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By Mary McDonald-Lewis
The first quarter of 2007 has found the Portland branch of Screen Actors Guild active with its own events, and supporting the events of the filmmaking industry at large.
In January, many members attended the inaugural evening of the "Local Film Industry Community Night," a series sponsored by AFTRA, Art Institute of Portland, Film Action Oregon, IATSE Local 488, Northwest FilmCenter, Oregon Film and Video Office, Oregon Media Production Association, Portland Development Commission, Portland Indie Salon, Portland Mayor's Office of Film and Video, and Screen Actors Guild.
The series is bi-monthly, and always held on the last Tuesday of the month. Upcoming Community Night events are scheduled for May, July and September, and more information on them can be found at the Oregon Film Community Calendar: http://www.oregonfilm.org/calendar/month.php?date=20070327.
Each month will be hosted by one of the sponsors, who will provide an interesting location and content for the evening.
The OFCC site is also a great place to find other industry-based events, so check it out soon, and check back regularly as organizations add new information daily.
Over 250 filmmakers and others involved with the industry attended the kick-off event at the Jupiter Hotel in January, which was moderated by Mary McDonald-Lewis.
With panel discussions before and plenty of networking opportunities after, this is a terrific place for the professional actor to build important relationships.
In January SAG held a third SAG Foundation-sponsored “Conversations" event, coordinated by Portland SAG Vice President Chrisse Roccaro. This one was with director George Miller. Miller, now a Portland resident, sprang to fame in 1982 with The Man from Snowy River, and has been busy on family-themed films ever since.
Turnout was good for this "Conversations" event, moderated by Mary McDonald-Lewis. Mr. Miller spoke openly of his early adventures in directing--his first job, in Australian TV, was practically thrust upon him--and how he learned his craft mostly by the seat of his pants. He was a humorous, insightful, generous speaker and the members' Q&A following his presentation was lively.
Your Screen Actors Guild Portland Council hopes to hold other "Conversations," and encourages you to come--there's always something to learn from them, and they always leave you inspired.
March found SAG sponsoring the second Local Film Industry Community Night, this time at Holocene. Portland SAG president Robert Blanche aided in coordinating the event, along with Mary McDonald-Lewis and SAG Executive Director for the Pacific Northwest Dena Beatty. Our evening focused on independent filmmaking and SAG's wealth of Indie contracts, and featured SAG National Director of Organizing Todd Amorde and Darrien Michele Gibson, director of SAGindie.
A panel and a workshop were presented, both moderated by, you guessed it, Mary McDonald-Lewis. The first, "My Indie Film & How I Got It Made" had as its members Todd Amorde, Betty Moyer, director Jacob Pander, producer Arnold Pander and producer Doug Baum. Gipson provided additional comment during the Q&A. The Pander brothers discussed their new film, Selfless, made under the SAGindie Ultra-Low Budget Contract, and spoke passionately about their dedication to working with "the best," which to them means SAG actors. Doug Baum got sympathetic laughs with his trial-and-error stories of learning how to use the contracts, while also expressing SAG's helpfulness. The audience of over 120 had many questions following the presentation about the Indie contracts, and were clearly interested to discover how many choices filmmakers have when it comes to contracts for independent projects.
The workshop "The Best of the Best--How to Put SAG to Work for You" featured SAGindie Director Darrien Michele Gibson, SAG National Director of Organizing Todd Amorde, SAG Portland Exec. Dena Beatty, AFTRA Portland Exec. Loraine Heuer, and indie filmmaker Mike Prosser. This portion of the evening focused on the specifics of the contracts, educating the audience in their value. Prosser enthusiastically supported both SAG actors and the contracts, emphasizing again and again the ways in which actors could make or break a project, and how union actors contributed to the success of his work.
The party at the bar after the panels was upbeat, with many filmmakers commenting on the new information and their plans to explore the contracts further.
