Showbizreporting's Blog

October 21, 2009

Every Actor Should Know

Every Actor Should Know
Posted on October 20, 2009, 1:41 PM, by WW, under Media Business.

If someone says they’re an agent and then asks you to pay up front for them to represent you, there’s only one word to come back with: NO!

In fact, in California, it’s now illegal to ask for an advance fee for representing talent. AFTRA is out with a statement thanking Gov. Schwarzenegger for signing the new law.

LOS ANGELES (October 20, 2009)—The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) today praised the signing of a new California State law designed to address the problem of abusive business practices and fraud that plague the advance-fee talent industry.

On October 11, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 1319, Talent Services, which prohibits advance-fee talent services from charging money upfront and then attempting to procure employment for their clients. The new law, which was supported by AFTRA, also divides permissible advance-fee services into three categories (talent listing, talent counseling and talent training services) and enacts stricter regulations for all of them, including the requirement to post a $50,000 bond with the State and mandating the use of contracts that are clear and easy to understand.

“We are extremely pleased that the Governor has signed this bill into law,” said AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. “We are proud to have supported this legislation that will greatly benefit both the public and our members who work in the entertainment and media industries. Performers – and young performers, in particular – are especially vulnerable to scam artists and predatory business practices that fraudulently exploit their aspirations and talents. This new law will help regulate the advance-fee talent services that often cause both monetary loss and severe emotional distress to their victims and their families. We applaud State Assembly Member Paul Krekorian for introducing AB 1319, and we express our appreciation to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for working closely with us on this bill to address the concerns of AFTRA members.”

The new law also includes provisions to regulate Internet activities of various businesses (previous advance-fee legislation only covered print), and requires the insertion of language into performer contracts that states these services are not permitted to procure employment for the performer, and that function is limited only to licensed talent agents.

The bill was introduced by Assembly Member Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank) in February 2009.

SAG has announced a news conference on the subject:

Who: Ken Howard, Screen Actors Guild National President
David White, Screen Actors Guild National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator
Assemblymember Paul Krekorian
Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney Mark Lambert;
Gary Almond, Director of Operations, the Better Business Bureau, Los Angeles;
Anne Henry, Co-founder, Biz Parents;
Pamm Fair, Screen Actors Guild Deputy National Executive Director
Zino Macaluso, Screen Actors Guild National Director, Agency Relations
Casting directors, non profit groups, parents and children who will benefit from legislation

When: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where: Screen Actors Guild National Headquarters
SAG Actors Center, Mezzanine Level
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Parking will be validated


August 5, 2009

Meeting for SAG Members

Attend a Caucus for an Update on Negotiations for the
2009 Television Animation and Basic Cable Animation Agreements
 Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Screen Actors Guild will host caucuses for the purpose of providing an update to members on negotiations for the 2009 Television Animation and Basic Cable Animation Agreements. The caucuses will be held in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco (please see the location and times below). Members of both animation negotiating committees and staff will be in attendance to provide the updates.
Please inform your fellow union members who work under these agreements about these important meetings.
Participation is limited only by fire department regulations.
: Wednesday August 12, 2009

Los Angeles: 2
identical Caucuses will be held – you may choose the time that is most convenient for you
First Caucus: 3–4 p.m.
Second Caucus: 6–7 p.m. PDT
James Cagney Board Room, ground floor
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90036

Parking will be validated.

New York: 6-7 p.m. EDT (Videoconference with Los Angeles)
Leon Janney Board Room
360 Madison Ave, 12th floor
New York, NY 10017

RSVP to Courtney Doherty by email at <> or phone her at 212.827.1402
Miami: 6–7 p.m. EDT (Videoconference with Los Angeles)
7300 Kendall Drive, Ste. 620
Miami, FL 33156

RSVP to Megan Schwandt by email at <> or phone her at 305.670.7677 (ext. 7086)

Chicago: 5–6 p.m. CDT (Teleconference with Los Angeles)
1 East Erie St., Ste. 650
Chicago, IL 60611

RSVP to Kit Woods by email at <>  or phone her at 312.867.2547
San Francisco: 3–4 p.m. PDT (Teleconference with Los Angeles)
350 Sansome St., Ste. 900
San Francisco, CA 94104

RSVP to Jessica Bowker by email at <>  or phone her at 415.391.7510

Performers who work these agreements and who are not from these cities, yet happen to find themselves in these locations on the day of the caucuses, are invited to attend.
All paid-up SAG members who work under the Television Animation Agreement and the Basic Cable Animation Agreements should attend. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Parents/guardians of young performers under 18 years-old are welcome. PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru October 31, 2009).


