch members in North Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The DFW Council extends its appreciation and thanks to outgoing Secretary-Treasurer Carolyn West for her years of service and commitment to the members in the DFW Branch.
Joy Wyse, Clinta Dayton and Sylvia Gill Boyle
A recent "meeting of the minds"...
A Blast from the Past
The Leadership Think Tank recently welcomed guests Sylvia Gill Boyle and Joy Wyse (former agents) and Clinta Dayton (former DFW executive/national SAG staff member). In the 1970s these trailblazers helped the DFW Branch grow from a mere idea to a nationally recognized market with double-scale paydays. Their shared wisdom and experience confirm that a healthy market does not merely happen. It takes a combined commitment from agents, staff and members—all with a shared vision.
For more information on how you can become involved in the Think Tank, contact Linda Dowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (214) 379-1171.
Concerning the Contract
By Linda Dowell
Regional Branch Division Executive Director
Occasionally a contract issue will surface, become the hot topic of the day, and quickly become mired with confusion and mixed messages. Let me try to clear up what I may in regard to the issue of local hire.
“Local hire” is one of those terms that is used, and often abused, in our neck of the woods. You, as a performer, want to work, and it can be very tempting to want to negotiate your services in order to secure a job. Your agent, likewise, wants to seal a deal in a competitive environment where many other agents are submitting talent for the same roles. Producers (i.e., your employers) are looking for the best performers for the job, but have budget considerations and are typically eyeing the bottom line with every move they make. The crux that is sometimes created by what I’ve described comes when a producer offers less than SAG minimum terms as they pertain to travel provisions, and whether directly expressed or implied, you or your representative accepts that offer.
Local hire is when you work in the market of your current residence. You are able to drive to the work location in the morning, return home in the evening, and are not in need of accommodations to rest at the end of the day. Conversely, if you are not “local,” you are considered on “overnight location.” By nature of your distance from the location, you are treated with travel provision coverage under the terms of SAG’s negotiated agreements, including but not limited to, airfare or mileage reimbursement, accommodations and per diem to cover any meals not provided on set. Your workday begins when you depart from the hotel and return to the hotel. This workday structure is what we refer to as “portal to portal.”
If you are working on an overnight location, there are only two exceptions that would allow for these terms to be reduced or waived. First, if a producer working on location in our region brings in overnight performers within a 500-mile radius, he or she may opt to take advantage of our 500-mile travel waiver. This waiver allows for waived travel pay (your compensation for travel time) for the incoming and outgoing travel days for daily performers working on television or theatrical projects. For example, if a production company from Los Angeles films in Dallas and hires a performer from Houston (or anywhere within 500 miles), the salary for the day of travel when no other work is performed that day may be waived. Aside from this, all other provisions of the contract (transportation, accommodations, portal to portal workday, per diem, etc.) are applicable, and you must be treated as an overnight location performer.
The second circumstance involves a producer working at the producer’s base of operations. Our TV/Theatrical Contract provides that when a producer is working at his or her home studio or base of operations and brings you to that home base, the producer is obligated to pay a $75 travel allowance up until the commencement of employment and must pay for your transportation (airfare or mileage reimbursement). All other terms such as accommodations and per diem must be negotiated. For example, a producer’s base of operations is in Austin and he or she regularly produces in Austin. When a producer hires a performer from Dallas to work in Austin, the performer would receive $75 plus mileage (currently reimbursed at 30 cents). Any other provisions related to travel would have to be negotiated by the performer or the performer’s representative.
Waiving any of the travel provisions weakens the contract terms members fight so hard to gain in negotiations. Falsely claiming local hire and traveling at the end of a long workday is unsafe and could put you at risk. It is your responsibility to report misuse of the terms of the contracts in order to keep strong contracts for your future. Your SAG staff is available to answer any questions pertaining to the travel provisions or, if issues arise, do not hesitate to call Linda Dowell or Trish Avery at (214) 379-1171 or (800) 724-0767, option 7.
Casting Director's Advice
By Dolores Jackson
Dolores Jackson Casting
Writing about the audition process is difficult for me. My thoughts on it change quite often, usually after every job. I started out as an actor, so I know how strange and wonderful an audition can be. I like to think that I do everything I can to make it as painless a process as possible, but I know it will always be a difficult experience for you. It would be so very easy for me to go on a tirade about all the things actors do that annoy me. I could fill pages, write a book, vent on my Facebook site, and it may or may not be helpful to you. According to SAG, you are a professional. You are just like a doctor, lawyer or any other business owner. Webster defines a professional as “one with a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.”
Could that be said of you? I’ll give you three big steps to start with.
Be yourself. When I ask people why they want to act, one of the most popular responses I get is, “Because I enjoy being someone else.” Too many of you are not comfortable being yourself. If I can’t get you to be real and be yourself, why on earth would I entrust the life of someone else to you? When I ask you to tell me about yourself, speak confidently and knowledgeably about YOU. Tell me your interests outside of the acting profession. Don’t tell me you’re an actor. Don’t recite your credits to me or tell me that acting is your passion. That’s a given or you wouldn’t be here. Tell me what you love about your life, what makes you tick or brings you joy. Tell me who you are right now, not who you wish you were. When you are comfortable in your own skin, you set the room at ease.
Be prepared. It’s the Boy Scout motto. It means be prepared for life. Live happily and without regret, knowing that you have done your best. I think it applies to every profession, including actors, yet this is the one with the most offenders. I do my best to give you everything you need to do your job—script and/or storyboard, character breakdown, plot line, director’s notes, photographs, etc. Yet, inevitably, you won’t use them to your advantage. If you needed an operation, and the surgeon walked into the room and hadn’t bothered to examine you, hadn’t read your chart and your history, hadn’t taken the time to prepare himself for your procedure, would you want him to grab a knife and start cutting you open? I doubt it. It’s the same with an actor. It’s your job to do the work ahead of time and be prepared to walk into the room ready to give me your absolute best.
Be positive. For some reason, people tend to want to play the negative in their scene or tell me negative things about the audition or the process. I don’t want to hear about what a hard time you had finding the casting facility, how your printer wouldn’t work so you couldn’t print your script, how you didn’t have time to look anything over. All of that negative energy carries over into your audition. It’s interesting how many will take a scene or an improvisational bit and use the negative to start conflict with their scene partners. Playing the obvious reeks of amateur talent. It takes a strong, confident, experienced pro to be comfortable playing it simple, holding a little something back, using energy wisely and delivering the right moment at the right time.
You should know that I want to hire you. I want you to make my job easy. Walk in the room and be the one I would have no qualms about sending to work on a set. Be a professional.