Showbizreporting's Blog

December 8, 2009


SAG, AFTRA face deadline
Unions must decide soon if they are to negotiate together

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists are facing a looming deadline within the next few months if they’re going to negotiate together on the primetime-feature contract with the majors.
The performers unions haven’t yet taken any formal steps toward joint bargaining, even with SAG obligated to begin seven weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers on Oct. 1. The current SAG and AFTRA master contracts — negotiated separately for the first time in three decades — both expire on June 30, 2011.

AFTRA president Roberta Reardon has held informal discussions recently with SAG prexy Ken Howard about the issue. She admitted that a decision by AFTRA will probably be made before the end of the first quarter, given that both unions require several months for a “wages and working conditions” process of meetings with members to hammer out contract proposals prior to the start of bargaining.

“We’ve had a lot of internal discussion about joint negotiations but we haven’t formalized anything,” she told Daily Variety. “We would do it if it were something that’s to the advantage of all our members.”

SAG declined to comment on Reardon’s statements.

Reardon noted that AFTRA’s also facing looming expirations on two of its other major contracts — sound recordings, which expires June 30; and network code, which ends on Nov. 15. The AFTRA netcode pact covers about $400 million in annual earnings from dramatic programs in syndication or outside primetime, daytime serial dramas, gameshows, talkshows, variety and musical programs, news, sports, reality shows and promotional announcements.

“We have a little bit of a pileup in terms of scheduling,” Reardon added.

She also said that no definitive steps have been taken toward a SAG-AFTRA merger, voted down by SAG members in 1999 and 2003, indicating that combining the unions remains a long-term goal. “I got into AFTRA politics eight years ago because I believe that performers should be in a single union, but if we’re going to do that, we need to take the time to do it right,” she added.

Relations between SAG and AFTRA hit a low early last year when AFTRA angrily split off from joint negotiations over jurisdiction and reached its own primetime deal. SAG — which still hadn’t shifted control to the moderates — then blasted terms of the pact, which had a relatively low 62% ratification. With SAG not reaching a deal until a year later, AFTRA was able to sign up the lion’s share of this year’s TV pilots that were shot digitally.

In the fall of 2008, AFTRA and SAG agreed to a separate deal aimed at ending the bickering between the unions. Brokered by the AFL-CIO, the agreement included “nondisparagement” language along with fines and other discipline for violators; the unions then agreed to joint negotiations on the commercials contract and reached a new three-year deal with the ad industry last spring.

But the enmity toward AFTRA remains strong in some SAG quarters. Its Hollywood board passed a resolution in May to explore the “acquisition” of actors repped through AFTRA, leading to an AFL-CIO umpire warning SAG it would face “severe” fines for any further discussions of an “acquisition” and ordering the guild to officially disavow the statement.

SAG’s Membership First faction, which controls the Hollywood board, staunchly opposes any merger and contends that SAG should represent all acting work. Howard campaigned as the head of the Unite For Strength ticket, which explicitly advocates combining the unions.

“We should merge to create a single powerful union that covers all the work we do, making it impossible for our employers to divide us,” the faction has noted. “That’s what Unite for Strength is all about.”

SAG and AFTRA have shared jurisdiction over primetime series and the long-standing agreement has been that SAG reps all projects shot on film, while SAG and AFTRA have an equal shot at projects shot electronically. With more primetime skeins shot in high-def digital formats, AFTRA’s electronic purview has greatly expanded in the past two years as nearly all primetime pilots went AFTRA.


October 27, 2009

STUDIO BRIEFING: October 22, 2009

STUDIO BRIEFING: October 22, 2009

Pay one price for a movie and be able to watch it on any device that has a screen — that’s the thinking behind Keychest, a new technology that the Walt Disney Co. says it plans to unveil next month. The company on Wednesday confirmed a Wall Street Journal report about the technology, which would allow consumers to watch a purchased movie via the Internet, their cable company, or their telephone-line or mobile provider on any number of devices, from iPods to videogame players. However, the fact that Disney intends to implement its “view anywhere” strategy with a proprietary system has already run into industry opposition. Sony chief technology officer Mitch Singer noted Wednesday that Disney is seeking to accomplish with its system what the members of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) have said they will bring about with an open system. In an interview with Video Business magazine, Singer, who is also the president of the DECE, said that Disney had been asked to join. He noted that, unlike Keychest, the DECE proposal would include DVD and Blu-ray discs.


