Nevada 2006:03

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Nevada 2006:03


When: 1-2 p.m. “Conversations” with President Alan Rosenberg
(Free and open to the public)
2-4 p.m. membership meeting (SAG members only)
Sunday, March 19, 2006

Where: The Tropicana Hotel and Casino
3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South
South Pacific Room
(702) 739-2222 (Tropicana phone# for directions)

Please join your fellow branch members, branch council, executive director and SAG National President Alan Rosenberg for an informative afternoon and camaraderie.

Only SAG Nevada members will be permitted to attend-except a parent may accompany a child member. In order to gain entrance to the meeting, you must present your paid-up SAG membership card.

If you have any questions, please contact the office at 5757 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 or call toll-free at (800) SAG-0767, prompt #7, or email Nevada Executive Hrair Messerlian at


We all want jobs in Nevada, an increase in local and in location work for all talent. The coming membership meeting is your chance to find out exactly what is being done to bring work here to Nevada, and whether or not we will ever see a local office and strong local SAG presence again. Ask the tough questions.

And be aware that I have asked them, and in trying to communicate to you my observations and feelings I have, once again, been censored and will not be able to put exactly how I feel in this letter. The print newsletter was greatly abbreviated for the same reason. This time I do want to spell out what I am allowed to say, and to let you know to read between the lines as you see fit.

I want to put these thoughts down as best I can, given the current situation in the Guild, and a stronger oversight of what is allowed to be written and share in Guild paid for communications. I am against censorship in any form, including corporate, but it is a reality within the new Guild and many other organizations.

SAG may have been changed by people of good will who have not bothered to understand or consult with those of us who live outside of greater Los Angeles. There is a one-size-fits-all attitude about the industry and our contracts. Anyone who works outside of Hollywood knows that performers need flexibility.

I believe in a union based on the rights of all talent, regardless of experience level or credits, or professional backgrounds. My belief comes from the basics of the union movement as experienced and taught to me by my father and my upbringing in Chicago, where for those who did not know, early unionists died for their rights to wages, working conditions, contracts and the ability to earn fair compensation for their talents and efforts.

Testimony of unions and the fraternity needed for success became clear to me with the large number of union sisters and brothers who paid their tribute at my father’s wake and funeral so many years ago.

I did not publish this in the print newsletter and cannot voice it in groups, for fear of stoning. Too much has changed as we move even further from the generations that remember why unions were so needed in the first place.

Unions are in trouble and SAG is decaying from within.

To his credit, our national president (the first since Richard Masur), is visiting each of the branches. My sincere hope is that Alan Rosenberg truly listens to our thoughts and concerns when he visits Las Vegas March 19. He may continue to hear that some of us in the branches have questions, given a decision to dismiss our CEO/NED, a man with many years of negotiating experience, just as we moved into contract negotiations. I also have questions about the president’s selection of certain national committee chairs. In my opinion, their selections appear to be for political reasons. At least one key chair is among those who were strongest in the re-organization that lowered Nevada’s voice at the national level and contributed to the closure of our three full-time staff member office in favor of a shared staff member, who resides in Los Angeles.

There is a distancing between a viewpoint which now dominates the Hollywood Division, and the will, value and voice of both the New York and Regional Branch Divisions. Nevada is one of the smaller regional branches, easily overlooked by those who are convinced they represent the membership of the union. People who worked actively to reduce our percentage vote within the national board, to reduce our budgets and in doing so close our once three-person office, are now elected or appointed decision makers at the national and Hollywood level. Those who referred to Nevada as “run-a-way” production are for the time being, running the store. But we have a voice, and in both the RBD and the New York Divisions we have strong advocates to restore respect to the entire union, nationally. I am very optimistic about the future of our union and our contracts.

Multiple voices, remembering the little guy and working together in fraternity and camaraderie are what makes unions work and grow.

I am not feeling the resentment of some individuals or fatherly chastisement of others, as much as I am feeling the real need for unions.