July 17, 2009

DGA tell Rosenberg

Speaks volumes about the future.

Michael Apted slams SAG president – By Dave McNary July 17. 2009

The Directors Guild of America has told Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg to shut up and go away.

That’s the sentiment expressed by outgoing DGA president Michael Apted in a blunt letter responding to Rosenberg’s request for a summit meeting of the town’s unions about the 2011 round of negotiations.

Rosenberg pledged he would make such an effort on June 9, in the aftermath of SAG members’ ratification of the feature-primetime contract. But, in a letter sent Wednesday, Apted made it abundantly clear that Rosenberg’s relentless criticism of the DGA has been so out of line that the DGA’s not remotely interested in any such get-together.

Apted noted that under “normal circumstances,” such a summit meeting to discuss negotiations could take place — but without public proclamations announcing the meeting first.

“Of course, these are not normal circumstances,” Apted said. “Since June 9, I’ve seen repeated statements in the press regarding your intention to call a meeting, yet Monday’s email is the first time you’ve made any effort to contact me in over 18 months. In addition, you’ve repeatedly, and in my opinion unfraternally, attacked the negotiations and contracts of the DGA and other unions in the press and other public forums. So, in the circumstances, I’m very surprised that you would consider yourself to be in a position to convene an event that requires trust and fraternity to have any chance of success.”

Apted concluded the letter by saying, “On behalf of the DGA, I respectfully decline your request.”

Rosenberg told Daily Variety he was disappointed over Apted’s response.

“It’s a shame that what had been a private communication has become public,” he said. “I’m disappointed that Michael Apted doesn’t share my belief in the importance of building unity among the unions because our collective efforts should be towards obtaining a decent deal in two years. What’s happened at past negotiations doesn’t really matter now.”

The SAG president’s power to speak officially on behalf of the guild was taken away in late January as part of the move by the board’s moderates to oust former SAG national exec director Doug Allen.

But there’s been bad blood between the guilds dating back to Jan. 29, 2008 — when Rosenberg and Allen blasted the DGA’s tentative contract agreement with the majors, which eventually served as the template for the WGA, AFTRA and SAG contracts. Rosenberg and Allen criticized many of the specifics of the deal in a message sent to SAG members.

Apted responded on the same day by accusing SAG of throwing a monkey wrench into the talks between the WGA and majors that would ultimately settle the scribes’ 100-day walkout.

“Their letter has one purpose and one purpose only: to interfere with the informal talks currently under way between the WGA and the studios,” Apted said at the time. “Simply put, their assumptions and arguments are specious. The DGA deal is a great deal for our members.”

AFTRA president Roberta Reardon said last week that there had been no movement toward a summit meeting. She had proposed the idea a year ago but said last Friday that she’d wait until after the SAG elections in September before exploring such a step.

The WGA said it has not been approached by Rosenberg about such a summit meeting.

An AFTRA rep said that Los Angeles Local President Ron Morgan received an invitation earlier this week from Rosenberg to meet at his home on Aug. 3 to discuss “building solidarity” between the entertainment labor unions. But she added that AFTRA leaders won’t be available.

“AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon never received an invitation,” the rep added. “The entire AFTRA leadership team will be in Chicago from Monday, August 3 through Sunday, August 9 for the Convention and other related union meetings, which have been scheduled for more than a year.”

WGA West spokesman Neal Sacharow said Thursday, “The WGA has not been approached by Alan Rosenberg about such a summit meeting.”

