Formerly NY Actor/StandBy NY • Winter 2013 • Volume 2 • No. 1
New Media Rescues Soaps Welcome home, All My Children and One Life to Live! You were sorely missed.
By Janette Gautier etween 2009 and 2012, New York actors lost our last four daytime dramas: Guiding Light, As the World Turns, All My Children and One Life to Live. AMC left New York after 40 years for a supposedly new life in Los Angeles, unfortunately, a year and a half later, it was cancelled. Just last year I wrote a fond farewell to OLTL, which was canceled in January 2012 after more than 10,000 episodes and hundreds of thousands of jobs for actors. We thought soap operas would never be seen here again. I’m delighted to say we were wrong! Prospect Park Productions, which acquired the rights to All My Children and One Life to Live, has announced plans to bring them to the Internet. Agreements have been reached with SAG-AFTRA and other unions. According to various press reports, shooting starts later this
month in Connecticut. Programs will be 30 minutes in length and shown on Hulu and iTunes via The Online Network, with episodes becoming available in April. Also reported in the press is that many of the contract players are returning to parts that made them fan favorites nationwide, including Debbie Morgan, Darnell Williams, Thorsten Kaye, Jill Larson and Vincent Irizarry of AMC; Erica Slezak, Robert Woods, Hilary Bailey Smith, Kassie DePaiva (see interview on page 6) and Robin Strasser of OLTL. Fans are rejoicing and so is SAG-AFTRA. Both One Life to Live and All My Children were the creations of Agnes Nixon. In 1968, Nixon said she was “tired of the restraints imposed by the WASP-y, noncontroversial nature of daytime drama.” Using classic soap opera formulas, she emphasized the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the people of Pine Valley and Llanview, Penn. Fans will be elated to learn that Nixon will be acting as an advisor for her shows’ new incarnations online. – Janette Gautier is a SAG-AFTRA National and New York Local Board member.
Young Performers Get Lesson In Negotiating page 3 UPDATE: Legislative page 4 BROADCAST SPOTLIGHT: Christine Nagy of 106.7 LiteFM page 5 “I AM A NEW YORK ACTOR” Kassie DePaiva page 6 Hurricane Sandy Hits Home for Traffic Reporter page 9 UPDATE: Audiobooks page 10 Tribute to Martha Greenhouse page 11
SAG-AFTRA NY NEW YORK COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE Ed Fry Co-Chair
Liz Zazzi Co-Chair
MEMBERS SHOW LOVE FOR 30 ROCK AT SAG AWARDS New York-based comedy 30 Rock garnered two trophies at the 19th Annual SAG Awards in January. Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series recipient Tina Fey, second from left, poses with, from left, SAG-AFTRA New York Co-President Mike Hodge, New York Co-1st Vice President Rebecca Damon and National Co-President Roberta Reardon. Alec Baldwin was the recipient for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.
Q+A: Graham & Hodge
Sam Freed Anne Gartlan Mike Hodge John Metaxas Jeff Spurgeon Sharon Washington
EDITORIAL STAFF Richard Baldwin Communications Coordinator Bernadine Goldberg Manager, Member Outreach Victoria Pistone Manager, Communications //////
ew York Co-Presidents Holter Graham and Mike Hodge discuss the state of our union since the historic merger, which will reach its one-year anniversary at the end of this month. N.Y. Local Communications Co-Chairs Ed Fry and Liz Zazzi had a chance to interview them together.
CO-CHAIRS: Thanks for talking with us. We are now coming up on one year since the two former organizations were formed into one new union, SAG-AFTRA. What do you see as our most significant accomplishments? MIKE HODGE: The first thing is, “We did it.” But the more important discovery is how different we were as organizations. AFTRA had autonomous local offices. SAG was a national organization with branches and divisions with some autonomy. SAG-AFTRA attempts to marry the best of both philosophies. For instance, we have complete autonomy over how we want to govern ourselves — our Local Constitution and Rules of Procedure have been completed and are being utilized, which means we can decide our schedules and governance. But our finances are centralized, which means they can be invested to greater value, giving our finance department a greater economic efficiency. HOLTER GRAHAM: Quite a bit. We wrote and adopted our new Local Constitution. With Hurricane Sandy, the strongest hands reached out to help each
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other in the best traditions of the union. We held the first merged membership meeting, seeing who we are now and what we want to achieve together. We settled into a regular schedule of New York Local Board meetings, getting to know each other, identifying differences, developing new policy, generally getting our work done. With TV and film, seeing that we’re as strong as ever with more opportunity all the time. We’ve prepared for the commercials contracts negotiations. New York’s last two daytime shows are back and will begin their new lives as pioneer online dramas under a deal with Prospect Park. And we’ve worked with New York dancers who were pivotal in helping the union achieve its first-ever music video agreement. This doesn’t mention any of the committees that have gotten to work, as well. Like I said, quite a bit. There have been noticeable staff changes in New York. How are all the members in entertainment, broadcast information and entertainment, and sound recordings doing as a result? GRAHAM: Change is never easy, and it has hurt me continues on page 10 >>>
QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? COMPLIMENTS? We’d like to hear from you! Send them and your suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered in future issues to NewYork@sagaftra.org Please write
in the subject of your email. Cover art - hand & cell phone: Victor Zakharevych/Thinkstock.com; hand & tablet: ekinyalgin/Thinkstock.com
N.Y. Young Performers Get a Lesson in Collective Bargaining
