IN THIS ISSUE
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
• 2013 Annual Membership Meeting – page 1 • Inaugural McLaughlinZimet Union Spirit Award – Dave Corey – page 2 • 20th SAG Awards Viewing Party – page 4 • SAG-AFTRA Convention – page 5 • Florida Legislative Front – page 5 • Miami Local Holds Meetings in PR – page 6 • SAG-AFTRA Member Dave Corey Retires from Active Union Service – page 7 • Annual Presidents’ Day Picnic – page 9 • Alzheimer’s Walk – page 10 • From the Miami Local President – page 11 • Support to Other Locals – page 12 • From the Miami Local Executive Director – page 13 • Dancers’ Alliance Miami Celebrates – page 14 • Interview with James Hunter – page 15 • Actors on the Air – page 17 • Foundation Events – page 18 • Miami Local Outreach and Education Events – page 19 • Member Information – page 22
On Nov. 5, the Miami Local held its second annual SAG-AFTRA membership meeting at Dave & Buster’s in Hollywood, Fla. The more than 150 members who attended had the opportunity to mingle and network prior to the meeting, which began with an introduction of the Miami Local staff and the newly elected local board members, including the new board member representing Puerto Rico, Grace Connelly. The guest speaker at the meeting was Leah Sokolowsky, president of Film Florida. Sokolowsky spoke about the Florida incentives program and the work in progress to get the support of legislators to improve the incentives in 2014. Participating via video conference from Los Angeles was our special guest speaker, SAGAFTRA National Executive Director David White, who substituted for SAG-AFTRA President Howard, who was unable to attend the meeting due to work conflicts. President Howard sent a message, read by Nancy Duerr, stating that SAG-AFTRA has become “a true force in the entertainment industry” with “dedicated members working alongside our talented staff” to ensure our position in the industry. The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the inaugural McLaughlin-Zimet Union Spirit Award for outstanding union and community service to Dave Corey. 1
Congratulations to Corey for a well-deserved recognition (see article below). The board acknowledged new SAG-AFTRA members. Attendees were presented clips from two projects produced by SAG-AFTRA members under SAG-AFTRA contracts: The Poker Lesson, produced by Reed Kalisher, and In Lieu of Honor, produced by Mary Rachel Dudley. The radio troupe Actors on the Air made its debut with readings from two shows: an old comedy show and a new Radio series written by Pamela Salem. Corey provided the sound effects. The meeting concluded with the now-traditional entertainment industry trivia game. Participating members competed for the top prize of a microphone. Competition was heated and entertaining. Don’t miss the 2014 meeting!
SAG-AFTRA MIAMI LOCAL Inaugural McLaughlin–Zimet Union Spirit Award Presented at the Annual Meeting Before it was one union, legacy SAG and legacy AFTRA both had unique ways to recognize outstanding service to their union membership and community at large. Two individuals, Bruce McLaughlin in SAG and Connie Zimet in AFTRA, were both iconic namesakes who blazed trails in the industry here. Recognizing and rewarding good stewardship among us, your SAG-AFTRA Miami Local Board has created a new award for a new union: the Bruce McLaughlin-Connie Zimet Union Spirit Award, or McLaughlin-Zimet Union Spirit Award for short. About the Award’s First Recipient, Dave Corey Dave Corey joined SAG in 1980 and AFTRA in 1981, and has served both unions valiantly for the more than three decades. He joined the Miami AFTRA Local Board in 1983, served as president for two terms and was a delegate to every AFTRA National Convention from 1993 on. He served on AFTRA’s National Board as an AFTRA national vice president from 1993–2003 and on SAG’s local and national boards from 2003–2013. Having worked and organized both AFTRA and SAG contracts, Corey traveled Florida and the Southeast during merger/consolidation attempts in 1999 and 2003, and was a driving local force during the 2000 commercials strike. Corey was and continues to be a staunch advocate for the successful 2012 merger of SAG-AFTRA. As a member of the Actors’ Equity Liaison Committee from 2009–2013, he encouraged all union members to respect each other’s contracts. 2
In addition to his years organizing union work on and off sets in SAG and AFTRA jobs, Corey has coordinated conservatories and workshops to help keep performers in shape for their next union job. He served as president of the Professional Actors Association of Florida from 1991–92, started an acting conservatory in 1992, has volunteered with BookPALS and Insight for the Blind since 2008, and is currently lending his humor and expertise to SAG-AFTRA’s Actors on the Air project. Corey has achieved all of this while amassing an impressive resume of work that has earned him vested pensions in SAG, AFTRA and Actors’ Equity. After more than three decades of slogging it out in the trenches on our behalf, this gracious gladiator is stepping down from union service to concentrate on his successful acting career, which includes film, television, radio, commercials, theater and audiobooks. His credits include Burn Notice; Walker, Texas Ranger; Sheena; Maximum Bob; Moon Over Miami; Miami Vice; Bad Boys 2; Analyze This; The Truman Show; Wild Things; Holy Man … and the list goes on. Corey continues to be a mentor to actors across the state as well as a role model for those interested in union service. This talented titan is an actor’s actor, respected and loved by all. His service to our industry has and will continue to impact generations of professionals to come. His work ethic and contribution to bettering the life of performers in unions he has served makes him uniquely qualified to be the first recipient of this prestigious award.
Award recipient Dave Corey and presenter Nancy Duerr
MIAMI LOCAL 20th SAG AWARDS VIEWING PARTY
Members and guests, including producers and agents franchised by the union, enjoyed the SAG Awards at the Miami Local viewing party on Jan. 18. Held this year at Dave & Busterâ€™s in Hollywood, Fla., the event included a mixer and full dinner buffet. Members received prizes for the most accurate predictions on who would receive the Actor statuette.
