San Diego 2008:02

San Diego 2008:02

SAN DIEGO BRANCH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT

By Hrair Messerlian

A big hello and Happy New Year to San Diego SAG members! An up and down year came to a close for the San Diego Branch during the December membership meeting and holiday party. A packed house enjoyed each others’ camaraderie and listened to several presentations. Preceding the meeting, the evening’s feature presentation was a demonstration of SAG’s online casting directory, iActor. Steve Graham, SAG’s director of online casting came to San Diego and gave the crowd an easy-to-follow and thorough presentation. iActor is a very important member benefit for every paid up member of SAG to take part in, and the best part is that it is free. Unfortunately, only 15 percent of you in San Diego have taken the time to enhance your careers by inputting your information into the database. iActor is searchable, and signatory producers and casting directors can use it nationwide to see who is available for work, region by region, branch by branch. SAG offers a helpdesk and can even assist with scanning your headshot photos. (Read more about iActor later in this newsletter.) The evening ended with a longstanding tradition: In recognition of the holidays, gifts donated by the Branch Council were raffled off to the members in attendance.

On the national front, the Writers Guild of America strike continues. Screen Actors Guild remains steadfast in its support of WGA writers and their desire to reach an equitable contract, and we fully support their efforts to bargain for payments for new media formats and fair compensation.

SAG urges its members to stay informed on the WGA strike. If you have any questions, please go to the WGA Strike Information Center on the home page at www.sag.org, call the WGA Strike Hotline at (877) 724-7875 or email SAG at wgastrikeinfo@sag.org.

Speaking of SAG’s website, have you noticed the new look? Tell us what you think! It has been completely revamped to be much more intuitive and dynamic. Visit it today.

This year will mark the 75th anniversary of SAG. In honor of the work done in the 75 years since the formation of Screen Actors Guild as a union, Hollywood has honored SAG with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. San Diego National Board Member Virginia Hawkins and Vice President Don Ahles were in attendance representing your branch.

For those who travel to Los Angeles, the star is located at 7018 Hollywood Boulevard (between Highland and La Brea avenues).

There will be numerous events throughout the year to highlight the Guild’s 75 years. Your San Diego Branch will be planning an event for the membership, so stay tuned.

This year also kicks off the beginning of the process to determine the Wages and Working conditions SAG will be negotiating for in the upcoming contracts talks. The San Diego Council will be appointing a committee to make proposals to the national committee. If you have any suggestions, please forward them to me at hmesserlian@sag.org.

Finally, after 12 years at the helm, we bid Jerry Butkiewicz a fond farewell as the Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council. Jerry has been a staunch advocate for labor and a good friend of the entertainment unions in San Diego. He is replaced by Lorena Gonzalez. We wish Jerry success in his future endeavors.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me, Hrair Messerlian, at (323) 549-6440 or (800) 724-0767, ext. 6440. You may also write me at 5757 Wilshire Boulevard, 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036 or email me at hmesserlian@sag.org.

AN iActor PROFILE CAN LAND WORK

Karina Colón (formerly Karina Minchala) moved to L.A. in April and got turned on to iActor by a fellow Screen Actors Guild member. After learning iActor was free, she immediately signed up.

Her iActor resume, which she emailed to every contact in her book, worked quickly. The very next day she got a meeting with Baron Entertainment, and within the week, had been contacted by casting directors. These meetings led directly to jobs: she was cast in an indie film, and then booked in the play Boba by director John Miasaki.

“iActor is so user-friendly. It’s perfect for the digital age and gives me the opportunity to focus on my career on my time,” Colón said. She notes that since the cost of sending out headshots via snail mail has risen dramatically, iActor is a perfect solution that doesn’t break the bank. Colón particularly likes that iActor allows a performer to send multiple resumes and headshots at no additional cost.

“I don’t have to worry that I’m sending out the right headshot to the right casting director,” she said. “With iActor, the casting director can open the page and see all of your headshots that they can breeze right through.”

Casting Directors Agree “Most casting directors are utilizing electronic casting options,” said Nancy Foy, vice president of feature casting for 20th Century Fox. “How terrific to have access to this SAG Web site anywhere, at any time.”

“The exclusive database is searchable by gender, physical characteristics, skills, talents, credits, etc.,” says the Guild’s director of online casting, Steve Graham. “Not only that—it includes an innovative feature that allows casting directors to efficiently manage information, which saves them valuable time. We want this to be the casting Web site for the industry.”

That’s where you, the Screen Actors Guild members, come in. iActor can’t succeed without member participation.

“If all SAG members don’t register, it’s not of great use to us,” said indie film producer and casting director Jeffery Passero. “If everyone does it, it will be revolutionary.”

“I can’t imagine why a member wouldn’t do it,” says New York casting director Elsie Stark. “This is such a great opportunity for members. But it will only be as good as they make it. I think if actors don’t do it, they are fools.”

Need more of a reason to sign up?

iActor is free and features exclusively Screen Actors Guild members—making it the only site casting directors will need to find professional actors like you.

Don’t Wait

Casting directors are on iActor now. Don’t be left behind.

You can help make iActor the go-to site for casting directors by logging in to www.sag.org and clicking on the iActor icon. You can create your resume, add your credits and training, list your skills & talent, add personal profile details, select your contact information, and also upload up to 10 headshots, two audio clips and two video reels. You can even email a copy of your résumé to anyone.

Need Assistance?