hile SAG-AFTRA members and rehearsal under the staff were busy preparing for watchful eyes of Gadea the 2013 commercials contracts and Touretz, who made negotiations, the next generation of negotiators sure the agreed upon was being groomed at a seminar titled Let’s working conditions Make a Deal: Young Performers “Mock” were being upheld. Negotiation Workshop. Hosted by the New The final product, York Local’s Young Performers Committee, called Work Together, the event was held on Saturday, Dec. 8 at was set in a subway the local office at 260 Madison Avenue. car stopped between Sponsored by a grant from the Screen stations by a depressed Actors Guild-Producers Industry Advancement train conductor Cooperative Fund, the event was coordinated who was too sad to by the co-chairs of the New York Local Young continue driving. The Performers Committee — Alan Simon, New passengers attempt to From left, Kezia Dacosta, Katya Savina, Victoria Pannell and York Local Co-President Holter Graham and cheer up the conductor, Alestair Shu rehearse their dance moves for the performance. Lee Bryant — along with Manager of Member ultimately learning Outreach Bernadine Goldberg and Manager of that they need to work Communications Victoria Pistone. together to get the best results. far the union extends over what I do and how The day began with a panel of industry After the show, it was time to get “paid.” much I’m protected as a union member.” experts who gave The young performers “When I started in films as a young performer, “It’s been really cool career advice for young received their negotiated someone explained Coogan laws to me the day performers. The panel compensation of fruit I signed with the union, and I’ve felt protected to see how far the consisted of Carly Hugo, and candy, but two of the ever since.” said Graham. “The kids at the event union extends over producer at The Group dancers discovered they had astonished me with their focus and dedication what I do and how Entertainment; Denise received only half their due to each other. SAG-AFTRA Senior Advisor much I’m protected Simon, acting and career in chocolate coins. After the John McGuire said he may frame the mock pay coach at Simon Coaching situation was remedied, they schedule our kids came up with, because even as a union member.” Group; and Victoria Kress, were asked what they would seasoned negotiators could learn from it.” — Isabelle Goodman head of the youth division at do if that happened on a Committee Co-Chair Simon said, “We thank Don Buchwald and Associates. real job. Kezia Dacosta immediately responded, the IACF for their sponsorship of these ongoing After the panel, the mock negotiating “Call the union!” seminar events these past almost 20 years. It commenced. The young performers, who Parents and children were equally enthusiastic has helped us to educate our young performers ranged in age from 7 to 17, were separated into about the day. Young performer Isabelle on being both better union members as well as three teams, each led by a SAG-AFTRA staff Goodman said, “It’s been really cool to see how better business people.” mentor. The three guest panelists represented the management side. The teams were assigned to negotiate a specific aspect of a short Three-day rate: Clementine performance the young performers would give PAY RATES at the end of the day. Day rate: One bag of chocolate coins Scale: A box of raisins The red team was led by Business Residuals: One bag of chocolate coins Series Regular: Cherry candy Representative of Theatrical Contracts Jackie Ultra-low budget film: One box of raisins cane and a bag of fruit snacks Gadea and negotiated what the performance Stunt: Cherry candy cane or fruit snack topic would be. The green team was matched REHEARSAL BREAKS Extra: A box of raisins (scale) with Business Representative of Commercial Day-player: One bag of chocolate coins and Industrial Contracts Justin Touretz, and • All breaks are five minutes Singer/Dancer: Two bags negotiated the working conditions for the • Performers 13 and older, breaks of chocolate coins hour-long rehearsal. The blue team worked at 30 minutes and 50 minutes with Senior Manager of Television Contracts • Performers 12 and under, PRINCIPAL PERFORMER Steven Meicke, and negotiated the pay scale for one additional three-minute PAY SCALE the performance, consisting of a “budget” of break at 15 minutes various candy and fruit snacks (see sidebar). Week: Two bags of chocolate coins • 30-minute mark break: PARTY TIME! After lunch, Co-Chair Graham directed the
WINTER 2013 // SAG-AFTRA NY //
Legislative and Public Policy
he landscape of our work is defined not only by our collectively bargained contracts but also by legislation and public policy. Washington, Albany, Trenton and Hartford can have as much impact on our work as the contracts we negotiate. Great news on the young performer front. Final rules for the Child Performer Education and Trust Act have been posted on the NYS Department of Labor website. This marks the end of a very long process to fully implement the act that was passed in 2003. Among other things, the act deals with work permits, mandatory trust accounts and set instruction for working young performers. The legislation was the first of its kind by any state outside of California and marks a significant milestone in the protection of young performers, union
and non-union alike, in New York state and beyond. If you have questions regarding the new rules, contact the New York Local legal department. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a new proposal regarding the film and television tax incentives that will be included in his budget. His proposal extends the current program through 2019, with modifications. We remain hopeful that the state Legislature will continue to invest in our industry, adding jobs to our local economy by building on our past success. We will keep members informed as this important proposal moves through the legislature. The New York State Continuation Assistance Demonstration Program for Entertainment Industry Employees, otherwise known simply as the COBRA Program, continues to operate. If you have lost health
coverage in either health plan and are currently extending it through COBRA, see if this unique N.Y. program will work for you. http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/cobra/ cobra_entertainment.htm Hurricane Sandy relief was finally passed by the Congress. For those in need, links to assistance of all kinds can be found on the N.Y. Local webpage at www.sagaftra.org/ny. And nationally, as part of the January “fiscal cliff” agreement, Congress passed a one-year extension of U.S. film and television incentive, known as Section 181. These incentives are designed to encourage domestic production of film and television, and operate in addition to any active state incentive program. As always, our strength is your voice. When you receive “Get Active” alerts, please respond. When we speak with one voice, decision-makers listen.
