Portland 2008:02

Portland 2008:02

SEATTLE NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER’S MESSAGE

By Abby Dylan,
Seattle National Board Member

The year 2008 is here, and with it, the important process of renegotiating some of our Guild’s contracts. Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West, addressed the National Board of Screen Actors Guild in January, thanking us for supporting their strike, and referred to their current negotiations as a paradigm shift in our industry. I could not agree more. The challenges for us, however, do not end there. At this same meeting, our National Board approved a referendum ballot (approximately 60 percent to 40 percent) to be sent to all members regarding the termination of our Phase I agreement with AFTRA. Since 1981, the Phase I bargaining agreement has governed the process in which contracts are jointly negotiated by both unions. This has been a contentious issue in the boardroom, and I am glad that it is now going out to the membership. The result of this vote will determine if we will indeed be going into negotiations with our sister union jointly, or separately. I urge you to read the referendum and the included minority report and rebuttals carefully and then make a decision that will be vital to the future of our Guild. It is important to be focused and vigilant in the coming months, but I am optimistic that we will discover new models to take us where we need to be, with strong salaries and benefits for all actors.

In local news, the WashingtonFilmWorks Board, which works on behalf of the Washington State film incentives, is updating some of its language to include a provision that productions will pay "industry standard" salaries. This is a boon for Washington labor and unique nationally. In the next couple of weeks we will be asking to increase our incentive from $3.5 million to $10 million in order to be competitive with other markets, and to attract larger productions. I attended Sundance this year with the Washington State Film Office, Seattle Mayor's Office of Film and Music and WashingtonFilmWorks members to promote Washington State. I was also there working with SAGIndie and talking to filmmakers about our low budget contracts. I wore warm boots.

If you have questions and concerns, please contact me through Dena Beatty, and I will be happy to talk. I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!

PORTLAND NATIONAL BOARD MEMBER’S MESSAGE

By Mary McDonald-Lewis,
Portland National Board Member

Portland National Board Member Mary McDonald-Lewis hopes to communicate personally with any member with questions, comments or concerns, and welcomes personal emails. In fact, a recent complaint from a Portland member has opened the door to exciting developments in opportunities for Oregon SAG members who wish to attend SAG Conservatory classes in Hollywood. The process is not yet complete, but was begun thanks to one of you!

Please be in touch with her anytime via e-mail to Dena Beatty.

Mary McDonald-Lewis and Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West at the recent SAG Plenary. Verrone spoke at the plenary, congratulating the Guild on its support of the Writers Guild strike. McDonald-Lewis took the opportunity to pressure Verrone into giving Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert their deals with Viacom, as, she said, "She needs her news filtered through irony."

OFFICE MOVE

Your branch office has moved, again!

Due to our landlord losing their lease, the Seattle and Portland Branch office has moved just up the hill to the Bank of America Tower located in downtown Seattle’s financial district.

The Bank of America Tower (formerly Seafirst Fifth Avenue Plaza) takes up the city block of Marion Street, Columbia Street, 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue. We are adjacent to the Columbia Tower (formerly Bank of America Tower).

Please update your contact book with our new address: Screen Actors Guild
Seattle and Portland Branches
800 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4100
Seattle WA 98104

Our phone and fax numbers remain the same:
Phone: (206) 224-5696 / (800) 724-0767
Fax: (206) 224-5695 / (800) 378-6741

AUDITION/INTERVIEW TIME REPORT – THE KEY TO COMPENSATION

By Dena Beatty,
Seattle/Portland Branch Executive Director

Did you know that if you are kept too long at an audition/interview you are due compensation? Also, did you know that if you are asked to audition or interview multiple times, you may also be due compensation?

The key to receiving this compensation is to understand the benefits SAG contracts provide you and to properly complete all necessary paperwork to ensure you are able to enjoy the benefits provided. When completing your audition time report you must include your SAG ID number or your Social Security number, your name, the time you checked in, the time you were released and you must indicate if this is the first, second, third, etc., time you auditioned or interviewed for the job. Without this information, SAG cannot ensure you receive any compensation due to you. Documenting your audition/interview time is your responsibility, and you will not be compensated if you have not completed the audition time report properly.

The employer or the employer’s representative is responsible for providing the appropriate sign-in sheet.

Here is the breakdown of compensation due to principal performers by contract:

Commercial

National:

1st or 2nd Audition - If a principal performer is required to remain for more than 1 hour from the time of call or arrival, whichever is later, he/she shall be compensated for all time in excess of 1 hour at the rate of $35.45 for each ½ hour.

3rd Audition – The principal performer shall be compensated $141.80 up to the first 2 hours. For all time in excess of 2 hours, the principal performer shall be paid $35.45 for each ½ hour.

4th and Subsequent Auditions - The principal performer shall be compensated $283.55 up to the first 4 hours. For all time in excess of 4 hours, the principal performer shall be paid $35.45 for each ½ hour.

Northwest Regional:

If an audition exceeds 1 hour, the principal performer shall be compensated at a rate of $12.50 for each ½ hour.

Industrial and Educational

1st or 2nd Audition - If a principal performer is required to remain for more than 1 hour from the time of call or arrival, whichever is later, he/she shall be compensated for all time in excess of 1 hour at 1/16 of the day performer rate for each ½ hour.

3rd and Subsequent Auditions – The principal performer shall be paid 1/8 of the day performer rate for first hour and 1/16 of the day rate for each ½ hour thereafter.

