JOINT BARGAINING APPROVED BY SAG
Meeting in a videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York on March 13, the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors approved 78 percent to 22 percent a joint bargaining agreement with AFTRA for the negotiation of successor agreements for the contracts covering theatrical motion pictures and primetime dramatic television. The AFTRA National Board of Directors previously approved joint bargaining at its meeting February 27.
The motion: “It was moved and seconded that the National Board of Directors approves the Joint Bargaining Agreement for the Television/Theatrical Contracts and instructs staff and counsel to finalize the language of the Agreement substantially in the form presented.”
Guild President Ken Howard said, “I applaud the board’s action. Bargaining together is a smart decision and voting up this agreement clearly serves the best interests of all SAG members. I’m grateful to the board and look forward to working with our partners at AFTRA toward a successful negotiation.”
Added Guild National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator David White, “This is a positive step that delivers a significant benefit to our members. There is no disputing that we are stronger together and joint negotiation of these contracts makes sense for both our organizations."
SAG and AFTRA representatives will meet in the coming days to finalize and execute the joint bargaining agreement. The agreement largely tracks the agreement used for the successful 2009 joint negotiation of the Commercials Contracts and includes the provisions of the existing AFL-CIO facilitated No Raiding/Non-Disparagement Agreement between Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA.
SAG CREATES PERFORMANCE
Screen Actors Guild’s National Board has just created a National Performance Capture Committee. The creation of the committee stemmed from a meeting of performers who have experience with this type of work. The meeting, organized by the TV/Theatrical Standing Committee and Contracts Department staff, provided these performers with a forum to discuss the effects performance capture will have on the work of actors and SAG contracts going forward.
The National Board appointed Woody Schultz as national chair of the committee. Schultz has extensive experience in this area, including work on films such as Beowulf, The Polar Express and Avatar.
Performance capture is the process of recording actions and emotions of human actors, and using that information to animate digital character models in 2D or 3D computer animation. Though not necessarily a new technology, performance capture is evolving and has recently garnered much attention due to the success of films such as Avatar and A Christmas Carol.
Schultz and the rest of the committee hope to raise awareness about this important area of work and will investigate and give voice to the unique concerns and experiences of those members rendering performances across all media that are recorded using performance capture technology.
Wages and Working Conditions caucuses will be held soon for the upcoming TV/Theatrical Contract negotiations in the fall. We encourage all SAG members who work in performance capture to share their experiences and concerns with the committee.
SHARE YOUR NEW MEDIA
EXPERIENCE WITH US
Have you taken the New Media Work Experience Survey yet? If not, then we need your input.
With your participation, this survey will deliver the most current snapshot of the Guild’s involvement in new media entertainment. The resulting data will be crucial to identifying the effects of the TV/Theatrical Contract ratified in 2009 and to informing the next round of negotiations, slated for October.
This brief multiple-choice survey is completely anonymous. It also includes opportunities to elaborate on your work experiences, should you wish.
Don’t delay. Log in at SAG.org today and click on the Member Survey box to get started. Your responses will be invaluable in the next Wages and Working Conditions process!
Questions? E-mail us at email@example.com.
By Anne Sward
We had our conservatory kick off March 11 at Jeff Johnson’s. It was a nice turn out. I want to thank John Corser and Kathy Jarviss for being our guest panelists, as well as our own Don Shanks. It was a lively discussion. Also, thanks to Jeff Johnson who generously gave us a venue for the event.
Future workshops will be titled “Do You Know Your SAG Contracts?” and “Director Directing Actors.” If you have any conservatory event ideas of your own or wish to be on the committee, please let me know. It really will be a great way to get together and unite the membership.
Our website has improved once again. More content-packed and user-friendly, the recent upgrades to SAG.org help you get what you need immediately, while keeping pace with the technology that the world uses to communicate.
News and Knowledge Right Away
With a refreshed home page design, the news that matters most to you is positioned front and center. Be up-to-the-minute on SAG National Board decisions that may affect your life as a working actor, learn about changes to your contract, plan to attend upcoming panel discussions and networking opportunities that could help you land work, and receive member alerts that protect your interests by warning against scams or other career pitfalls. We take away the uncertainty that you’ll miss out by making this information the first thing you’ll see.
Volumes of Video, Courtesy of SAG TV
In addition to a featured video at the top of the new SAG.org home page, you’re also one click away from the improvements to the SAG TV section of the site, which includes access to our always growing archive. You can search content by subject matter groupings, based on your interests. Convenient icons even give you a preview of what you’ll see, and a new expanded video viewer allows for high-quality widescreen viewing.
Easy Access to SAG’s Social Networks
SAG knows the importance of social networking to you. As another new convenience, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, RSS and with a new iPhone app. Simply click the icons on the left side of the home page.
Producers’ Center – One-Stop Convenience
Meeting your needs is important, and so is meeting the needs of our employers. After all, improving their online experience makes it easier for them to create work for Guild members! Everything a producer needs to work with SAG is available in one place in our new Producers’ Center. There, anyone who wishes to make any kind of SAG project, for any platform, can find all of the resources needed to do so. Rate sheets, sample contracts, FAQs and more – it’s all conveniently accessed via the home page.
