p lay play ba c k 4 SAG-AFTRA
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way! - Dr. Seuss
inside this issue ... • Meet Marcus Leshock • Contracts and releases • Wandachristine loves the SHHC
MEMBERS AT WORK and Around town
Grace McPhillips filming Deadly Embrace.
On the set of an episode of Guys Book Club, shot in Chicago.
Shot in the Chicago suburbs, Lorrisa Julianus gets carried away in ZENOBIA.
Women in Film Chicago Focus Award honorees: SAG-AFTRA Chicago members Robin Robinson (right) and Bill Zwecker, with Stella Foster and Debbie Dempsey- Amsden.
Joyce Faison singing the national anthem at the 40th Illinois AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention.
Paul Sorvino, left, and Norman Lloyd in A Place for Heroes, filmed in Traer and Clutier, Iowa.
SAG-AFTRA Chicago members doing what they love to do: performing & celebrating the industry!
Ashley Dearborn at Chicagoâ€™s SAG Awards party.
Bobby Hitz, Frank Meo, William Forsythe, and Kevin Lingle on the set of Mob Doctor.
Kurt Merrill (right) and Antonio Polk, also the writer and producer of Detained, a short film shot in Chicago.
Ilyssa Fradin, SAG-AFTRA Chicago co-president, David Pasquesi and Christian Stolte at the Best of the Midwest Awards.
Jenny Strubin plays Japser in The Alley Cat.
a day in the life
A Day in the Life of
WGN broadcaster and SAG-AFTRA Chicago member
Movie Reviews As a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, I appear every weekend on WGN Radio to offer a review of what’s new in movie theaters.
We’ve all heard the complaints — the news is all “doom and gloom,” it all looks and sounds the same, etc. As a feature reporter at WGN-TV in Chicago, my job is to offer a different take on the day’s news. Whether that’s profiling interesting people around town, the places you might want to spend your time when you’re not working, or putting myself in a hair-raising situation — the goal is to put together three minutes of interesting television while making sure the audience, and the reporter, learn something in the process. Social media is a huge component of my job. I’m live-tweeting my stories @MarcusLeshock and interacting with the audience. Here’s a sample of what I may be doing on a given day. PUSHING THE LIMIT The Chicago Air and Water Show draws 1 million people to the lakefront every year. A personal highlight was climbing aboard aerobatic pilot Sean D. Tucker’s ride. Our job is to show all of those people on the beach what it’s like to be inside of the aircraft as it’s inverted over Lake Michigan.
PROFILING THE PEOPLE OF CHICAGO Last Halloween, we visited a Chicagoan who had turned his garage into a complete replica of Rich Koz’s Svengoolie set. He even built the coffin — BYOC (bring your own chicken).
and MORE! Social Media — LIVE TWEETING Live tweeting and blogging big events are an important part of the job. As thousands of protestors descended upon Chicago for the NATO Summit in 2012, our Web team and Iembedded ourselves along with them, sharing photos and up-to-thesecond reports all weekend long. Tech Whether reporting on local app makers looking to break out in the business or giving live FaceTime reports from the latest Apple event, technology features are a big part of my day. From what’s inside the latest device to making sense of the latest Facebook upgrade that’s driving you crazy, I want you to know about tech.
On the set, Leshock, right , with Mark Suppelsa and Lourdes Duarte, WGN News at Five co-anchors and SAG-AFTRA Chicago members.
Packaging and Presenting All of this has to be packaged and presented live every weeknight on the WGN News at Five. The best part about the job is never knowing where it’s going to take you next and having a supportive staff of photographers and editors that makes sure everything gets on the air.
BREAKING NEWS EVENTS — ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE WGN had nearly a dozen crew and on-air staff at President Obama’s election night rally at McCormick Place. As our team was broadcasting live on the air, I was surfing through the crowd — live tweeting photos and updates throughout the night.
Marcus Leshock is a feature reporter for WGN News. His lifestyle reports focus on all aspects of pop culture including social media, off-the-beaten-path locales and current events. A native of Schaumburg, IL. , Leshock loves reporting on the people, places and everything Chicago.
Contracts and Releases
Why should I review my contracts before signing them? I’m working with professionals and the union so I don’t need to, correct?