Walt Disney’s The Proposal, a surprise hit in theaters when it premiered last June, appears headed toward hit status on DVD as well. The movie, which grossed $163.8 million domestically and $131.8 million abroad, debuted at No. 1 on the Rentrak sales chart and at No. 3 on Home Media magazine’s rental chart. Universal’s Land of the Lost was the No. 1 rental, while Disney’s 72-year-old Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs took the top spot on the hi-def Blu-ray sales chart for the second consecutive week.


A $350-million plan to expand Britain’s famed Pinewood Shepperton studios has been shot down by local authorities. Project Pinewood, as it was called, would have featured numerous permanent outdoor sets, expanded studios and post-production facilities, offices, a film school, affordable homes and temporary residences for filmmakers. However, residents complained that the project would have resulted in what a South Buckinghampshire district councilwoman described as a “significant degradation to the local environment and quality of life of local residents.” A spokesman for Pinewood Shepperton said the studio intends to appeal the decision. “This project is of national significance and of great benefit not only to our community and region but also to the UK and its creative industries,” Andrew Smith, group director of corporate affairs, said.


The two principal Hollywood talent unions — the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) — have hailed passage of legislation in California aimed at agencies that charge advance fees for representing children looking for jobs in films and TV. In a statement, AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth said, “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.” And at a news conference, SAGE President Ken Howard stated, “The promise of acting jobs is no longer for sale.” The legislation bars companies from charging in advance for the promise of securing jobs for child actors and models. It also requires them to post a $50,000 bond with the state. Nevertheless, it was unclear what constitutes an upfront fee. Several talent services are notorious for holding “free” auditions that attract hundreds of children and their parents — at which they are told that they will need “professional head shots” of their children and then charged excessive fees for the photos, which are taken on the spot.


Technicolor hopes to address the shortage of theaters capable of showing 3D digital movies by converting the movies to film. Film projectors can be converted to 3D quickly and cheaply, and some studios see the Technicolor scheme as a bridge between today’s film presentation — the overwhelming number of theaters are equipped with film projectors only — and 3D digital theaters of the future. However, although major studios, including DreamWorks Animation/Paramount, Lionsgate, Universal and Warner Bros., have welcomed Technicolor’s announcement, two other major studios, Disney and 20th Century Fox, have not. Fox, which will be releasing James Cameron’s highly anticipated 3D thriller Avatar in December, has not commented on its decision not to support the Technicolor initiative, but Disney did. Daily Variety quoted a Disney spokesperson as saying, “We’re fully committed to the digital 3D solution. … We think it provides the highest quality to the moviegoing experience.”

October 7, 2009

ATTN: INTERACTIVE V.O. Meeting — Show up or Shut Up

Dear Friends,

This is for those of us who work in interactive voice-overs. There is an important meeting at SAG on Oct 13th at 7pm. Significant changes for better or worse could be in store for us. Too bad for us if we don’t show up to this meeting.

In interactive v.o., we have two contracts with two unions for the same territory that are out of sync, so significant gains are pretty much impossible. Producers can easily play one union against the other, or choose to only sign with one union to cripple the other’s bargaining abilities, all of which we have now with interactive v.o. If we continue without intelligently merging our unions, I feel this is the future for all other contracts.

On to the meeting: The good news is that our two unions have heard us and have come together and bargained a new interactive agreement with modest gains with a re-sync’ed end date, which I feel is a significant and much needed gain. However, there is a new feature in this proposal that those of us who work in interactive must take a careful look and and let BOTH our unions know our feelings on. If our attendance is as paltry as it was at the informational SAG interactive caucus was a few weeks ago, this change will be passed by both our unions’ boards whether we like it or not.