Tell Us What You Think
All of these changes would not be possible without SAG National Executive Director David White’s commitment to enhance the union’s communications capabilities to match or exceed industry standards, the vision of our Guild Website Subcommittee and feedback from our members.
Let us know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New media, low budget agreements and diversity issues take center stage at the Seventh Annual Utah Filmmaker/Actors Forum at Sundance. Photo by Paul Mulder.
More and more, indie filmmakers are also becoming new media makers, and this year’s Sundance Film Festival (January 21-31) offered an opportunity to tap into both worlds. SAG staff members were in attendance again this year, building relationships within the independent creative community and educating actors and producers about the benefits of going SAG.
Representing SAG at the festival were staff members Utah Branch Executive Director Don Livesay, National Director of New Media Mark Friedlander, National Director of Digital Marketing Steve Graham, National Director of Affirmative Action and Diversity Rebecca Yee, and National Director of SAGIndie Darrien Gipson, as well as Utah Branch National Board Director Anne Sward.
In a coordinated effort, SAG staffers joined SAGIndie’s Gipson and local casting director Jeff Johnson for a panel focusing on new media and independent film production as well as a broad range of issues affecting employment growth for local Utah Branch members. The panel was moderated by Sward.
The team used the festival as an opportunity to network with industry leaders, attending a number of events including a reception sponsored by Digital LA, a series of SAGIndie-hosted brunches for members and producers, and Tweethouse social media meetups – just to name a few. Attending these events allowed the team to discuss relevant issues facing those working in new media, to nurture existing relationships and also to forge new relationships.
“What a wonderful opportunity to meet with our members and the producers working in this space,” says Friedlander. “The relationships made here are indispensable. They help us promote the interests of our members in new media and indie productions.”
The relationships forged at this year’s festival already have proven fruitful as SAG New Media teamed up with Digital LA to host a new media workshop in early February.
“This is the exact reason we attend these sorts of events, to help not only our members succeed in new media, but to help the new media industry succeed as well,” adds Friedlander.
The Sundance Film Festival, held annually in Park City, Utah, is the largest independent cinema festival in the U.S. The festival is considered the premier showcase for new work from American and international independent film and new media producers.
By Don Livesay
I recently attended an industry event where there were a substantial number of non-members present. In fact, our people were outnumbered four to one. But that didn’t stop them from speaking. One SAG member after another got up to share how much Screen Actors Guild had meant to him or her. SAGIndie was on hand to tell how the contracts can be made to work for almost any budget.
Then a non-member raised his hand, someone who was known to have worked dozens of union jobs but had never joined. He said, “I appreciate Screen Actors Guild for all it does. I just don’t know how to support you guys.” The response came quick in chorus of members all saying the same thing: “If you really want to support us, join us!” The message was loud and clear.
Depending upon the elevation, wild flower season can come in the spring or summer, times when the landscape explodes with color. This spring should be spectacular with wild flowers in certain parts of the state. But that beauty lasts only a few weeks as temperatures soon rise, the flowers dry up and deserts return to their dry, barren state. Wild flowers are, after all, just weeds.
It’s much the same with non-union jobs. As attractive as they might appear to be, they wither away and eventually dry up when no residuals follow, when no health retirement credits are earned, and when no remedy for unauthorized use is assured.
Since you asked, Mr. Non-union Guy, here’s how you can support SAG . . .
How about refusing to take any non-union job that doesn’t provide the same protections that our jobs provide? It’s that simple. Refuse jobs that don’t pay use fees equivalent to ours. Turn down work that doesn’t offer health insurance and pension credits paid for by the producer like our jobs do. Walk away from any employment that doesn’t protect you when your performance ends up in a venue that you didn’t authorize. And turn away any job that would require you to pay more than 10 percent in commission to your agent.
And since you asked, refuse any booking unless minimum working conditions are in place, where you are respected as a professional, and where payment for working overtime hours, inadequate rest periods and late meals is understood as customary, not waived because you are supposed to feel some obligation to the director for hiring you. And finally, make my day. Turn your back and run for the hills unless your next non-union contract provides a support staff like SAG’s staff, dedicated to seeing that you get everything the producer has agreed to as a condition of hiring you.
If you really want to support us, do all that. And once you find out the obvious, that no non-union job comes close to matching what SAG provides, then follow the steps taken by many in Utah before you, and join. We’ll be here.
By Paul Mulder
Utah Branch President
Sometimes I feel like a part-time actor, part-time business owner, part-time dad, part-time husband, part-time SAG regional branch president, part-time... Well, you get the idea.