A: One would think —
especially with union contracts and franchised agencies — you would normally be pretty safe. But the reality is, it’s conceivable that your agent has not seen that contract, what’s written on it or how it’s filled out. There are big things on it and little things on it that may make a difference in your paycheck or your on-set experience. Also, the information you fill in should be accurate. Your time in and out and breaks. Would you want a client accidentally fined for not giving you a meal break when they did? Wouldn’t you like to get paid the penalty if they didn’t give you the required break? Familiarize yourself with the various contracts with which you work. When it’s time to finish it up, call your agent if you have any questions. If you can avoid it, don’t sign the contract until the job or booking is finished. Write hard: you are often making several copies at once. Then make sure you can read your copy. Provide a copy of the contract to your agent so they can follow up on everything involved.
Is there a PRINT contract or additional RELEASE to sign?
If you did not get it directly from your agent, call your agent and ask if they are aware of it and if it’s okay to sign. Frequently, a print release is a standard form that should be adjusted to the specific use, time frame and media that your image can be used in. Do not sign it until you know for sure. Agents change print releases all the time to match the agreement they have made. It should be reflected on your “voucher” or “deal memo.” A print release can mean that you have made these images and any recordings available for the company, the producer, or photographer to use and/or sell to anyone in any way they see fit. This is not only giving away money, but may even result in a conflict with a SAG-AFTRA contract, so be vigilant as to what you are signing. If you have questions, call the union or your agent immediately. You pay your agent. This is one of the things you pay for. You are not expected to know how to read or alter contracts or agreements. You should not enter into conversations about them. Memorize this phrase: “I’m sorry; my agent didn’t mention anything about this. Let me just ring him/her up about this. I’m sure they can take care of it quickly.” Do you have your agent’s cell phone number? You should. Frequently it can be found on their outgoing voicemail at their office. If you don’t have it and it looks like you are going to take a job that starts before or ends after a normal workday, then get your agent’s cell phone number just in case. Often you can take a decent picture of a contract or release with your phone and email or text the image to your agent to review. Or, review it verbally and make the changes your agent suggests, and have the client make a copy for you. Keep this copy for your files. It is the proof of your changes. Keep in mind your agent and your union; protecting you is what we do, but we cannot protect you from yourself. Respect yourself and let us do the job you pay us to do.
- A Chicago Franchised Talent Agent
FLIP THAT JOB
From the ACTOR Flipping a job can be much easier than it seems, but you need to be prepared. Ever since I joined the union, I’ve been a sponge trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible from the more seasoned performers and production teams. It has paid off immensely, giving me a much stronger posture when it comes to not only my craft but my brand as well. You may choose your own path, but this is what works for me. First, conquer the audition. Let’s be real, if you are replaceable, you have no leverage. So, make yourself irreplaceable. Once I was sure the producers wanted me, I informed them of my responsibility to my union. In order to proceed they must turn the project union. This is usually the most uneasy part for producers because most feel there will be too much red tape or money involved. To the surprise of many, this is not the case and well worth the extra step. SAG-AFTRA has done an amazing job of detailing all of the contracts so that they’re easily understood. I sat down with the production team, talked about the film agreements, and then directed them to the union office. After that, the feature film project was flipped in a matter of 48 hours. Additionally, if you are shooting a short, there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be union. I look at so many breakdowns for non-union shorts and I can only assume that the producers are unaware of how simple and beneficial it is for them to flip the project. The executive producer, Antoine Avery, from Almighty Productions, was very receptive to the idea and we recently wrapped production of the feature film thriller, Without Ruth, right here in Chicago. I play a young detective in search of a serial killer. Be on the lookout for more work from this great team. The most important thing is to remember your value. You have worked extremely hard to get where you are, so don’t just give it away. I’m quite sure you’ve invested blood, sweat and tears into this industry; maybe all at the same time, so respect your craft and your fellow craftsmen by keeping your standards high. I feel very blessed to able to wake up every morning and live out my passion, so I work extremely hard. I know I have a long way to go, so it is very important to have a plan and always take progressive steps. If you are good at something, never do it for free. Take advantage of all of the resources your union has available for you and remember, we all reap what we sow.
- Troy Pryor, SAG-AFTRA Chicago member
After reading the Fall 2012 Playback feature on flipping work, member Troy Pryor and executive producer Antoine Avery share their experience in the making of Without Ruth.
