Philadelphia 2010:03

The Official E-Newsletter of the Philadelphia Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the Philadelphia Branch
March 2010

NATIONAL BOARD SEEKS
ENGAGEMENT WITH AFTRA


Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors voted January 31 to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract. Approved 82 to 18 percent, the resolution states:

"It was moved and seconded that in light of SAG's historically productive negotiating partnership with AFTRA, the SAG National Board of Directors directs President Ken Howard and National Executive Director David White to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract, under the terms of Phase One, modeled on the agreement used successfully in the 2009 Commercials Contract negotiations. President Howard and NED White shall bring a recommendation to the National Board at the earliest opportunity."

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard said, "I am very pleased with the vote and thank the board for their leadership and foresight on this important issue. I so appreciate the Board's cooperative spirit in this discussion and throughout the day, and feel confident that our Guild is moving in the right direction."

In other actions, the National Board voted unanimously to create a National Performance Capture Committee to address the unique concerns and experiences of members who render performances that are recorded using performance capture technology across all media, and to advise the Guild on all matters pertaining to work in this rapidly growing area.

The board also approved 83 percent to 17 percent the unanimous recommendation of the Finance Committee to authorize the extension of existing initiation fee reductions in targeted markets across the country and to have the Guild's Joint Strategic Planning Committee and Finance Committee review the initiation fee structure nationwide.

For more details from the meeting, click here.

sag foundation

FREE ONLINE BUSINESS
OF ACTING SEMINARS

Screen Actors Guild Foundation and Screen Actors Guild continue to present weekly “business of acting” LifeRaft Live Stream events to Guild members across the nation at no charge, via live video stream on the Internet.

LifeRaft provides career-enhancing knowledge to actors by way of panel discussions with seasoned industry professionals. The innovative Live Stream program lets you participate online every Tuesday, 6-8 p.m. Pacific, through April 27, 2010.

To participate in these programs online, simply visit the SAG Foundation LifeRaft Live Stream show page here. All LifeRaft Live Stream events are available for later viewing here as well.

You’ll be able to submit your questions to panelists and moderators during the events by e-mail or you may tweet your questions at #LRLS. Guild members are encouraged to register with the SAG Foundation in order to receive e-mail updates.

DALES SCHOLARSHIP
APPS AVAILABLE

Just one of the non-profit foundation’s many free programs offered to assist, educate and inspire Guild members in their careers, lives and communities, the John L. Dales Scholarship Fund has helped qualified Guild members and their children reach their educational potential by providing more than $6 million in scholarships for study at accredited institutions of higher learning.

Two types of scholarships are available. Standard scholarships benefit eligible members and children of eligible members for college education. Transitional scholarships are designed to assist SAG members seeking further education to change careers.

Dales Scholarships are awarded specifically toward education at accredited and licensed universities, colleges, junior colleges, adult specialty schools or trade/vocational schools. Printable applications, as well as further details including eligibility guidelines, are currently available by clicking here. Submissions must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2010, to qualify.

union plus logo

UNION PLUS PROGRAMS
FOR HARD TIMES

As a Screen Actors Guild member, you always can rely on Union Plus to provide great benefits, rain or shine. But in challenging economic times, these discounts and programs can be even more valuable.

Credit counseling: All SAG families can get free credit counseling services, budgeting advice and no-fee debt management and bankruptcy counseling benefits. Call (877) 833-1745.

Prescription discount: SAG members can get a free online prescription discount card to save on out-of-pocket prescription costs here.

Financial education: Union Plus offers a host of resources with tips, tools and calculators to get you on the right track. They include UnionDebtHelp.org and UnionPlusRetirement.org.

Scholarships: Click here to see how Union Plus helps you afford the education and training working families need to get ahead.

rick mckiddy

Region Executive’s Farewell

By Rick McKiddy

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I am leaving my position as the North Region executive for Screen Actors Guild, effective February 26, 2010. It is a decision that I have made for personal reasons.

It has been an honor and a privilege to work for such a great organization as Screen Actors Guild and to have been your representative during my time here. I have had the pleasure of watching you grow and come together as a union, as a community and as a family. It has been truly inspiring for me to have been part of it.

Before I go, I would like to take this opportunity to make a comment that many of you have heard me say many times before, and it only seems appropriate for me to make it this one last time:

You are a member of the largest and greatest organization representing professional actors in the world!  You have worked hard to become a member of Screen Actors Guild, and as a member you have earned the right to be treated with the respect and dignity that you deserve as a professional actor. If anyone, be it an agent or a friend, tells you that you should get rid of your union card and give up your SAG membership status, I would suggest that you get a new friend and/or find a new agent! That’s right, fire either or both of them!

Nobody who respects you as a professional actor, who believes in you and your abilities, would ever suggest that you go back to working for less than professional scale; it only diminishes the dignity of the work. Carry your union card, show it with pride, get involved in your union and always, always demand the respect and dignity that you have earned!

That said, as the curtain closes on my last day here, I again want to thank you for the support, guidance and encouragement you have provided me during my time at SAG. I will truly miss you and will always remember our adventures together! Thanks for being there!