July 13, 2009


Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 12:37 am
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The problems with our industry here on the local level cut far deeper than the concerns of the unions.  

As the Hollywood machine abandons L.A., its supporting workers struggle

Small, blue-collar businesses that sustain California’s entertainment industry — prop houses, studio equipment shops — fight for business as film production migrates to incentive-rich states.

By Richard Verrier – Los Angeles Times – July 12, 2009

In an industrial yard behind Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, dozens of orange forklifts and 135-foot-high booms stand idle, gleaming in the afternoon sunlight. As recently as two years ago, the yard was largely empty because the equipment was busy being used to hoist cameras, rig lights and build sets for “Iron Man,” “Get Smart,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and other movies shooting throughout Southern California.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I’ve never seen such a sustained downtime,” said Lance Sorenson, president of 24/7 Studio Equipment, who recently had to lay off two of his drivers and has imposed three- and four-day workweeks for the rest of his 44 employees.

Across town in Culver City, at the landmark studio where “Gone with the Wind,” “Citizen Kane,” “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” and “The Andy Griffith Show” were filmed, there’s a similar story. Now an independent production facility known as the Culver Studios, the soundstage complex just lost one of its largest tenants, the syndicated game show “Deal or No Deal.” That program will tape future episodes in Waterford, Conn., a suburban town known for its nuclear power plant, large state park and assortment of shops and family-owned restaurants. The chief draw: Connecticut’s 30% production-tax credit.

“It’s a huge blow to us,” said James Cella, president of the Culver Studios.

Others also have been hard hit by the outflow of production to other areas, known as runaway production.

At Modern Props, also in the Culver City area, nearly half the employees have been laid off, and those remaining are on 20- to 40-hour workweeks. John Zabrucky, the company’s founder, thought he’d gotten ahead by opening a satellite office in Vancouver, Canada. But now so many states are offering tax incentives to film and television producers that he can’t keep up.

Hundreds of small blue-collar businesses like these sustain Southern California’s entertainment industry.

Many are struggling amid a sharp drop in local film and TV production triggered by the recession, a rise in runaway production, and the fallout from a writer’s strike and a yearlong contract dispute between studios and the Screen Actors Guild. According to the state Employment Development Department, jobs in movie and television production were down 13,800 in May compared with a year earlier.

On-location feature film production in the area has fallen to its lowest levels on record. Student films generated as much activity on the streets of Los Angeles in the first quarter of 2009, when only a few movies, including “Fame” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” were shot there.

California’s share of U.S. feature film production dropped to 31% in 2008 from 66% in 2003, according to the California Film Commission. That largely reflects a falloff in the Los Angeles area, where feature filming activity in 2008 was nearly half what it was at its peak in 1996. Television production, which recently has been a more reliable source of jobs in the region, is also declining. A recent survey from FilmL.A. Inc. found that 44 of 103 TV pilots this year were shot in such disparate locations as Canada, Illinois, Georgia, New York, Louisiana and New Mexico.

More than 30 states have sought to outbid one another with tax credits and rebates aimed at luring productions away from California. Sacramento has responded with its first-ever film-tax credit program, but most analysts think the credits are too small and restrictive to have much effect.

“L.A. is at risk of losing a good part of one of its signature industries, just like it did with the aerospace industry in the early 1990s,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist for Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

Few know that better than Cella, of Culver Studios. He previously ran Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was tapped to run Culver in 2006 after a group of investors including Lehman Bros. acquired the 14 soundstages from Sony Pictures Entertainment for $125 million.

But the studio’s business took a big hit recently when NBC Universal and Endemol USA opted to move “Deal or No Deal” to Connecticut.

The show brought in more than $1 million in rental income to Culver Studios, Cella said, adding that there was little he could do to keep the producers from leaving.

“I could give them this space for free and it still wouldn’t compete with Connecticut,” he said.

The studio, which still hosts “The Bonnie Hunt Show” and others, has seen its occupancy rate slide to 46% from 85% in the last year.

Most of “Deal or No Deal’s” 250 crew members lost their jobs in the move.