From left, Patrick Mickle, Dave Corey, Nancy Duerr, Lauren Marie Pena, Rod Ball, Barry Brandt and John McKarthy
Eight members represented the Miami Local at the first SAG-AFTRA National Convention, held in Los Angeles in September. It was an amazing event and delegates from all the locals around the country made important decisions for the union’s future, including passing several constitutional amendments and resolutions. Click to view Constitutional Amendments and Approved Resolutions
FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE FRONT
From left, Miami Local Legislative Committee Chair John McKarthy; Miami Local Executive Director and Film Florida Secretary Herta Suarez; Kelly Paige, owner of Level Talent Group, an agency franchised by SAG-AFTRA; Film Florida Executive Administrator Angel Stroll; Digital Media Alliance Florida Executive Director Jud French
SAG-AFTRA “walked the halls” of the Florida Capitol buildings in 2013, as part of the Film Florida delegation that lobbied legislators’ support for the Florida Entertainment Financial Incentive Program. Unfortunately, despite the concerted efforts of Florida production industry and advocacy organizations, no additional money was allocated to the production incentive in 2013. This year brings a renewed challenge to improve the program to make it more attractive to produce in Florida. The Miami Local, together with our SAG-AFTRA legislative staff, also tracks developments in the production incentives programs of Puerto Rico and Alabama to determine what is in the best interest of performers.
MIAMI LOCAL HOLDS MEETINGS IN PUERTO RICO SAG-AFTRA members and staff traveled to Puerto Rico in April 2013 for meetings with members, producers, agents, casting directors and other key industry representatives. During the three-day trip, then-SAG-AFTRA Miami Local Co-President Memo Sauceda, Miami Local Executive Director Herta Suarez and Director, Spanish Language Industry Relations Carlina Rodriguez organized a membership meeting and orientation for SAGAFTRA Miami Local members in Puerto Rico. Sauceda conducted the well-attended meeting, and helped address members’ concerns and questions. Among the issues discussed, were the state of the industry in Puerto Rico, how to best get answers to union-related questions and how to create more events and educational workshops for the members on the island. Puerto Rico members were excited to hear that for the first time they will have representation on the board of the Miami Local. Local members elected Grace Connelly as the representative from Puerto Rico. The Miami Local is exploring the possibility of video conferences and webinars to educate our members and producers in Puerto Rico in the near future. The membership meeting was followed by a lively mixer, where SAG-AFTRA members enjoyed mingling with other industry professionals and SAG-AFTRA staff. SAG-AFTRA staff also met with the newly appointed executive director of the Puerto Rico Film Commission, Demetrio Fernández. During that meeting, SAG-AFTRA was asked to appoint a member from Puerto Rico to serve on the Film Commission’s strategic planning group.
UNION PLUS IN PUERTO RICO SAG-AFTRA staff and members attended a reception hosted by Union Plus in Puerto Rico. The event took place during the annual Union Plus Liaisons Conference in April 2013. Union Plus provides benefits and discounts to union members. For more information, visit unionplus.org.
From left, SAG-AFTRA Assistant National Director, Communications Leslie Simmons; Puerto Rican SAG-AFTRA Miami Local members Eddie Valdez and Elia Cadilla; and SAG-AFTRA Communications Coordinator Donna Reed
DAVE COREY RETIRES FROM ACTIVE UNION SERVICE
When we heard that Dave Corey was not planning to run for office or be as active in SAG-AFTRA as he had been in legacy SAG and legacy AFTRA, we asked him to contribute an article giving us a “taste” of himself as a union performer and activist. The following is what he wrote. Oct. 26, 2012: I awoke from a fitful sleep, but that was nothing unusual. I looked at the alarm clock. Five a.m. I knew I was up for good, so I sat upright in bed. That’s when my world took a turn. I felt as if I was standing in an elevator on, oh, the zillionth floor — and the bottom opened. I was in free fall, except I didn’t hit bottom. Instead, I started spinning in counterclockwise circles. Then, I was walking in the submarine from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea when the ship listed violently from side to side. I steadied myself on the bureau and quietly said my wife’s name until she woke up. “I think I have to go to the emergency room, honey.” I’ve never been big on medicine, doctors, hospitals ... any of it. Truth be known, I have my own warped conspiracy theory about ’em. Anyway, I was run through a battery of tests — MRI, CAT scan, RSVP, GOP — and whatever else required probing, prodding and palpating. The verdict? My blood pressure was off the charts, and I had been “this” close to a stroke. The next day was to be a travel day to Los Angeles for the SAG-AFTRA National Board meeting. Flying and drama were the top two things I didn’t need, so I stayed home for some R&R. And now I was on the dreaded “meds” that I had long avoided. Oh, how I did not want to be one of those old guys whose life and conversation revolved around meds (proud to report that it hasn’t happened yet). What I did have was time to reflect on almost three decades of service to my unions, AFTRA, SAG, SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Plus, I work 8 to 10 hours a day, five days a week at a fairly stressful job at a radio station, and I’m trying to raise the money for and produce a sitcom. That’s when I made the decision to step down and let other younger and stronger souls step up. I was no longer able to devote the energy needed to represent my sisters and brothers properly. So, here I am, looking back on some wonderful and weird times and people and places. Time to crank up the “Way Back Machine.” I’m sitting at my desk with a thick folder of newsletters that date back as far as 1985. These are newsletters from the AFTRA Miami Local, Professional Actors Association of Florida (PAAF) and the SAG Florida Branch. 7
