San Francisco 2010:09

The Official E-Newsletter of the San Francisco Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the San Francisco Branch
September 2010

iactor


YOUR ESSENTIAL CAREER TOOL: iActor

By Cabran Chamberlain

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your headshot and resume were readily available to be seen by top casting directors, producers, studio executives and production companies?

When you use iActor, the free, convenient online database exclusively for SAG actors, you know you are truly getting the exposure every actor wants. You, in effect, “level the playing field” by making your information accessible to top entertainment industry professionals. You give yourself the opportunity to be seen by any casting director working on a signatory production.

When a SAG actor uploads his or her information to the iActor database, that information is at the fingertips of top casting directors. And members can use iActor to e-mail an electronic copy of their resume directly to casting directors.

iActor provides all casting professionals with the ability to find Guild talent using a customizable search function, create and tag folders according to their own work methodology, preview resumes, view headshots from multiple resumes in a slideshow, print entire resume views and e-mail individual resumes. Because it allows casting professionals to search through members’ headshots, resumes and media by any combination of terms — such as gender, ethnicity, special skills or credits — iActor is a revolutionary and indispensable casting tool.

Once a SAG member sets up his or her iActor account, he or she may start uploading information. Members may create up to seven professional resumes and up to 10 headshots as well as sound files and video clips. Sound files must be capped at 4 MB and must be MP3, videos must be .MOV or .WMV files no more than 15MB.

iActor is also the only casting resource that features automated Station 12 cast clearance, directly from iactor.org. This unique production tool allows casting directors to source and then directly clear Guild talent for work in SAG signatory productions.

And because it is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, iActor is available to members of all ages, including members under the age of 13.

Again, iActor is absolutely free to all Guild members whose dues are current. Accounts are easy to set up, but for any questions that members have, there is a help line staffed with iActor liaisons, digital experts who are available to guide members and industry professionals through the registration and upload process.  You can reach the iActor helpline via e-mail at webhelp@sag.org or via phone at (800) 724-0767.

Answers to frequently asked questions can also be found at iactor.org, by logging in as a member and clicking on the iActor link. There, users may access online educational tools to assist them with iActor, including a Quick Start Guide, User Guide and narrated tutorial.

Explore iActor! Use it, share it, and let it provide the next step in your successful acting career!

SAG, ALLIES CELEBRATE
TALENT SERVICES LAW

In case you missed the announcement, last year in October, Screen Actors Guild hosted a news conference announcing that new consumer protection legislation (A.B. 1319) was passed and signed into law. SAG sponsored this important piece of legislation, championed by former California State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank), which will be instrumental in stopping unscrupulous talent services in the state that prey on our members, young performers and future members of this union.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office announced the passage on October 14, 2009, after a weekend signing.

SAG National President Ken Howard said, “A.B. 1319 is an example of how we can protect innocent, well-intentioned people from paying for goods that no person or entity can promise or deliver. The promise of acting jobs is no longer for sale.”

The bill creates guidelines for legitimate businesses and alerts consumers to dishonest business practices; it also gives law enforcement the tools for investigating complaints and prosecuting offenders, Krekorian said. The Guild hopes that the law will be modeled for adoption in other states as well.

“Complaints from consumers about acting and modeling scams have doubled every year since 2006,” Krekorian said. “These scams financially and psychologically hurt Californians because state law was inadequate to properly deal with disreputable talent scouts.”

Legislative advocacy is an essential function of our union. “Screen Actors Guild has a long history of protecting children,” Howard said. “In fact, since our founding members organized SAG in 1933, our union has helped create numerous laws and bargained critical contract provisions designed solely to protect children’s income, education, and most of all, their safety and well-being.”

Hill Harper, SAG National Board member and Hollywood Division co-chair of the National Legislative Committee, said, “Unfortunately we live in a time where people who have malicious intent are using more and more sophisticated means to take advantage of the people who can protect themselves the least. And legislation like this represents, I believe, the beginning of dealing with this.”

