JOIN US FOR THE SPRING MEMBERSHIP MEETING & ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Sunday, March 27
Teamsters Local 631 Hall
700 N. Lamb Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89110-2307
(Free parking available on site)
1-2 p.m. Member social and meal served
2-5 p.m. Meeting and Q&A
PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru 4/30/11). The membership meeting is only open to SAG members in good standing of the Nevada Branch. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Only current paid-up Branch members will be admitted and parents/guardians of young performers under 18 years old. No RSVP needed.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
By Heart Shapré
There are numerous and varied associations each of us will make during a lifetime. For many of us, part of it is a choice between the many fine organizations that we can join. For me, the Screen Actors Guild was, is, and will always be at the top of my priority list. This gives no comment toward other associations or groups, but rather speaks to that part of my creative juices that I want to share. I speak, write and emote to such a degree that I wonder if I would exist if I did not dare to act on these desires – this essence that is me. This is how I have ended up in SAG as a professional, developing my given talents and growing as a person. I passionately believe that as an active SAG member, this association with other great talent is an important element in the human growth factor, and that this identification is deep in the heart of most people’s desire to belong and share talent.
It is a rare opportunity in the life of any individual to have the opportunity to join SAG. It is an opportunity I did not wish to let pass; I joined SAG as soon as possible after becoming eligible, which took me about six years. I never gave up, and one day the magic happened and I became eligible.
Irving Berlin once wrote the song “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (notably sung by the late, great Ethel Merman), and I venture once a person has had a taste of show business, the yearning to continue on that avenue grows and sticks – for a lifetime.
It is daring to prepare for a show and then present it. Desire, passion and creativity are just the building blocks needed to take the first step, while training, experience and work ethic are the tools that provide the dedication of one’s talent to give a performance that is professional. In truth, that much-lauded “overnight success” will take months and years to accomplish. And when we first see performers putting their talent out in front of a camera or on a stage who are less than a polished success, we enjoy that stage of show business too – that display of courage that will provide the experience. The performer is like a budding rose, and it takes time to become a full-blown rose. With a burning desire to accomplish an entertainment feat, the dream of what one can be becomes a reality, and that is good and necessary for the soul.
Our association in SAG allows us to share our dreams and desires, and often view them on screen. We are a family. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and for me it was committing to memory and reciting declamations in high school and then joining The National Thespian Society in 1953. I have appeared in several big screen films. It is all a gift.
By Charlie Di Pinto
Organizing Chair and
Brothers and Sisters, when things begin to look difficult in our careers, consider the following:
Does any of this sound familiar?
- We were raised in an atmosphere of invalidation about our passion for acting.
- Found ways to avoid expressing our creativity.
- Our creative energy has been diverted in distinctive compulsions towards alcohol, food, sex or gambling.
- Have you ever entertained these thoughts: “It’s too late”; “I’m too old”; “I’m not ready”; “Art is not practical.”
- Felt intimidated by another’s success. Jealousy, envy, fear and self-pity blocked your creative expression.
- Got caught in the amateur syndrome, unable to determine the value of your services.
- Felt like a fraud. Have difficulty following through on projects.
Our Art is a gift to be shared.
- On a daily basis we must work our craft.
- Call another actor before or after an audition and discuss the experience.
- Abstain from compulsive behavior and use creative energy productively.
- An excellent measure of growth is looking at our accomplish- ments, not what’s yet to be accomplished.
- How may we help other actors along the way?
- Move from a place of envy to an appreciation for another actor’s work.
-Suggested Reading: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
COMPUTER GEEK'S CORNER
By Chris Rogers
Welcome back to the Computer Geek’s Corner. In the last column, we learned how to scan your headshot into the computer. This time, we will talk about your résumé.
Before we do that, I forgot to mention most photographers shoot digitally today, which means the photo is already in the computer, so there is no need to scan it in. Usually they will give you a CD with all your photos on it.
Résumé comes from a French word, the past participle of résumer (“to summarize”), which derives from the Latin resumere. Most Americans drop the diacritical marks that go over each “e” in the word – “resume” for simplicity’s sake. Dropping them is also good for computers and search engines. It’s kind of like raising your pinky when you drink tea: While technically correct, it can get you into trouble.
So, it is now time to create your resume. Inside your ACTING folder, create another folder named “Resumes” – resumes will change as you get work, and it is not a bad idea to keep various versions. You may also want to have different genres of resumes, each geared towards a different audience. For example, you might have a Film resume, a Theatre resume, a Waiter resume, yada.
SAG iActor provides a template to help you get started and will store the resume for you as long as you are an active member. You can also find any number of template styles online by using whichever search engine floats your boat.