From left, N.Y. Local Co-2nd Vice Presidents Liz Zazzi and Jim Kerr, National Co-Presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon, N.Y. Local Co-1st Vice President Rebecca Damon, N.Y. Local Co-President Mike Hodge, and National Board member Sharon Washington
SAG-AFTRA made its first official appearance at Actorfest New York on Nov. 17. The trade show, held annually by Backstage, allows attendees to collect information about a variety of organizations and services for professional actors, and gave both members and members-to-be the opportunity to ask questions about the union. Representatives of the MOVE and MORE committees — Stuart Green, Verania Kenton, Joyce Korbin, Keith Randolph Smith and Joan Valentina — were in attendance to represent SAG-AFTRA.
Holiday Open House a Success
AG-AFTRA celebrated its first holiday season as a merged union at the N.Y. Local Host Committee’s Holiday Open House, held on Dec. 13 in the Leon Janney Boardroom of 360 Madison Avenue. More than 550 members came to the party, which was attended by SAG-AFTRA National Co-Presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon, N.Y. Co-President Mike Hodge, and members of the New York Local Board. While this is the fifth annual holiday party
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for the N.Y. Host Committee, it was the first year the event was held for the new union. “One of the things I absolutely love about service in SAG-AFTRA is meeting and interacting with our members,” said Hodge. “The N.Y. Host Holiday Celebration is one of those wonderful opportunities to do that. I really want to give a great big thanks to the committee for staging such a wonderful event which gets bigger and better every year.”
Keith Randolph Smith and Joan Valentina speak to attendees at Actorfest New York.
By Liz Zazzi
ave a backup plan,” cautioned her parents, as then-Montclair State University freshman Christine Nagy declared her passion for acting. “As if a career in broadcasting was any less challenging,” she laughs. “I jumped right in.” She credits MSU for preparing her for the professional world. “I was wooed by NBC when I graduated, hired to do Shadow Traffic and Weather. They were eager to groom me as a TV news correspondent, but I was drawn to radio. I was more suited to the immediate and personal connection, the spontaneity where I could improvise — as actors do.” It was early in her career that Christine realized the importance of her union: Shadow Traffic reporters were targeted for elimination by producers, but AFTRA prevailed. “I have a medical and pension plan thanks to my union.” While at Shadow Traffic, Christine was invited to a launch party for Q104’s (104.3 FM) new format, switching from classical music to pure rock. She researched and “dressed the part,” impressing honcho Bob Elliott. She was hired to co-anchor the morning drive on Q104 for two years, and then iconic Z100 (100.3 FM) asked her to join the “Morning Zoo,” reporting news and entertainment news, and commenting on the latest trends. Her knack for spotting future superstars would include Adele and Lady Gaga (“an early Z100 fan who taped our shows!”). Her stint with Z100 lasted more than eight years, while she simultaneously explored other opportunities, from hosting at Caroline’s on Broadway to returning to her first passion, acting. “I played Tina in Tony ’N Tina’s Wedding for two years and realized I didn’t want to close that door.” So, Christine took a hiatus to perform in plays and independent films. But radio still beckoned, and she found herself freelancing on Sirius XM on the Martha Stewart Channel. “Once again, I did my homework and was able to ‘improvise’ my skills as a home décor expert.” It was at Sirius XM that Christine met her idol, Howard Stern. “He is simply the best interviewer,” she stated in a BBC Radio 1 interview. That endorsement made its way to Stern’s Sirius XM program, and Christine felt she’d achieved a career dream. “Having him
acknowledge me was thrilling.” Then LiteFM (106.7 FM), a sister station of Z100, was transitioning from a mostly music morning show to include talk, info and entertainment. Christine was identified as the perfect host. “Elvis Duran taught me how to do a morning show. He’s mentored so many of us,” including former intern, now Z100 personality TJ Taormina, whom she calls the “next big thing.” Christine currently shares LiteFM hosting duties with Bob Bronson. “I love my incredibly supportive team. Producer Jamie (Megargee), Bob and the crew are amazing!” I asked Christine about her typical day. “I’m up at 3 a.m. and at the station at 4:30 a.m. because I write the news, entertainment news, sports, traffic and weather. I check the news feeds and also think about what’s trending, so I can determine what will lead the banter. We’re live at 5:30 a.m., and even while the listeners hear music playing, Bob and I are talking about the next live segment. We’re off the air at 9 a.m., but there’s no decompression. We’re prepping and recording national feeds, answering emails and responding on social media.” She describes her downtime as anything but. “I’m always taking in information and processing how I’ll talk about it the next day.” As hard as she’s worked