YOUR NEXT AUDITION
Utah Executive Director
You will read in Anne Sward’s article of plans to open new employment opportunities in what was previously called industrial/educational production. This will require reaching out to producers and finding out more about what they are producing and their hiring practices. In order for this to work, we need everyone’s cooperation.
Please let us know about the non-union work you hear about so that we can connect with the employer and find out what he or she needs. And most important, be the best you can when you have opportunities to audition, and prepare yourself to work even when you are not working.
Allow me to share this story:
I ran into a producer friend of mine the other day. We had taken a lot of time convincing him to go union on his next project, and he did. I asked him how it went and he said quite well. I wasn’t surprised, after all our people are the best, and of course hiring them would assure a higher degree of excellence compared with what he would have ended up with had he not gone with us. He said it was a very satisfactory experience. He just wished he could have employed more members of SAG.
I asked him how many he had hired in his cast. He said just a handful. I pushed him to tell me why so few members were engaged when we have so many good ones to choose from. Hoping not to offend me, in so many words he told me he needed to hire the best.
I asked him about his auditions. He said that the auditions were very smooth, and he felt he had been successful. He had hired the best.
“So again, why was it that you needed so many non-members this time?” I asked.
“Like I said, Don, I needed to hire the best.”
I hope this story hits home to you. Too often, I believe, actors take what they store in their acting “toolbox” for granted, believing everything will be there all bright and shiny when the next audition comes around. The hard reality is that tools get rusty, especially when they are not used. Sure, maybe you haven’t had that many chances to audition recently. But opportunities to practice your craft are out there.
Understand this. The decision a producer makes to go union is not solely based on dollars anymore. More often than not, choosing to go SAG is determined by the talent pool available, and the number of good, non-union talent in Utah has grown significantly. If the specific quality needed is on hand in the non-union sector as opposed to union sector, guess where producers will go to find it?
Your competition for your next job is more than likely going to be a non-member. If you demonstrate better skills than the competition, your chances for work are good. The more members are hired by producers, time in and time out, the more they will be needed for the next shoot and the shoot after that, and a greater number of projects will go SAG. But the reverse is true as well. When more and more non-members are hired, audition after audition, it is less likely members will be considered the next time, and eventually producers become less inclined to turn to us at all.
As I’ve said before, consistent excellence in performance is the product SAG sells. We sell it when producers see you audition. We sell it when you work. Let’s keep them wanting to see more. Let’s keep it all excellent.
WHAT’S NEW AT SAG.ORG?
Check out the innovative and very important additions to SAG.org:
• Paperless billing so that you can save time, paper and stamps.
• The incredible Production Center, where producers can save time by getting their signatory applications for new media, student, short, ultra low and corporate/educational projects.
• The online home for young performers.
DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS WHO SHOULD JOIN SAG?
If so, don’t feel you have to answer all their questions yourself. You may refer them to the Utah office at (800) 264-7696 or you might want to point them to SAG.org, and the Member Services tab.
Also, Screen Actors Guild has recently revised and published a great pamphlet for performers considering membership. It’s called Acting In Your Interest and it’s available as a hard copy by calling (800) 264-7696 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and online here. We have great things to share about being a member of Screen Actors Guild, so let us know if you need help.
IN AN EMERGENCY, SAG IS STANDING BY
In case of an emergency requiring immediate after-hour assistance for matters concerning safety, health or harassment on set, please refer to the numbers on the back of your membership card.
For emergency assistance on the West Coast — including Arizona and Utah — call (323) 954-1600. Please know that if an emergency comes up, we will respond to your needs wherever and whenever you might be performing.
Utah National Director
The April Plenary meeting in Los Angeles and our Regional Branch stand-alone in Orlando, Fla. were quite productive. David White’s report gave us a good sense and confidence that the administrational and bureaucratic burdens of the Guild are being met with online services for producers. It is a streamlining of antiquated processes. We had discussions with an energized approach toward organizing that helped define it and how we in the branches can move ahead. Our council is going to be working on a Utah organizing plan and we have the attention of national on this.
The “One Union” merger is moving further ahead, and both unions are conducting listening tours throughout the United States to get data and opinions of members. I attended one and voiced the Utah concerns. If you have questions or your own concerns please contact me or go online to get more info as it comes in.
The new Corporate/ Educational Contract has been ratified. We had an opportunity for change, but personally, I feel the branches missed the boat with this contract. I argued to the National Board in Los Angeles that this contract is like “beating a dead horse.” It won’t work in Utah. But don’t give up quite yet. Branches have been given a chance to submit for national approval an organizing tool, a waiver to the contract that would work in their markets and for their employers. So we need to collect data and I need help from you about Utah, specifically any information you might have access to, such as production budgets and what actors are making for the type of work they do. Please contact me if you can give any details.