Microsoft Word is the industry standard format for any written document (regardless of how you feel about Microsoft and Mr. Gates and company). Depending on the exact version you have, your files will have the extension .doc or .docx. The extension is the dot and three letters after a file name. For example, “resume.doc” is the format for documents created in Word 1997-2003 (at present the preferred version, as many companies haven’t upgraded yet).
If you don’t have Microsoft Word, there is a free, open-source software program called OpenOffice that contains a product similar to Word. I don’t normally recommend things I haven’t personally used, but many people use it. You can download your copy from the OpenOffice.org website.
On your computer, launch Word (or OpenOffice) and choose File/Open. Navigate to your ACTING folder and choose the file “template.doc.” You don’t want to accidentally overwrite the template, so save the document immediately as “your name” resume.” Your software program will automatically add the default three-letter extensions if you don’t specify a different format.
Just like we did with your headshot, use your professional/SAG name, not “My resume.”
The resume should include current info (height, weight, roles played, yada). Your agent may have their own template for you to use. It is a good idea to save your resume every 15 minutes or so in case the computer crashes, electricity goes out, you hit a wrong key and it messes up the whole page or some other unexpected catastrophe.
You should use a “safe” computer font (also called True Font) that is on all computers, like Courier or Verdana. If you use a fancy font (for example, to highlight your name) and the other person opening the document doesn’t have that font, their computer substitutes another font for it. This will mess up all your pretty formatting and makes you look bad, so play it safe and go with a standard/boring font. Sorry.
Use tabs to make columns line up. Do not use blank spaces.
Once you have your resume filled in (and it is still fresh in your mind), now is a good time to add the exact same info into your FREE iActor profile. But that is the subject of the next Computer Geek column.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Branch Executive Director Steve Clinton at email@example.com to volunteer.
“Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” – Dave Bowman, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Nothing herein is intended as an endorsement of any service or product.
Cry In the Wind
Ultra Low Budget
Pending – postponed
Stone Pinecone Productions
Locations: Clark County, NV
Pending – postponed
Earth First Films
Locations: Southern Nevada
Resurrection: Wrath of Seduction
Modified Low Budget
Conditional Start – On Hiatus
Resurrection Wrath of Seduction, LLC
Start: November 2010
Locations: Las Vegas
Curse of the Phantom Shadow
Short Film Agreement
Back Alley Media
Start: January 2011
Locations: Las Vegas
The Motel Life
Start: January 3
Locations: Reno, NV
Sean Jackson/Brass Taurus, LLC
February 18, 2011
Start: February 19, 2011
Locations: Reno, Nevada
Possibly Talented, aka: The Super Zero
Short Film Agreement
Dark Waters Productions
Start: February, 2011
Locations: Las Vegas
New Media Agreement
Start: March 5, 2011
Locations: Reno, NV
Lay the Favorite
Take The Dog LLC
Start: April 25, 2011
Locations: New Orleans/Las Vegas
Modified Low Budget
Start: July 1, 2011
Locations: Orange County/Las Vegas
SAG-protected Films finished since last newsletter:
An Entire Body – MLB
Only Sighing – ULB
I.T.’s a Living – NMA (Reno)
Commercials since last newsletter:
Television since last newsletter:
Questions or Comments?
Contact Nevada Branch Executive Director Steve Clinton firstname.lastname@example.org
(702) 737-8818 or (800) 724-0767 option 3, option 7
Branch President's Report
By Barbara Grant
Nevada Branch President
It has been a busy couple of months since our last newsletter. Our All-Vegas, All-Entertainment Industry Holiday Mixer was extremely successful, with more than 500 Vegas partiers stopping in to mingle at Tommy Rocker’s Mojave Bar & Grill. With the help of Nevada Branch members like Audrei Kairene and Heart Shapré, we had a terrific array of door prizes this year – it took forever to raffle off so many gifts (I was hoarse for a couple of days from shouting out numbers over the crowd). We will thank every volunteer for this and the SAG Awards at the Spring Membership Meeting, but I’ve got to give a special shout-out to my conservatory co-chair, Steve Lizotte. If you have ever attended any SAG event or meeting in Las Vegas over the last few years, you have seen Steve – he worked them all.