to achieve her successes, Christine modestly says, “I am so lucky. Few broadcasters are able to start and maintain a career in a major market. I started in N.Y. and I stayed here. I love my job, and I work down the hall from an idol — Jim Kerr!” To budding broadcasters she advises: “Create content. Do podcasts. Feed your passion.” Smaller markets where hopefuls could hone their skills are a thing of the past. “Media is constantly evolving. I have a YouTube Channel, and Twitter and Facebook accounts, both personal and for the station.” She maintains that the human connection is essential. “Some of the feedback I get is so touching. I feel like we keep each other going. People will always need entertainment, information and a companion. A computer can make a playlist for you, but nothing can replace the interaction that a listener has with a person.” Laura Desantis-Olsson /Olsson Photography
— Liz Zazzi is a SAG-AFTRA National and Local New York Board member and co-chair of the New York Local Communications Committee. WINTER 2013 // SAG-AFTRA NY //
Ed Fry Interviews Kassie DePaiva
“I AM A NEW YORK ACTOR” assie DePaiva is an actress and singer best known for her longtime role as Blair Cramer on the daytime drama One Life to Live. Canceled from broadcast television in 2010, OLTL is coming back online this year. I spoke to Kassie by phone about her career, our union and the prospect of returning to her iconic character in a new format. ED FRY: Kassie, thanks for talking with us. You’re a New Yorker now but you come from Kentucky? KASSIE DePAIVA: Yes. I grew up in Kentucky, singing a lot in church and talent shows, wherever I could. I never thought of it as an actual career or profession, but when I was a senior in high school, I auditioned for Opryland in Nashville. I made $200 a week! And that is when I joined AFTRA. I did a George Burns TV special in Nashville, and because I was one of the girls on the show, I joined the union. It was a huge moment, the real beginning of my professional career. EF: You went to Indiana University, transferred to UCLA, studying theater, and then joined the USO? KD: Yes, I was part of a four-part harmony group. A band I had worked with had done a tour with the USO, so we just went down to the USO and asked if our group could do something. We ended up doing a 49-day tour in the Far East. We were in the DMZ in Korea, in Okinawa and Japan, and finally Hawaii. It was fantastic and very rewarding.
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EF: I read you were on the road as a backup singer. What was that like? KD: Yes, I got a job singing backup for Bobby Womack. We opened for the Temptations, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle. At the Beacon here in New York, Ron Wood came and played with us. We played with the Stones in London. Sly Stone was on the road with us for a year. It was a great time. A real eye-opening time! When I came off the last tour, I wanted to sharpen my acting chops, but I let my music slip. Once you get into one thing, it really takes discipline to keep both in top form at the same time. EF: So, your music led to acting? KD: Yes, and it flowed so naturally into my work as an actor. My first job in daytime was on Guiding Light. My character, Chelsea Reardon, was a singer. My character on One Life To Live for 19 years, Blair Cramer, was also a singer and owned a club. So it’s all intertwined quite nicely. I’ve put out three CDs. My fans know I sing. It’s worked out well. EF: Any special inﬂuences? KD: Well, Kentucky, of course. And church had a big influence on me musically. Growing up, church was a huge support for me as a singer and as a human being. I still think some of the best songs are the old gospel songs. EF: With all of this music in your life, I understand your son was born deaf. KD: Yeah, a little twist of fate. He was born deaf but not diagnosed until a year later. It was certainly an emotional challenge. I found out my son had hearing issues, and I was right in the middle of a contract negotiation. I didn’t know if I could do it all because my first priority is my son. But once you deal with the loss and mourn it and get active, it becomes just a part of life. He has implants now, and you would not know he has hearing issues. He has beautiful speech. I’m a very proud momma.
EF: How’d you feel about merger? KD: I think it’s good. With so much being shot digitally, we need a single voice. It doesn’t matter what camera you put in front of me. I’m going to do the same quality of work and I would like the same quality of protection for my work day. Just because I’m shooting in Stamford doesn’t mean I want to work longer than 10 hours or go without eating. There have to be parameters and protections. The union has been great about that. The trick, of course, is to stay ahead of the game, which is changing by the minute. EF: During merger, we talked about the need for an adaptable union. Do you think the Prospect Park deal for OLTL is a good example of that? KD: I think it’s a beginning. We can’t compare things to what we’ve had because we can’t go back. We can only go forward. There are solutions out there to our biggest questions, so let’s be as positive about it as possible.
