Agents & Casting Directors Committee
Originally the Agent Relations Committee, this committee was expanded to include casting directors as well. We met in January and agreed that education on the contracts for both agents and members is a top priority. Atlanta Local Executive Director Melissa Goodman will continue meeting with agents privately to educate them on the new Regional Commercial Codes in particular. Meetings have also started with casting directors to determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of our market so we may all be better positioned to compete for work.
As we continue to meet with agents and casting directors, we always look for more ways to get information out to local members that will help them become better prepared for the audition process.
Debra Nelson, Chair
Atlanta HealthNet Committee
The contact list of providers offering health care discounts to SAG-AFTRA and AEA members has been updated. Committee members are speaking with possible new providers to expand the list of services. You can get a list of participating health care providers at our SAG-AFTRA Atlanta Local office.
Yolanda Asher, Chair
EEO & Diversity
The EEO and Diversity Committee kicked off the year hosting a tax panel for members to discuss the new federal tax law (H.R. 1), as it relates to performing artists. In an effort to continue empowering our membership, we have quarterly events scheduled that range from agent roundtables to casting director discussions to industry mixers specifically designed for our diverse members. We continue our work with CBS and NBC in an effort to increase membership visibility and encourage everyone to get involved. Attend local meetings and events, volunteer, read local and national communications, and participate!
Michelle Rivera-Huckaby, Vice Chair
Indie Outreach Committee
Our first two meetings this year were educational, bringing new committee members up to speed on low budget contracts, and even those are in transition. Be alert for new low budget discussions by this summer. In March, Senior Business Representative Ruth Paul gave us an informative PowerPoint presentation on the current low budget contracts. Important questions were answered and we learned more about producer responsibilities. In June, we’ll be on a panel educating new filmmakers about indie contracts at the TERMINUS Conference + Festival.
We are still seeking submissions for our Screenwriter Showcase (date to be determined), where screenwriters have the opportunity to hear their stories come to life with professional SAG-AFTRA actors. This gives our actors an inside connection and relationship with projects in which they could be cast. If you or someone you know has written a script you’d like to have considered, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Indie Outreach Screenwriter Submission.” Submission guidelines: Scripts must be for film or TV projects, 12-120 pages in length, with no gratuitous violence or overly explicit subject matter.
Yolanda Asher, Chair
Lend Me an Ear Committee
In 2017, to great acclaim, the SAG-AFTRA Atlanta Local, in partnership with Atlanta AEA, presented our 14th annual old-time radio event Lend Me an Ear at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse. It was a full house, showcasing 39 union members, giving us laughs from the likes of Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel, Joan Davis, and a caterpillar named Curley. Donations totaled more than $3,200 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Since its inception, Lend Me an Ear talents have collectively raised over $35,000 for the ACFB, providing more than 130,000 meals for those in need during the holidays.
This year, we are celebrating our 15th anniversary with the theme “Fall Classics,” including shows about Thanksgiving, election day and America’s pastime, baseball. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, so mark your calendars now. Watch for an official announcement in late summer to learn how union performers can audition for Lend Me an Ear 15. Join us for this great cause as we recreate shows from the Golden Age of Radio and experience “the theater of imagination.”
Barry Stolze, Chair
Muriel Moore/Danny Nelson SAG-AFTRA Conservatory Committee
We continue to deliver information-filled, inspirational and bar-raising events to our membership for free. March and April alone have brought us casting directors George Pierre and Brian Beegle — with the added bonus of a workshop from Brian — and deep insight into our work from teacher/actor Vince Pisani. These gentlemen have helped us raise the bar of professionalism while continuing to grow our community. And, on May 7, over 300 members and pre-members attended the conservatory’s 6th annual anniversary event: Union or Non-Union in a Right-to-Work State. The program, which featured casting director Shay Griffin (Chez Casting), agents Rona Burns (The Rona Burns Agency) and Sarah Carpenter (AMT), actors E. Roger Mitchell and Selena L. Anduze, and local President Ric Reitz, was very successful and well received. In addition to acting training and Q&A’s, look for self-defense classes and safety discussions by members of our local stunt community later this summer.
Clayton Landey, Chair
New & Next Gen Committee
The inaugural year of the Atlanta New Performers/Next Gen Committee kicked off in April with the first of its new member meet-and-greets. The monthly gatherings at local coffee shops around Atlanta serve to connect fellow new SAG-AFTRA members and inform them of relevant SAG-AFTRA updates and opportunities in a relaxed environment. Local staff and board members are on hand to answer questions and help new members navigate the Atlanta market and the union. The committee plans to host additional social and educational events for new members throughout 2018. The committee is also deliberating impactful ways to engage our next gen performers to illustrate the value that SAG-AFTRA offers to the entertainment industry and its working professionals.