“It’s a crying shame,” said Lindsay Hovel, an associate producer on the prime-time version of the game show hosted by comedian Howie Mandel. “There are so many talented people, and they’re just not able to work in the [entertainment] capital.”

The relocation was doubly bruising for Cella because it was announced just after California approved its film-tax credit program, which Cella lobbied heavily for and helped craft. The credits, however, don’t cover game shows.

Still, Cella predicts that the tax deal will attract some TV shows back to California.

“If we don’t do something now, there’s going to be nothing left,” he said.

Sorenson, of 24/7 Studio Equipment, also is pinning his hopes on the state tax credits to spur business. A major studio film can generate $75,000 in rental income for a company like Sorenson’s. But this year, 24/7 has worked mostly on a few low-budget films such as Screen Gems’ “The Roommate.” His company’s feature film business has plummeted 50% since 2007.

Sorenson made up for the shortfall by renting out equipment to TV shows, but even that is no longer a sure bet.

One of his customers, the HBO series “Hung,” filmed three months in L.A. and two months in Michigan, which offers a 42% tax credit. Another customer, the TNT series “Leverage,” has opted to film its second season in Portland, Ore., which offers a 20% cash rebate on qualified expenses.

“It would be a lot different if we were smoking busy,” he said. “But . . . every rental right now is like a precious jewel.”

Local prop houses also are struggling from the downturn. Some have recently closed and others have cut their payrolls.

Modern Props laid off 17 workers last month. The company owns a 120,000-square-foot warehouse that contains 80,000 props.

“I was in shock,” said Luis Peniche, 21, a former sales assistant who lost his $25,000-a-year job after two years at Modern Props. “I really loved working there. It was like family.”

Unable to pay his rent, Peniche moved into his sister’s apartment in Van Nuys. He also stopped taking classes at Santa Monica College because he couldn’t afford the books and tuition. “I’d love to work in the entertainment industry, but it’s just so bad out there.”

Zabrucky launched the company 32 years ago, specializing in leasing furniture, lights and electric control panels to sci-fi TV shows such as “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” and eventually to some of the biggest movies in Hollywood, including “Die Hard,” “Ghostbusters” and “Men in Black.”

Modern Props became one of the largest prop houses in Hollywood, employing 50 people in its heyday in the late 1990s. But the business has eroded through much of the last decade, squeezed by the growing use of digital effects; the growth of reality television, which spends little on props; and especially the departure of shows to other locales.

“We know how to do what we do very well,” Zabrucky said, “but we can’t fight the fact that everything is just being sold right from underneath us.”

Last summer, Modern Props lost one of its clients, the ABC series “Ugly Betty,” to New York. “Their set decorator was in every week placing orders. That’s $14,000 a month we lost,” lamented Ken Sharp, vice president of sales and operations for Modern Props.

To highlight the plight facing his business and others, Zabrucky recently designed skateboard decks that show a pictograph of the country, with California highlighted, and distributed them to hundreds of Hollywood executives as well as city and state politicians. The deck shows arrows pointing away from the state and the words “don’t run away.”


