Philadelphia 2010:05

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

N.Y. CASTING ACCESS
COMES TO PHILADELPHIA

Monday, April 19, marked the first New York Casting Access Project conducted in Philadelphia by the Screen Actors Foundation. This two-hour workshop included a brief Q&A with New York casting director Kim Moarefi, followed by a distribution of short scenes. The actors got a few minutes to go over the scene before they auditioned with Moarefi. The auditions were taped and replayed, with comments and suggestions regarding the actors’ work. Everyone remained in the room during the entire time so that they could learn from each other.  This workshop was only open to members who were already members of the NYCAP.

A workshop held earlier in the day, also conducted by Kim Moarefi, was open to any SAG member. The seminar focused on important mental and physical techniques that will help actors to improve their chances of booking work in television and film.

Both workshops were held at Temple University, and a small number of students were also included. For information on NYCAP, other foundation workshops and future participation, please read the following SAG Foundation message:

FREE NYCAP WORKSHOPS
WITH CASTING DIRECTORS

The SAG Foundation’s New York Casting Access Project offers union members the opportunity to participate in workshops focusing on improving audition and cold reading skills, conducted by well-known casting directors. The next orientation starts online at the foundation’s website on May 24. If you’d like to receive more information about becoming eligible for these free sessions, please log on to sagfoundation.org and register your contact information.

SHORT FILM SHOWCASE
May 26 and 27

The SAG Foundation will be presenting its third showcase, featuring two evenings of shorts produced under a union contract. The May 26 event will highlight the work of female directors. If you’d like to submit your project for consideration, please send your inquiry to shortsny@sagfoundation.org.

If you’d like to receive an invitation to the showcase, please register your contact info at sagfoundation.org.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

“In the Spotlight” is a new initiative that will feature people or companies in the Philadelphia Branch film community. This recognition will go to those who continue to support the Guild and its members.

At the last annual meeting, which was held on April 26 at the United Steel Workers Local 286, the Reinhard Agency was highlighted in this “In the Spotlight” initiative. This agency was chosen due to their continual support of Philadelphia Branch members. Watch for more demonstrations of appreciation for companies or individuals who have supported SAG members over the years.  

If you have any suggestions on whom you would like to be featured "In the Spotlight,” please e-mail Branch Executive Director Marcia Fishman at Marcia.fishman@sag.org.

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mccarthy

Helen and Tom McNutt present Tom McCarthy with flowers at the annual meeting.

Philadelphia Branch Turns 40

Philadelphia Branch members celebrated the Branch’s 40th anniversary at their annual meeting on April 26. With a festive atmosphere and great food, members enjoyed a meeting that showcased the past, present and future of their work as actors.

Branch President Tom McCarthy entertained the audience by highlighting an illustrious list of films that have been made in Philadelphia. Tom McNutt followed with a tribute to Tom McCarthy, who will be retiring as Branch president after three decades of service in that position.

National Board Representative Helen McNutt gave a brief overview of present Branch activities. She then presented the Reinhard Agency with a special recognition, “Agency in the Spotlight.”  This agency has been especially supportive of SAG members for many years.

In an effort to look into the future of the acting profession, special guest speaker Mike Worth presented aspects of acting for video games. Worth is part of the Video Game Initiative Philadelphia (also known as VGI Philly), a group of experienced video game designers, producers and professors who are working toward the presence of a major video game production business in the eastern part of the country and, most specifically, Philadelphia. Members learned hints regarding voice acting for video games, including audition tips and acting techniques. At the end of the evening, there was unquestionably information that piqued the interest of everyone, whether they reflected on their own past experiences or became inspired for all that the future holds for them.

To the Philadelphia Branch, happy 40th anniversary!

What's Up-and-Coming in the Branch

By Marcia Fishman
Philadelphia Branch Executive Director

As most of you know by now, we do not presently have a staff member on the ground in Philadelphia. But this is not a permanent situation. It is expected that a north region executive will be in place by October 1, 2010. In the meantime, however, SAG staff is working hard to make sure that Philadelphia Branch members are being served. And please know your council members and other volunteers have been working hard to support the efforts. Read this newsletter and you will see that there is no lack of activity, much less learning experiences.

When we do have a new north region executive, I have many objectives for the Philadelphia Branch. Here are three of them:

1. Increase union density and decrease the population of non-union actors. I am continually asked, “Why do so many companies keep on producing non-union work?”  And I often simply reply, “Because they can.” As long as there is a large pool of talented non-union actors, producers can easily avoid the union. Dry up that pool, and the need for union talent will be inevitable.

2. Increase the possibility of building a video game business in Pennsylvania. There are numerous schools with wonderful video design programs, and video game design companies are hoping for continued business growth. I am committed to working with the Video Game Initiative Philadelphia and any other groups that are motivated to make this happen.

3. Increase our participation with colleges and other film schools in our Branch. We can help with auditions, perform table readings and assist with workshops. A regular SAG presence will make for a more natural transition from student to SAG member.

The door is open for any Branch members who wish to be a part of any of these abovementioned activities. Or suggest some new ones. You needn’t be a council member to apply.

napier workshop
Dan Hunt assists Paul Napier in videotaping practice auditions.

Anatomy of a Commercial

Philadelphia members had the opportunity to practice their auditioning skills with Hollywood member Paul Napier on March 22. Napier, veteran of more than 400 TV and radio commercials and several motion picture and episodic television roles, travelled from Los Angeles to conduct his seminar, “Anatomy of a Commercial.” Napier shared his experiences, insights and “dos and don’ts” from an actor’s perspective, particularly in areas of auditions, analyzing professional copy and more. Following his lecture, attendees were videotaped in a simulated spokesperson audition and were played back for critique.

Held at the CBS Auditorium of the University of the Arts, the workshop had a full house composed of both Philadelphia Branch SAG members and students of the university.