And, boy do they take me back. To my right, on the wall, are two plaques: one a letter from Bruce York, former NED of AFTRA, welcoming me to the national board, and another from PAAF, recognizing my years of service as president of that wonderful group of actors. So, yeah, this is my “Way Back Machine” tonight. As I pore over the pages and pages of articles I’d written over the years, I am reminded of personal and union milestones, and of dear souls — many departed — who impacted the choices I made and the progress we made ... together: Connie Zimet, Ruthe Geier-Price, Diane Hogan, Lou Santillana, Iris Acker, Ray Forchion, Ilse Earl, Tony Jones, Darryl Gilley, Judy Upton, Harriet Oser, Fred Ornstein, Eugenia Gingold, Bill Cordell, Hal Bergem, Michael Champlin, Jody Wilson, J.J. Wilson, Dan Fitzgerald, Susan Bogusky, Antoni Corone, Mal Jones, Dick Callinan, Herb Goldstein, Dick Sterling, Rod Ball, Ellen Wacher, Fran Gellatly, Dan Fern, Bob Noble, Alex Panas, Bruce McLauglin, Jay Amor, Roger Martin, Marjorie O’Neill-Butler, Laird Stuart, Steve Zurk, Allison McKay, Clarence Thomas, W. Paul Bodie, Patrick Mickler, Memo Sauceda, Hollis Batchelor, Mel Karl, Julie Eisenberg, David Fazekas, Eileen Neel, Karen Weiss, Linda Isrel ... and so many more! And, to each one of them I owe a debt of gratitude for touching my life in one way or another, professionally and personally. A special place in my heart belongs to those who have served to help me navigate both calm and rough seas: Herta Suarez, Leslie Krensky, David Scott, Nancy Duerr and Steve Gladstone. My love for each of them runs deep. It’s difficult to pinpoint exact landmark dates as to what happened when during the past three decades. It really began in the early ’80s, when I, a relatively new AFTRA, was “recruited” by Connie Zimet to become active in the politics of the union. I recall that it was in the parking lot of Criteria Studios in North Miami where she, well, strong-armed me into service — literally pinning me up against my car. And, so it began. I served on the AFTRA Miami Local Board for a couple of years before taking the gavel as president for several years. As a delegate, I attended Lord-knows-how-many conventions in so many cities — each one teaching me more and more about how to work a boardroom. In 1993, I became an AFTRA National Board member, eventually getting elected to several terms as a national vice president. I remember traveling the state and Southeast during the failed merger/consolidation attempts of 1999 and 2003, the six-month strike against advertisers in 2000 and witnessing first-hand the birth of some of the historic new contracts, as the Internet and technology presented new opportunities and challenges for our members. In 2003, after losing my seat as an AFTRA national VP, I ran for and won a SAG National Board seat, following in the footsteps of my heroes Dan Fitzgerald and Bill Cordell, who had so proudly represented the Southeast region. Serving these past 10 years alongside Nancy Duerr (and David Scott in the transitional legacy SAG/legacy AFTRA National Board) have been both exhausting and, with the successful merger of our two great performers unions, rewarding beyond belief. Both Nancy and President Gladstone are incredibly well respected by national officers and board members from coast to coast. We SAG-AFTRA members are in super-capable hands! In 1982 or ’83, a half-dozen SAG and AFTRA members formed the Professional Actors Association of Florida to protect actors. I was so very proud to serve two terms as president (1991 and ’92). This was a group of activists who were a force to be reckoned with when various lowlife scam artists and unscrupulous agents came to town to take advantage of our members. I remember a brilliant reverse scam when we managed to get a number of them to show up at a hotel meeting room where we basically busted them and ran ’em outta town! I even remember sitting next to one of these thugs who made sure that I saw he was “packing.” Pfft! 8
The PAAF Workshop was a weekly gathering at North Miami Beach Senior High School that was worth its weight in gold. When we weren’t running our own scene studies, there was usually a monthly guest host with awesome credentials, like Michael Shurtleff, author of Audition, widely acknowledged as the Bible for aspiring actors. After PAAF unfortunately dissolved, I couldn't see so many of us going “cold turkey,” so I formed a conservatory — available to SAG, AFTRA and Equity members — where we could continue to exercise our chops. We started meeting in the AFTRA office on 441 and eventually wound up at the Pelican Theater at Barry University. We would start off each evening with improv warm-ups (to get us used to working as an ensemble), and then we’d videotape monologues and scenes, play them back and critique. Well, critique isn't exactly the right word; we’d make “observations” rather than being directorial. Based on those observations, actors would be able to learn whether or not they had met their objectives. When I began working full-time again, I was unable to continue facilitating the conservatory, and I truly hope someone will bring it back to life. While I’m on the subject, massive kudos go to the late Ilse Earl and dear Phyllis Sidersky for the incredibly successful conservatory in Palm Beach. Again, I would love to see that resuscitated, too. I was asked to list my “accomplishments” during the past three decades for this my final article, but I am uncomfortable continuing. Plus, I’d be hard-pressed to remember all the workshops and meetings and special events ... What I want to leave with is this: I’m still here! It’s not like I’m going to crawl in a cave. I hope to continue to be an active part of this beautiful community of performers for years to come. Only difference? I’ll be in the audience, watching our industry continue to grow and mature. And, again, I was only one small part of a spectacular team, many of whom are still in the thick of it. I have the deepest admiration, respect and love for them. I wish you all a bright future doing what you were born to do. Break legs! I salute you, SAG-AFTRA and AEA members, Dave
MIAMI LOCAL ANNUAL PRESIDENTS’ DAY PICNIC Last year’s event was well attended. Members enjoyed the great weather and the first Outdoor Talent Show.
