Hello again, my Los Angeles union family!
Reflecting back to one year ago, I challenged you, the L.A. SAG-AFTRA membership, to become more active in your union and now I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that member participation in the last 12 months has been phenomenal. More than 35,000 members attended the 311 events held last year in L.A. Moreover, we had a record number of members participate in the Los Angeles TV/Theatrical wages and working condition meetings last fall. It was enlightening for leadership and staff to hear what you had to say regarding working conditions in the industry today. Excellent job, L.A., and thank you to all of our staff that make these events possible. Let’s extend my challenge another year and see if we can double that number once again — I believe we can!
If you’re asking yourself how you can get involved, first you should check out our L.A. events. As we saw in 2016, there are hundreds of panels, workshops, educational outreach meetings and mixers that the union puts on for you with the help of our 30 L.A. committees. These committees all highlight different areas in our union, from events aimed at background and stunt performers to health and diversity. We even produce several old-time radio plays each year through our SAG-AFTRA Radio Plays Committee and have been engaging more and more millennial members through our popular NextGen Performers evening mixers. Truly, there is something for everyone! To attend or learn more about upcoming events, check your email or go to the L.A. local website.
Another way to get involved is to take advantage of the many services that SAG-AFTRA offers its members. Here are a few examples to help get you started:
Whether you are a new member or have been a member for decades, I highly recommend attending one of our monthly member orientations. These in-depth meetings provide the most current information, covering everything our members need to know regarding services, programs, contracts and benefits. Additionally, as a member of the Los Angeles Local, you have the unique opportunity to attend a Local Board meeting and observe your elected leaders at work. We are the only SAG-AFTRA local that offers this experience to its members.
SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer and Los Angeles Local President Jane Austin speaking to union members at the Art of Portraying Danger stunt panel, just one of the hundreds of free member education programs produced by the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Local.
The SAG-AFTRA L.A. Conservatory is the best-kept secret of our union, with current enrollment at 3,200 members. For the nominal yearly fee of $45, members gain access to classes, workshops and lectures as well as one-on-one time with veteran acting teachers to help hone and develop their craft. These classes are held at both the American Film Institute campus in Los Feliz and at the union. Currently, we are planning the Summer Intensive, a three-day program that provides classes, Q&As, networking and peer motivation to be held on July 28–30. Another huge benefit of the program is that Conservatory members have the first opportunity to audition for AFI’s student films.
In closing, I want to congratulate the Los Angeles membership for your amazing participation efforts and remind you that you are SAG-AFTRA. We are always stronger together and here to help one another. We look forward to hearing more from the membership about how we can serve you better. Please know that you can always provide input by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer and L.A. Local President