EF: And you’ve been quite active, advocating on behalf of the hearing impaired. KD: Yes, I’ve tried to raise awareness of the issue, done congressional caucuses to advocate for newborn screenings. There is no doubt my son’s situation has made me a better parent and a better human being. EF: And now you’re going back to work, with OLTL moving online. Was the fan base instrumental in getting the show back on? KD: Absolutely. OLTL always had a very loyal fan base. I know SAG-AFTRA worked out a deal for this new format. Hats off to Prospect Park, the producer, for trying, because it’s about jobs. Not just actors but crew, everyone. EF: We make the same point to legislators when we talk to them about production incentives. KD: There are jobs for set-builders and costume designers and stage crew. And all the money the show spends in the community, from food to flowers. TV brings in a lot of money to the towns they shoot in. EF: You’re someone who has always been very well informed about the business of our business. So I wanted to get your take on where you think things in TV are headed. KD: Our deal is a new frontier for entertainment. My feeling is that it’s definitely the future and it’s great to be on the front line; [it’s] exciting to be a part of entertainment history. So much change in the way people watch. Look at Netflix, their new series [House of Cards] released all 13 episodes at once. We even have a new term: binge watching. People can watch whatever they want whenever they want, as much as they want.
EF: You have any advice for performers coming up? KD: It helps to be at the right place at the right time. A lot of that is God’s grace. But you have to be ready, knowing your craft so that, when that door opens, you can walk through with confidence and stand tall and show your stuff. That is a lifelong challenge. EF: Great advice. KD: I don’t think my success as an actress is entirely due to what you see on the TV. It is also what I bring behind the camera; to the company I work with, being professional. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re hard to work with, you might work for a day or week, but inside a hard-working company, if you don’t play well with others, you won’t be playing. EF: That seems like it would apply to the union, as well. KD: Yes, it is all about community. Whether you’re in an ensemble or active in the union. Some sit back. I like being up on stage and getting things done, no matter what it is. — Ed Fry is a SAG-AFTRA National and New York Local Board member and Co-Chair of the New York Local Communications Committee.
WINTER 2013 // SAG-AFTRA NY //
SAG-AFTRA NY Has First Health Fair
analysis from the Harkness Center AG-AFTRA members filled the for Dance Injuries. Information was Eddie Cantor Boardroom at also available on a number of topics, 260 Madison Ave. on Monday, including the AFTRA Health & Nov. 26 for the first SAG-AFTRA New Retirement and SAG Pension & Health York Local Health Fair. The event, plans, yoga, dental health, podiatry hosted by the Healthcare Safetynet and nutrition. All members who Committee with support from the attended were offered complimentary MOVE and MORE committees, was sandwiches and healthful snacks. originally scheduled to take place During the course of the day, in late October but was rescheduled information seminars were offered due to Hurricane Sandy. National in the Virginia Payne Conference Healthcare Safetynet Committee CoRoom. Renata Marinaro of The Actors Chair Cathy Lilly, who spearheaded Fund presented Getting Affordable the event said, “It’s exciting to Healthcare in NYC, Brad Lamm and have our bigger union. It makes it Maria Hendrickson of Caron New possible to create a larger health National Healthcare Safetynet Committee Co-Chair York hosted Understanding Drug and fair and provide a greater array of Cathy Lilly, center, with MOVE Committee member Peter Alcohol Addiction, and Adrienne free resources. Thanks to those who Kilcommons, left, and MOVE volunteer Stan Krajewski, right Spags of Pacific College of Oriental made this possible: the N.Y. Local Medicine offered Autumn Health and elected leadership, Manager of Stress Relief Tips From Oriental Medicine. Member Outreach Bernadine Goldberg, N.Y. Local Co-1st Vice President Rebecca Damon and her MOVE and MORE committee One of the biggest draws was the free flu shots provided by The Actors volunteers; plus a shout-out to Healthcare Safetynet Committee members Fund, supported by the SAG Motion Pictures Player Welfare Fund and Maura Herbert, Bridget Benson, Tom Ligon and Andrew Rogers.” the AFTRA Foundation. Janet Pearl and Dr. James Spears from the Al Free services for members included chair massages, reiki sessions, Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic were on hand to give the shots, which were BMI and glucose tests, ear seed auricular therapy, and posture and gait administered in a private room.