Anne Henry, co-founder of the advocacy group BizParentz Foundation, testified before a senate judiciary committee to get the legislation passed. “We’re hoping that this bill will cut through for our organization the huge burden that this has become. We’ve seen literally thousands of complaints,” she said.

Remember, be wary of any entity that requests significant up-front fees for representation or services. If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the SAG Agency Department at (323) 549-6745.


RE-INTRODUCING THE AFTRA/SAG STAFF

We have some new faces at the union office and some reshuffling of staff due to Fatna Sallak-Williams' departure. We would like you to meet:
massey
Barbara Massey, Business Representative. Originally hired as the executive administrative assistant for the Broadcast Department, Massey was thought of so highly that she was promoted to fill the opening of business representative responsible for the Non-Broadcast/Industrial (AFTRA and SAG) and Commercials (radio and television, AFTRA and SAG) contracts. Barbara is an attorney and her good work in the Broadcast Department made her the natural choice to fill the business representative position.

reamer
Joel Reamer, Business Representative. While Reamer’s face is not entirely new, he is now transitioning to the position of business representative in charge of the SAG TV/Theatrical agreements and the AFTRA and SAG Interactive contracts — the position left vacant by Fatna’s departure. Reamer originally came to AFTRA’s attention working down the hall as the business representative for Actors’ Equity. When Tova Zeff left employment with AFTRA after many years, Reamer filled that spot very quickly and capably, and we are sure he will bring the same level of expertise to his new position.

fuentecillia
Marifel Fuentecilla, Receptionist. Fuentecilla was hired as our receptionist, but she is multi-talented and offers support to the membership coordinator and general office assistance.
Baur
Tia Baur, Membership Coordinator. Baur first came to work for AFTRA in 1988 as a receptionist. She left us in 1992 to raise a family and gain other work experience. She recently came back to AFTRA and, after a brief stint as receptionist (déjà vu), she was promoted into the position of membership coordinator. Welcome back!

martin
Melissa Martin, Broadcast Executive Administrative Assistant. Newly hired to fill the spot left vacant by Barbara Massey’s promotion, Martin has a degree in labor relations from Cornell and has spent some time as a legal assistant to two attorneys in San Francisco. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and we have it on good authority that she has all the skills necessary to continue to provide and improve services to our broadcast members.

You know the rest of us:

Frank Du Charme, Executive Director

Karen Lipney, Associate Executive Director and Broadcast Director

Michael Bracamonte, Business Representative Freelance contracts

Arceli Natividad, Office Manager

Jessica Bowker, Executive Administrative Assistant to Frank Du Charme

Margaret Bonneville, Assistant to Business Representatives

Visit aftra.com to see the complete breakdown of the AFTRA/SAG staff.

A FOND FAREWELL TO
FATNA SALLAK-WILLIAMS

When Fatna Sallak-Williams was first employed at the AFTRA/SAG office in 2002, she was hired as part of a restructure involving administration of the Screen Actors Guild TV/Theatrical agreements by the San Francisco Branch. She didn’t have a permanent desk and her computer station was not set up when she first arrived. We also had no idea of the potential she possessed. She learned quickly, and so did we. Fast forward. She was promoted to the position of business representative heading up the SAG TV/Theatrical contracts, and AFTRA and SAG Interactive agreements.

But the story doesn’t end there. Between the time she started and her departure, she has helped to reshape the contract areas in which she was in charge, and that included a stint as business representative overseeing the Non-Broadcast contracts. During her tenure as an employee of AFTRA, Sallak-Williams has grown older and wiser, celebrated with us her U.S. citizenship, trained our palates to know the difference between fresh and day-old cheesecake, and lent her skills and work ethic to every project with which she’s been involved. We will miss her sense of humor, her French accent and her energy.

The good news is that she’s not going to be too far away. She has relocated to Los Angeles and accepted a position with the Screen Actors Guild as a claims case load manager in the SAG Legal Department. In other words, we know where she will be living. We wish her a fond farewell and look forward to seeing her as our paths may cross in the future.