From the filmmaker Before producing Without Ruth, I worked on several short films in various capacities. As I reflect, none of the short films had SAG actors. When the opportunity came to produce Without Ruth, I hadn’t considered nor explored making this a SAG-AFTRA project. During the casting process, I remember Troy breaking down the requirements on making a project union. Yes, it was very intimidating at first, but he eased that concern when he explained the particulars. The following day, I called Kathy Byrne at SAG-AFTRA Chicago. Of course, I was shocked when I realized how simple the process would be. I simply needed to complete a little paperwork and drop off a cashier’s check. After realizing how simple the process is, I now find myself advising other filmmakers on how to make a union project. Many never took the time to research the process. Almighty Productions started filming Without Ruth on Oct. 20, 2012 and concluded right before Christmas. During the filming, I saw a big difference between union and non-union actors. The knowledge and professionalism of SAG-AFTRA actors must be applauded. That alone is reason enough for every producer to make a union project.
- Antoine Avery, Executive Producer
For more about this project, please visit withoutruthmovie.com. www.sagaftra.org
Walk the Walk with Fern Fern Persons was never shy. She would rise at every union membership meeting and address issues of the day with vigor, wisdom and exhortations for us to do the right thing, to stand up and be counted, and to put our money where our mouths were. This remarkable actor/activist made a difference in your life that you may not even know about: Years ago, it was she who insisted that not only Los Angeles and New York members deserved representation by their “national” unions, but those in the rest of the country needed their voices heard as well. Her graceful but steadfast pressure resulted in a Screen Actors Guild vice presidency for Chicago, so our views were factored in at the highest level. But she didn’t stop there, continuing to push until National Board seats on the executive committee were secured for elected members from around the country. This had a huge impact on everything from wages and working conditions to member benefits, and assured that “flyover country” was never seen quite that way again!
Fern was an incredible role model for actors, reminding us always that although our career path could be very challenging, it was worth the blood, sweat and tears. Most of all, she embodied the nurturing assistance that union professionals can offer one another. She did it by excelling as a professional actor, thus encouraging countless producers to employ other union performers; she did it through long and attentive board service, often sacrificing work and audition opportunities to travel to meetings in other cities; and she did it by generously supporting the country’s first union actors’ training facility, the Kaufherr Members Resource Center. Fern knew our benefactor, Jerry Kaufherr, quite well, sharing his love for actors and his philosophies about unionism and mutual support. So she walked the walk — writing part of the original grant application that established the Center, making generous donations every year (or more often), and rising at meetings to inspire us to share the load, to be the especially loving and gifted people she knew actors to be, and together build the world we could all envision.
Fern’s generous donation to the KMRC sets the bar high for us all, but she would insist that it’s not the amount of your donation that counts, but the sense of community and responsibility for your fellow members that motivates your gift. “Together, darlings,” she would say, “We can do this!” Be like Fern. Give back and donate to the KMRC.
- Nancy Sellers
SAG-AFTRA Chicago and National Board member, and SAG Foundation Board member
Tickets Available Now!
Fern Persons died in July, five days before her 102nd
An Evening of Music, Comedy and More to Benefit the KMRC
birthday. A working actress all of her life, Persons joined AFTRA (then called AFRA) on Dec. 5, 1937, and was the fifth member of the SAG Chicago Branch when she joined on Aug. 31, 1953. She was elected to the Chicago Branch Council in 1962 and served for 44 years until 2006, when she stepped down only because she could no longer drive. She also served more than 30 years on the AFTRA Chicago Local Board. Persons was elected to the SAG National Board in 1976, and served on that body until 1998. During that time, from 1977-81, she was elected SAG 5th national vice president. She served as a SAG regional Branch representative on TV/Theatrical and Commercials
Along with plenty of entertainment, there will be food, drink and a silent auction. Watch The Activator for more details. When: April 22, 2013 Where: Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave., Chicago Tickets: $35 for SAG-AFTRA members before April 1, then $40; $50 for general public To purchase your tickets, please send a check payable to the KMRC to: SAG-AFTRA Chicago, 1 East Erie, Suite 650, Chicago, IL 60611
The photo on the left below is of Persons from the 1943 AFRA Antics, the talent guide of the day. Her skills were listed as: TV, Actress, Radio, Motion Pictures, Slide Film. The center photo was taken at the AFTRA Chicago membership meeting. Broadcaster Dick Kay (then president of the local) and Persons are celebrating AFTRA’s 60th anniversary.
negotiating committees throughout the 1980s and intermittently through the 1990s. In May 2012, Persons again demonstrated her support and commitment to Chicago actors and broadcasters. She donated $100,000 to the Kaufherr Members Resource Center endowment fund. In appreciation, the KMRC video suite was renamed The Fern Persons Video Suite.