If you know of Utah members who have not been getting their e-newsletter or other communications because they have not updated their current email addresses, please urge them to get it corrected. They can do this by going on to SAG's site, registering and updating their profile. Look for the login/registration tab in the upper right-hand corner of the home page. Or they can send an email to email@example.com. Just include your professional name, SSN or SAG ID number, previous email address and the new email address. Of course, you can do this by mail as well. The SAG address is on your card. It is alarming how many members do not have good contact information listed with membership. This is our downfall and we have to keep our personal contact information updated.
We must start communicating and come together because changes are upon us. Don’t be left in the dark. I plead with you that we must come together to organize. This industry is ever-changing and we must keep up with the times and set standards that are fair and equitable for professional performers.
Don’t ever hesitate to contact Utah Executive Director Don Livesay or me if you want to participate in the changes we are mapping out.
Earlier this year, Gov. Gary R. Herbert signed House Bill 99, Motion Picture Incentives Amendments, into law. It will boost the motion picture tax incentive from 20 percent to up to 25 percent of the dollars left in the state in the form of a fully refundable post-performance tax credit or cash rebate. The Legislature approved an ongoing tax credit fund of $6.8 million for the Motion Picture Incentive Fund (MPIF).
“Our vision for the State of Utah is to be recognized as a premiere global business destination,” said Gov. Herbert. “The expanded motion picture incentive will enable us to position Utah and its talented motion picture and digital media work force to compete on a global basis for the film and digital media industries. These are important industries to our economy’s future.”
“The higher rebate will now make us more attractive to the studios and networks and more competitive with other states and countries,” said Marshall Moore, director of the Utah Film Commission.
"The Motion Picture Association of Utah is gratified by the passage of HB99,” said Don Schain, president of the Motion Picture Association of Utah. “This bill represents a major step forward in the continuing development of a fair and sustainable Motion Picture Incentive. It has long been the MPAU's position that our incentive works because it keeps our industry competitive while providing the State of Utah an attractive return on investment. In these difficult economic times, we are pleased that the Legislature recognized that film and television are part of the solution."
Since the MPIF was created in 2004, 65 film projects have received funding, creating 4,725 production jobs and 1,956 production days. The projects are responsible for leaving nearly $178 million in the state. Recent films that have received the incentive include all three High School Musical movies, the Oscar-nominated 127 Hours, and the upcoming Walt Disney Studios feature film John Carter of Mars.
More than 800 films and television movies have been shot in Utah. Formed in 1974, the Utah Film Commission is a part of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and is a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International. For information about filming in Utah, visit film.utah.gov or contact the Utah Film Commission at (800) 453-8824 or (801) 538-8740.
During the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, the Utah Branch held its Eighth Annual SAGIndie Utah Filmmakers/Actors Forum in Salt Lake City. Speakers included Academy Award-nominated actor James Cromwell, National Director of SAGIndie Darrien Michele Gipson, SAG National Director of New Media Mark Friedlander, local casting director Jeff Johnson, Utah filmmaker Adrian Lefler and Utah Film Commission Director Marshall Moore. Well over 100 film professionals attended from around the state. Mr. Moore spoke about the current status of the film industry in Utah and the proposed legislation (now known as HB-99S01) for film incentives and took questions from the audience.
Members on the SAG Merger Task Force and the AFTRA New Union Committee met June 17–19 for the first formal face-to-face talks about forming a successor union representing performers, broadcast professionals and recording artists. The meetings were a great first step and will continue throughout the rest of the year.
The members created six work groups focusing on the areas of greatest concern to members, based on feedback from the joint coast-to-coast Presidents’ Forum Listening Tour: governance and structure; finance and dues; collective bargaining; pension, health and retirement; operations and staff; and member education outreach. Each work group is populated with members who represent all categories and both large and small markets, locals and branches across the nation. These work groups will meet over the coming months and create a set of recommendations for how the successor union should approach each area, which will become part of a merger agreement, national constitution and dues structure to be presented to each union’s national board in January.
It’s early in the process, but we are optimistic and believe that the work groups can create a plan for a successor union that will win support and positions our members for a stronger future. There is a lot of work ahead, and we are very mindful of continuing to provide the quality support our members value, while balancing members’ interests in moving this process forward as efficiently and successfully as possible.
All of the latest proposed merger information can be found on our website, and you can also keep abreast of any future One Union developments by following SAG on Facebook and Twitter, or by emailing us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Screen Actors Guild is teaming up with AFTRA, DGA, IATSE and major studios and networks to launch the Creative America initiative to discourage content theft and educate the public about its harmful effects. Creative America will provide a gathering place for members of the creative community to learn more about the impact of content theft on their jobs, their benefits and their ability to continue making a living in the entertainment industry.
Among its initial activities, Creative America will enable members of the entertainment community to demonstrate their support for the passage of important congressional legislation that will significantly impact the fight against content theft, including the PROTECT IP Act, legislation designed to combat foreign trafficking in stolen movies, TV shows and other forms of intellectual property.
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