June 23, 2009

Digital Media Law – WGA

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 4:24 pm
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Digital Media Law ——————————————————————————– Film on the Downswing WGA Candidates for President and Board Announced LA Goatherd Wanted Film on the Downswing Posted: 22 Jun 2009 07:17 PM PDT Factoid: Kodak gets 70% of its revenue today from digital products, and an outgoing Kodak exec says that the company plans to stay in the film business “as far into the future as possible,” which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of analog formats. This all is courtesy of an AP story in the NY Times on the discontinuation of Kodachrome (yes, the story mentions the Paul Simon song), which also points out that Kodak has introduced new still and motion picture stocks in the last few years. ——————— Subscribe to my blog ( for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets. WGA Candidates for President and Board Announced Posted: 22 Jun 2009 03:58 PM PDT SAG’s upcoming elections have been getting some attention, but the WGA West is having an election this summer as well. The ballots go out sometime in late July or August, and are apparently due back September 17. Current WGA West president Patric Verrone is running for one of the open board seats, but not for president (I believe there are term limits). Instead, the candidates for president are John Wells and Elias Davis. For more details, see the press release below. ——————— Subscribe to my blog ( for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets. ——————— WGA press release: WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA , WEST ANNOUNCES CANDIDATES FOR 2009 OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America, West’s Nominating Committee has announced its initial list of candidates for the 2009 WGAW Officers and Board of Directors election. The officer candidates are as follows: President – John Wells, Elias Davis; Vice President – Tom Schulman, Howard Michael Gould; Secretary-Treasurer – Christopher Keyser, David N. Weiss. There are 16 candidates nominated to run for eight open seats on the WGAW’s Board of Directors, as follows: Luvh Rakhe, Linda Burstyn, Mick Betancourt, Jan Oxenberg, Howard A. Rodman (inc.), Patric M. Verrone, Dan Wilcox (inc.), Eric Wallace, Jed Weintrob, Chip Johannessen, Andrea King, Steven Schwartz, Jeff Lowell, Billy Ray, Carleton Eastlake, David Wyatt. [The list is in random order. “inc.” means incumbent.] In addition to the candidates selected by the WGAW Nominating Committee, eligible members may also be nominated by petition. Members seeking nomination for the office of President, Vice President, or Secretary-Treasurer must obtain 50 member signatures in support of their petitions. Members seeking nomination for the Board of Directors must obtain 25 member signatures in support of their petitions. The deadline for submitting signed petitions to the WGAW is Thursday, July 23, by 5:30 p.m. Members may submit online nomination petitions by visiting the members-only section of the WGAW’s website at: The WGAW will host its annual “Candidates Night” town-hall election forum for Guild members to meet and pose questions to their prospective Officer and BOD candidates on Wednesday, September 2, at WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles . Guild members will receive candidate and non-candidate statements and rebuttal statements, if any, with their ballots prior to the election. Members may mail additional campaign materials at their own expense. Members may vote by mail or in person at the WGAW’s annual membership meeting on Thursday, September 17. Ballots will be counted on Friday, September 18. LA Goatherd Wanted Posted: 22 Jun 2009 02:55 PM PDT Sometimes going off-topic can’t be resisted. I live in Laurel Canyon, which as LA residents know is in the middle of the city yet is a still-rustic hilly area from the 1920’s that even has a few dirt roads remaining. The ethos still has echoes of the 60’s and 70’s (can an ethos have echoes?). Usually the echoes are faint, but not always. Here’s an email I received today: We live in laurel canyon and have two mini-mancha dairy goats. Currently I am milking one doe and will start milking the other in a few months when her kids are big enough to wean. We have more milk and cheese than we can consume. I’m hoping that there is someone in the neighborhood who would be interested in some fresh goat milk or cheese in exchange for doing some goat chores. Can you send this request out for me please? Who’d have thought? And, by the way, if anyone does want to do some goat chores (whatever that may entail) in return for milk or cheese, let me know and I’ll pass your info on.

June 4, 2009

This is not good.


Three Membership First Candidates Elected to AFTRA Boards


The AFTRA Los Angeles results are in. Many candidates were reelected, but new winners include two Membership First leaders—SAG 1st VP Anne-Marie Johnson (AFTRA national board) and former SAG Hollywood Board member David Jolliffe (AFTRA Los Angeles local board)—as well as Membership First member Alan Ruck (AFTRA national board). They join several MF stalwarts already on the national board (not sure about the LA local board).

Johnson and Jolliffe bring a particularly interesting dynamic to the AFTRA boards. Johnson, for instance, in a recent video described running for the AFTRA board as “really distasteful for me” and accused AFTRA of leech[ing] off of [SAG].” Jolliffe, for his part, told me in an interview last summer that SAG was the “one union for actors.” These remarks certainly make one skeptical of their intentions as they join the AFTRA boards.