Eric Goins, Chair
We have been really busy this year visiting high schools and colleges with our union outreach initiative, a legacy program initiated in 2012 by the late SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard and U.S. President Barack Obama. Their “million hours of service” mission was designed to mentor young performers and it also provides the opportunity to inform them about the benefits of future SAG-AFTRA membership. To that end, we participated in Clayton County’s Major Help trade fair in March. In April, we had a table at the Clark Atlanta University Senior Job Fair. And, along with Vice Chair Barry Stoltze, committee members Debra Nelson, Doug Kaye, Eric Goins, Shelia Maddox, Damita James, Michelle Rivera and Yolanda Asher, I was proud to lead this committed team to as many high schools as possible before the coming summer break. Look for this committee to expand this program in the fall.
Jon Hayden, Chair
Stunt & Safety Committee
Our committee has met several times this year. We have helped organize a safety bag tag initiative in association with the late John Bernecker’s mother, Susan (livelikejohnbernecker.com). It is a source for vital personal information like blood type, allergies, medicines and emergency contacts. Thanks to Elizabeth Davidovich and Sam McDonald for their hard work. Also, the idea of training DGA members emerged from this committee a year ago, culminating in an educational exchange with the very people that handle our contracts and help oversee safety on sets. Starting this spring, we are initiating a unique stunt series, Talk Back, which will feature both local and visiting coordinators who will discuss their various areas of expertise, such as fire, fights, falls, water, driving, rigging and much more. Members of the stunt community, be on the lookout for announcements of these unique events.
Scott Dale, Chair
Wages & Working (W&W) Conditions Committee
On March 6, our Atlanta Local W&W Committee met with SAG-AFTRA national negotiators regarding negotiations for our Network Code. After our discussion, local members attending the special videoconference contributed their thoughts and sent a list of suggested proposals to the national team. Negotiations are being held at this time and updates will come at the end of the process.
Mike Pniewski, Chair
Ad Hoc Committee Reports
The Atlanta Local Dancers Committee is working in coordination with Dancers Alliance nationally. This first-time local committee is reaching out to the general dance community (members and pre-members) to join our fight to get local producers to recognize the value of professional dancers and pay them appropriately. Along with union contracts, we are also focusing issues of safety as they relate to warmups and long dance days. If you are a professional dancer, not a hobbyist who likes to dance, watch for announcements for our outreach to the community.
Dacia James-Lewis, Chair
Inter-Union Relations Committee
Inter-Union Relations helps keep members informed about programs and issues that our sister union, Actors’ Equity, is involved with, especially as they might coincide or conflict with our own events. We also try to check in regularly with other industry unions such as IATSE, DGA and the WGA. Currently, our Inter-Union Relations team is working with our local Organizing Committee to help educate pre-members about SAG-AFTRA and future entertainment careers while they are still in high school or at university.
Doug Kaye, Chair
The wholesale technical changes in the voiceover industry over the years, including increased competition from non-members, has made it harder and harder for SAG-AFTRA voiceover talent to compete for a living. Our committee is looking into ways in which we can help shift the market back to a respectful balance of union work. Fortunately, our national Audiobooks Department together with the narrators in Atlanta organized ListenUp Audiobooks for narrators, our local Co/Ed waiver allows union talent more flexibility to work in mixed cast scenarios (turn a non-union production union, even just for yourself), and the new Regional Commercials Code should help us get some of the lost work back. For more information, contact our local office for details.
Susan Bennett, Chair
Workplace Etiquette and Support
Our committee is working in tandem with the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safety’s Sexual Harassment Workgroup. In the coming months you will see a continuation of our rollout of a number of policies and guidelines intended to set practical and professional expectations that empower members to take action in situations where predators may try to unlawfully exercise a personal advantage. For example, our Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment’s Guideline No. 1, which was issued last month, calls for an end to auditions and interviews in private hotel rooms and residences. And, if there is no other alternative location, we strongly encourage members to go only with a support peer — an individual of their own choosing who can attend the meeting with you. Be on the lookout for harassment-related notices that come from the national communications team. You can find more information on SAG-AFTRA’s Four Pillars of Change initiative to confront harassment and advance equity here.
Mike Pniewski and Sheila Maddox, Co-Chairs
SAG Awards Committee
The 24th Annual SAG Awards show was broadcast in late January, and our Atlanta Local hosted yet another viewing party in Sandy Springs for over 100 members and their guests. As interest has grown over the years for these viewing parties, we are now looking for a new venue that can showcase the broadcast and serve food and beverages to several hundred people. This committee was organized to hunt for a new venue and obtain any audiovisual services necessary for our regular interstitial announcements and prize drawings. If you are interested in helping us secure door prizes for next year’s event, please contact our local office. We look forward to seeing you all on Jan. 27, 2019, for the 25th Annual SAG Awards.
Jon Hayden, Chair
- Local News