Even though SAG has pretty much lost all animation and interactive v.o. work over the past few years, they are at least holding a second informational meeting over this new SAG/AFTRA tentative interactive agreement. If you work this contract, you need to be there and listen and speak up. In particular, there is concern over a new feature producers want called “atmospheric voices” which BOTH our unions need to hear our opinions on. I believe there is a pro and a con to this concept and I’ll try to lay the two sides out as fairly as I can:

“Atmospheric voices,” as I understand it, allows for producers to record many more individual voices per session fee and an infinite number of different voices for only a double session fee, where the number of voices we can perform are significantly restricted with our current contract. It seems the argument for this new category is that games with greater numbers of voices, such as MMORPG’s like “World of Warcraft” which have literally hundreds of voices in a game, will be enticed to sign up union voice talent (WoW is non-union as are other mega-voice games). More games like this are on the way in the future, the argument goes, and with this new feature in the contract, more big games could choose to go union, and this could potentially mean a lot of new work for union voice actors. Many such games that feature a great number of incidental characters are populated with characters that say only a few sentences anyway (a vendor, a page, a merchant, a citizen, someone you happen to bump into etc), not a ton of vocal work per incidental for the most part, the argument goes. With the addition of the “atmospheric voices” provision, big games of the future which would have remained non-union would turn union, sign more union actors for more work. Win win. At least, that’s the pro pitch, as I understand it. As a gamer, I’d say this could possibly change some big v.o. games to “go union.” Possibly. And that could be a significant amount of work. I would also say that the evolution of gaming cuts both ways, with the “next gen” titles (Xbox360 and PS3 and some Wii “portages”) needing to sound increasingly “cinematic” and professional (union), but “low-res” and retro gaming (iPhone, Wii, DS, etc) are expanding possibly faster (voice acting here probably tends to be more non-union in cheaper games if there is any voice work at all). I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the top selling next-gen games mostly use union v.o. talent. Could be wrong there, though. Most games I believe are non-union and for many games (some might say most) the voice acting is not nearly as important as game play and game design, if it is a factor at all. Frankly, I’d like more data on all this and hardly any was presented at the last SAG interactive caucus. I don’t think that most of our negotiators are gamers and I’m not sure they necessarily know video games or that biz. As someone who not only works in interactive v.o. but is also a fairly active gamer, I am honestly not sure about this pro argument. I admit the possibility of populating future iterations of games like “World of Warcraft” with all union voice actors could potentially mean a lot of work for us. Most of the voice work in that particular game strikes me as pretty “light duty.” Modest gains with re-sync’ing the contracts is great. Okay, that’s the pro.

The con argument is that “atmospheric voices” simply gives up what little firewall protection our interactive contract already provides and just gets us less money for essentially more work. The number of voices we currently perform for scale (most of the work in this realm is scale, if it is union at all) is restricted as it is in television animation, where producers are required to pay essentially for very few voices, although the session can last four hours even for one voice. Certainly there is merit to this restriction for game v.o. work, although you’d be hard pressed to find an 11 or even 22 minute t.v. cartoon with literally hundreds of individual voices. The comparison of games to t.v. only partially holds. The con argument sees an easy opportunity to further work union voice actors to death in a realm where (unlike television animation) we are already worked to death as it is- with no residuals, potentially four hours of working solo, and often to the point of blowing out your voice with screaming or yelling without some kind of “hazard pay.” Game work is also often much more demanding and punishing than television voice work. In fact, the only worse union contract might be SAG’s anime dubbing agreement (another multi-billion dollar industry where the union contract is long hours with no residuals– most of the work here is also non-union). Despite resync’ing the contracts between SAG and AFTRA and other modest gains, this “atmospheric voices” feature is potentially a massive give away and cannot be allowed– at least that’s the con argument.

Frankly, I think both sides have points and the fact that these contracts are re-sync’ed means that when they expire (I think it’s in a couple years) if this “atmospheric voices” thing is abused and we don’t like it, we can kill it– assuming our unions are either bargaining together or merged, which may not be the case, though it looks better these days. Perhaps opening up “World of Warcraft” type games to union work would bring us a ton a new work, each such game is like a country that we could populate with union voice actors instead of non-union. Or it could make an already problematic contract even more punishing and difficult for less pay. I honestly think there can be a discussion about this (not a screaming match). Let’s make an informed decision as a community.

But there can be no discussion without any of us showing up to listen and talk on October 13th.

One thing I do know: if the interactive v.o. community chooses shows up in such pathetic numbers as we’ve seen recently, this will pass, whether it is a good idea or not. We must let both our unions know our opinion, not just SAG (the one producers have abandoned) but AFTRA as well– they are set to sign off on this on Oct 14th, as I understand it. Either both must pass or both must reject, but it should be with our community’s input.

Please show up.