Join your fellow SAG-AFTRA members for lunch, music, trivia and more at the Miami Local’s 5th Annual Presidents Day Picnic on Feb. 17. The picnic takes place 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Greynolds Park, 17530 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach. Admission is free for members and up to three guests. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about this year’s Outdoor Talent Show or to volunteer. 9
MIAMI TEAM PARTICIPATES IN ALZHEIMER’S WALK
From left, SAG-AFTRA members Bob Tracey, Laurel Levey, Dave Corey, Steve Gladstone and Billy
SAG-AFTRA Miami Local members joined Actors and Artists Unite to End Alzheimer’s, which for the first time participated as a national team on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. More than 150 strong, the team raised more than $30,000. Miami Local member Laurel Levey was the co-captain of the teams in Oxnard, Calif. and Miami. She marched with a sign that said, “Team Fred,” in honor of her dad, who died from Alzheimer’s. Michelle Schmidmayer, one of the Miami team members, brought her beautiful mom, a Holocaust survivor, to join her on the walk. Her mom had never been on the walk before, and when the promise flower ceremony of the event started, she cried and said to Michelle, “For years I never saw a flower and now I’m in a garden, this garden of hope.” Other participants in our Miami Team were Dave Corey, Bob Tracey and SAG-AFTRA Miami Local President Steve Gladstone, who walked with his guide dog Billy. Dave Corey took a wonderful video of Steve and Billy on the walk; check it out on YouTube! Click here to view
Michelle Schmidmayer Tucker and her mother
The walk is to honor and remember those we have lost to Alzheimer’s disease. It brings comfort to those who are living with Alzheimer’s and hope and support to those who must witness their loved ones fade into the darkness. A cure in our lifetime — that is the goal. Nancy Daly, team founder and national team captain, thanked the Miami Team for joining with other SAGAFTRA locals, Actors’ Equity, the WGA and The Actors Fund to show its dedication and support for this cause. 10
From the Miami Local President
Good Days Are Here, Better Ones Coming. As we approach the conclusion of our second year as SAG-AFTRA, the skeletons are out of the closet, we are financially sound and we took away our employers ability to shop contracts — oh yeah, that’s why we merged! This also gives us the leverage at the bargaining table to negotiate better successor contracts than we could otherwise bargain. It’s a simple truth in our industry: Employers need us to sell their products, sing their songs and tell their stories. And we need employers to pay us for our superb talents. Our employers will always want us and we will always want them. The fundamental issue is how much they are willing to pay in wages and contributions to our health and pension plans. They want to pay as little as possible and we want as much as we can get. Somewhere between those opposite poles lies the central work of our union. Our first major contract — television and radio commercials — was negotiated under the SAG-AFTRA brand in 2013, with little drama and big increases in wages and benefit contributions. The blue-ribbon test comes this year, when we negotiate our deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. As SAG-AFTRA, there will only be one union and one deal. It is my sense that it will be a good one. No sideshows, only a main event. And what about those merged health and pension/retirement plans? They haven’t merged yet. A cornerstone of the merger was to explore and execute a fusion of the health and pension plans. It was concluded that there were no legal obstacles preventing such mergers. As well, the boards of trustees (made up of union trustees, including members and signatory employer trustees) remain charged with making decisions that best benefit members and their families. This ultimately should mean one health plan and one pension plan for all members — all contributions made under any contract will go into one pot. The plans integration process has been painfully slow. I was musing with a member the other day, recalling that I had heard that it takes five miles to make a left hand turn on the QE II. Later, I was speaking to SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard about this 11
member who missed a pension credit by a couple of hundred bucks due to the split contracts. Ken said, “Within a year, much of this will be resolved because we merged …” While I still believe one year more to merge these suckers is being optimistic, I do believe the right people are working on this and as long as things are moving forward and not standing still, that’s a good thing. We have now taken our first tangible steps to blend the earnings from different contracts where health coverage is concerned. From a recent post: “The SAG Health Plan Trustees announced that beginning July 1, 2014, members with earnings under SAG-AFTRA contracts who do not qualify for health coverage under either the AFTRA or the SAG Health Plan may be able to combine their earnings reportable to each plan in order to meet the dollar earnings requirement for Plan II eligibility (currently $15,100). This means that beginning with the base earnings period of April 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, earnings reported to both plans may under certain circumstances be combined to meet the dollar threshold to qualify for Plan II under the SAG Health Plan.” So if you’re working under some SAG-AFTRA contracts where the contributions go to the SAG plan and other SAG-AFTRA contracts where they go to the AFTRA plan, there is now an avenue to combine all those earnings to qualify you for health insurance. Imperfect? Sure. But it’s significant to indicate that we are headed in the right direction.
MIAMI LOCAL - PROVIDING SUPPORT TO OTHER SAG-AFTRA LOCALS The Miami Local staff provides services and support to other locals. Both the legacy AFTRA and SAG offices here in Miami historically provided services and support to areas outside their jurisdiction. These functions were continued after merger, and Miami-based staff provides these services for performers employed and residing in the jurisdictions of the Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston-Austin, Nashville and New Orleans Locals. One of the major components of these services involves contract claims processing, production monitoring and certain signatory functions relating to work in nine states covered by these locals: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The Miami Local also provides membership services to the referenced locals. This is in addition to the states in the jurisdiction of the Miami Local: Alabama and Florida, and the territory of Puerto Rico. “Fulfilling our mission as a regional support center for SAG-AFTRA can be challenging, but it also provides this office with additional resources that help us better service the Miami Local members,” said South Region Director, Contracts and Operations Leslie Krensky, who supervises the staff who do the contractual support work in our local.