The Screen Actors Guild Portland Council considers all three of these events a success, and thanks SAG National for its ongoing support. National devoted time, energy and financial support to these endeavors, and without it we wouldn't have nearly the impact we have had so far this year.
The Screen Actors Guild Portland Council will continue to play a very public role in Portland in 2007, and welcomes your ideas for additional events!
By Dena Beatty
It is my pleasure to announce that Sterling Talent Agency is Seattle’s newest SAG-Franchised Agency.
Sterling Talent Agency is owned and operated by Mark Heaslip and Greg Burton. Their offices are located in Kent, Washington.
They can be reached at:
Sterling Talent Agency
19309 W. Valley Hwy #R101, Kent WA 98032
Phone: (425) 251-3909
By John Sandifer
AFTRA and SAG members have volunteered their time and talents to their unions as Labor Neighbor Radio took the airwaves in January. Response has been dramatically positive in early messages.
Labor Neighbor Radio is a non-profit enterprise, formed by members of several labor unions, and supported by contributions. It is dedicated to coverage of news and issues affecting working families. It is an outgrowth of long-term discussions about the lack of positive union exposure in mainstream media and a desire to tell a wider audience what unions do and why.
LNR began by purchasing air time on two area radio stations, AM 1090 in Seattle and KLAY 1180 in Pierce Country, one week per month, during which a minimum of 12 radio spots are played. Each spot contains a working family message and directs audiences to the www.laborneighborradio.com Web site, where greater volume and depth is available on a range of issues and events. Voice work on the radio and Web site content has been volunteered by members who want to participate and, for some, who want the practice.
The administration of LNR is now looking at expanding into additional markets such as Spokane, Yakima and Bellingham.
By David Natale
Labor Neighbor Radio will have a booth at the 2007 Women In Trades Fair on Friday, April 27 at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion. What is Labor Neighbor Radio? It is a non-profit independent organization that uses Internet and radio to deliver news, features and issues that are important to working families. Labor Neighbor Radio was developed by AFTRA Seattle and is supported and staffed by SAG and AFTRA members. Curious? Interested in helping? Check it out online at www.laborneighborradio.com. What is the Women in Trades Fair? The Washington Women In Trades was founded in 1978 for women working in trades to gather and share information. The Association sponsors an annual trades fair, where employers can recruit women for trades work. The fair is also an outreach to girls and women, including students from schools statewide who may not be familiar. For more info log on to http://www.wawomenintrades.com.
by Dick Arnold
Few of us would dispute that public television and public radio consistently out-perform commercial TV, cable, and radio with intelligence, substance, comprehensive coverage of our society and our world, good conversation and (in far too short supply) wit.
I, for one, have supported PBS and NPR with cash contributions for many years. Then, a few seasons ago I added KPLU to my personal donor list and dropped my financial support for KUOW and Channel 9. Why? Throughout most of its history, PBS and NPR broadcasters have been organized under AFTRA contracts, and when KPLU unit members successfully negotiated an AFTRA collective bargaining agreement with Pacific Lutheran University, I determined that the time had come for me to support my union brothers and sisters at that unit.
I don’t pretend that the work done by Channel 9 and KUOW is not worthy of support, but I truly believe that the greatest pressure we as union actors can bring to those two employers to encourage them and their employees to seek affiliation with AFTRA is to withhold our financial contributions. Such action would demand that we inform those employers why we choose to support KPLU and not them.
Member responses to my proposal are encouraged. Please tell me why I’m right or why you believe me to be wrong. Let’s have a conversation. Write to me at SAG Seattle, call me at (206) 323-2711 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year the Oregon Film and Video Office will be hosting the Oregon Industry Day at the state capital in Salem on Monday, April 30. As in the past, the day will involve a statewide film industry presence at the capital with presentations in the galleria and visits to legislators’ offices, ending with a late-afternoon reception at the historic Elsinore Theatre. Please mark your calendar so you can be a part of this important event.