Know the facts about Screen Actors Guild vs. AMPTP
- The following message is the second in a series of responses to
Screen Actors Guild members' questions at recent Town Hall meetings
and sent to us via email.
Know the Facts!
Q: How can we be asked to authorize the National board to call a TV/
Theatrical strike in this time of economic crisis?
A: There is no good time to consider a strike. Strikes are called
only when management’s bargaining positions are intolerable and then
only by a vote of the elected actors on the National Board, if
authorized by a membership referendum. But, tough economic times are
when it is most necessary to be unified to resist the studios and
networks effort to obliterate contract provisions in our future
work. The AMPTP’s contract proposal in new media creates a business
model with no minimums, no residuals, and the right to produce non-
union whenever they want.
Our employers are publicly held companies with currently unhappy
shareholders whose investments in studios and networks have been
severely reduced in value as a result of the Wall Street crash. Our
employers will respond by cutting expenses wherever possible. Our
only protection from the cost-cutting hatchet is a strong contract -
- with minimums, pension/health contributions and safe working
conditions, including in all new media formats where our work is
clearly headed fast. Just watch and see how many times network
dotcom logos appear on your television screen.
This union was founded in 1933 during the Great Depression. We
achieved our first contract with the studios in 1937. Despite
general unemployment then at 25%, working actors formed Screen Actors
Guild to resist the studios demand that all actors take a 50% pay cut
because of the economic hard times for the entertainment industry in
the 1930’s. Actors then, at great risk to their careers, stood
together and refused management’s rollbacks.
The economic crisis puts pressure on both sides of the table in the
TV/Theatrical contracts negotiation. The studios and networks are
much more vulnerable today than they were a year ago facing the WGA.
Certainly, actors face an uncertain future as unemployment rises. But
the AMPTP’s proposal will make it impossible for actors to earn a
living for work in new media. If Internet productions become the new
TV pilots and network dotcoms showcase original productions and you
can watch all new media product on a Sony Bravia flat screen TV
hooked directly to the Internet - - how will the working actor
survive without minimums, residuals, and pension and health
benefits? Both sides in this dispute should compromise on an
agreement, not just the members of SAG.
Send that message to the AMPTP companies by voting yes on the strike
Please visit the SAG website at www.sag.org for up to the minute
information and email your questions or comments to
Contract2008@... (this is an email address and not a live web link.)
More than 3,000 SAG members have signed on to the solidarity campaign at
www.sag.org If you haven’t yet signed the Guild’s solidarity
support of a fair contract and a “yes” vote on the strike
so now at http://www.sag.org/solidarity-signup-sheet
Read recent SAG Talk posts at http://www.sag.org/sag-talk including
SAG President Ed Asner’s Los Angeles Times opinion piece and SAG
member and New York Division board member Eric Bogosian’s open letter
to members. Also see new support videos on the home page and at SAG TV.
If you want to take the classes on how to work with a film director,
do you have directions to the location nearest you (Metairie,
Covington, or Baton Rouge)? If not, write back immediately. This
course starts the week of January 12th.
In addition to directors, casting directors will also be scouting
these classes for talent.
Take action on your dreams. Don't lose out. Your last chance to
register is now!
On Dec 31, 2008, at 7:37 PM, Veleka Gray wrote:
> The word is out. The film industry in Louisiana is booming, and
> directors--from student filmmakers to auteurs of award-winning
> features--are seeking talent for their projects.
> To help meet this growing need, The Actors Alliance is expanding
> from its initial role as an actors' training center into a film
> production company to work closely with local and out-of-state
> production personnel.
> Veleka Gray, head coach of the Alliance, is presently working as
> the executive producer of a Screen Actors Guild short with a team
> that is planning more and greater films in 2009. In addition, Ms.
> Gray is investigating a means to certify the actors who go through
> her school in preparation of becoming acting professionals.
> The first course of the year is, appropriately, on how to work with
> directors at auditions and on a film set. The students will be
> filmed with two cameras simultaneously so that each performance can
> be analyzed individually with close-ups.
> For six weeks, starting the week of January 12th, you can explore
> how best to audition for and perform for directors. In each class,
> in addition to working on scenes to hone and polish your craft, you
> will learn what directors like, what they hate, how to deal with a
> negative director, and how to make them your partners for success.
> At the end of the series, at least one film director will come to a
> showcase where the actors will demonstrate their craft and have the
> opportunity to promote their work.
> Classes are held:
> Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 in Metairie
> Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 in Covington
> Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 10 in Baton Rouge
> For additional information on location, tuition, or anything else,
> please call (504) 812-3379 and leave a message, or press Reply to
> send an e-mail.
> TEACHER BIO
> Acting coach Veleka Gray, an accomplished stage and screen actress,
> starred in nine different roles in six soap operas, including "The
> Young & The Restless" and "As the World Turns." She is a vested
> member of both Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of
> Radio and Television Artists and served fifteen years as a judge
> for the National Emmy Awards. She is a member of the Academy and
> was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame in 2004. Since coming
> home to Louisiana, she has founded The Actors Alliance, a training
> center for local talent, to share her expertise and act as teacher,
> coach, and mentor to Louisiana's rising stars.
> To find out how you can study in Louisiana's premier acting school,
> contact Veleka Gray at ActorsAlliance@... or call (504)
> 812-3379. Must be at least sixteen to register.
> "Thank you for all you do as a teacher and a friend. I admire your
> work and your freedoms. I look forward to working hard in the next
> class. I find them fun, exciting, challenging, and extremely
> --Angela Bertone, Ponchatoula
> "I think you're amazing as a person and a teacher. But especially
> when you teach it's like you're firm and nurturing at the same
> time. I'm taking mental notes so I can do that for my students.
> Like I feel that when you have to make a criticism when we do good
> or bad, it's honest. There is nothing negative about your
> approach. And I respect the hell out of that. It's interesting
> coming from different acting teachers who teach some of the same
> things you do but some of them just tear you down and break your
> spirit. I don't get that from you. And that is why I think you are
> amazing as a person."
> --Katie Sills, Baton Rouge
> "I am going to be in every session from now on. I honestly believe
> that the techniques you teach and the way you teach them has helped
> me to improve. No joke. Some have even settled a certain
> nervousness that I think I went into every audition with (before I
> started your classes). I am gung-ho about your style of teaching,
> and when you respect and feel strongly about another's art, you
> should tell them."
> --Gina Bern, New Orleans
> "What are the details on the next class? i can't wait!!! I was
> thrilled with the showcase! I thought it was amazing! I am blessed
> and grateful that God directed me to you and your class. Thank you
> for being you!"
> --Kari Campbell, Baton Rouge
> "I just wanted to say that classes have been WONDERFUL!!"
> --Deetsie Jordan, Covington
> Make your first New Year's resolution to take action on your dreams
> in 2009. The Actors Alliance can help you reach your highest
> goals. To register or get more information, e-mail