On a national level workers, even educated or white-collar workers, are looked upon as functionaries and expendable or easily replaceable if they do not simply accept whatever pay or working conditions they are given and restrictions placed upon them. We are, increasingly, less individuals and more numbers who fill slots and are liabilities against the bottom line instead of assets for the successful of the product, program or dream. Our products are manufactured or produced outside of this country while consumers continue to purchase the end product without thought or regard to the American workers who either lost their jobs, or saw their paychecks shrivel as a result. Management is increasingly about profit for the shareholders over building and respecting the asset that are their employees.

Too much internally at SAG is now the top down. It is time to listen to and provide for the needs of all members, not just those who are blessed enough to work frequently under contract or who think they have the good fortune to reside in Los Angeles.

It takes positive faith, belief and motivation to build a union, particularly where there is little work or hope of work. It takes a belief in everyone, every background extra and student, every retired actor and child who experience the passion and joy of acting and performing, regardless of whether or not they have earned a paycheck. It takes believing that what we do is special and should be treated with respect, regardless of where we live or if our incomes are under contract.

I will continue to serve, as a voice in a minority that speaks up for the little guy, the small branch, those who need a voice to assure the future of a union they believe enough in to be members of, regardless of their chance of ever grabbing the brass ring and making enough money to be fully accepted by "working actors" or the staff.

The Nevada branch I became active in is now a thing of the past. Those who founded the branch and risked being blacklisted to bring the union here are aging or have passed away. The council is working to keep the social and political dreams that created our branch alive and well. I’ll admit that much of the energy and fire left with the office, with broken promises, with changes in how we are looked upon and treated on a national level.

A sincere thank you to Steve Dressler, Hrair Messerlian, the Nevada branch officers and council for the work they are doing on all of our behalves. There is far more going on behind the scenes and many more hours of committee work than anyone outside of the council process realizes. Council member Bobby Bernhardt, in particular, put many weeks into revising the bylaws for Nevada Conservatory. Lollo Sievert serves on multiple national committees, as do Kim Renee, Steve Dressler and myself. Other council members work on national and local committees to keep our branch alive and services running.

Our branch needs fresh union blood to help turn the work force union in our hostile Right-to-Work state. We need to stand up against those who work both sides of the street, to speak loud and clear that the only true professional is someone willing to stick their neck out and carry a union card, in solidarity and with great pride.

The union heart is beating.

Join your council and elected officers through active participation and the passion only you can bring to building the Nevada branch!

Join me in making my dad proud!

God bless and Fraternally yours,

Art Lynch


Do you have any friends who are eligible to join SAG but are holding out? They may be getting incorrect information about the Guild. Or they may even think they look good with just "SAG eligible" on their resume.

The fact is, if they continue to compete with you for SAG work without joining, you pay their way. That's serious. And if they take jobs at below scale without the benefits that only SAG contracts provide, they help depress the profession standards of the whole market, hurting every serious actor in the process. And that's really serious.

What does SAG do for its members?
SAG negotiates and enforces contracts for approximately 120,000 professional performers working in film, television, commercials, interactive and music videos. As a SAG member you have the collective strength and power of the entire professional acting community on your side. The Guild enhances actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits - and is a powerful unified voice on behalf of artists' rights. We are proud to fight for all working actors, and we are proud to fight for you.


Not only is working non-union a violation of Rule One, when it comes to commercials, it can threaten the career of an actor. Non-union commercials can be aired anytime anywhere, and they can play for years. Non-union commercials generally pay little or nothing for use, which generally means the only payment is a "buy-out" with unlimited use rights extended to the producer.

SAG commercials, however, require the producer to pay the performer holding fees for the right to use the spot. Generally speaking, when holding fees stop, the right for the producer to continue to use the commercial does too.

What are holding fees?
Holding fees are paid to a performer in "fixed" cycles, every 13 weeks from the session date, if the producer wishes to retain the rights to air the commercial and wants to hold a performer exclusive to the product. During this 13-week period, a performer cannot accept work in a commercial for a competitive product. For example, if a performer has received a holding fee for a Pepsi commercial, he/she may not accept work for a commercial advertising Coca-Cola during that period of time.

What if a performer does not receive a holding fee?
If the producer has not paid a holding fee to a performer by the first day of the new holding fee cycle, he/she is released from exclusivity and may audition for, and accept employment in a commercial for a competing product.