I’m told by a source that even with these new board members, Membership First still controls less than 10% of the votes on AFTRA’s national board. They now have 7 seats (out of 73 total on the board) – Frances Fischer, Sumi Haru, Jane Austin, Jeff Austin, Anne-Marie Johnson, Alan Ruck, and Bonnie Bartlett.

3,262 valid ballots were received in the election, which was for LA only. I’m not sure what percentage turnout that represents, but I’m asking AFTRA. However, given that the union has 70,000 members nationwide, I’m guessing that this turnout is probably on the order of 10%.

In any case, the small number of ballots makes it impossible, in my view, to extrapolate from these results and make predictions about the upcoming SAG elections (July through September), let alone the contract ratification vote (ballots due in by mail next Tuesday, so there’s only a day or so left to send in ballots).

Below is the AFTRA press release with complete information on the election.


Subscribe to my blog ( for more about SAG, or digital media law generally. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets. 


Election Results for Los Angeles Officers, Los Angeles and National Board

Members, and Convention Delegates


AFTRA LA President Ron Morgan Reelected


LOS ANGELES, CA (June 3, 2009)—The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced today election results for the AFTRA Los Angeles Local.


Actor Ron Morgan was re-elected President of AFTRA Los Angeles and will begin his new two-year term as Local President on July 1; he ran unopposed in his bid for reelection. Mr. Morgan was also elected to the AFTRA National Board of Directors for a four-year term; he also serves as a National Vice President of the union.


Also uncontested in their reelection for two-year terms as officers for AFTRA Los Angeles were First Vice President Susan Boyd Joyce, a singer; actor Gabrielle Carteris, Second Vice President; Third Vice President Bobbie Bates, a dancer; Fourth VP Jason George, an actor; Recording Secretary Patrika Darbo, an actor; and actor Jay Gerber continues as Treasurer.


Reelected to three-year terms on the Los Angeles Local Board of Directors were actors David Bowe, Raza Burgee, Andrew Caple-Shaw, Gabrielle Carteris, Bob Joles, Kate Linder, and Paul Napier; announcer Mike Sakellarides; dancer Galen Hooks; broadcaster Pepe Barreto; and singers Susan Boyd Joyce and Dick Wells. Incoming Los Angeles Local Board members include actors David Andriole, Mimi Cozzens, David Jolliffe, Marcia Strassman; and announcer Chuck Southcott.


AFTRA National Board members from the Los Angeles Local reelected to four-year terms include actors Gabrielle Carteris, Jay Gerber, Ron Morgan, and Paul Petersen; dancer Bobbie Bates; and singers Susan Boyd Joyce and Sally Stevens. Newly-elected to the AFTRA National Board are actors Anne-Marie Johnson, D. W. Moffett, Jason Priestley, and Alan Ruck.


One-hundred-and-ninety-eight (198) Los Angeles Delegates to AFTRA’s 62nd National Convention were also elected. The National Convention will be held August 6 – 8 in Chicago, Illinois.


There are 73 seats total on the new AFTRA National Board, which will be officially seated following AFTRA’s National Convention on August 9 in Chicago, Illinois. The AFTRA Los Angeles Local will be assigned 26 seats on the new National Board; 13 were up for election, 11 were open seats and two seats were assigned to the Announcer category and the Newsperson category, respectively.


All AFTRA Los Angeles Local officer and board terms begin July 1. The AFTRA National Board terms begin at the conclusion of this summer’s National Convention.


A total of 3,262 valid ballots were received in the AFTRA Los Angeles election.

June 3, 2009

For SAG Members

I also want to encourage you to attend the Open Hollywood Board meeting on June 15th  (see below)    . It will be soon after the votes are tallied and it would be incredible for the Board members who’ve put themselves out to make this vote possible to know that they have support in the gallery.

And it will certainly be an education about the representatives who are shaping your careers and futures.

Just follow the instructions below to get on the list, but if you can’t do it by email (it fills almost instantly) you can show up on the day and most certainly get in.





When: Monday, June 15, 2009
6 p.m. – 9 p.m

Where: James Cagney Boardroom
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90036

RSVP’S will be accepted beginning 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 3. Click here <>  for more info.