Theatrical & Television

Interview - If a principal performer is required to remain for more than 1 hour from the time of call or arrival, whichever is later, he/she shall be compensated for all time in excess of 1 hour at the performer’s strait time rate in ½ hour increments. Please note that performers who arrive 5 minutes or more late to the interview are not eligible for this compensation.

Interactive Media

1st or 2nd Audition - If a principal performer is required to remain for more than 1 hour from the time of call or arrival, whichever is later, he/she shall be compensated for all time in excess of 1 hour at 1/16 of the day performer rate for each ½ hour.

3rd and Subsequent Auditions – The principal performer shall be paid 1/8 of the day performer rate for first hour and 1/16 of the day rate for each ½ hour thereafter.

WASHINGTON INCENTIVE LEGISLATION

By Dena Beatty,
Seattle/Portland Branch Executive Director

The Washington State film industry is back pounding the pavement in Olympia to ensure Washington is as competitive as possible when it comes to enticing the producers to bring their business to our state. Our Senate bill (S.B. 6423), which is sponsored by senators Brown, Hewitt, Kohl-Welles and McAuliffe, is being considered by the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research and Development Committee.

Seattle National Board member Abby Dylan, Seattle/Portland Executive Director Dena Beatty, WSLC Special Assistant to the President Robby Stern and IATSE Local 488 member David Robinson attended a meeting with Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells to reinforce the importance of this legislation on our industry – as well as the importance of maintaining language and policy to ensure a level playing field for union workers in our state film industry.

On January 17, industry members visited Olympia again to testify before the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research and Development Committee in support of this bill.

In the House, H.B. 2872, sponsored by representatives Kenney, McIntire, Darneille, Lantz and Ormsby, is scheduled for a public hearing on January 24. (Please visit their website, as hearing dates are subject to change.)

Our legislation goals this year are as follows:
• Increase fund to $10 million (currently it is at $3 million).
• Currently, companies who contribute to our incentive fund receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their business and occupations tax credit. In 2009, that tax credit is scheduled to decrease to 90 percent of contribution. Our proposed legislation retains the dollar-for-dollar credit.
• Eliminate the $1 million per-production cap.
• Change the investment requirement for television commercials from $250,000 to $150,000.
• Stager the four-year terms of WashingtonFilmWorks board members to have only ½ expiring at any given time.

We encourage you to get involved and contact your legislators regarding the important incentive legislation. You can locate your legislators by entering your address at this link.

In addition to informing your legislators what the industry means to you and your family, please feel free to use the following talking points, compiled by WashingtonFilmWorks.

History of the Organization


• Governor Gregoire appointed Board of Directors in July 2006
• Incorporated as WashingtonFilmWorks in Summer 2006
• Received IRS 501( c)(6) certification at the end of October 2006
• Between that time and end of December 2006, the board raised $2.7 million
• Board of directors hired Amy Dee as full time executive director in January 2007
• Program launched in February 2007
• Organization successfully raised $3.5 million and reached fundraising goal in September 2007

Results

In its first year, WashingtonFilmWorks has been able to assist eight film and video production projects that have made the following impacts upon Washington’s economy:
• WFW has assisted three feature films, three movies of the week, and two commercial productions
• $14.5 million in combined total production budgets
• $5.8 million in total qualified in-state spending
• Over $1.1 million in WashingtonFilmWorks funding assistance has been awarded
• 490 jobs provided to Washington individuals

Challenges

• The competition: approximately 35 states nationwide with production tax incentives.
• Our neighbors: Vancouver, BC and Oregon have more competitive production tax incentives. Idaho is currently pursuing legislation.
• The bottom line: Producers will go where they get the most money.

Legislative Agenda

WashingtonFilmWorks will pursue legislation to enhance the incentive program in 2008. Initiatives include:

• Allow the B&O (business and occupations) tax credit to remain at a dollar-for-dollar amount, rather than allow the statutorily scheduled decrease to 90 percent to occur in 2009
• Increase the statewide amount that can be raised from tax credits from $3.5 million to $10 million
• Eliminate the $1 million-per-production cap
• Change the investment requirement for TV commercials from $250,000 to $150,000
• Stagger the four-year terms for the WashingtonFilmWorks board of directors

iActor - A GREAT MEMBER BENEFIT

By Dena Beatty,
Seattle/Portland Branch Executive Director

Casting directors around the country now have full access to iActor and are searching your online profile. That is—if you have uploaded your resumes and headshots. And, according to my sources, chances are you have not. With only 17.81 percent of Seattle members and 15.31 percent of Portland members with a resume on iActor, we have a long way to go.

iActor is a member benefit designed to make your job of marketing yourself as easy as “upload and deliver.” This new online casting directory allows you to print hardcopies or PDF files of your iActor headshot and resume, or you can email them to yourself, casting directors or employers. In addition to maintaining your headshots and resumes, you can also upload sound and video clips to truly highlight what you have to offer to potential employers and casting directors.

The iActor team has also begun marketing this unique casting database to film offices around the country. If each and every paid-up member in the Pacific Northwest has an up-to-date profile on iActor, this can provide our film offices an influential tool to show potential filmmakers the depth and professionalism of actors in our market. That would, in turn, make the Pacific Northwest a more attractive location for filming – increasing the number of jobs available to actors in our market, including you. With the recent increase to the Oregon incentive package and the current legislation to increase Washington’s package, this is the perfect time for our film offices to have this tool in their arsenal. Please complete your profile so we can provide them with the tools they need to bolster our local industry.

If you have questions or need help with your online profile, please feel free to contact me at dbeatty@sag.org or (206) 224-5696. I am here to help you navigate this tool so you can enjoy all the benefits your membership has to offer you.