Sunday, April 23, 2006

Today I attended the 2006 Screen Actors Guild National Membership Meeting. As I have said before, every time I'm in the company of the new guild leadership I feel much, much better than I did with the old leadership. To me, I was never sure what side the old leadership was on. It always kinda felt like they were more about being afraid of the opposition and we have paid for it dearly. Not that things are perfect now, but it does seem much more like we are moving in the right direction.

One of the things I thought was pretty cool was listening to rank and file actors make a suggestion during the Q&A. Yeah, they were able to go to the microphone, voice concerns about a union issue directly to the President of the guild then we took a vote of those in attendance and if there was enough votes it would be looked into further. THIS is where change is made and, believe me, we performers need some serious changes from the top down to survive and thrive in this business climate.

Important stuff - really important stuff. It's only our futures. It's pension, health, dues, pay rates, working conditions, background performers, residuals - oh yes, residuals. I really, really wish more of us would go to these meetings. There shouldn't have been an empty seat in that place. Don't get me wrong, I don't understand everything that is said at these meetings or even most of what is said. I DO understand that it has EVERYTHING to do with my future in the business and if I'm going to being able to make a decent living. Some of it can be kinda "lawyer-speak like" and I usually get lost in that, but every time I go I understand it better than last time.


Antonio said...

Well, when I finally make SAG, I'll be sure to attend those meetings; I speak fluent legalese.

The way I see it is that there are a lot of members in the union who just "want to be in the union." I also think that a large portion of SAG members are people who think that things are good the way they are and if issues - like getting more residuals - are positively resolved, then all the better for them, but if things get worse, they just say its part of the business.

Though I'm not union affiliated, I see it all the time, especially with the some of the actors here who (to my dissapointment, but I digress) actually are booking. They just seem to accept the notion that they're lucky to even be there.

Frances Uku said...

Yo S,

It hurt me so so much that I had to miss this past Sunday's meeting due to a personal conflict.

I am so with you on the importance of being involved - even the smallest of these negotiations impacts us all so directly. All I know is this SAG baby you see today intends to be a SAG grandma someday, so there's no way I'm not going to look out for mines, feel me?

Stephon Fuller said...

Antonio BINGO!! That's exactly what I see too. I'm not trying to be preachy or judgemental, but the more of us that are informed the better off we will be. I include you in "us" because you'll be in the union soon enough.

Many times "booking jobs and getting residuals" are as far as we think, but the "details" of those bookings and residuals and how they are paid...if they are paid in some cases is a huge issue. Don't get me started on DVD payments. The deal we currently have on DVD's was agreed on in 1982; before there were DVD's. Yeah, it's pretty bad.

Yeah Frances, I'm with you on that. Again, it's only our futures. I always look forward to seeing you at the meetings. I'll be looking for on TV too!