More to Celebrate
irst let me say that the merger has been great for those of us who like to walk. I’ve gotten plenty of exercise shuttling between our 260 and 360 Madison locations. But joking aside, these past 11 months have been truly rewarding for me in getting to work with the legacy AFTRA and legacy SAG staff and members. Their passion and commitment to the new union and to organized labor in general is inspiring. I’m very pleased to announce the promotions of three New York staff members. RoseAnn Badamo has assumed the title of director, administration and human resources. Noah Marmar and Nancy Kelly, both former field reps, will be moving indoors: Noah will be a manager in the Sound Recordings Department and Nancy will be a broadcast business representative. Please join me in congratulating all three! As for the issue of separate offices, rest assured that finding a unified office space for the New York Local is a priority for 2013. In the meantime, I’m happy to report that 2013
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looks on track to be a great year for local production. We currently have 13 scripted TV shows in production, and 10 confirmed pilots are on the way. Our local tax incentives, not to mention our local talent, continue to attract major film and television productions. You can find casting information about all these local opportunities in the Production Show Sheet, available at either New York office, and online. I would like to encourage all of you to make use of the New York Local Web page at http://www.sagaftra.org/ ny. You all know it is there, but you may not know how much information is available to you. The Local site is updated weekly and includes a list of upcoming events, a selection of deals and discounts for SAG-AFTRA members, and much more. The website is also a great resource for basic information on contracts and pay rates. While we are always happy to answer your questions by phone, you can save time by visiting the website first and looking up the information there. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, then of
A LETTER FROM THE NEW YORK LOCAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
JAE JE SIMMONS course give us a call! Speaking of deals for SAG-AFTRA members, beginning March 1, the Museum of the Moving Image will be offering free general admission to all SAG-AFTRA members. Check out the announcement on page 12 for details. Finally, the next printed publication you receive from SAG-AFTRA will probably be the national magazine. Look for information about the upcoming election calendar, and make sure we have your current mailing address so your ballot can find you! Don’t forget to notify the AFTRA Health & Retirement and SAG Pension & Health plans, as well, of any address changes — they need to be notified separately.
Hurricane Sandy Hits Home for Traffic Reporter By John Metaxas
12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief SAG-AFTRA New York Local and National Board members Frank Simms and Elaine Caswell and SAG-AFTRA member Tawatha Agee performed with Roger Waters at 12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief. The concert raised $50 million for the Robin Hood Foundation, which will distribute the money to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Courtesy Tom Kaminski / WCBS Chopper 880 Tom Kaminski photo: Martin Untrojb
nlike most reporters, Tom Kaminski keeps a certain distance between himself and the stories he covers — literally thousands of feet. But in the 24 years he has flown in the WCBS Newsradio 880 helicopter as the traffic reporter for the New York all-news station, he says he’s never covered a story that has hit as close to home as Hurricane Sandy. “This, I think, ranks right up there. Certainly it’s the biggest story I’ve covered since 9/11,” says Kaminski. As the traffic reporter, Kaminski says his main job is to get commuters from point A to point B during the station’s crucial morning and afternoon drive times. But when big news breaks, be it 9/11 or the regionwide blackout in 2003, Kaminski shifts into his role as a news reporter. His eyein-the-sky vantage point gives his listeners a unique perspective on the news. Kaminski’s chopper was grounded for a day when the storm knocked out power at his Linden, N.J., airfield. “We literally couldn’t get the hangar door open,” he says. But when he finally took off two mornings after the storm hit, he saw the extent of the devastation. “Words were thrown around in that cockpit that we could never repeat on the air,” he says. “We couldn’t believe it.” Kaminski and his pilot chose to head straight down the Jersey shore that morning, where the storm had first hit land. Passing South Amboy, he saw that the New Jersey Transit railroad bridge had been washed out. In Keansburg, boats from the marina had been tossed into
Jet Star Roller Coaster and Tom Kaminski, inset the intersection on Shrewsbury Avenue. In Mantoloking, an entire bridge was washed out, and a house, lifted from its foundation, was left deposited at one end of the bridge. And in Seaside was perhaps the most compelling image: The roller coaster was on its side in the ocean waters. But it was over Spring Lake that Kaminski, who describes himself as a born-and-bred “Jersey guy,” says his job became personal. “I proposed to my wife in the sand off the boardwalk in Spring Lake under the streetlight. I flew over it and the boardwalk was gone, the streetlight was gone.” Kaminski recounts that as he started to tell the story live on the air to WCBS morning anchors and fellow SAG-AFTRA members Pat Carroll and Michael Wallace, “I started to choke up on the air. It really hit me, the amount of damage. We
were not prepared to see that.” Kaminski’s family fared better than many others in the storm. His home lost power and his son did not go to school for two weeks, yet he was in a position to host relatives whose homes were uninhabitable. Kaminski says he feels for the thousands who saw their homes destroyed or severely damaged, and he says New Jersey has lost something more: “The shore is not going to be there as we remember it. As Governor Christie said, ‘My shore is gone.’” Kaminski says he appreciates the privilege he has to tell stories from a point of view most journalists will never have. But he says the images of Sandy are “something I hope never to see again.”
“This, I think, ranks right up there. Certainly it’s the biggest story I’ve covered since 9/11.”
— John Metaxas is a SAG-AFTRA New York Local Board member
Staff Retirements Longtime SAG-AFTRA staff members Ralph Braun and Jerry Rutkowski said farewell to the union this winter, announcing their retirements. Ralph was hired by AFTRA in 1990 and would eventually become head of the Sound Recordings and Commercials department in the New York Local. Hired in 1988, many members will remember Jerry from the more than 20 years he spent on set as a field representative. Please join us in wishing both Ralph and Jerry much luck and happiness in the future. WINTER 2013 // SAG-AFTRA NY //
We’ve come a long way, baby!