The Hollywood Division board will open its June 15, 2009 meeting to members-at-large for observation. This is part of the policy the board passed that calls for all future meetings of the board to be open, giving Hollywood Division members-at-large the opportunity to see their Hollywood board at work.

Space is limited. Reservations are a must and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis (subject to stated requirements). All members who would like to attend must be in good standing, affiliated with the Guild’s Hollywood Division and willing to comply with observation procedures. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If interested, please RSVP AFTER 8:00 A.M., WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3 via email or phone at (323) 549-6029.

Be sure to include your professional name, SAG membership number and contact information.

Only accepted observers will be contacted with confirmation and details.

In order to allow everyone interested the opportunity to attend, members may only be confirmed for one meeting during the current board year (October 2008 through September 2009).

If you should have questions or comments, please contact the Hollywood Executive Office at (323) 549-6459.


TV/Theatrical Ballots due at the assigned post office box no later than 5:00 p.m. (PDT) June 9, 2009. All active members of SAG in good standing whose November 2008 dues (11/01/08 – 04/30/09) were paid by Thursday, April 30, 2009 are eligible to vote. For more information check out the Contract Center <>  on Your Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors Recommends you VOTE YES on the TV/Theatrical Agreements

Free Choice Act demonstration

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 2:19 pm
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It will be amazing when all 1034 members of SAG USA show up today for the Employee Free Choice Act demonstration in front of Diane Feinstein’s office.

I know. I know. I’m dreaming. But why not dream big? That’s what we do here at SAG USA.


Here In LA we are having a rally for the Employee Free Choice Act on June 3 at 11AM at Diane Feinstein’s office at 11111 Santa Monica Blvd. It’s near Sepulveda Blvd/The 405.

Why would SAG members show up?

Because we’ll be supporting the rights of workers to organize freely. The labor movement in the US is on life support and that affects all of us as corporations continue to ignore the individual while only paying heed to the bottom line. Diane Feinstein is gearing up for a run for governor. She knows she needs the deep pockets of corporations for support in that race. But she’s forgetting about the people who need her protection most: The workers. It’s the workers who are fighting for fair wages, protections, quality of life. Sound familiar? Just as sales is sales is sales, so the fight by workers against corporate indifference is the same everywhere. Come. Learn. Support. Stand up for yourselves.

From AFTRA themselves (APR. 23, 2009)

April 2009

Joint AFTRA and SAG National Board of Directors Approves New Commercials Contracts for Ratification

Meeting by videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York, the Joint SAG-AFTRA National Board today voted unanimously to approve and recommend to members, new three-year successor agreements to the 2006 AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts and the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Television Commercials Contract.

The proposed agreements, which cover performers working in commercials made for and reused on television, radio, the Internet, and new media, will net a three-year increase in payments to performers totaling an estimated $36 million, including approximately $21 million in increased contributions to the SAG Pension & Health and AFTRA Health & Retirement plans. The total combined value of the AFTRA and SAG contracts is projected at more than $2.9 billion for working performers, including actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, stunt persons, and extras.

Additionally, the new contracts contain an agreement in principle outlining terms for a pilot study for the purpose of testing the Gross Rating Points (GRP) model of restructuring compensation to performers as proposed by Booz & Co. The two-year study will be conducted by a jointly retained consultant engaged by the unions and the industry. The study will be paid for by grants from Screen Actors Guild-Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund (IACF) and the AFTRA-Industry Cooperative Fund (AICF).

The unions also successfully established a first-ever payment structure in commercials for the Internet and other new media platforms. The unions established jurisdiction over commercial work made for the Internet in 2000, and new media formats in 2006. The new payment structure goes into effect in the third year of the contract.

The referendum will be mailed to the members of both unions next week (dual SAG and AFTRA members will receive one ballot) with a return date in mid-May. Results will be announced at that time.

Following the vote, AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon and AFTRA Chair of the Joint Negotiating Committee said: “Our new agreement is a major achievement in any economy, but it is especially crucial for union members working to make ends meet in today’s difficult marketplace. I applaud the vision and hard work of the joint committee who worked together to win increases both in performers’ minimum compensation and in employer contributions to our health and pension plans, and who successfully preserved Class A payments so critically important to our members around the country.”