Signing off for the last time from the City of Brotherly Love...

A Message from the Branch Executive

By Marcia Fishman

I know that I join you in bidding farewell to Rick, a person who worked passionately to carry out his duties while always keeping your best interests in mind. Whether he worked with agents, casting directors, producers or fellow staff members, we always knew that the members came first. We are always saddened to lose such a special staff person, but please know this: first and foremost your Branch will be served. I anticipate a smooth transition from one staff person to the next. And though we obviously are not able to clone Rick, I will assure you that the next North Region executive will also work tirelessly to look out for your benefits. We will quickly continue with the objectives of overseeing contractual concerns, increasing the number of Branch workshops, organizing non-members and keeping a profile that is respected by both the film community and the greater community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me when it is convenient for you at marcia.fishman@sag.org or (248) 351-2678.

mcnutt

Remarks from the National Board Representative

By Helen McNutt

I was recently at the National Board of Directors meeting that was held at the end of this past January. I am so pleased to say that it was one of the best board meetings that I ever attended. The overwhelming majority of the board members truly pulled together in their quest to do the best for Screen Actors Guild as a whole.

Of course, one of the most exciting outcomes was that the board voted to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract. With an approval of 82 percent, the following resolution was passed:

"It was moved and seconded that in light of SAG's historically productive negotiating partnership with AFTRA, the SAG National Board of Directors directs President Ken Howard and National Executive Director David White to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract, under the terms of Phase One, modeled on the agreement used successfully in the 2009 Commercials Contract negotiations. President Howard and NED White shall bring a recommendation to the National Board at the earliest opportunity."

I am very proud to be your National Board representative, serving on a board that has proven to be a team of players – one that can learn from the past and gain strength for the future.

SAG Awards Viewing Party:
A Tale of Two Cities

The Philadelphia Branch held an unprecedented SAG Awards viewing party as members from both the East and West ends of Pennsylvania were connected live via video conferencing. With 175 members in Philadelphia (at Tony Luke’s Bar and Grill) and 75 in the Pittsburgh area (at Island Studios), attendees could enjoy the company of each other simultaneously. Branch President Tom McCarthy addressed the partygoers and remarked that, after 31 years as Branch president, this was the first time he was able to speak to members in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia at the same time. With 250 in all, including Philly members from Pennsylvania, Delaware and South New Jersey, the evening offered a memory of festivity, Branch pride and true solidarity.

“It was a great time,” remarked Philadelphia Branch Councilor Gail Lewis. “We had the true spirit of the Philadelphia Branch with Philly cheesesteaks, a great crowd that spanned across the state, and the pleasure of a show that highlighted one of the most desirable awards for actors. I was even the last to leave.” As members left the party, the big question now is, “What can be done to top this next year?”

And from the West side, Philadelphia Branch councilor Adrienne Wehr commented, "We had such an energized celebration of solidarity rising from the effort and enthusiasm of our members who helped to create this event, from the generosity of our industry partner—Island Studios—who donated their wonderful facility as the venue, and from all who attended this first-ever SAG Awards screening party in Pittsburgh.”

‘Twas a Cold and Wintry Night in (and Around) Pittsburgh…

By Pat Cray
Philadelphia Branch Councilor

On December 28, Western Pennsylvania SAG members braved inclement weather to take advantage of an on-camera acting workshop at the Steelworker’s Building in downtown Pittsburgh. Participants warmed up soon enough as fellow SAG member and independent producer Joe Coyle provided everyone with the opportunity to perform an on-camera scene, and to then receive feedback from its video rerun. Coyle, who teaches both privately and in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Acting, brought along lights, cameras, a monitor and scripts to faithfully recreate an on-set experience for his audience. There were plenty of thank-yous to go around - to Joe for his enthusiastic presentation and to all who participated.

Organizing Union Pride

By John Wooten
Philadelphia Branch Councilor

In an effort to develop initiatives that benefit our Branch and its members, that promote our regional and national presence and assist in winning contracts for work, I am proposing that we launch a pro-SAG campaign that will achieve the following objectives:

• Promote the use of SAG contracts.
• Strengthen membership morale.
• Educate our members.
• Grow SAG Philadelphia Branch membership.
• Increase exposure for professional Philadelphia branch SAG talent.
• Decrease/convert the number of non-union productions in our region.
• Assist in restoring the luster that once preceded our Guild in the past.

It is undoubtedly obvious that current SAG and non-SAG talent are taking initiative to develop innovative ways to approach self-promotion, exposure and work via web and mobile media. And there is no reason why we, as representatives of the No. 1 actors union, should not encourage our membership to continue their creative efforts. At the same time, however, we forward our cause by accomplishing the abovementioned objectives.

As a Philadelphia Branch council member, I am developing a proposal where we might create a campaign for the purpose of promoting SAG and its Philadelphia Branch members. Of course, such a campaign will meet the approval of the council and will be designed in accordance with the SAG contracts and staff.  It may involve a submission contest, or another vehicle whereby our fellow members will have the opportunity to participate. But it will definitely involve a message of pride in our union, in our talent and in our Philadelphia Branch and all that it has to offer.