Is the producer obligated to send a notice releasing a performer from the commercial?
The producer is not obligated to send a notice releasing a performer from the commercial. If a performer does not receive a holding fee for a new 13-week cycle, the performer has been released from the commercial.

What if the holding fee payment has been postmarked late?
Holding fees are due (and must be postmarked) no later than the first day of the holding fee cycle. There are several choices if the holding fee is not paid on time. The performer may ask for late payment damages and accept the holding fee. Or the performer may reject the holding fee payment and consider him/herself released from exclusivity. Or the performer may reject the holding fee payment and renegotiate the terms of his/her contract pertaining to the commercial if the producer wishes to continue to use it.

How long is a performer "held" to a commercial?
The "maximum period of use" of a commercial is 21 months (a total of seven 13-week holding fee cycles). Provided the producer continues to make timely holding fee payments, the performer is held exclusive to the product for the 21-month period. If the performer (or his/her representative) does not send a timely renegotiation letter, the producer can extend the maximum period of use for an additional 21 months at the same rates as for the original 21 months.

When must a re-negotiation notice be sent to the producer (or advertising agency)?
A renegotiation letter must be sent 60 to 120 days (two to four months) prior to the end of the maximum period of use. Check your pay stub to find the end date of the maximum period of use (MPU), and count back 60 to 120 days to establish when you or your agent must send the notice. The letter should be sent to the producer (ad agency) listed on your employment contract. Sending the letter gives the performer the right to renegotiate new rates or to say he/she does not grant the right to continued use of the commercial. It is advisable to send a copy of the letter to the Guild at the same time.

If your agent does not send a renegotiation letter, and the commercial is renewed for an additional 21 months at the same rate, he/she may not take a commission.

Please check the Contracts page of the SAG Web site at for a greater description of the FAQ sheet, and for the latest 2003-2006 SAG Commercials Contract and Digest.


By Kim Renee, SAG Nevada Council Treasurer

Women In Film Las Vegas hosted their 2nd Annual Stunt Training Clinic from August 26-28, 2005 at Dreamvision International Studios. This year the event was sponsored by companies such as General Motors, Red Bull, Budweiser and Gellatos. The clinic kicked off with a Friday night gala event featuring exhibitors such as Screen Actors Guild, The Nevada Film Commission, 48-Hour Film Project, and other local producers and industry groups. There was a fantastic turnout for this gala event. The night peaked with the cast of Tony and Tina's Wedding (a popular Las Vegas stage show) surprising the guests with an action stunt coordinated by Tara Clark and ending in a high fall, performed by stunt doubles Bodo Kaiser and Melody Emel.

Many Nevada SAG members and staffers were present at this event. Nevada SAG Council Member Kim Renee was in charge of enrolling members for the Stunt Clinic and demonstrated the fire burn session. Nevada Executive Director Hrair Messerlian and Conservatory Chair Barbara Grant manned the SAG exhibit as Council Member Arttours Weeden worked the crowd.

This year's stunt clinic featured air ram with Dennis Madalone, high falls with Chuck Borden, fights and falls with Spice Williams-Crosby and fire burns with Sasanne Rampe. You can go to the web site of Women In Film at to see all of the Las Vegas events and programs it has to offer.

Safety is always a number one concern. If you are on a set and you are asked to do something that you feel is dangerous and considered a stunt, call (800) 205-7716 or (323) 549-0767. Screen Actors Guild will assist you with any questions or concerns.


>By Hrair Messerlian, SAG Nevada executive director

Nevada SAG Members are actively involved in SAG's national committees. These members work behind the scenes with little fanfare to work on the policies and directives that guide the Guild. If you would like to contribute your thoughts or your time feel free to get in touch with them. The following members are either committee members or alternates on the listed committees:

Background Actors:
Art Lynch
Leonard Turner

Charlie DiPinto

Art Lynch
Lollo Sievert

Adrienne Garcia Mann
Barbara Grant

Ethnic Employment Opportunities:
Kim Renee
Art Lynch

Kim Renee

New Technologies:
Lollo Sievert

Right To Work Task Force:
Art Lynch

Adrienne Mann Garcia
Heart Shapre

Stunt & Safety:
Kim Renee
Arttours Weeden

Voice-Over Performers:
Art Lynch
Heart Shapre
Arttours Weeden

Young Performers:
Art Lynch


Two new low budget contracts took effect as of July 1, 2005. These contracts are the Short Film Agreement (which actually replaced the previous Experimental Agreement) and the Ultra Low Agreement (which replaced the Limited Exhibition Agreement).