Screen Actors Guild National President Alan Rosenberg said: “I am pleased and gratified to have achieved these gains and to recommend this agreement for ratification. I congratulate all of the parties, and particularly the co-chairs, committee members and staff on the remarkable gains they achieved for actors across the country.”

“It’s a solid agreement with meaningful gains,” said Screen Actors Guild Chair of the Joint Negotiating Committee Sue-Anne Morrow. “There are significant improvements in compensation and benefits for union commercial actors and it gives the industry, including our members, a measure of financial certainty in an uncertain economy. It also guarantees advertisers continued access to the finest actors in the world on whose talent their brand success often rests. It’s a win for actors, a win for the industry, and a win for consumers.”

Screen Actors Guild Chief Negotiator John McGuire, a veteran of more than 10 separate commercials contracts negotiations said: “This is an agreement we can all be proud of and I look forward to ratification by the members of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA. I commend the negotiating committee chairs, co-chairs, and members, along with my colleagues Ray Rodriguez, Screen Actors Guild’s Deputy National Executive Director of Contracts, and Mathis Dunn, AFTRA’s Chief Negotiator.”

“This is a successful conclusion to a challenging negotiation, conducted during a difficult economic and technological time in the industry. As always, that success rests with the members of our joint committee, our staff and our counterparts at the Joint Policy Committee. Together, we served the interests of actors and the industry,” McGuire added.

AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director Mathis L. Dunn, Jr., who served as AFTRA Chief Negotiator, noted: “I commend all of our union members who participated in the many educational, informational, and wages and working conditions meetings leading up to these negotiations. They delivered a clear message to our joint negotiating committee on their priority issues. I am proud to say that we delivered on these priorities and much more. The agreement will enhance the careers of all working performers today, and protect future generations of union members as technology and consumer tastes shift in the radically changing world of new media.”

Highlights of the new agreement include:

Three-year agreement, term effective April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2012, upon ratification by members of both unions.
5.5% overall increase in wages and other compensation over the life of the contracts, including a 4.43% increase, effective April 1, 2009, in Class A, Wild Spot, and basic cable session and use fees.
For product moved over to the Internet or in New Media, compensation of 1.3 times the minimum session fee for 8 weeks of use and 3.5 times the minimum session fee for one year’s use.
For product made for the Internet or New Media, a new minimum rate structure of 1.3 times the minimum session fee for 8 weeks of use and 3.5 times the minimum session fee for one year’s use, effective in the third year of the contract.
0.5% increases in the employer contribution rate to the AFTRA H&R and SAG P&H plans, and a 0.2% increase in employer contributions to the SAG Industry Advancement Cooperative Fund and the AFTRA-Industry Cooperative Fund, bringing the total contribution rate to 15.5%. Effective in year three, the agreement provides for a cap on P&H and H&R contributions for services covered by the contracts to $1 million per performer, per contract, per year with anticipated net gains in P&H and H&R over the term of the contract.
Secured five new covered jobs for commercial extras, up from 40 to 45.
Established new exclusivity compensation for made-for cable only commercials.
Instituted, for the first time, a contract provision to pay extras a round-trip mileage fee of $8.
Increased foreign use payments under the Spanish Language section of the contract.
The across the board increase under the AFTRA Radio Commercials Contract is 5.35%, in addition to contributions to AFTRA H&R and the AICF.
All of the unions’ proposals regarding diversity issues were addressed in the negotiations.
AFTRA and SAG joint member education and informational meetings will be conducted around the nation to provide members with an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the new agreements prior to voting.

Formal negotiations between the 26-member AFTRA/SAG Joint Negotiating Committee and the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) began on February 23 and concluded on the morning of April 1 in New York City.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet, and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society.

About SAG
Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 actors who work in film, television, industrials, commercials, video games, music videos and other new media. The Guild exists to enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists’ rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles.

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