I'm swamped at work. I'm a small business owner; I employee 14 part-time employees. We have suffered 30-40 percent loss of gross three years in a row. Payroll expenses account for more than 45 percent of the gross. For over 13 years now, neither I nor my wife and my two kids have had health insurance. I'm entrenched in an environment that is pervasively right minded, an extreme far right mentality that believes that the current administration is forcing the nation into health reform that no one wants. Whoever this so-called forced population is that doesn't want national health care, I'd love to show them a picture of my family. On the bright side, I was able to get an SBA loan to float my business in this downturn economy, but in order to do so, I was required to sign over my house as collateral to the SBA and get life insurance (first time in my life) with the SBA as the beneficiary – not the most comforting position to be in as an individual or as a parent.
Really the only glimmering lights are the moments that I step out onto a stage or in front of the camera. Continually working on a craft that I have spent the last 30 years developing never becomes boring or mundane. Even the art of auditioning is becoming more and more comfortable ground. The opportunities are few and far between to get up and perform. Who doesn't want to flex the broad range of skills an actor can by portraying a character in front of an audience or camera?
Those of us in SAG share a bond that not all performers are fortunate enough to have. We all remember the day that we got our SAG cards and the elation of achieving a professional goal. To be recognized as professional actors by the film industry and knowing what we do as professional actors, why would anyone chose not to join SAG?
I'm personally in a predicament. I've been a member of Screen Actors Guild for 23 years. I moved to a location where there isn't a lot of consistent work and, therefore, I'm not vested (not covered by health or pension). I'm not covered by SAG insurance. But I made a commitment to the Guild that if there was work, it would be union work. I've paid my dues, and by that I mean financially every six months for 23 years and by putting in my time, energy and professionalism into my craft. I'm sure not going to let anyone undervalue me, my talent or my Guild.
Please join me in representing the guild of professional actors. Encourage non-members to join so that the mentality in this right to work state becomes the right to hire professionally qualified actors. Gone are the days of "my cousin will do it for free," because, guess what? If your cousin does it for free, think of the quality of the final product.
A so-called "right to work" state also means a right to earn livable wages. Want to be treated as a professional? Act like one.
See you on the set.
By Anne Sward
I just came back from a National Board meeting. Let me quote from our press release: “It was moved and seconded that the National Board of Directors approves the Joint Bargaining Agreement for the Television/Theatrical Contracts and instructs staff and counsel to finalize the language of the Agreement substantially in the form presented.” I feel that this is good news in order to provide a strong alliance. You can see the full press release with comments from SAG President Ken Howard and Guild National Executive Director David White at SAG.org.
I really have appreciated the leadership of Ken Howard and Amy Aquino. All agenda items are vetted and discussed, and we are kept on schedule. There are very serious issues facing us in the coming year, but I am confident we have the leadership to deal with them and get things done for the membership.
If any member from the Utah Branch has concerns about national issues or even local concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. You may reach me through our Branch office at (800) 724-0767. It is important for me to have a clear perspective of our membership views in order to best represent you.
Some examples of issues would be: (1) contracts, especially low budget; (2) initiation fees; (3) merger with AFTRA; (4) Utah’s film incentive program; and (5) right to work. I am going to follow through with RTW and bring some ideas to the table this May in Washington, D.C., when the Regional Branch Division meets. If anyone has legislative interests or ideas dealing with Utah’s fair share portion legislation, please contact me. We have a few ideas generating about it.
With more and more SAG commercials shooting in Utah, it’s time to bone up on some of the things you need to know about our Commercials Contract. Here is a quick Q & A.
Do performers get paid for auditions?
• 1st and 2nd Auditions: No payment is due for the first hour from the call time or arrival time, whichever is later. For each additional half-hour, a performer is entitled to $37.
• 3rd Audition: No payment is due for the first 2 hours as long as 3 or fewer performers are called back per role, and none of those performers is on their first audition. Otherwise, a performer is entitled to $148.10 for the first 2 hours. For each additional half-hour over 2 hours, $37 is due.
• 4th Audition and Thereafter: No payment is due for the first 2 hours as long as 3 or fewer performers are called back per role, and none of those performers is on their first audition. (For each additional half-hour, $37 is due.) Otherwise, a performer is entitled to $296.10 for the first 4 hours. For each additional half-hour, $37 is due.
When is the session payment due for a commercial?
Session payment for a commercial is due 12 business days after the session.
How is overtime paid?
A principal performer receives time-and-one-half for the ninth and tenth hours and double time thereafter, in hourly units. Principal performers receiving more than two times the session fee per commercial per day receive time-and-one-half instead of double time after the 10th hour.
Are session and residual checks for members sent to the Guild?
Normally, session and residual checks are sent to the performer directly, or to whomever the performer has designated on the employment contract (such as to his/her agent). However, checks for Spanish and Asian language commercials, as well as for claims that have been filed, are sent directly to the Guild, and in turn, are forwarded to the performer.
When are payments for residuals due?
Residual payments must be postmarked within 15 working days from the first use in a 13-week cycle. However, payment for all Class A uses that occur from Monday through Sunday are due within 15 working days from the following Monday. In the event that payment is not made on time, late payment damages become due.
For more complete information about Commercials, including rates, go to www.sag.org/content/contracts.
More questions? Call the Utah Branch office at (800) 724-0767, or e-mail Utah Executive Director Don Livesay at email@example.com.
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