BENEFITS I have been an actress for a very long time! OK, I’m not ancient, just seasoned. As long as I’ve been an actress I have never had to worry about my health insurance; I’ve always been covered. Always. Unfortunately, always is not forever, as I found out a few
Wandachristine Loves the Sidney Hillman Health Centre!
months ago. You see, I decided to spend last year doing what I love doing most: writing. I worked on my one-woman show, finished my first fiction novel and I was even commissioned to write a one-act play for Loyola University’s upcoming season. While I was in the throes of my work, I didn’t realize that my AFTRA health coverage was about to expire, and when that unexpected letter came to inform me, “your AFTRA coverage is about to end at the end quarter.” I was numb. I couldn’t believe it. I hid the letter in a stack of unpaid bills, hoping it would magically disappear, but my magic skills are limited. So I kept staring at it every few days trying to figure out what was I going to do? I hadn’t had my yearly physical, no mammogram, no bone density test, no blood work and the last time I begged my doctor to refill my cholesterol medication, she had her nurse tell me that she would no longer fill it until I came in for my yearly checkup. Ha! And I thought we were friends. She’s been my doctor for more than 20 years; I thought she would at least “try” and hook a sista’ up in a time of need. So there I was, telling myself that under no circumstances could A few days later, my husband went in for his physical (family I get sick, fall down or get shot by any random acts of violence. members are included in the plan), and when he came home Then “magically” a few months later, I received an email from smiling, I was like…OK…this place cannot be real! SAG-AFTRA Chicago about enrolling in a trial program for actors without health insurance and we would receive all kinds I have now managed to make friends with most of the staff there, of great services at the Sidney Hillman Health Centre. What? like Lydia and Maria, the two beautiful receptionists that greet Are you kidding? I immediately called the SAG-AFTRA office you with warm smiles as soon as you get off the elevator. Monica and learned the program’s details. I would be able to go in for will hook you up with appointments (at the best cost available) my physical as soon as I completed the application and paid for tests that aren’t provided at the clinic. My girl Irma can do the enrollment cost. A few weeks later a big juicy residual check a blood draw without a wince of pain and no scar. She’s good! came in the mail and I ran as fast as my little legs could get me Sunny, the medical assistant, will help you cheat on the scale if over to the office. A few days later, I was sitting in the waiting you ask her nicely…yes I did! Upstairs in the ophthalmology room at health center preparing to meet my doctor and set up all department, Candace not only has the most beautiful locks, but my necessary appointments. her smile is infectious, along with her tender care; she made sure that I could see before I left. Those drops they put in your eyes From the moment Dr. Malecka walked into the examining room can make you see all kinds of crazy blurry stuff, but thanks to and I saw her shoes and jewelry — baby, she and I instantly them I found out that after all these years of wearing glasses, I became best friends! We talked for at least 15 minutes about don’t need them anymore! shoes, the theater, jewelry, her daughter, her husband and more importantly she made me I could go on and on about the experience at the Sidney Hillman laugh. Once she saw that I Health Centre, but I won’t. I’ll just say that if your health was relaxed, she proceeded insurance has expired or you haven’t qualified yet, run don’t walk, with my examination and and sign up for this plan. Our union has made it possible for us talked about my health to continue to be able to take care of ourselves in a way that we concerns. It was the first don’t lose our dignity and get great care as well. time in years any doctor had spent at least 25 – 30 Oh, and if you need something to read while you’re there, pick minutes in a room with up my book, I Love You More Than Shoes, on Amazon.com. me. And, she did not think of leaving the room until - Wandachristine, SAG-AFTRA Chicago member she had answered all my The views expressed herein belong to the writer and are not questions. Wandachristine intended to imply an endorsement by SAG-AFTRA.
Sidney Hillman Health Centre 333 S. Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 738-6170
Office Hours and Emergencies Monday and Thursday: 1 – 8 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and every other Saturday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Same-day appointments for primary care available, nurse triage available every day. SHHC has a 24-hour answering service for urgent matters. The physician on call will return your call within 30 minutes.