Attend an Informational Meeting Regarding the Tentative Agreement for the
2009 Interactive Media Agreement, Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Screen Actors Guild will host an informational meeting for the purpose of providing a report to members on the Tentative Agreement reached for the 2009 Interactive Media Agreement. The meeting will be held in Los Angeles.
Members of the Interactive Media Agreement negotiating committee and staff will be in attendance.

Please inform your fellow union members who work under this agreement about this important meeting. Participation is limited only by fire department regulations.

When: 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday October 13, 2009

Screen Actors Guild Headquarters
James Cagney Board Room, ground floor
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Parking will be validated

All paid-up SAG members who work under the Interactive Agreement 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 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 16, 2009

SAG Watchdog report

Joosten Time, Another in the Watchdog (Back to Work Series.) “They’re ready for their Tuna Sandwiches, Mr. DeMille!” .: . Date: Tuesday 6/16/2009 Well the promise has materialized, ah, well some of it anyway, SAG actors get back to work UNDER UNION CONTRACTS on the Internet. You all remember, how Tom Hanks and his “go-along-to-get-along” pals told rank and file actors how this was a smart contract. Oh, and union-hating award winning actress Kathy Joosten telling you–on that SAG Vote “Yes” video–that “non union did not mean no pay.” Well maybe, but what she didn’t tell you was that a SAG union project for new media did. (Click to see her video) Yes, Hollywood is back to work under the new contract pushed by the compliant USAN New York and branches leadership, along with Ned “Uncle Joe” Vaughn and his UFS party. Well, Ned said, “This contract would help actors feed their familes.” I’m really not sure how that will happen in this case, ah, unless they get to take home some of Kathy Joosten’s scraps. “They’re ready for their Tuna sandwiches, Mr. DeMille!” — Nurses Who Kill Internet, SAG Posted: 6/15/2009 ________________________________________ Union Status SAG Rate SAG New Media Contract, credit-meals-and-opportunity to work with an award winning team Submissions Due By 6/19/2009 Shoot/Performance Dates 6/26/2009, 6/27/2009, 7/3/2009, 7/6/2009 Shoot/Performance Location TBA Los Angeles Shoot/Performance Dates Note All background roles will be featured and receive close-ups. Submission Due By Note All actors must be SAG Synopsis Two nurses moonlight as assassins. In each episode, deliciously dark comedy unfolds, as this pair of mismatched hit-women attempt to right the wrongs done to their clients. Project Notes “Nurses Who Kill…” was created by multiple award-winning writer and actress Ann Noble, and actress/producer Chane’t Johnson (Without a Trace, Girlfriends, LAX, ER ) who’ll also star. Cast also includes Emmy-winning actress, Kathy Joosten(West Wing) and Tony-nominated triple-threat, Valarie Pettiford (Fosse, Stomp the Yard, Half and Half). The series will be directed by Katy Garretson (Frasier, Girlfriends, and George Lopez). Audition Note Casting directly from online submissions and possible phone interview. Role submit 3 MORE ONLOOKERS / SAG / “Sunday, June 27th” / Background / Male or Female / All Ethnicities / 25-80 3 Onlookers for a news cast, different faces from June 26th Wardrobe: Talent to bring 3 choices of outfits Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 11:48:00 AM Other Roles Fit-For-Me submit 15 HIGH SOCIETY PARTY WOMEN / SAG / “Monday, July 6th” / Background / Female / All Ethnicities / 45-80 Distinguished, wealthy, high society socialites. Orange County WASPs at a Republican tea party. People who look perfect will get close-ups. Wardrobe: Pastels, no yellow, no white. Talent to bring 3 choices of outfits. Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 12:24:00 PM submit DOCTOR / SAG / “Friday, July 3rd” / Background / Male or Female / All Ethnicities / 40-60 Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 12:20:00 PM submit HOSPITAL PATIENT / SAG / “Friday, July 3rd” / Background / Male or Female / All Ethnicities / 25-80 Wardrobe: Hospital Gown Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 12:18:00 PM submit 3 ONLOOKERS / SAG / “Friday, June 26th” / Background / Male or Female / All Ethnicities / 25-80 3 Onlookers during a news cast Wardrobe: Talent to bring 3 choices Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 10:40:00 AM Other Current Roles submit 9 HIGH SOCIETY PARTY MEN / SAG / “Monday, July 6th” / Background / Male / All Ethnicities / 45-80 Distinguished, wealthy, high society socialites. Orange County WASPs at a Republican tea party. People who look perfect will get close-ups. Wardrobe: Talent to bring 3 choices of outfits – colorful outfits preferred, no yellow, no white. Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 12:25:00 PM submit WAITER 2 / SAG / “Monday, July 6th” / Background / Male / All Ethnicities / 35-45 The perfect, seasoned waiter. He’s almost a butler. There will be close-ups on him. Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 12:22:00 PM submit CAMERA GUY / SAG / “Friday, July 3rd” / Background / Male / All Ethnicities / 30-39 Wardrobe: Talent to bring 3 choices of outfits Rate: Credit-meals and the opportunity to work with an award-winning team Role Added 6/15/2009 12:21:00 PM — And don’t talk to me about low budget SAG films, or student films. SAG Low budget films have a minimum guarantee, and more pay if the project succeeds. (The new media provision has a stipulation that SAG will not interfere.) and these are definitely not neophytes, just getting started. If this project succeeds, Joosten and her friends will be amply rewarded. As to those SAG members that worked for food, maybe they will send them napkins in lieu of residuals. Stay tuned, this is just the beginning under the current “let’s just keep working” SAG leadership mentality. The vote “Yes” crowd kept telling us about hard times. Well, now they’ve got actors working for Depression wages under a SAG contract, “Will work for food.” Hmmm…and here I thought that in California, employers at least had to pay minimum wage. I guess not as long as it’s a SAG Union Contract with a “Covered” performer. Hey, but you know that it’s gonna’ be a great artistic triumph if every background actor is going to get a close-up. A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief

June 10, 2009

Digital Media Law: SAGTV/Theatrical Contract Ratified Overwhelmingly, 78%-22%

Digital Media Law

SAG TV/Theatrical Contract Ratified Overwhelmingly, 78%-22%

In a stunning defeat for the hardline Membership First faction, SAG’s TV/theatrical contract passed overwhelmingly, by a 78%-22% margin (almost 4 to 1), those numbers according to the guild. Variety first reported the story, prior to the guild’s announcement, with a 1% difference in the numbers.

Significantly, even in the faction’s stronghold, the Hollywood division, the vote was an enormous 71% to 29% in favor, or almost 3 to 1. In NY, it was 86% to 14%, and in the regions it was 89% to 11%. There was a large turnout—35% of eligible members voted, far above the typical 20%-25%. The ballots went out to 110,000 paid-up members.

It’s an amazing end to an almost 12 month stalemate, and calls into question the faction’s ability to make any headway in the upcoming SAG board elections. On the contrary, the results suggest that the moderate Unite for Strength faction should make significant gains. That’s because only Membership First will be defending seats in Hollywood , whereas no moderates or independents are up for reelection. Thus, the moderates can only gain, at least in Hollywood . In NY and the regions, Membership First has little support, so, there again, the moderates should prevail.

Another question is the SAG presidency, which is up this year as well. According to Variety, incumbent president Alan Rosenberg announced today that he’ll seek a third term. Given the membership’s overwhelming rejection of his vote No position, that may be an uphill climb, especially if the moderates/independents put forward a high-profile candidate, such as James Cromwell, who has been rumored to be considering a run.

Below are press releases from AFTRA and the AMPTP.


AFTRA Press Release

AFTRA President Roberta Reardon Applauds SAG Contract Ratification

Los Angeles, CA (June 9, 2009)–In a statement released today, Roberta Reardon, National President of the American Federation of television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), praised the announcement by Screen Actors Guild regarding ratification by SAG members of a new two-year successor agreement to the SAG Basic Agreement and SAG Television Agreement saying:

“On behalf of the more than 70,000 members of AFTRA, I congratulate the members of Screen Actors Guild on their successful ratification of a new television and theatrical agreement. We’re pleased that SAG members will now enjoy improved wages and working conditions, and we applaud their efforts to negotiate a solid new agreement.”


AMPTP Press Release

Statement by the AMPTP

The ratification vote by SAG members is good news for the entertainment industry. This concludes a two-year negotiating process that has resulted in agreements with all major Hollywood Guilds and Unions. We look forward to working with SAG members – and with everyone else in our industry – to emerge from today’s significant economic challenges with a strong and growing business.

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