Audiobook narrators celebrate the signing of a new contract.
By Richard Ferrone and Holter Graham
with more than
note, with agreements being approved by the
20 producers and
SAG-AFTRA National Board with Blackstone
Audio in Ashland, Ore., and Tantor Media/
Studios in Old Saybrook, Conn. Thanks to
audiobook work to
the miracle of digital technology and the
union-guaranteed protections for home-
the country, as well
studio recordings, these agreements — along
with many of the others — will create work
opportunities for members everywhere,
including locals with fewer opportunities
Audible and others.
away from the major production centers.
None of this would have been possible without the New York narrator
The agreement with Tantor came
eginning with the
community’s staunch commitment to
after a completely narrator-driven work
landmark first contract
union coverage and organizing. What
stoppage (supported by both members
with Audible.com in late 2008,
started in New York has spread with
and nonmembers) went into effect in mid-
AFTRA, and now SAG-AFTRA,
great success to other locals as well, in
November, with a willingness to pursue a “no
has continued to organize audiobook work
particular Los Angeles, thanks in large part to
contract, no work” order if necessary. It was
for members nationwide, adding millions
the work of Steve Sidawi, organizing director,
and is an amazing story of member organizing
of dollars in member earnings and Health
Western Region. True patriots have also
that has resulted in a first contract of which
& Retirement contributions. Spearheaded
stepped up in San Francisco; the Twin Cities;
we can all be proud.
by staff members Jane Love, Rich Larkin
Maine; Washington, D.C.; and elsewhere.
and Ralph Braun (recently retired, but
Their grassroots activism and bravery have
deeply valuable to the process), this effort
opened doors for all of us.
has resulted in new SAG-AFTRA contracts
This year started on an incredibly high
HODGE: A significant number of staff from both legacy organizations decided to take the severance package that was offered when merger happened. While we were very sad to lose them, I do know our current staff is working very hard to make sure that members don’t suffer because of it. The leadership of N.Y. has undertaken a facilitated process of looking at our new composition, our mission and local work opportunities. Care to comment on that process? HODGE: It’s been fascinating. With labor expert Sue Schurman, we have had surprising discussions, like how structured and specific legacy SAG had been about things like strictly // SAG-AFTRA NY // SAGAFTRA.ORG
— Richard Ferrone is a SAG-AFTRA National and NewYork Local Board member, and chair of the National Audiobook Narrators Steering Committee. Holter Graham is co-president of the New York Local.
focusing exercise all at once. We started with SAG-AFTRA’s mission statement. We are learning and defining our identity as a union: We protect, provide opportunity and organize work. Creating jobs is a process we carry in our hands, and we will do it best together.
— CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2
personally to lose people. The first months were a period of understandable uncertainty. But every month the new structure settles into itself more, and staff becomes familiar, more like one efficient family. I think we are all better served in this new structure.
These achievements help all of us.
Mike Hodge, left, and Holter Graham running our meetings via Roberts’ Rules. I understand legacy AFTRA was a little more relaxed. Many from legacy AFTRA ask, “What kind of local are we going to be?” I think we’ll serve our members best by using the SAGAFTRA mission statement as our guide: we will honor our diverse work categories and members, as well as protect the same around the world. GRAHAM: Frankly, it is like therapy and a
Looking forward, what do you consider the greatest challenge and greatest opportunity for the union in New York? HODGE: We continue to evolve. For the elected, it’s getting everybody on the same page. For members, especially the background community, we need to find a way to level the playing field and create more jobs even though we have more television jobs here than in the 30-plus years I have been in New York. GRAHAM: Jobs. We’re artists. We’re craftspeople. It is our work, our labor. We are our jobs. And SAG-AFTRA can create jobs, protect jobs, expand jobs and bring non-union jobs back into the fold, helping new members and longtime members alike. It’s a big tent, and we want to keep everyone inside it as busy as possible. Jobs. Period.
Martha Greenhouse, My Mentor and Friend By Janette Gautier N.Y. Co-1st Vice President Rebecca Damon and N.Y. Board member Samantha Mathis reading to students and answering questions about what it takes to be an actor in New York.
BookPALS Step Up for Hurricane Sandy Relief
n December, the SAG Foundation program BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) took its act on the road for a Hurricane Sandy Relief Holiday Reading at P.S. 362 in the Far Rockaways, which had just reopened after damage from Sandy. Several New York BookPALS, including SAG-AFTRA New York Co-1st Vice President and SAG Foundation Board Member Rebecca Damon and SAG-AFTRA New York Board Member Samantha Mathis took part in readings of favorite children’s books, including Click, Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin, while wearing hilarious holiday hats. Damon also acted as master of ceremonies for the event. After the performance, the actors distributed Brooke Packs, backpacks filled with books and school supplies donated by the Brooke Jackman Foundation, to the more than 200 students in attendance. The Safe Space Program facilitated the event with Maria Cabezas, director of the N.Y. BookPALS program. “Interacting with the elementary students at P.S. 362 was inspiring. Even though Hurricane Sandy did tremendous damage here, these remarkable kids are on the road to recovery, thanks in large measure to Principal Ferguson and their teachers,” remarked Damon. “The SAG Foundation was proud to be part of such a wonderful event, and all the actors felt we were rewarded far beyond having a welcome opportunity to help.” “It was so moving to see the gift of entertainment we were able to bring to the children in the Far Rockaways,” added Mathis. “As much as they appreciated the gifts of backpacks, books and school supplies, they enjoyed the gift of storytelling.” For more information about BookPALS, visit bookpals.net. For N.Y. BookPALS inquiries, email mcabezas@sagfoundation. org. For more information on the SAG Foundation, visit sagfoundation.org.