Services Offered at SHHC
(No co-pay or additional fee for these services.) Primary Care: Internal Medicine and Family Practice Specialty Care: Obstetrics & Gynecology Cardiology EKG Gastroenterology General Surgery Optometry
Basic X-Ray Counseling Ultrasound Physical Therapy Laboratory (phlebotomy) Podiatry
Other On-Site Services (Additional fees charged.) Optical Pharmacy Dental Services, including: General Dentistry Dental Hygiene
CHICAGO LOCAL Craig Dellimore, Co-President Ilyssa Fradin, Co-President Richard Steele, Vice President Regan Rohde, Vice President Richard Shavin, Vice President Craig J. Harris, Vice President Judy Blue, Recording Secretary Michael Joseph Thomas Ward, Recording Secretary Joe Wright, Treasurer National Board Craig Dellimore, National Vice President John Carter Brown Dan Frick Todd Hissong Nancy Sellers CHICAGO Board of Directors Roslyn Alexander Daniel Mooney Bernie Allen Garry Moore Paula Anglin Peter Moore Bob Baron Wendy Morgan Brenda Barrie Elaine Opsitnik Lacy Katherine Campbell Matthew O’Toole Tony Castillo Greta Pope William Dick Harry Porterfield Jay Disney Kathleen Puls Andrade Allen Edge Gail Rastorfer George Elliot Zandra Rivera Dan Frick Malcolm Rothman Vince Gerasole Jack Shaw Molly Glynn Nancy Sellers Herb Graham Tammie Souza Martin Halacy Stephen Spencer Denise Jaeckel Richard Steele Razz Jenkins Maureen W. Steindler Dick Kay Don Stroup Dennis Kelly Pat Vern-Harris John W. Lawson Alma Washington Jane McCreedy Ann Wilkinson Grace McPhillips Joe Wright Betsey Means Wills
Oral Surgery Root Canals Dentures
Participation is Limited! There are a limited number of spots available at this time. If you are interested in participating, please call the SAG-AFTRA Chicago office for more information, (312) 573-8081. Services are administered by entities independent of SAG-AFTRA. Questions must be handled by the providers. SAG-AFTRA does not endorse any of these services.
Standing Committees Background Singers Jay Disney Wendy Morgan January Stern Emerging Media Broadcast Steering Razz Jenkins Craig Dellimore Radio Players COCO Connie Foster Ilyssa Fradin Parker Gronwold Diversity Conservatory Tony Castillo Denise Jaekel Cedric Young Alma Washington KMRC Lacy Katherine Campbell Michael Joseph Thomas Ward
playback cover The cover design is original art by SAG-AFTRA Chicago member Jay Disney.
National BSC Meets in Los Angeles Broadcast members from around the country convened at the Los Angeles SAG-AFTRA headquarters for the SAG-AFTRA Broadcast Steering Committee (BSC) meeting on Oct. 6 and 7. Approximately 100 people attended the day-and-a-half-long meeting. Attendees from the Chicago Local included Local Co-President Craig Dellimore (WBBM-AM), Anton Peters (Total Traffic Network) and Marcus Leshock (WGN-TV), along with Chicago Director of Broadcast Paula Weinbaum and field representative Kayla Hernandez. BSC Chair Joe Krebs led the meeting. Krebs recently retired as morning anchor at NBC4 in Washington, D.C. He was joined on the dais by Vice Chair Maria Leticia Gomez, an anchor at Univision in San Francisco and the co-president of the San Francisco Local; SAG-AFTRA Co-President Roberta Reardon; National Executive Director David White; and Mary Cavallaro, assistant national executive director for News & Broadcast. Cavallaro and Richard Larkin, associate executive director for News & Broadcast, reviewed some of the major negotiations happening across the country. Total Traffic Network (now owned by Clear Channel) and SAG-AFTRA have been engaged in national negotiations with all 11 locals represented at one table, including Chicago. SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles, New York and Chicago are also in negotiations with CBS for successor television agreements. All locals are in regular communication with each other in order to maximize efforts at the respective tables. SAG-AFTRA BSC attendees were also debriefed on several other local and national negotiations.
negotiating PSC-specific language, the Chicago Local is doing education, outreach, and personal contract reviews for members. The social media presentation was an informative session, covering several legal aspects of using personal blogs and social media accounts to promote station events. Intellectual property right issues are of high importance to broadcasters, particularly those on radio who use social media to self-promote and advertise other business ventures (disk jockeying at local nightclubs, personal appearances, etc.). SAG-AFTRA National presented a template of social media language designed to provide protections and parameters around social media duties. On Jan. 24, Chicago broadcasters attended a special workshop designed to address their needs, Social Media: Protecting Your Online Brand, hosted by SAG-AFTRA Chicago and held at the Kaufherr Members Resource Center. The BSC is a great opportunity for broadcasters from around the country to learn what’s going on in other markets, discuss similarities and differences among locals, and develop strategies about the future.