President Barbara Grant, bracketed by Nevada Branch Council Member Rick Rockne and SAG Awards Nevada Chair Chris Rogers
And speaking of the SAG Awards, Nevada Branch had only a little more than a month after the mixer to get ready to celebrate our brothers and sisters being recognized for some outstanding performances in 2010 in the only award show for actors by actors. We were again hosted by the dynamic Tommy Rocker’s, but this time it was for Nevada Branch SAG members and their guests only. More than 50 members came and watched the SAG-produced TNT/TBS simulcast, highlighted by an introduction by our great National President Ken Howard and emotional words from all of the winners. It was especially moving for me: Natalie Portman honored for her performance in Black Swan and Melissa Leo in The Fighter. I’ve got to take a moment here to thank SAG for putting the show on, Kathy Connell for once again producing an outstanding show and especially a huge thank-you to SAG Awards Nevada Chair Chris Rogers and Council Member and Events Chair Rick Rockne. Rick and Chris searched all over Las Vegas to find this great venue for us, and then coordinated both the mixer and the awards to ensure that both events were a success. We owe much to these two and all of the activist members who make the Nevada Branch so great.
Join Us for Our Membership Meeting, March 27
Next up is our Spring Membership Meeting. On March 27, 2011, our union brothers and sisters of Teamsters Local 631 will once again be hosting our membership at their great hall on Lamb Boulevard. There are a couple of very exciting aspects to this meeting that makes it special for us. First, it is our Branch’s 35th anniversary, and we want to remember all of those great performers over the years that have belonged to our Branch; we will be honoring a Branch member who has been a part of us for 33 of those 35 years – the very special Steve Dressler. Last, but certainly not least, the Branch council has invited special guest and former Branch Executive Director Kathy Morand to honor and remember her time in Nevada serving our membership. See you there.
We are Union
By Art Lynch
National Board Director, Nevada
Wages and working conditions are the foundation of any union. They keep us safe and pay a fair wage. Collective bargaining is how we negotiate to secure the foundation our members need (union wages are a floor, not a set rate or ceiling). Right now the collective bargaining rights of many of our brothers and sisters are under attack in Wisconsin and at least two other states. Quite simply, we cannot afford for the recession and resulting budget deficits to be used as an excuse to weaken union protections and our ability to represent each other as brothers and sisters to negotiate for safety, security and a fair wage. I urge Nevada SAG members to do all we can to support our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Do not for a moment think that this is not your fight. We also have a target painted on our backs by the same forces behind any attempt to weaken our fellow unions in the public sector.
More Than 35 Years of Union Activism
Working conditions also led to the birth of the Nevada Branch. While on the set of the 1971 James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever, SAG members from Nevada were exposed to conditions they considered abusive. With the help of National, they stood up and changes were made. That passion led to the organic growth of the Nevada Branch, officially added to the Guild’s branch system 35 years ago.
I urge you to attend the March 27 Nevada SAG membership meeting to celebrate our birthday!
More Than 20 Years of Guild Service
At our membership meeting, we will also honor the longest-serving president in Nevada SAG history, Steve Dressler. As most of you know, I worked with Steve on the council when I was Branch president and as your elected representative on the National Board of Directors. While he modestly does not advertise it, Steve pulled no punches in talking with staff, officers and National Board members as he worked effectively to represent Nevada’s membership.
Together, we helped bring an office and local executives to Nevada to expand our background zone, to raise national recognition of the needs of all Branches operating under the federally mandated limitations of “right-to-work” laws, and to keep Nevada high on the radar of board members from Los Angeles, New York and other Branches. Most of the work of a Branch president is done in committees, in sidebar conversations and in more paperwork than most of us can appreciate.
Our Birthday Celebration
Please join me in thanking Steve Dressler, President Barbara Grant, your Nevada Branch officers and council, and all those who have served the Nevada membership as we celebrate our official birthday.
Many members have asked if we are closer to a merger with AFTRA. Yes, but that does not mean it will be a done deal.
The national presidents and the boards of both unions are committed to the need to join together as the power wielded by management increases, technology blurs the lines and opposition to, or a misunderstanding of, unions spreads in geography and numbers.
In truth, when change comes, it will most likely take the form of a new union with its roots and history in both Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
As soon as possible is the best answer, but that could, for legal, logistical and political reasons, be a year or years away. The unions need to continue in the best interests of their membership as we focus on joint negotiations, organizing in a difficult marketplace and providing for the needs of our members. And as occurred the last two times the unions worked to join together, the will of the membership as ballots hit the mailboxes will leave any future uncertain up until the final moments.
What Can I Do?
For now, focus on helping President Grant, our Executive Director Steve Clinton and your council build the Nevada Branch and continue to keep us active and strong.
Support Local Employment
Support – within the limits of the SAG rules we are bound to as members of a union, such as Rule One, which states that you may not work non-union – all Nevada-based production and talent industry-based companies. Show them SAG is on their side. Encourage them to use SAG talent and sign SAG contracts. This includes working only through SAG franchised agents. Every dime a non-union agent (or manager working incorrectly as an agent) earns is a dime that discourages our growing union agent pool from following the rules and supporting our union.