The following is a partial summary of the present low budget contracts:

Student Film Agreement
The contract is for students enrolled in film school. Performer may defer 100% of their salaries.

NEW Short Film Agreement
The total budget is less than $50,000, film is 35 minutes or less, salaries are deferred and the contract allows the use of both professional and non-professional performers.

NEW Ultra-Low Budget Agreement
The total budget is less than $200,000, day rate is $100 and the contract allows the use of both professional and non-professional performers.

Modified Low Budget Agreement
The total budget is less that $625,000, day rate is $268, weekly rate is $933, reduced overtime rate and only professional performers may be used.

Low Budget Agreement
The total budget is less than $2,500,000, day rate is $504, weekly rate is $1,752, reduced overtime rate and only professional performers may be used.

For full details of each of these contracts, visit


As a result of the ratification of the new agreements for theatrical and television production, rate changes went into effect on July 1, 2005 for stunt coordinators employed on a flat deal basis. Rates were modified for all other performer categories, as well. Here are some of the new rates that went into effect October 1, 2005:

Day Performer - $716
Stunt Day Performer - $716
Weekly Performer - $2,483
Weekly Stunt Performer - $2,666
Stunt Coordinator (employed at less than the "flat deal" minimum) Day - $716
Weekly - $2,666 Day (TV Only) - $2,130
3 Day Performer - Television Only
1/2 and 1 Hour Shows - $1,810
1 1/2 or 2 Hour Shows - $2,130

Stunt Performer
1/2 and 1 Hour Shows - $1,956
1 1/2 and 2 Hour Shows - $2,130

The following rates for Stunt Coordinators employed on a "flat deal" basis went into effect on July 1, 2005:
Per day on theatrical productions - $1,140
Per week on theatrical productions - $4,500
Per day on television productions - $ 865
Three day on television productions 1/2 and 1 Hour Shows - $2,3501 1/2 and 2 Hour Shows - $2,625
Per week on television productions - $3,330

For additional information, please contact the office at (800) SAG-0767, extension 5 or visit the Guild's Web site at


Don't miss out! The Guild is increasingly distributing important information and reminders via email and soon, in addition to meetings and special events, we plan on having regular email newsletters.

Please make sure the Guild has your correct email address as soon as possible by mailing or faxing a note with your name, member number, signature and the updated information (email, address, phone, etc.) to the SAG Membership Department at 5757 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, or fax (800) 844-5439.

If we have an email address for you but it is not current, please send an email to and indicate the following information: (1) Name, (2) SAG Membership ID number, (3) prior email address listed with the Guild and (4) your new email address.

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By Henry "Harry" Kana
national board member/Houston branch vice president

I have always heard my fellow actors say, "I don't get any auditions," or, "My agent just doesn't get me enough auditions."

I have had two national commercial auditions in the last three weeks with a Texas regional commercial audition in between. If you are asking yourself, "How did he do that," here are simple steps to getting more auditions:

1. Stay in touch weekly or bi-weekly with your agent. Do this by personally going by their office and checking on the status or number of your headshots and resumes in the file, update headshots and resumes, and provide them leads about commercials or films that are being cast (believe it or not, agents don't always get everything to come across their desk). Now, if you don't feel like you should visit the office, at least telephone. But remember the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." Also, don't be afraid to ask them, "Have you submitted my picture for any commercials and films lately?" or more politely, "Are there any current or future projects that you plan to submit me for?"

2. Stay in contact with local casting directors. They love to get updates on actors that they have used in the past. I do this by post cards, greeting cards, or email if I know they don't mind. Keep your message simple and short. Remind them what you worked on for them, tell them what you just completed (role-star, supporting, character, etc., the name of the film, commercial or play) and then tell them you are looking forward to auditioning for them in the future.

3. Get your headshot and resume on one or more online casting directories. Network with other actors to find the most reputable and widely used directories for marketing yourself.

So, there you have it, some simple tips that will increase your chances of getting auditions.