I hope all L.A. Local members and their families had a wonderful holiday season.
I was back East for most of December, doing Good Morning America, which graciously flew me to New York; press for a couple of projects; and worked on the most shockingly low-budget but creatively fulfilling film I’ve done in years. Most joyously, during the holidays, I became a grandmother for the first time.
I was delighted to hear that those who came to our winter holiday party had a great time celebrating, while also posing attractively for professional photographers, helping the military committee by signing cards to send abroad, eating delicious food, laughing over selfies, receiving tons of swag and enjoying the creative lighting job done in L.A. Local delegate Shea Scullin’s festive, lit-up beard.
While I was gone, the wonderful L.A. Local nonpartisan committee chairs and their hardworking committee members were doing the work of the union — planning and hosting events, working on solutions to problems, reviewing proposed member-impacted legislation, reorganizing and defining missions, and volunteering in the community. I remain so proud of all of them.
Board member Pamela Guest brought together an extraordinary and powerful local Sexual Harassment Committee that met to explore ideas for legislation, SAG-AFTRA constitutional revisions and proposed considerations for our contract negotiation discussions.
Your second local VP, David Jolliffe, chaired the December Local Board meeting in my absence while I was visiting with my new grandson. I believe Second Local VP Jolliffe is more knowledgeable than anyone in the union about history, governance and contracts. He is also well known for his comic pose as the figure in our SAG-AFTRA logo, which is why it’s known in the boardroom as “the Jolliffe.” He was a perfect and effective replacement meeting chair, though I hear he made it through the meeting without doing “the Jolliffe.”
The current L.A. Conservatory table read program will be moving under the MORE L.A. Committee. This outreach program continues to connect us with scripts from the WGA and Black List. It is the kind of collaboration we seek to improve member programs. Moving this committee under MORE L.A. provides a wider casting pool from the entire local membership to select from, particularly when more diversity in casting is required in these scripts. It will also provide more opportunities for more members to participate in these readings. Please read future emails and newsletters for details.
Space availability for meetings and programs coming out of our local remains a challenge. I want to commend our staff, who somehow manage to find rooms for these committee meetings and activities in our ever-more crowded building in which we have no dedicated local member space for any of our local’s needs.
The L.A. Conservatory has expanded its courses and therefore requires additional classrooms at AFI. It was hoped that we could have a dedicated classroom space at 5757 but bewilderingly that did not happen. The classroom instead is being shared with national needs and therefore we compete for scheduling. It is disappointing that no dedicated space was given to our 45-year-old member-created, member-run, L.A. Conservatory or any local programs or events among our many rented floors. Therefore, while we hope to find availability in our local building, it is possible that some of our table reads will have to be held at the WGA or the AFI campus near Griffith Park.
I was inspired and heartened by the speakers at the L.A. County Federation of Labor’s breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr. I felt lucky to live in this city and have the opportunity to hear invigorating civil rights leaders and listen to uplifting choirs (who gave us all goose bumps). Sen. Kamala Harris spoke to us with such passion. She built us up and reminded us to never give up. She implored the audience to roll up our sleeves and continue to fight injustice and suppression. Later that day, the Women’s March gathered blocks away, bringing more inspiration and hope.
The L.A. SAG Awards viewing party exploded in Glendale at the Alex Theatre, with over 700 happy members celebrating the talent of nominated fellow members. They were entertained by our fabulous host, the divine Ms. Lisa Ann Walter, who is chair of our wonderful L.A. Host Committee and who enlivened every commercial break by handing out numerous swag gifts. L.A. Host Committee members also exercised their softball arms, tossing out numerous SAG-AFTRA T-shirts. I was thrilled to be able to donate a few unique memorabilia giveaway items. We had so much fun!
Lastly, mark your calendar for the March 29 L.A. Local membership meeting (see notice on back page), where we will answer all your questions. See you there!
This piece was originally featured in the Los Angeles Local newsletter for winter 2020.