CONSERVATORY CONTINUES ITS GOOD WORK

Over the years, the San Francisco Conservatory has been very active, sponsoring presentations and workshops on a variety of topics, including film acting, improvisation, voiceover, teleprompter use, self-marketing, iActor training, auditions, cold readings, and work in independent films. Casting directors offer tips on auditions, and the “Donuts with the DGA” panel is an annual favorite.

Conservatory workshops run year-round, although they are limited in August and December. The workshops are open to all members, and there is generally no cost to participate. We have dedicated and talented union members as well as members of the production community who willingly give of their time to share their expertise to benefit others. Members are notified of upcoming events via e-mail.

The Conservatory Committee, chaired by SAG Executive Council member Phil Ramirez, meets once a month. The sole agenda is to continue to bring union members workshops that are meaningful. The members of the committee include Ann Fields, Duane Lawrence, Julie Ow, Lucrecia Russo, J. Russell Slack, Shirley Smallwood and Kevin Walton.

If you are interested in joining the Conservatory Committee, have an idea for a workshop, or can lead a workshop, please contact the union office at (415) 391-7510, or e-mail Jessica Bowker at jbowker@aftra.com.

kathryn howell

From the Branch President

By Kathryn Howell

Communication. I welcome the return of our newsletter, for communication is key in the pursuit of our careers. Performers need knowledge and information. You will find in these pages many articles on what is happening in our Branch. Our subcommittees have been busy — the Conservatory Committee, Communications Committee, etc. We hope to have the communication flow both ways and invite you to submit questions and ideas for future newsletters (to sf@aftra.com). Our membership is as diverse as our weather and we need to hear from you. So whether you are freezing by the Bay or basking in inland sunshine, hope you enjoyed the summer and let’s keep the communication lines open.

2010 Branch Election Concludes

The San Francisco SAG Nominating Committee met on Wednesday May 12, 2010. The purpose of the meeting was to nominate candidates for National Board member, president, vice president and six (6) council members-at-large positions. Members were notified by mail of the ability to run by independent petition. The petition period commenced Thursday, July 1, 2010, and ended at the close of business on Friday, July 23, 2010.

Pursuant to the San Francisco Branch Rules of Procedure, should the number of candidates nominated by the committee or petition not exceed the number of open seats, they shall be deemed elected to the position(s) for which they were nominated without necessity of requiring a mailed ballot. Should this be the case, the council, at its first meeting following the conclusion of the nomination period, and prior to September 24, shall cast a unanimous ballot for those candidates so elected.


At its meeting on August 18, 2010, the San Francisco Branch Executive Council unanimously elected the following:


• Tom Chantler was re-elected to serve a three-year term as National Board member.
• Kathryn Howell was re-elected to serve a two-year term as president.
• Denny Delk was re-elected to serve a two-year term as vice president.

Re-elected to serve two-year terms on the council Matt Cates, Charlie Holliday, Michael O’Brien and Ed Vasgersian.

Newly elected to serve two-year terms on the council: Robert Curé and Kathy Goodin.

Continuing in their council seats:  Geoff Bolt, Cabran Chamberlain and Phillip Ramirez.

All newly elected officials take office on September 25, 2010, and will be introduced at the membership meeting on October 18, 2010.

cabran chamberlain

National Board Report

By Tom Chantler


For the first time since I have been your National Board representative, I can say that we are in a very hopeful situation. Let me explain:

SAG President Ken Howard has charted a course back to negotiation of contracts jointly with AFTRA. The newly formed SAG-AFTRA Relations Task Force is exploring the ways and means to creating a single performers’ union. Under one union, we will pay one set of dues and end forever the internecine jurisdictional turf wars that sap our resources. Best of all, many more performers will qualify for benefits.


National Executive Director David White has done a remarkable job streamlining all aspects of SAG operations — staffing, automation and fiscal responsibility to name a few.

Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino has presided over our annual audit, budgets and finance, resulting in faster than anticipated reduction in our deficit as well as better than expected investment results. Financially, our house is in order.

Significant challenges remain however. Of chief concern is the proliferation of non-union work. I remain confident that this trend can be reversed once the union option for performers looks more attractive. When we can point to a set of lucrative contracts that provide protections, pay residuals and provide benefits like pension and health care to more of us, non-union performers will want to become union members.

Please join me in strongly supporting the creation of one performers’ union.

meeting group shot
Local and national SAG staff with elected leadership

Spring Membership Meeting — 

Standing Room Only!

By Michael O’Brien

San Francisco SAG members welcomed a panel of industry experts at the April Spring Membership meeting including Nancy Hayes (Nancy Hayes Casting), filmmaker Lope Yap (DGA) and talent agent Oorala Yamada (Look Talent).

Prior to the start of the panel, and opening the meeting were David White, SAG’s national executive director, and Linda Dowell, Regional Branch Division executive director, both of whom flew in especially for the occasion.

panel
Oorala Yamada, Michael O'Brien (moderator), Lope Yap and Nancy Hayes

The panel, titled “Production A to Z,” was a freewheeling discussion of local media production. Nancy Hayes began by telling the overflow crowd that things were looking up. Hayes said she is seeing a major increase in casting activity this year.

Talent agent Oorala Yamada shared her experiences working as an agent in Los Angeles before moving to Northern California.

audience
A full house for the member Q&A

DGA member Lope Yap, who had worked with many in the audience, said he loves to make films. “Big films, small films — but best of all films in San Francisco.”

Michael O’Brien sits on the San Francisco Branch SAG Executive Council, and shares the chair of the AFTRA-SAG Joint Communications Committee.

Commercials: Do I Get an Upgrade?

For background actors working in TV commercials, the question of whether the background actor is entitled to an upgrade to principal comes up with surprising frequency. Background actors are generally hired for crowd work and to provide atmosphere. Occasionally, a director singles out a background actor to perform a specific action. How can background actors determine whether the work they have been asked to perform entitles them to an upgrade that will result in being paid as a principal performer?


Below are a few guidelines that will help a background actor assess whether the work is upgradable. Generally, when the background actor is asked to perform the work of a principal performer, an upgrade is due.  The following categories of action may result in an upgrade:


1. The background actor is directed to speak a line (other than “omnies,” i.e. atmospheric words or sounds uttered by anyone);
2. The background actor is performing an identifiable stunt; or
3. The background actor satisfies all three of the following:

 

a. The background actor is in the foreground;
b. The background actor is identifiable; and
c. The background actor is demonstrating or illustrating a product or service or illustrating or reacting to the on/off camera narration or commercial message.

Can you get an upgrade even if your mother is not able to recognize you? Maybe. Sometimes a background actor is considered “identifiable” even though the background actor’s face cannot be seen in the shot. The Commercials Contract provides that a background actor may be considered a principal performer even though not recognizable in the shot under the following circumstances:


If the background actor is in proprietary clown make-up (e.g. Ronald McDonald);
If the background actor is manipulating a puppet or marionette using his or her hand, strings or sticks; or
If the background actor is driving a vehicle and satisfies the contractual requirements of a stunt driver.

When specialty acts, specialty dancers or stunt performers are featured in the foreground, they are considered principal performers whether or not their performance demonstrates or illustrates a product or service or illustrates or reacts to the on- or off-camera narration or commercial message.

MYTH VS. FACT

Myth: You always get upgraded if you are on screen for at least two and a half seconds or if your face is visible in a shot with the product.


Fact: If the background actor’s face is visible in a shot with the product, it does not inherently mean that he or she will be due an upgrade. There are some situations where the background actor’s face may be visible with the product but not meet the upgrade standards. For example, a background actor may be riding a bike past the product (for example a bottle of water) with face visible, but not be due an upgrade in that particular shot. The Commercials Contract states that the background actor must be alone in a stationary camera shot, face visible and recognizable, along with being with the product.