From the Miami Local Executive Director
HERTA SUAREZ Last year was not an easy period of time during our transition process. Many difficult decisions were made affecting all SAG-AFTRA locals, including the Miami Local, where our staff was reduced by two employees. It was all difficult but necessary to make adjustments to create a new, financially healthy union as we continue shaping SAG-AFTRA with the best of legacy SAG and the best of legacy AFTRA. But remember, SAG and AFTRA no longer exist. It’s our new union, SAG-AFTRA, that we must turn into one union that is easy to work with and hard to fight. To achieve this, SAG-AFTRA, including our Miami Local staff, will continue focusing its time and efforts in key areas. Our union and our local staff priorities will remain as follows for 2014: Negotiations – SAG-AFTRA will be negotiating the TV/Theatrical-Exhibit A agreement, the Sound Recordings contract and the Network Television Code this year; Administration and enforcement of our contracts; Ensuring our members are paid in a timely fashion is our staff’s primary area of focus; Increasing the number of union-covered jobs and employers signed to SAG-AFTRA agreements is key to our union’s strength and healthy future. The Miami Local staff provides support services to several other locals covering 11 states and Puerto Rico in the areas of membership and contract and signatory matters. (See previous page) While we will remain in a period of moderation, our efforts will stay focused on the areas that will continue developing our new culture to shape SAG-AFTRA to be the best that it can be for SAG-AFTRA members. I look forward to working with our Miami Local Board, committees and members to achieve this. Please feel free to contact me anytime with your input and comments. Herta
THIRD UNITY BALL – DANCERS’ ALLIANCE MIAMI
From left, Miami Local Business Representative Ruth Paul; co-host of the event, SAG-AFTRA Miami Dancers’ Committee Chair and
Photo courtesy of VMAstudios - Aaron Lurie Photography
From left, Executive Director Herta Suarez, Dancers’ Alliance Member Zaryn Sidhu
Dancers’ Alliance Miami celebrated its second anniversary with its now-traditional Unity Ball. The 2013 event, hosted by SAG-AFTRA member Dionne Renee and BBoy Kos, was held at The Stage Miami. Singers were a new addition to the event, affording the crowd the opportunity to enjoy the performance of SAG-AFTRA Miami member Leesa Richards. Renee, who is also chair of Dancers’ Alliance Miami, made presentations on this year’s successes for dancers and updates of upcoming events. Open Cyphers, DJ Crunchtime, DJ Demo and DJ Flow also performed at the event. The Unity Ball was co-sponsored by the SAG-AFTRA Miami Local. Want to find out more about Dancers’ Alliance? Email DancersAllianceMiami@gmail.com or visit DancersAlliance.org for more information. 14
An Interview with James Hunter, the Producer of The Breaking Point Dave Fazekas recently assisted producer James Hunter in the process of signing his production, The Breaking Point, under a SAG-AFTRA Low Budget Agreement. Following is an interview conducted by Fazekas of the circumstances and challenges faced by Hunter during production and his commitment to excellence.
Can you tell us about yourself? I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I had a very rough, violent-plagued upbringing. I came of age in Newport News, Va., so I consider myself a New Yorker/Virginian. I was paralyzed from my waist down after being shot in my back as I was standing outside a nightclub in Brooklyn 10 years ago. I remained in the hospital for two and a half years after getting paralyzed. I had dropped out of high school in the 12th grade due to the allure of the streets, so when I got paralyzed I didn’t even have my GED. I took the GED test after I left the hospital and moved to Florida to attend college without knowing if I had passed the GED test or not. I found out that I passed with a very high score, and then I proceeded to enroll into college. I went on to get my B.A. in film and my MBA in entertainment business at Full Sail University. I became the first male in either side of my family with a MBA. While in college, I caught a pressure sore (which contributed to Christopher Reeves’ passing away). Because of the pressure sore, I got bone infections, which caused me to take two leaves of absence from school, until I finally had to be admitted into the hospital to have a very intense operation called a “muscle flap” operation to save my life. I ended up having five operations to clear the infection. It had gotten to the point where my surgeon was positive I would not heal. However, I did heal, and a month after being released from the hospital I was hit by a fast-moving truck while riding in my wheelchair, which caused me to get a concussion, a gash in my head, a broken knee and a deep laceration on my left calf muscle. Two weeks later, I was up and about and making preparations to film my short film titled Juxed with my partner Sean Nelson, who is a Hollywood veteran known mostly for his role in the feature film The Wood and HBO's The Corner. 15
After filming Juxed, we began to focus on what would be my first time producing and directing, a SAG-AFTRA movie titled The Breaking Point, which we finished filming this past August. Can you give a brief synopsis of your film? The Breaking Point is about Shawn Dickerson, a young street guy who is accused of killing Brenda Sawyer, a prominent, wealthy lady known for her compassion for kids from the inner city. Shawn is hunted by Brendaâ€™s grieving husband Harry, the police, and a very ambitious and overzealous assistant D.A. named Ballard, who is willing to do whatever she has to do to make district attorney, even if it means breaking the rules. Have you worked with SAG-AFTRA previously? This was my first time working with SAG-AFTRA. What made you decide to produce your film under a SAG-AFTRA Ultra Low Budget Agreement? I wanted to produce it under the SAG-AFTRA Ultra Low Budget Agreement because I wanted to tap into a wealth of acting talent, that I believed I would have access to by going through SAG-AFTRA. How was your experience working with SAG-AFTRA and its members? My relationship with SAG-AFTRA has been wonderful. You have worked closely with me throughout the entire process, which made things easier during preproduction and principal photography. How was your experience producing the film from a wheelchair? The filming of The Breaking Point had its challenges due to my physical condition. What I learned was that I put myself at risk health-wise by filming for three straight days in a row. Sitting up for eight to ten hours a day for three days in a row, I was at risk of catching another pressure sore. After working the first three three days in a row, the schedule had to be adjusted to two days on, one day off. Also, my transportation situation was dysfunctional. I have a bus service that picks me up in my wheelchair from my home and takes me wherever I need to go. They return later, pick me back up and take me home. The problem is that many times they are an hour to two late to get or pick me back up. On one shoot day, they forgot to pick me up and everyone was waiting for me to arrive on set. As you can imagine, this caused me to have a massive migraine. I ended up riding in my wheelchair to the set, in traffic, close to three miles away from my home! Lastly, there were locations where my chair could not go, which was very challenging. In those couple of instances, and due to our limited resources, we could not get alternate locations, so I plotted the shots out with my second unit director, Heather Loomis, and had her direct those shots. She started as an intern with me but I saw she had a passion for directing, was a hard worker and knew what she was doing. Every member of the crew, as well as talent, worked extremely hard and they were amazing to work with. 16
Being paralyzed is a life-altering experience. You are constantly in pain, and every day we were filming I was in pain, but I managed to mentally block it out in order to finish the task at hand. Overall, I loved the experience and look forward to showcasing The Breaking Point to the world, as well as beginning the process of putting together my next movie in the fall of 2014.