Two new local Chicago contracts were also discussed: WCPT (Progressive Talk) organized and recently ratified its first contract and in August, WEEK-TV and WHOI-TV Peoria concluded very long and difficult negotiations. Personal Service Contracts (PSCs) or broadcast employment contracts received substantive attention at the BSC meeting. PSC issues are part of national’s new negotiating agenda. A detailed presentation was delivered by Anee Raulerson, Washington-Mid Atlantic assistant executive director, on the elements SAGAFTRA can address in a given station’s collective bargaining agreement to protect individuals in their own PSC negotiations. Over the years, corporate headquarters have driven much of PSC negotiations, clamoring for pages of corporate boilerplate language with little to no benefit for broadcasters. In addition to
Craig Dellimore, SAG-AFTRA Chicago co-president at the BSC meeting.
SAG-AFTRA Chicago Radio Players 2013 Schedule May 9, THE THIN MAN Aug. 1, THE INCREDIBLE ANNA LEE and SUSPENSE/NOBODY LOVES ME Oct. 9, MY CLIENT CURLY and THE ODYSSEY OF RUNYAN JONES Dec. 12, I REMEMBER MAMA Watch The Activator for more performance information. The Radio Players perform at the Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 E. Randolph in Chicago. Admission is free, however seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Performers’ Mighty Ally The Illinois AFL-CIO is a voice for working families at the state level, building political power and advancing a progressive legislative agenda. More than 30,000 local unions make up the 51 state federations of the AFL-CIO, and your state fed is the grassroots backbone of the labor movement’s efforts to ensure fair treatment and economic justice. But how does that affect a professional performer like you? Just imagine the people power that can be mobilized by local unions working together — we saw it here in 2000 during the long commercials strike, when Teamsters and other union activists supported us on the picket lines, in the media and even by shutting down objectionable worksites. State federations give working families a voice: • •
On the job, challenging anti-union, anti-worker employers; In state and federal political campaigns, by endorsing political candidates, leafleting and neighborhood
Photos: Pete Steinberg
Andrew J. Sten, Lanny Lutz and Joel Daly
Barbara Alexander and Martin Halacy
canvassing to get out the vote. This is an important advantage for SAG-AFTRA journalists and news reporters who must maintain objectivity in their reporting, but want their own views heard and heeded at the ballot box; In state and federal government, by providing information and opportunities for working families to have their voices heard by legislative leaders and congressional representatives; and In the economy, by mobilizing working people for social and economic justice, for fair treatment on the job and for pro-worker government policies.
At every turn, the IL AFL-CIO supports SAG-AFTRA, with educational resources all the time and action when needed. And the dynamic of thousands of working people who do very different jobs but focus together on fairness, job safety and economic well-being for all is not only effective, but emotionally powerful and life-affirming. Union yes!
- Nancy Sellers
Executive Vice President, IL AFL-CIO www.sagaftra.org
FROM the CO-Presidents We all have to be represented by a franchised agent. Yep, even in markets outside of your ZIP code, where permissible, if there are franchised agents, you need to make sure the one you’re listed with is following the agreement they’ve signed with the union. When we book that glorious job, you give your agent 10 percent commission. And that’s only on items that are agreed as commissionable.
Ilyssa Fradin Wow, a day in the life … of a performer. We all know that in our industry, no two performers are alike. We all approach our work differently. We all bring something unique to that audition or job. But one thing I’ve learned over my many years involved in my union’s day-to-day operations, the day in the life of any performer that works under a union contract is pretty much the same when it comes to the rules and protections your union provides you. How are we similar?
Also, an agent cannot ask for money from you to be represented by them. Nor can they insist you get photos by a certain photographer or that you take a certain class with a certain teacher. At an audition, we are given the same chance to shine, but once you stay more than an hour from your appointment time, you get paid. But you have to sign in, sign out and initial. That brings me to the similarities of our contracts. All union agreements start out the same. Your franchised agent can negotiate better terms based on you and what you bring to the job, but it’s nice to
A day in the life of a broadcaster can vary. There are so many varieties of jobs we can hold, from reporter, to disc jockey, to meteorologist to talk show host and more. But those of us who are working in union shops share many things.
