Seattle 2015:01

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The Official E-Newsletter of the Seattle Local
The Official E-Newsletter of the Seattle Local
January 2015

INTERVIEWING AN ICON

Deborah Horne

By Deborah Horne,
KIRO-TV Reporter and Seattle Local Board Member

The death of Mario Cuomo reminds me of the two times I interviewed him.
   
The first was in Rhode Island, while he was riding high on a wave of adulation over his amazing oratorical skills
   
I, too, was a big fan!
   
But he was so mean and difficult during the news conference, it became a test of wills between us. Yes, between him and me. And, of course, he, being the adored one, won.
   
All of the reporters were chuckling.
   
"Didn’t you know he likes to bait reporters?" they asked afterwards, with big Cheshire cat grins. And I, they cheerfully reported, had fallen for the bait.  

Much changed in the intervening years, however.
   
The next time I interviewed him, I had moved to Seattle. And the famous fickleness of the American electorate had chastened the now-former Gov. Cuomo. No more baiting of reporters or, it seemed, anyone else. Finally, I could see a bit of the Mario Cuomo I had admired.
    
Quick-witted and a masterful user of the language, he slyly steered you in the direction he wanted to go. Those are qualities I admire and respect in those who are interviewed a lot. It is a skill learned only by doing.
    
So it is with sadness that I learned that he — and a part of our history — is now gone.
    
He was certainly one of a kind.

Washington Filmworks Brings Productions to State

Abby Dylan

By Abby Dylan,
SAG-AFTRA National Board member

It is an honor for me to represent SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local members on the board of Washington Filmworks, the private nonprofit organization that manages the state Production Incentive Program. My tenure began in 2004, when I was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire as one of two designated labor seats on the newly formed board of directors.

Support for the Washington state incentive in our legislature depends on the continuing support it receives from both business and labor. Washington Filmworks incentivizes projects that bring union contracts into the state. These contracts provide talent and crew living-wage jobs. As Washington actors, we piece together our careers through an array of work. The state incentive helps our creative community to thrive.

My duties on the Washington Filmworks Board include the approval of incoming projects. Each production is held to a rigorous vetting process. Our incentive program is the only one of its kind in the country that requires a production to pay pension and health benefits. Largely because of this requirement, most of the projects that come in are under a SAG-AFTRA contract. I sit on our Legislative Committee and make numerous trips to Olympia to talk with the Washington State Labor Council and various key legislators. I have made it a personal mission to connect the leaders of Washington Filmworks with key national SAG-AFTRA leadership, in order to keep the issues of our work relevant in an increasingly competitive nationwide incentive landscape. Washington Filmworks works closely with Seattle Local Executive Director Brad Anderson and staff Chris Comte and Allison Calvert to make sure that contracts are in place and working conditions throughout the state are kept up to par.

We are moving into an uncertain legislative session starting in January, but despite the climate in Olympia, labor is leading the charge in going after a larger incentive. We are currently working with $3.5 million, which is not nearly enough to sustain a dynamic industry. Our neighbors in Oregon, for example, have $10 million. Many other state incentives are even larger.

We need your help. First, go to the Washington Filmworks website. Click on the blog, and register the district you live in. When you do, Washington Filmworks will send you alerts about how you can be involved and it will provide specific talking points you can use when talking to your legislators. The most important thing you can do during this next legislative session is to tell your legislators how the incentive impacts you and your work. This grass-roots effort is extremely important, and has proven to be successful for us in Olympia. Because we are actor/performers and broadcasters, we are the ones to tell the story. This effort is on all of us.

Thank you for believing in your union and for believing in yourselves as professionals.