ACTORS ON THE AIR
From left, SAG-AFTRA members Paul Froehler, Luchi Estevez, Madeline Kern, Mitchell Berkman, Ellen Wacher, Richard Haylor and Pamela Salem.
The Miami Local Actors on the Air project continues into 2014 with its coldreading sessions of old and brand new radio shows. Ellen Wacher, local VP and organizer of the Actors on the Air project said, “Members of the group are writing their own radio shows, reflecting aspects of Miami’s unique cultural mix, such as Mitchell Berkman’s original comedy Lola’s Hair Salon and Shoreside by Pamela Salem.” You are invited to join in the fun of this SAG-AFTRA radio troupe by emailing email@example.com. Actors on the Air meets once a month.
FOUNDATION EVENTS IN MIAMI The SAG Foundation took Miami by storm in April, offering its educational and empowering events at no cost to members in good standing. It started on April 3 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, with a screening of Tio Papi, followed by a Q&A with Joey Dedio, Kelly McGillis and Director Fro Rojas. Also joining as a special guest was Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower. On the same day, members had the opportunity to participate in the Agent Access Project with Peggi McKinley of the Runway Talent Group, which was held at the New World School of the Arts in downtown Miami. On April 4, Tammy Green of The Green Agency presented another Agent Access Project at New World School of the Arts. Two Casting Access Project events took place on April 6 and 7, the first with Lori Wyman at the offices of Lori Wyman Casting, and the second with New Orleans-based Casting Director Meagan Lewis at the New World School of the Arts. The seventh session of the Connie Zimet Voice Acting Conservatory, made possible through a grant of the AFTRA Foundation, was held from April 28 â€“ May 19. Each of the seven sessions consisted of 16 hours of training over a four-week period. As with past sessions, at the end of this session, members offered high praise for the event. If you were unable to attend any of these amazing events, keep your eyes open for SAG-AFTRA e-blasts and notices from the SAG Foundation. If you are not getting these notices, please register at the SAG Foundation website sagfoundation.org and confirm your contact information at SAG-AFTRA with Eileen Neel at 305-663-7079 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
STARLITE FILM FESTIVAL â€“ CENTRAL FLORIDA
South Region Manager, Contracts David Fazekas, third from left, joined the MicroBudget Casting Panel during the Third Annual StarLite Film Festival on Jan. 25 in Winter Garden, Fla. Other panelists included casting directors, producers, acting coaches and a visiting filmmaker and actor from Germany. Photo courtesy of Nik Kuebler of Nik Kuebler Photography
SAG-AFTRA Co-Sponsors Hispanicize 2013 in Miami
From left, co-writer and co-director of Blaze You Out, Mateo Frazier; SAG-AFTRA Director, Spanish Language Media Industry Relations Carlina Rodríguez; SAG-AFTRA South Region Director, Contracts and Operations Leslie Krensky; Blaze You Out co-writer, co-director and SAG-AFTRA member Diego Joaquín López; and SAG-AFTRA member Jeremy Ray Valdez
The fourth annual Latino trends event, Hispanicize 2013, a five-day intensive gathering of Latino journalists, marketers, bloggers, filmmakers, musicians and entrepreneurs, was held in Miami Beach. SAG-AFTRA was one of the sponsors of the event and South Region Director, Contracts and Operations Leslie Krensky presented two workshops titled Picture Your Production under a SAG-AFTRA Low-Budget Contract. “It is exciting to know that the four films that premiered at the event — Mission Park [which won best feature at Hispanicize 2013], Blaze You Out, Filly Brown and After Shock — were produced under a SAG-AFTRA contract. It demonstrates the popularity of these agreements,” said Krensky. Some of the session topics were From Novelas to Hollywood: Making the Switch, Marketing Big Studio Films to Latinos, Meet the Next Generation of Latino Independent Filmmakers and The Adelante Movement: The Wisdom of Latina Legends. Participation in Hispanicize 2013 was an invaluable opportunity to outreach to Latino media and entertainment industry leaders and promote the SAG-AFTRA brand in this ever-evolving market. “This was by far one of the best conferences I have attended on the Latino media market; there was something for everyone,” said Director, Spanish Language Media Industry Relations Carlina Rodríguez, who participated in the event. 19
SAG-AFTRA MIAMI AT THE FILM LIFE CENTER
As part of the Micro Industry Workshop Series of the Miami Film Life Center, SAG-AFTRA presented a workshop titled How to Work with SAG-AFTRA. The event took place at the Chapman House on the grounds of Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. SAG-AFTRA Miami Representative Ruth Paul walked the participants through the basic terms of most SAG-AFTRA contracts and the process of signing a SAG-AFTRA Low Budget Agreement from start to finish. Ruth said, “It’s not as scary as you might think. And now we’ve made more changes to our contracts, so it is even easier to use professional actors without all the red tape. Don’t let what you don’t know nix your plans for the perfect cast. Contract talks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure beats having to cast your little sister as your female lead.” The Miami Film Life Center (MFLC) is a South Florida-based arts institute with a focus on youth education, job training and professional redevelopment. Film Life Inc. is best known for creating the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
FILMGATE 2013 About 45 producers joined a panel session at Filmgate 2013 at the O’Cinema in Miami Beach. SAG-AFTRA business representative Ruth Paul shared the front table with Kevin Sharpley, chairman of Miami-Dade Film & Entertainment Advisory Committee, and Miami producer Andy Schefter, who has worked on SAG-AFTRA projects in the past. Paul spoke about the different SAG-AFTRA contracts covering projects ranging from ultra-low to large budgets.
