HOLIDAY OFFICE CLOSURE
PLEASE NOTE: SAG-AFTRA offices will be closed Dec. 24–26 and Dec. 31–Jan. 2. We will be open regular business hours on the adjacent weekdays. Happy Holidays to all!
FREE MUSEUM ENTRY
On Nov. 8, SAG-AFTRA members enjoyed a Friends & Family Day at the Museum of the Moving Image organized by the N.Y. Host Committee. Members and their families toured the museum, including special exhibitions dedicated to animators Chuck Jones and Bill Plympton and director Rouben Mamoulian. There was a raffle drawing and light refreshments were served.
Even if you missed this wonderful event, your SAG-AFTRA membership entitles you to free admission to the museum all year. The Museum of the Moving Image is a great resource for learning the history of the medium, seeing where the future is headed and seeing classic films on the big screen. Click here for details.
The deadline for applying to the Hunter’s Point Housing Development is Dec. 15. Hunter’s Point South Crossing and Hunter’s Point South Commons feature new, permanently rent-regulated rentals for low and middle income levels in Long Island City, Queens. It’s 20 minutes from Times Square on the subway and within walking/biking distance to Silvercup Studios, Kaufman Astoria Studios, and multiple other stages and post-production studios. Learn more about the development and its amenities here or contact them at (646) 392-8756. Apply online.
Casting Director Offers Advice to Members
The SAG-AFTRA New York Local held its fall membership meeting on Oct. 27 at the DGA Theater. New York Local President Mike Hodge reported on the various contracts that had been negotiated and ratified this year, and noted how the merger had fulfilled its promise to bring legacy contracts together. New York Executive Director Jae Je Simmons spoke about the local production landscape, which continues to boast impressive employment numbers. Presentations were given by the AFTRA Foundation, the SAG Foundation and the Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, reminding members of the many benefits and assistance services available to them. Both health plans were represented by their respective chief executive officers, Christine Dubois from AFTRA Health & Retirement and Michael Estrada from SAG-Producers Pension & Health, who reported their plans were in strong financial shape and that talks were continuing on a planned merger.
Committee chair Janette Gautier reported on the revitalized Open Door program, which drew over 1,670 members for interviews with agents and casting directors. This year also marked the return of the Joseph C. Riley Awards, which are bestowed on New York Local members for outstanding committee service. Recipients included Yvette Edelhart from the New York Film Society Committee, Lori Hammel from the New York Host Committee and Sara Ann Rogers from the Women’s Committee. Congratulations to all and thank you for your extraordinary service to the union.
The meeting concluded with a special bonus: Christine Nelson, a casting director from Sylvia Fay/Lee Genick & Associates Casting, gave an entertaining and informative presentation on the do’s and don’ts of working as a background actor. After recounting some of her personal history as a dancer and actor, Nelson spoke about her work with industry giants such as Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. She then emphasized some obvious but important advice for working background: Be professional at all times. She added that casting directors talk among themselves and word will spread about unprofessional conduct. She also warned background actors about using cell phones on set (for talking or taking photos); not initiating conversations with principal actors; and registering with as many agencies as possible. She dismissed the notion that working background jobs will prevent an actor from working principal jobs, citing many famous actors who had done both.
Throughout her presentation, Nelson’s enthusiasm and genuine joy in finding the right actor for the right role was clear. Many members complimented the addition of an industry speaker to the agenda, and we look forward to including more speakers at future membership meetings.