Craig Dellimore 13
Many of us have lives a bit like freelance actors: part-time, only called when needed. Some of us may replace a lead anchor or reporter who is sick or on vacation. But, most of us have steady work, coming in each day for a salary. And, that’s where being members of
know we are all starting at the same fair wage for that day’s work under the same working conditions. Even the time in which we get paid is the same. On a commercial job, you should get paid within 12 business days. For TV/ film, you should get paid within five business days and work under the Corporate/Educational and NonBroadcast (Co-Ed) contract should be paid within 30 calendar days. You should know this. If a performer on the same job gets paid and you didn’t, you can follow up, first with your agent, and then maybe with a claim. A claim? Not many union actors know this is one of the benefits of their union. If anything goes wrong for you under any agreement, you can make a claim with your union to follow up and get your situation rectified. There are tons of other ways performers are one within their union. Come to a membership orientation and find out more. Heck, it’s your union, your career; know your rights.
SAG-AFTRA can make a difference in our everyday lives, even if each of us doesn’t always realize that. Yes, there are broadcasters who — like other performers — have agents and have their own individual contracts. But those are often above and beyond the basic salary and benefits that are part of the contract the unions negotiates with each station. Our working conditions, duties, vacations and other matters are governed by language we and our negotiators have crafted at the bargaining table.
CHICAGO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Remember when our parents and grandparents made a point of being out in the community, socially professionally or philanthropically? How many have parents who were members of social clubs, bowling leagues or bridge groups or union social and activity clubs? If you were from a farm family, your parents were probably members of the Grange or the Future Farmers of America. The point is, we used to be a nation of “joiners.” Over the years, that has changed drastically. With the advent of television, computers, gaming systems and home theaters, and with the drastic increase in demands on our time in the last 30 years, people have lost some of that social connection that bound neighbor to neighbor, member to member, and citizen to citizen. Well it’s time for us to change that, starting here at SAG-AFTRA Chicago. We enjoy a unique niche market that is growing out of its recent doldrums and providing a broad spectrum of work for our members. We have a growing community that has started to work together on issues like merger, organizing and contract negotiations. Our membership’s efforts are being augmented by the efforts of “pre-union” members in Chicago who have made a conscious effort to engage in outreach to one another and also to us. We have responded by having career seminars for members as well as non-union performers in our market. The results are remarkable. Our outreach has resulted in a strengthened bond that has broken down old suspicions that the groups had toward one another. Similarly, we have made efforts to engage our broadcasters to bring them closer to the union of which they are a part but in which they don’t often participate. We continue to actively seek
If there is a dispute, or if an employee feels he or she isn’t being treated properly, SAG-AFTRA makes sure that person doesn’t have to face management alone. And, if there are times that some members forget what the union can and will do for them, those who face layoffs or dismissals come to be thankful for the union protections in our contracts. But the union is — and can be — so much more. It’s a partnership among broadcasters who work for different companies. We share information about our careers and compare notes.
to bring them in to the “club.” This is resulting in useful and productive engagement at the bargaining table, with large numbers of members attending and having their voices heard. Likewise, we are engaging all of our members in their work and life environments. We are attending functions where our members are being honored or where they are giving their time to causes, and we are adopting those and our own causes.
I urge you to become part of our “club.” SAG-AFTRA is so much more than a union. We are a movement, a place to improve your skills, a place to find new opportunities, a place to network and a place to meet new friends. I urge you to become an active part of Your Club. There are a lot of ways you can be a joiner: Attend the always enjoyable membership meetings; plan to attend the next KMRC event that interests you; come to train at the KMRC; join the SAG-AFTRA Movie Club and come see first-run films for free. If you or a friend of yours in the union is participating in a charitable event or is being honored, let us know, maybe we can add our support. We want you to join with us. We want you to be part of something bigger. We welcome you to be part of something very special going on at SAG-AFTRA Chicago.
It’s a point of reference in a world that is changing rapidly. And our union is changing with it, and helping us address the challenges of new technology. We are not just “on the air” but on the Web and a host of other mobile devices, right down to phones. Our union is our foundation, and the framework that holds us together. And even if it is sometimes an invisible part of our day, SAG-AFTRA is very much a factor in our daily lives. I’m thankful for that every day.
playback MARCH 2013
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