Fact: Simply holding or using or even wearing the product does not automatically mean an upgrade is due; the other criteria must be met.

Fact: Screen time is not a deciding factor. The amount of actual screen time does not determine whether an upgrade is due; i.e., there is no “two and a half seconds rule” that automatically qualifies a background actor for an upgrade.

If you have a question about whether you are entitled to an upgrade, call the union office at (415) 391-7510. The most accurate decisions are made when the final edit is available. Generally, the union can obtain and review all versions of the commercial in which you performed and discuss with you whether there is a potential upgrade.

Source: 2003 Commercials Contract (as extended to 2012), Section 6

SAG Introduces Independent Demo Reel Agreement

After years of effort on the part of staff and members , the SAG National Board  has approved the creation of a highly anticipated Theatrical Demonstration Reel Agreement for independent producers. The DRA covers live action demo reels produced by independent filmmakers in the United States, with the concept and hope being that these demos will then gain financing and grow into full film projects, thus generating more and better work for the members. In addition, the DRA provides members with another vehicle to showcase and promote their talent.

What are the criteria for the DRA?

 

The budget must not exceed $10,000.
The reel must be shot entirely in the U.S.
The reel must be no longer than 10 minutes.
Limited Use Rights apply (i.e., intended only to be shown to non-paying potential investors or other industry professionals in order to showcase the talent of the filmmakers and the performers).The entire shoot cannot last longer than two weeks.
Pension and Health contributions must be made.
The applicant must complete the signatory process prior to clearance.

In many ways the terms and conditions of the DRA are similar to those of the Short Film and Ultra Low Budget agreements:
Performers working under a DRA signed in Northern California must be paid a minimum of $100.
Performers may only work three days.
The DRA covers only professional performers.
Consecutive employment rules are waived.
Standard workday and meal period rules are in effect.

If you have questions regarding the Demonstration Reel Agreement, contact Joel Reamer, business representative in the San Francisco SAG office, at jreamer@aftra.com or (415) 391-7510.

SAG BookPALS – A SAG Foundation Program

By Carla Hatley

Statistics for September 2009 to August 2010:

• Active BookPALS: 78
• Special events BookPALS: 34
• Number of schools: 22
• Number of classrooms: 79

• Number of shelters: 2
• Other organizations: 6
• Number of children served: 6,600 per month

The San Francisco Branch of BookPALS started in January of 1997, and we are now in our 13th year reading in elementary schools, family shelters and youth organizations around the Bay Area. We have readers as far north as Sacramento and as far south as San Jose.

The BookPALS program has expanded beyond reading to children in classrooms to include family shelters and a local prison. We read at Raphael House and Hamilton Family Emergency Center in San Francisco twice a month.

On the first Saturday of each month, BookPALS read to children visiting a parent or relative serving time at Glenn Dyer Prison in Oakland, a program sponsored by Start with a Story. On the last Saturday of each month, we present books (reading theatre-style) on the Emerald Stage at Fairyland in Oakland.

This year BookPALS volunteers were involved with KQED’s PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest as judges and presenters for the winning stories. And we partnered with San Francisco Project Read, KOIT Radio Children’s Book Drive, Read Across America, Variety Children’s Charity of Northern California and Jump Start’s Read For The Record.

We are also dedicated to getting books to children who can’t afford them. Grants from Variety Children’s Charity, Children’s Book Project, Jet Blue and First Book LAB gave us the opportunity to purchase and distribute hundreds of books to children around the Bay Area. This past year we distributed 2,300 books to children in our community.

Become a BookPAL! Use your talents as an actor and expressive reader to bring stories to life. If you have one hour a week or one hour a month, we will find the right read aloud opportunity for you. Practice your creative skills and make a difference in children’s lives.

