New Mexico 2009:12

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The Official E-Newsletter of the New Mexico Branch
The Official E-Newsletter of the New Mexico Branch
December 2009

sag foundation


Soon to celebrate its 25th anniversary of service, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation is once again happy to announce availability of applications for the John L. Dales Scholarship.

Just one of the non-profit foundation’s many free programs offered to assist, educate and inspire Guild members in their careers, lives and communities, the John L. Dales Scholarship Fund has helped qualified Guild members and their children reach their educational potential by providing more than $6 million in scholarships for study at accredited institutions of higher learning.

Two types of scholarships are available. Standard scholarships benefit eligible members and children of eligible members for college education. Transitional scholarships are designed to assist SAG members seeking further education to change careers.

Dales Scholarships are awarded specifically toward education at accredited and licensed universities, colleges, junior colleges, adult specialty schools or trade/vocational schools. Printable applications, as well as further details including eligibility guidelines, are currently available by clicking here. Submissions must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2010, to qualify.


By Robyn Reede

Well, since the treasurer is all about money, how about if I try to save you some?

Have you been to the discounts and benefits section of Well, you can get special discounts and offers by being a member of Screen Actors Guild.  Services and products discounted include car rentals, auto purchases, airport parking, beauty/cosmetics, clothing and accessories, media subscriptions (like IMDb Pro), and copy, fax and mailbox services.

And if you didn’t know, we’re also affiliated with the AFL-CIO and can enjoy their member benefits as well. (Click here for more "about us" details.). Union member-only deals range from discounts on car service and rentals to entertainment and theme park savings. Union Plus, a program created by the AFL-CIO for union members, offers a broad range of discounted services. Visit and explore the benefits of being a union member.

I also would like to start a special section of the newsletter for local New Mexico discounts. If you have a business and would like to offer a discount to SAG members, please send an e-mail to Also, if you feel comfortable doing so, contact businesses where you do business and see if they would like to offer discounts to SAG members. We will list those “local” discounts every time we issue a newsletter.

I have two local offers to start things off:

Santa Fe Suites
The Santa Fe Suites will provide members with their group rate of $59 per night, even during their forthcoming high season (normally $99 per night).  Not valid for holidays and major Santa Fe events. You must show your membership card to the front desk when making a reservation on an individual basis. All studio suites are equipped with kitchenettes, which save money, versus going out every night for dinner, etc. A rate of $55 per night can be provided if members wish to secure a group block of rooms for an upcoming event.
Reservations : (505) 989-3600
Fax: (505) 989-1058

Cynthia Murdock. D.O.M
Specializing in pain management and cosmetic acupuncture face lifts. Accepts most insurance. Call (505) 501-5026 for appointment. Twenty percent off acupuncture treatments to SAG members.
1221 S. St Francis Drive, Suite C, Santa Fe, NM  87505

Editor's Note: These programs and services have been developed either by companies independent of the Guild or nationally by Union Privilege – not by SAG – and all information and questions regarding the programs and services are handled by the individual program providers. SAG does not endorse any of the products or services.


This list was distributed at the SAG New Mexico membership meeting in September, but in case you missed it....

While all of this information is available on, this is a cheat sheet you can keep handy:

SAG West Region Executive Tamara Decker
(505) 268-2127

SAG New Mexico Branch Executive Director Julie Crane
(720) 932-8193

SAG New Mexico Branch Office (mailing address only):
117 Bryn Mawr Dr. SE, Suite 44
Albuquerque, NM  87110

SAG General Information:
(800) 724-0767

SAG on the Internet: and

SAG Theatrical Contracts
(to check on SAG production status)
(323) 549-6869

SAG Residuals Department
(323) 549-6505

SAG Membership Services Department
(323) 549-6757

SAG Pension & Health:
(800) 777-4013

SAG/AFTRA Federal Credit Union
(800) 826-6946

SAG Foundation
(323) 549-6708

If you are on set and need immediate assistance, please call (323) 954-1600.

Branch President’s Message

By William “Bill” Sterchi

Hello from your new New Mexico Branch president. I’m looking forward to working with you, our staff and the New Mexico Branch Council to continue to serve the needs of New Mexico SAG members. Please join me in congratulating Paul Blott, Robyn Reede, Cynthia Straus, Stephen Eiland and Benjamin Glenday on their recent election to the council.

A previous announcement of New Mexico’s election results noted Dan Strakal was to be our new vice president. Unfortunately, Dan had to step down from the position due to an out-of-state job commitment, thereby creating a permanent vacancy for that position. At its October 29 meeting, the New Mexico Council, exercising the authority provided by the New Mexico Branch Rules of Procedure, selected Mel MacKaron to fill the position; he will serve as vice president for the coming year. Thanks to Mel for stepping in. I know he’ll do a great job!

I also want to offer my sincere thanks to past president Rosalia de Aragon and councilor Harriet Levine for their years of dedicated service.

This is indeed an exciting time for New Mexico actors and I hope you will embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Production is picking up again. Our local Branch has grown to 681 members and is expected to increase. We have new leadership on a national level in Ken Howard as national president and David White as national executive director. Our own Roy Costley continues to serve on the National Board of Directors and has again been elected to the National Executive Committee and National Finance Committee. I’m confident these leaders will help build unity and strength in our union.

For those of you who were unable to attend the annual membership meeting in September, it was quite a successful day. Not only was there good member turnout, but we were fortunate to have two very special guests in attendance: Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office and Mark Friedlander, SAG’s national director of new media.