Encourage SAG Signatory Status
You have the power to nudge employers toward becoming signatory to our contracts. When we had a physical office, there were seven local signatories. Today we have none. True, in many cases those companies used primarily out-of-town talent, but then so do films, industrials and commercials coming to town. The opportunity for locals can only grow if we are ready and willing to work, and if the work opportunities are there in the first place. A first step is to increase the amount of union work on the plate.
Be Prepared and Professional on the Set
Do the job you are hired to do and do it to the best of your professional training, ability and desire.
Encourage Others to Join the Nevada Branch
The reality is that there is strength, financing and political voice in numbers. Qualified professional talent, particularly those in the younger age groups and needed ethnic representation, must be encouraged to join our Branch as union actors. If they do not, the non-union talent pool will remain strong enough to discourage the use of union actors. As always, the members of other branches who live in Nevada need to be encouraged to join the Branch. Whether their manager or agent handles money in another city, or they still identify with where they used to live, we need their support and membership to strengthen the state in which they live! It is that simple…we need them.
Become Active in a Committee
As members, you can take the lead on all of these actions and more, in the name of strengthening our union, thanking our union for what it has done, giving back to our union and in the drive for more union work in Nevada. Individual actions are strong and require no cooperation. Groups and active committees can combine talents and drive into a sum greater than the individual parts. I encourage such a committee to be considered by the membership, and come from the membership level up.
I am looking forward to seeing you at our March 27 membership meeting.
An Evening Out with Mr. SAG
By Kim Renee
Well the time had arrived for makeup, hair, nails and the gown. That ever-so-special gown that you must have, the gown that was on the cover of your favorite fashion magazine, the one with the price tag that is so over your budget but you must have, so out comes the card.
We are finally ready and begin the drive to the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center. The car door opens, and as we carefully step out onto the red carpet, the crowds are all screaming even though they don't really know who we are – just that we are there to be part of the best show in town. We are met by our escort and the walk on the red carpet begins. We stroll amidst the stars that headlined this year’s best films as they are stopped for interviews, and the excitement is simply indescribable.
As we come to the end of our trek upon the red carpet, we see the figure we came to see on this glorious evening, Mr. SAG. The statue with his arms held high in welcome that our sister Betty White hugged so fondly last year. The SAG statuette that represents what we have worked hard to join, have struggled to earn – the right to be a professional actor and belong to our great union. The icon that puts us in the company of fellow SAG members like Natalie Portman, this year’s best actress, and other magnificent actors of today, tomorrow and yesteryear.
As we move to our table, we stop at a fabulous ladies room to freshen up and prepare for the rest of our evening. Large gilt-edged mirrors and tables with an array of makeup are there, so we can assure ourselves we are ready for the perfect photo to memorialize this special evening. We arrive at our table, where we find goldware and gold-trimmed platters filled with delicious food to eat. As we wait for the show to begin, we mingle with our fellow actors, and I talk about my career and that I am a proud member of the Nevada Branch.
Then it is on with the show. It is amazing to sit there and watch people for whom I have voted walk up to accept their SAG award. I am moved listening to my fellow performers talk about the same struggle we endure in Nevada, and to hear them thank SAG and their union brothers and sisters for arriving at this point in their careers. Tears come to my eyes as I watch the memorial clip of all of the wonderful people we lost this year in our industry, and the validation that comes when you think of all of the joy their lives have given to millions of other people with their art and their craft.
Finally, the show is over and it is time for the after party and goody bags. The evening is almost over, but the memories will be part of the rest of my life. I also remember what an honor it is to be a SAG member and to be part of this celebration of art. The contribution that I and my fellow Nevada Branch members have made and will continue to make in film and television is possible because SAG professionals are making them.
I give thanks for a wonderful show and a magnificent evening – I am truly, truly blessed. See ya in the movies.
25th Anniversary of Burning Man Festival
By Bobbie Wolff
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first burning of the wooden man that has grown into the Burning Man arts festival. The annual festival takes place the week before Labor Day on a dry lake bed in northern Nevada. Each year, approximately 50,000 people flock from all over the world to join a community that builds up and tears down in a week, leaving no trace that they were there. For one week each year, Black Rock City becomes the fourth-largest city in Nevada.
Those who are unfamiliar with the event must wonder what draws so many people to such a harsh environment in the middle of nowhere. Some may be under the impression that it is nothing more than a big rave party. That is far from what the Burning Man experience is. The participants of Burning Man are part of an arts-based subculture community – one that appreciates all forms of art.