artha Greenhouse passed away in
for Merger, and she was instrumental in
her home on Jan. 5 at the age of
forming the SAG-AFTRA Joint Committee
91. Everyone who knew Martha loved her
for Merger in the 1980s. Although she was
— and everyone knew Martha! As a new
not well enough to participate in our final
AFTRA member, I met her in the mid 1970s
attempt last March, she proudly voted “yes”
at a union function. She was president of
and had me put the ballot directly in the mail.
the N.Y. Local, and I was surprised and
When the referendum passed, I played the
impressed that she took time to talk to me.
announcement of the historic news for her on
I quickly found out that everyone was equal
my computer. She beamed with delight; she
in Martha’s eyes, and she was genuinely
had lived to see her dream for AFTRA and
interested in encouraging new members to
SAG become a reality.
get involved with the union. Soon I was on committees and then on the AFTRA N.Y.
For her commitment and dedication,
Local Board. Watching Martha in action was
Martha was presented in 2010 with the
a learning experience: She had boundless
Ken Harvey Award, the highest honor the
energy and enthusiasm, which infused all
AFTRA N.Y. Local had for service to the
areas of her life.
union. Having received the Founder’s Award and the George Heller Gold Card, Martha
Martha was well-known in New York
remains the only member to have been
theater circles, appearing on Broadway and
awarded all three. On her 90th birthday,
off, and working in almost every TV series
the reception area at 260 Madison Ave. was
produced in New York. With a vibrant acting
named in her honor.
career, she still managed to serve for almost five decades on the AFTRA local and national
Knowing her wishes, Martha’s family
boards, including five years as president of
asked that any donations in her memory
the N.Y. Local, and president of the George
go to the George Heller Scholarship Fund
Heller Memorial Foundation. She also served
of the AFTRA Foundation. Contributions
on the boards of Screen Actors Guild and
may be sent to the AFTRA Foundation, 260
the N.Y. Chapter of the National Academy of
Madison Avenue, 7th floor, New York, NY
Television Arts & Sciences.
10016 (Martha’s name should appear in the memo line). Even in death, she will help our
From Martha, I learned what “union”
members. She would love that.
meant. She had a keen sense of social justice and understood the need for workers’ rights
My life was enriched by knowing Martha
and protections. Having been around during
Greenhouse, as both a mentor and friend.
the blacklist era, she strongly fought against
Truly the kindest human being I know,
all forms of discrimination. Always inclusive,
Martha did not believe in speaking badly
she practiced what she preached, actively
of anyone. She will be remembered with
seeking members of all ages and ethnicities
appreciation and love. As a mentor she
to get involved in running their union.
was invaluable, and as a friend she is irreplaceable.
We can also thank Martha for being an early merger advocate. In the late 1970s, Martha headed the N.Y. Caucus of Artists
– Janette Gautier is a SAG-AFTRA National and New York Local Board member. WINTER 2013 // SAG-AFTRA NY //
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SAG-AFTRA New York Local Spring Membership Meeting FREE GENERAL ADMISSION FOR SAG-AFTRA MEMBERS AND A GUEST Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to the art, history and technology of film, television and digital media. It offers permanent and changing exhibitions as well as educational programs, interactive experiences, conversations with leading industry figures, and over 400 screenings each year. Its core exhibition, Behind the Screen, contains over 1,400 artifacts dating from the 19th century, and immerses visitors in the creative process of making moving images. The museum will appeal to creative professionals, families, fans, and anyone who wants to learn more about the most influential art form of our time. A complete description of the museumâ€™s programs and resources can be found on their website, movingimage.us. The museum is located at 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, New York, 11106. Directions are available on the website. Any SAG-AFTRA member from any local may take advantage of this special offer. Admission to screenings and special events is extra. You must show your current SAG-AFTRA membership card for admission. Offer good through Feb. 28, 2014.
Monday, April 15, 2013 ting mee
5:30 â€“ 8:30 p.m.
Directors Guild of America 110 West 57th Street
(Between 6th and 7th Avenues) This meeting is only open to paid-up SAG-AFTRA members in good standing. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Parents/guardians of younger performers under 18 years old are welcome. No RSVP necessary.
SAG-AFTRA Members, please bring your membership card for admittance. (Paid through April 30, 2013)
If you require ADA accommodations, please let us know by contacting (212) 827-1542 or email@example.com.