No problem. Just call the Guild at (800) 724-0767 and follow the prompts for Web help or email webhelp@sag.org. The Guild also has iActor training events scheduled regularly. For event dates, call (323) 549-6451.

BECOME A TEACHING ARTIST

The Actors Fund's Actors Work Program has opportunities for our members in the San Diego area to work as teaching artists. The Fund has developed a relationship with a local “arts in education” organization that has created a filmmaking program for middle-school children. The program needs artists with experience in writing, acting and filmmaking to co-facilitate the classes.

Beginning in February, the program will run twice a week, either Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday from 3-5 p.m. All applicants must be able to make a commitment through June, though facilitators do have the right to miss class due to schedule conflicts.

Wages are $15 an hour and go up to $25 an hour after a set period of time. Mileage reimbursement is 14 cents per mile.

This is a good opportunity to build a teaching artist resume. Candidates should have experience working with middle school children. If interested, please email Kathy Schrier at kschrier@actorsfund.org and indicate that you are a San Diego SAG member.

The Actors Fund is a comprehensive human service organization providing support to all in the entertainment industry. The Fund provides social services, including emergency financial assistance, information about health insurance and health services, housing information, and employment and training services. The Screen Actors Guild has had a long-term positive relationship with the Fund, and thousand of our members have received support and services. We encourage you to visit the Fund's website at www.actorsfund.org.

DO YOU SHOP AT RALPH'S GROCERY STORES?

If you do, there is a way to support the San Diego Film Commission every time you shop. All you need to do is register your current Ralph's club card online or apply for one at any Ralph's customer service desk.

Here's how to register: Go to www.ralphs.com and click on "community contributions," then click on "participants." Be sure to have your Ralph's club card available and register your card with the San Diego Film Commission Foundation by following the easy online directions. The foundation's NPO number is 83542. (If you use your phone number at the register, call (800) 660-9003 to get your club number to register. You must swipe your registered club card when shopping for each purchase to count.)

Feel free to pass this information on to other supporters of the film commission.

By using your registered card when you shop at Ralph's, you are donating to the San Diego Film Commission with no personal expense involved. This does not harm your personal credits at the store for coupons, etc.

The San Diego Film Commission has suffered severe budget cuts in recent years. To stay afloat, we have set up a foundation, which is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, to raise funds to pay for some of the services the San Diego Film Commission is no longer funded by the city of San Diego to do. The foundation now pays for the student intern program for film students, educational opportunities, workshops, displays, exhibits and the care and establishment of archival materials.

CASTING NOTICES

San Diego Guild Members:

The Theatrical feature length film, The Proud American, is currently casting in the San Diego Area
Screen Actors Guild has been contacted by the producers of The Proud American, who are currently seeking actors who can portray the following:

Character: Tough ghetto kids
Gender: females and males
Description: 18 years old and older to portray 15-16-year-olds
Work Dates: February 12-13 and possibly February 14.

Character: A 4-year-old African-American girl
Gender: female
Description: a young girl to portray a 4-year-old African-American girl
Work Dates: February 14

Character: College students
Gender: females and males
Description: Mixed races with college backgrounds to portray college students. Predominantly African-American men and women to portray the 18-23 age group
Work Dates: February 15-17

Character: Medical students
Gender: females and males
Description: Portray 21-23-year-old white, Asian and African-American college students.
Work Dates: February 15-17

Please send headshot and resume to info@tinareal.com as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact:
Tina Real Casting
3108 Fifth Avenue #C
San Diego, Ca 92103
Phone: 619.298.0544
Fax: 619.298.0389

GUILD CONTACT INFORMATION

Here are some ways you can stay in touch with your Guild in 2008.

SAG Nationwide Toll Free
800-724-0767

Main Switchboard phone
323-954-1600

For Deaf Performers Only-TTY/TTD
323-549-6648


Recorded Information

Agents List
(323) 549-6733

Child Actor
(323) 549-6030

Film Society
(323) 549-6657

InfoCast Hotline
(323) 937-3441

How to Join SAG
(323) 549-6772

How to Change Address/ Phone Number
(323) 549-6776

Movie Access
(323) 549-6045

Young Performers/Coogan Law
(323) 549-6639


Website Assistance and Questions

For website assistance and questions, please email webhelp@sag.org.


Departments

Actors to Locate
(323) 503-6737

Affirmative Action/Skills Bank
(323) 549-6644

Agency Relations
(323) 549-6745

SAG Awards
(323) 549-6707

Cashiers
(323) 549-6752

Committee Office
(323) 549-6418

Communications
(323) 549-6654

Executive Office
(323) 549-6409

Governance
(323) 549-6676

Policy and Strategic Planning
(323) 549-6572

Legal
(323) 549-6627

Legislative
(323) 549-6572

Membership
(323) 549-6757

New Media
(323) 549-6724

iActor Helpdesk
(323) 549-6789

Organizing
(323) 549-6010

Report Sexual Harassment
(323) 549-6644

Background Actors
(323) 549-6811

Commercials/Infomercials
(323) 549-6858

Dancers
(323) 549-6864

Industrial/Educational
(323) 549-6858

Internet and Interactive
(323) 549-6828

Music Videos
(323) 549-6864

Residual Payment Info Center
(323) 549-6505

Singers
(323) 549-6864

Stunt & Safety Representative
(323) 549-6855

Television
(323) 549-6835

Theatrical Motion Pictures
(323) 549-6828