Those attending the event are asked to embrace the 10 principles set forth by the founders. They are radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy. When attending the event, one becomes a participant in the largest improvisational stage in Nevada. Everyone is welcome and there are no prerequisites. Participation is valued and, while each attendee is expected to be self-reliant, gifting of all forms is prevalent. Strangers with a strong sense of community join together to build, create and protect the city that they call home for a week. Then, in order to leave no trace, the largest effort goes into restoration of the BLM land that is leased for the event. There are no trash dumps at the event – it is a “pack it in, pack it out” philosophy. Volunteer crews remain after the event to ensure the crucial “leave no trace” goal. Encouraging the principle of gifting means that commerce is not allowed, and there is almost nothing that can be bought while in the event. Planning and preparation to be self-reliant is everyone’s own responsibility. However while attending the event, one is reminded of days when communities came together to raise a barn, where individuals contribute for the good of others.
The large amount of money raised by ticket sales supports the infrastructure to have the event and funds the amazing art installations around which the event revolves. It doesn’t just end with the conclusion of the festival, as money and volunteers from Burning Man work year round in charitable ventures such as “Burners Without Borders.” The communal efforts experienced at the event become paid forward by those reaching out into the larger community to help areas in need.
Explaining the event to someone that has never been there is akin to explaining color to a blind person – it is truly something that must be attended to be appreciated. Imagine a place where you can dress like a construction worker and interact with people that play along. Or imagine seeing a group of water skiers pretend to ski across a dry lake bed, watching a battle take place in the Thunderdome or helping to paint a mural. Burning Man is this and so much more. It is a place where one is only limited by the imagination. Kind of sounds like acting, doesn’t it?
Las Vegas has a very active burner community that embraces anyone who wants to participate. Information can be found at LVBurners.com for local activities or Burningman.com for festival information. Even if this is not your kind of event, it would be good to carry some of its messages into your community. When as a group we work together, we can build anything. This is how our great country was built, how our unions protect individual rights and how we will overcome today’s issues. By standing together, we can accomplish amazing things. Do your part and remember, all the world’s a stage and we are merely players.
Wisconsin and the Search for Truth
By Steve Clinton
Nevada Branch Executive Director
I wish I could get all of the facts I need to make good decisions about our world by listening to sound bites and pundits, but like all wishes, this is a pie in the sky. To fully participate as a citizen in a democracy – even a representative democracy such as our nation and our union – you have to put in the effort to be aware of all sides of an issue to make informed decisions. We have seen various issues come and go during our lifetimes – it is almost six decades for me – and I have watched and suffered through the propagandists prevailing time after time due to the ease of making decisions based on these sound bites, distortions and lies.
As I write my article for the Nevada Branch, the most recent battle for participation in our nation’s future is being waged in Wisconsin, and again the facts are lost in the political rhetoric. We lost this battle in Nevada long before I arrived, when the state’s elected leadership, swayed by corporate greed and anti-worker conservatism, undermined the 1935 Fair Labor Relations act by removing our ability to collectively bargain. We are still paying the price. At this point in time, the new oligarchs are overtly telling and showing working families that they want our nation to revert back to that time before 1935, when we had no rights in the workplace. We continue to be casualties in this war in Nevada, as 90 percent of our industry’s work is not covered by collective bargaining. As we can see in the Wisconsin battle, if working people do not stand up for each other, it will happen in the rest of the country.
The information about this conflict is easily available. It is easy to find the exact language of the Fair Labor Relations Act on the Internet. It is just as easy to see where corporations constantly and continuously violate its provisions. We have witnessed first-hand corporate signatories trying to sneak into Las Vegas to shoot non-union, only to be stopped by the vigilance of our brothers and sisters, and our SAG contracts.
I am regularly told something is in the past, so forget about it. Wrong! It is important to remember what it was like for working families before we had the right to collectively bargain. If we don’t stand together, then other workers around our nation will find out what we already know – the non-union workers are out there and they undermine our ability to live a middle-class existence. I implore you to ignore the propagandists, to search for the truth and to stand united with all working families so we can have safe workplaces, can get health care for ourselves and our children, and earn a wage that will keep a roof over our heads and food on our tables. You have my pledge I will do so.
Welcome to the Nevada Branch!
Shannon Leigh Brokaw
George Todd McLachlan
Alex Buciellato Schoenauer
John H Barry
Carrie LeeAnn Johnson
Kathy Shao-Lin Lee
James Michael McDonald
Troy J Wouters
Eric Jordan Young