Carla Hatley is the San Francisco BookPALS program coordinator. PALS is an acronym for Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools, a Screen Actors Guild Foundation Program. To reach Hatley, you can leave a message with the San Francisco Branch office at (415) 391-7510, or send an e-mail to sf@aftra.com or sanfrancisco@bookpals.net. Visit bookpals.net for more information.

macaluso and agents

Briar Grant, Zino Macaluso and John Erlendson

Branch Hosts Franchised Agency Seminar

On June 11 the San Francisco Branch hosted “An Evening with Agents:  How to Secure the Services of a SAG Franchised Agent,” moderated by Zino Macaluso, SAG national director/senior counsel, agency relations. The event was held at the Marriott Union Square, where members of AFTRA and Actors’ Equity were also invited to attend.

Macaluso moderated the panel, which included John Erlendson of J.E. Talent and Briar Grant representing Marla Dell Talent Agency.

It was an extremely enlightening and lively meeting, and when Macaluso is involved, it always is entertaining. Members actively participated in the Q&A portion of the meeting. The panelists discussed interviewing skills — what to look for in an agent and what agents are looking for in a client — as well as the intricacies involved in the agent-performer relationship and how the SAG agency regulations protect both SAG members and their agents.

Those who attended were invited to bring a headshot and resume and for those who chose to do so, both Grant and Erlendson were provided with the material to review.

borgnine

Borgnine to Get Life Achievement Award 

 Ernest Borgnine, who is exuberantly entering his seventh decade of creating memorable characters and award-winning performances, will receive Screen Actors Guild’s most prestigious accolade, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment. Borgnine, a former SAG National Board member, has performed in more than 200 motion pictures, five television series and dozens of television films and guest appearances. He will be presented the award, given annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®, which premieres live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. MT. For more about the honoree, click here.

In making the announcement August 18, Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard said, “Whether portraying brutish villains, sympathetic everymen, complex leaders or hapless heroes, Ernest Borgnine has brought a boundless energy which, at 93, is still a hallmark of his remarkably busy life and career. It is with that same joyous spirit that we salute his impressive body of work and his steadfast generosity.”

Sound Advice for Voice Actors 

By Dr. Joan Kenley


Ask for conditions that work for you when recording. Be wary of requests for character expressions that could cause vocal damage. Also:

• Don’t accept jobs that aren’t in your vocal range.

• Drink liquids at room temperature and avoid carbonated beverages.

• Be clear with producers if you’re suffering from allergies or a cold.

• Body-breathe all the time for the best vocal support in the studio – using the lowest muscle group in your torso that moves when you cough.

• Mouth breathe when you talk, warm up your voice, or record. Nose breathe when you’re not talking. Sip water often when recording.

• Yawn to experience how your vocal cords open and stretch in your neck at the apex of the yawn. Learn to use the relaxation of the yawn feeling as you talk.

• To locate your natural voice, pant with a light sound on the inhale and a fuller sound on the exhale. Your throat, jaw, and neck should be fully relaxed.

• OH...AH...and...AY sounds can be practiced as warm-up exercises for your voice. Pant first if you need to find the correct placement.

From: Voice Power – A Breakthrough Method to Enhance Your Speaking Voice. For more information, contact joan@joankenley.com.

Disclaimer: This is an outside entity. Questions about offers, services or information from outside entities must be handled by the providers. The Guild does not endorse any outside services. 

Welcome New Members and Transfers 

Lisa Accomando, Lillian Askew, Andrew Bancroft, Drew Beebe, Ricardo Kenneth Brown, Ed Cho, Ryan Colliton, Richard Cooksey, Johnny Drocco, Apryl F. Ericks, Peter Furst, Katherine Suzanne Hansen, Aaron Hargo, Wendy Hoover, Wendy Tremont King, Christopher Kuckenbaker, Gabriel Cole Leary, Mike McFarlin, Jeff Newton, Hector Osorio, Raymond Rodriguez, Allison Sattinger, Hester Schell, Richard Scibird, Jean W Sharkey, Andy P. Sims, Liorah Singerman, Erica Teeple, Mark Louis Vasquez, Tovi Wayne, Chris Yule, Susan Zangl