Immediately following the meeting, we opened the doors to the public and Mark wowed the audience with a “Solving the New Media Mysteries” presentation. He provided his unique insight into the future of emerging technologies and also managed to demystify SAG’s New Media Contract; underscoring its benefits and the simplicity of use. The discussion was exciting and lively and certainly the kind of education and outreach to industry partners the New Mexico Branch Council would like to see happen on a regular basis.

If you would like more information about SAG New Media contracts, click here.

The New Mexico Branch Council and the Organizing Committee are planning several events in the near future that should be both informative and fun:

• Viewing Party and Industry Mixer for the “16th Annual SAG Awards” on January 23.  Stay tuned for details on this fun event.

• “The Business of Acting” conference is being planned for early spring of 2010. The idea is to provide a daylong conference for local actors and industry partners. Ideas we are considering include a Friday night industry mixer; educational seminars on topics such as auditioning techniques, agents, actor reels, websites, headshots /resumes, set etiquette, marketing yourself and finances. We also hope to have a vendor fair and lots of networking opportunities. If you would like to get involved with the planning of this event, please e-mail me at

One of the serious challenges to our industry is the threat to our state’s film incentive program. We will work with our industry partners and legislators during the upcoming legislative session to keep these incentives intact. Your support of this effort is very important. Please read the related article in this newsletter to be informed and stay tuned for e-blasts about upcoming calls to action.

I welcome your ideas, comments and concerns. Again, I can be reached at

Vice President’s Report: From the Desk of . . . Whom?

By Mel MacKaron

As many of you know, I previously served on the New Mexico Council for about 18 years. Also, as the editor of the newsletter, I made incessant calls to you to get involved. I am going to be doing much of the same again, so let’s get started now. The union is much stronger when each of us participates. We all have our individual strengths and specialties, and the union benefits immensely when you share those qualities and skills with your fellow members. I also serve on the Branch Agency Relations Committee and on the National Background Actors Committee.

I feel privileged to have been selected to work for–and with–you in the coming year. If the last council meeting was any indication, we have a full agenda of pressing matters. Among the issues we will address are these:

• Working with the state legislature to keep the film incentives program. Yes, New Mexico is a fine state with a strong infrastructure for our growing industry. Yes, the studios and producers consistently rave about how they love working here. Nevertheless, let’s be realistic. They go where the financial inducements are to their benefit. If we lose the incentive program, many or most will leave. And once the work is gone, it will not come back. That may be hyperbole, but I am not far wrong. Read more about the state’s current efforts and what you can do to help in the Legislative Report that follows.

• Organizing to bring more signatory work into New Mexico.

Stay up-to-date. Stay involved. If you have questions or concerns, share them. If you do, New Mexico SAG will continue to grow and gain respect as a vital and respected part of the film industry.

SAG Conservatory Report

By Robyn Reede

The New Mexico SAG Conservatory took a break during the months of July and August and did not offer a conservatory in September due to the new media presentation provided at the SAG New Mexico Annual Membership Meeting. If you missed that, you missed a great and informative presentation.

In October, we brought you a tremendously well-received program with writer-director-producer Thom Eberhardt. Although our goal is to bring you a conservatory every other month, we're skipping December, too, due to the holidays and the Santa Fe Film Festival. We’ll see you again in the new year.

Remember to watch for your SAG e-blasts and send Tammy an e-mail right away, as some of you have experienced the “wait list.” These great classes–brought to you at extremely reasonable rates–sell out very quickly.

Legislative Report

By Karen Cotter

New Mexico film incentives made it through the fall legislative special session unscathed. However, we’re expecting the upcoming session to be a difficult one due to the budget crisis.

That said, we have many allies in the Legislature – chief among these are Representative Ben Rodefer and Senator Tim Keller. These legislators are working with leaders of the film industry to strategize on how to keep movies making money for New Mexico.

Keeping these legislative friends in mind, we encourage you to follow the advice of Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office, regarding communication with your legislators. Lisa recommends making your calls, letters and e-mails reflect more of a “thank you for your support” message than a “help us or else” threat.

In fact, Lisa has asked SAG New Mexico Branch members to forward stories of how film incentives have helped you, your friends and family to Tammy at, so we can present them en masse and not clog up the system at the Round House.

We’ll be keeping you updated by e-blast as the session progresses, and we’ll tell you then what else you can do to help.

Take the New Media Work Experience Survey Today

With your participation, the New Media Work Experience Survey (available until spring) will be crucial to informing the next round of TV/Theatrical negotiations, slated for fall 2010. This brief multiple-choice survey is completely anonymous. It also includes opportunities to elaborate on your work experiences, should you wish.

Don’t delay. Log in at today and click on the Member Survey box to get started. Questions? E-mail us at

Welcome New Members

Fran Martone, Ernest W Sturdevant, Darren Gibson, Jose Jacinto Marquez, Christopher Atwood, Marius Stan, Miguel Martinez, Nancy Merrill, Aldred Wesley Montoya, Robert Anthony Brass, Michelle Waterson, Manny Rubio, Christopher Lemons, R. D. Whittington, Amber Gunn, John Dewar, Ellen Blake, Jimmy Gee! Giesler, Jon Baran, Sandra Muir, Steven Todd, Steve Corona, Erin Rae Elliott, Jiji Hise, Summer Sandoval, Nathan A. Moore

Dues Reminder

If you haven’t done so already, please pay your dues today. If you are not an active, paid-up member in good standing, you may not be able to vote in Guild elections or contract referenda or be eligible to serve on the council or committees. You also must be paid to date to register on iActor, the Guild’s online casting program, which is now being used by casting directors nationwide.

If you have any questions regarding your dues, please contact the Cashiers Department at (800) SAG-0767, prompt 2, or (323) 549-6752.

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