Dear New England Local Members,

It’s the summer of 2020, and we are still wondering when this pandemic will end. Here in New England, the number of cases has dropped, but we are not yet able to feel a sense of relief or security. The “no one knows” on many subjects continues. There are ways to find answers to some of the questions: by checking the SAG-AFTRA website regularly for updates on COVID-19 relief and the Safe Way Forward; tuning in to PTEOE sessions on a variety of topics; listening to the SAG-AFTRA podcast, with discussions from people with an expertise on their subject; and there always myriad events and classes through the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.
Work is slowly returning in some areas. Congratulations to all of our members who have booked work recently on films, TV shows, web series, commercials, voiceovers, audiobooks and corporate/educational productions under our new regional code, and to all of our broadcasters who have been working non-stop reporting the news. 
If you were unable to attend one of the webinars on the updates and changes to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, you can also check the website and contact the Health Plan directly with your questions about your status and possible changes. The pandemic has affected our industry, as it has affected most industries, in regards to health plans and earnings. 
Many of us will be taking a look at our lives and those of our loved ones and making difficult decisions in these troubling times. We may need to explore new venues of employment and learn new skills. Even those who are working within our industry are finding that they have to do the jobs with newly learned skills. Certainly auditions have changed, without the in-person contact with casting directors. Some of us have had to find ways to make our homes into studios for auditions and even for taping jobs that we have booked. How many of us knew how to use Zoom last year?
Staff members Jessica Maher and Ellen Stoolmacher are back to working full time, along with Local Executive Director Susan Nelson. Always check with the office about any bookings. Never assume productions have all of the correct paperwork and protocols. If anything seems off or unsafe, contact SAG-AFTRA. You may need to leave a message with the local office at (617) 262-8001 or send an email, and they will get back to you. SAG-AFTRA must follow state and federal laws, so sometimes when members are told a project cannot be cleared, it may be because it violates regulations of a particular state
Remember, many people are struggling with terrible losses personally with family and friends, and professionally, so please treat everyone with kindness. You never know what is going on in another person’s life and how much it is taking for them to face the day. You may be the person with the kind remark, or make a difference by simply listening carefully.
It has been wonderful to see so many of our local members on the screen, streaming in Sleepover, Spencer Confidential and so many other independent films, virtual film festivals, web series and their own creations, as well as to hear our members on the radio and podcasts. It’s a thrill every time I recognize friends and colleagues on the screen, radio and internet. 
In solidarity,
Andrea Lyman
SAG-AFTRA New England Local President


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