SAG-AFTRA AT THE FORT MYERS FILM FESTIVAL A filmmaking workshop titled From Inception to Distribution was held in April 2013 at Junkanoo’s on Fort Myers Beach as part of the Fort Myers Film Festival (FMFF). The panel, consisting of guest speakers and filmmakers, examined what it takes to become an independent filmmaker and how to get a film produced and shown to audiences. Panel at the festival
Six filmmakers and SAG-AFTRA Business Representative Ruth Paul participated in the workshop. Elizabeth D'Onofio, the FMFF Board’s artistic director, said, “Possibly as soon as next year, if a film wins at the FMFF, one could conceivably submit their film to the Academy Awards for best short film and documentary.” Actor Jo Marie Payton, a Miami Local member who starred in Perfect Strangers and Family Matters in the 1980s and 1990s, introduced some of the films of the festival. She was the film ambassador for the festival.
LUIS RAUL MARTINEZ COMEDIAN AND ACTOR DIES AT 51 Puerto Rican actor, comedian and member of SAG-AFTRA dies on the Island at the age of 51 of pneumonia and renal failure. Por Miluka Rivera El actor, comediante y miembro de SAG-AFTRA, Luis Raúl, falleció recientemente a causa de pulmonía y fallo renal. Conocido también como LuisRa, nació en Ponce, Puerto Rico. LuisRa, residió en Los Angeles, y fue en California donde pulió sus dotes de comediante, en las rutinas de Stand Up Comedy. Al regresar a Puerto Rico en el 2000, esta nueva técnica le ayudó a montar muchos de sus exitosos shows locales. El actor continuó destacándose como comediante y se popularizó por sus programas semanales de varios shows de comedia televisiva local. El inició su carrera de actor en Puerto Rico y participó en obras teatrales y películas, incluyendo “The Pérez Family” (1995) con Marisa Tomei, "Mambo Café" 2000 con Thalia y mas reciente “200 Cartas” (2013) con Lin-Manuel Miranda.
A Luis Raúl le inquietaba las condiciones, escasez de talleres y la huída de producciones en Puerto Rico, algo que con humor mencionaba en sus programas. El ya había experimentado los grandes beneficios y la protección de ser miembro de SAGAFTRA. Cuando a fines de los 90, llevamos la delegación de SAG-AFTRA para establecer dicha presencia en Puerto Rico, Luis Raúl dijo presente y asistió a varias de nuestras reuniones. Esfuerzos que rindieron fruto por varios años en la Isla, que hoy día Puerto Rico es parte de la local de SAG-AFTRA de Miami. Lamentamos la pérdida de tan talentoso artista y gran compañero. Siempre recordaremos su regalo de momentos de risa. 21
It’s Great to be a Florida BookPAL By Natalie Rogers, Director of Florida BookPALS
Nothing quite compares to looking out upon a sea of smiling faces, bright eyes, and eager hands waving frantically in the air and knowing your words, borrowed from books though they may be, brought to life by reading aloud, are the cause of such amazing energy and excitement! Being a BookPAL is not a simple act. It’s an interaction, a give and take, a transference of energy and emotion that creates connections, relationships and communities. The “show” begins as a demonstration of love for written and spoken words. Then this enigmatic energy (one part great book, one part devoted reader) wafts out into the audience. And these young charges inhale it, absorb it, until it becomes part of their essence. Imagination ignites the spark — the twinkle in their eye, the grin from ear to ear, the imaginary light bulb hovering above their head — and ah, there you have them! Reading magic is shared, not bestowed. You (along with the help of some clever authors) create something magical. And the children recreate it, with their questions, their comments, their connections, their synapses firing to and fro. A beautiful reciprocity. And every visit, every book, every word, is anticipated, enjoyed and quite fondly remembered. And it’s not at all that difficult. The magic is already written. You just have to let it come through you. For a great book and a cause worth believing in, I encourage you to open yourself to the BookPALS adventure. Every time I share a great book with great listeners, this is what happens. This magical, mystical exchange of energy. More than 2,200 BookPALS across the country come back year after year because they feel it too. Won’t you steal an hour from your week to be part of this enchanted exchange? There are so many classes of children who deserve a BookPAL. Say “yes” to BookPALS. And then be open to the myriad adventures that await. The gifts these kids give back are endless, boundless, beyond words. Say “Yes!” You will be richly rewarded in ways you cannot yet fathom. Sign up here or contact Natalie at (321) 229-0638 or email@example.com.
ACTORS’ CORNER TAPING AUDITIONS AND ONGOING TRAINING The Actors’ Corner at the SAG-AFTRA Miami Local office is the place where members can get their audition taped in a comfortable, studio-like setting, whether they are auditioning for a film, TV program or commercial. The Actors’ Corner atmosphere and technical capabilities provide a venue for members to deliver their best performances for a job in Florida or another state. Local staff currently trains members on how to tape and edit auditions. The goal is for the Actor’s Corner to operate solely on a member-to-member basis. These training sessions are conducted every month. Training dates are posted on the Miami Local webpage at SAGAFTRA.org. If you are interested in the training, please contact Susana Carrillo at (305) 663-7092 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or for additional information. Training sessions for 2014 will begin in March. If you need to reserve the Actor’s Corner to tape and edit your audition, please contact Litana Somoano at (305) 663-7086 or email@example.com The Actors’ Corner is a free benefit to SAG-AFTRA members in good standing. Once you are trained, you will be part of the Actors’ Corner team!
Union Picnic South Florida 02/17/2014
Stevie Vallance Tooned In! Workshop March 1 & 2
Rally in Tally March 26, 2014
CORRECTION AND CLARIFICATION In our last issue, we incorrectly reported that Jennifer Badger appeared in three Scream films. She appeared in Scream 2 and 3.
SAG-AFTRA MIAMI LOCAL ACTIVE COMMITTEES The following committees have been created by the SAG-AFTRA Miami Local Board. For more information about committees, please contact Susana Carrillo at (305) 663-7092 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Background Performers – Co-Chairs: Kevin Dean Hackett and Lauren Marie Pena Conservatory – Chair: Dave Corey and Vice-Chair: Lauren Marie Pena Dancers – Chair: Dionne Renee Legislative – Chair: John McKarthy Organizing – Co-chairs: Memo Sauceda and Nancy Duerr “Right-to-Work” – Chair: Steve Gladstone Stunt and Safety – Chair: Jay Amor Women’s – Chair: Ellen Wacher
2013 – 2015 MIAMI LOCAL BOARD
Nancy Duerr National Board Member Steve Gladstone President Ellen Wacher Vice President Patrick Mickler Secretary John Archie South Florida Rod Ball South Florida John McKarthy South Florida Memo Sauceda South Florida Amy Fox Central Florida Ricky Wayne Central Florida Stacy Alley Alabama Grace Connelly Puerto Rico Jay Amor At-Large Chris Beekie At-Large
SAG FOUNDATION The Screen Actors Guild Foundation announces the 2014 John L. Dales Scholarship Program for eligible SAG-AFTRA members and their children. Applications must be postmarked by March 15, 2014. Established in 1973 to honor John L. Dales who served as the SAG Executive Secretary for 37 years, the Dales Scholarship Program has provided more than 1,500 scholarships to members and their children who are pursuing their educational dreams. Visit the SAG Foundation website for information, guidelines and applications. AFTRA FOUNDATION The George Heller Memorial Scholarship Fund of the AFTRA Foundation was established to honor the key founder of Legacy AFTRA, George Heller, and now memorializes him as well as many other union members and executives who cared about and contributed to the union. Scholarships are offered by the Foundation to SAG-AFTRA members and their dependents for academic study in any field including broadcast journalism and labor relations or for professional training in the arts. Eligibility requires SAG-AFTRA membership in good standing for at least five years. The deadline for submission of applications including all required materials – is May 1, 2014. Up to 15 scholarships are provided each year. For more details, click here.
David Scott At-Large Lauren Marie Pena At-Large
REMINDERS! Visit SAG-AFTRA’s website at
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For upcoming productions 24
SAG-AFTRA Miami Local MAIN Telephone ……… (305) 670-7677 Toll Free …………(800) 724-0767 Option # 3 STAFF Herta Suarez………….…….….Ext. 7089 Miami Local Executive Director/ New Orleans Local Broadcast Director Leslie Krensky…………….……Ext. 7077 South Region Director/ Contracts and Operations David Fazekas……..….. (407)788-3020 South Region Manager/Contracts Carlina Rodriguez……......…..Ext. 7076 Director, Spanish Language Industry Relations Eileen Neel……………….…….Ext. 7079 Membership Supervisor
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Contributors Susana Carrillo Dave Corey Nancy Duerr David Fazekas Steve Gladstone Leslie Krensky Herta Suarez
Karen Weiss……………….…...Ext. 7082 Office Manager Ruth Paul…………………..…...Ext. 7087 Business Representative E-mail: Ruth.email@example.com Production in South Florida Doriza Sojo……………….…….Ext. 7081 Business Representative E-mail: Doriza.firstname.lastname@example.org Production in Alabama & Puerto Rico Jessica Vazquez………….…..Ext. 7083 Business Representative E-mail: Jessica.Vazquez@sagaftra.org Radio & television commercials, corporate-educational (industrial), infomercials Linda Isrel…………………..…..Ext. 7088 Associate Business Representative E-mail: Linda.email@example.com Student & short film productions Susana Carrillo……………….Ext. 7092 Executive Administrative Assistant
SAG-AFTRA 7300 N. Kendall Drive Suite 620 Miami, FL 33156 Phone: (305) 670.7677 Fax: (305) 670.1813 Email Website: SAGAFTRA.org/Miami
Litana Somoano………………Ext. 7086 Administrative Assistant
The Official Newsletter of the SAG-AFTRA Miami Local