FOUR AREAS OF ACTION TO SUPPORT OUR MEMBERS
Contracts and enforcement, financial health, our pension and health plans, and our working conditions are all vitally important, but we acknowledge that the vast majority of our members are aspiring to book enough union work to qualify for pension and healthcare and experience our contracts firsthand.
We are committed to helping our members with their quality of life, education and employment. By ensuring we have the best leadership, we can finally harness the power of a merged union for our collective benefit.
Our current projects intend to make sure our members feel the value of their SAG-AFTRA membership every day and help them be more successful and fulfilled in their artistic endeavors.
1. SERVICES AND OPPORTUNITIES
HELP OUR MEMBERS WITH THEIR PROFESSIONAL AND FINANCIAL WELL BEING.
FREE SELF TAPING
Our LA Conservatory offers free self-taping for members two days a week. We have served over 250 members in the last year alone. We need to expand that service to every day and across all Locals, so potentially our members can save hundreds of dollars a month on another cost pushed onto us by production.
We have over a thousand discounts that can save our members a couple grand a year if they just use them. But they do not know about them because they are scattered across four websites. We need to organize those discounts by type (electronics), brand (Sony), and vendor (Best Buy), and make them easily searchable on the SAG-AFTRA website and mobile app. Then we need to target and negotiate new discounts to save our members money on every expense associated with our industry, like self-taping, for example. We already have a team of volunteers who have created a list of every self-taping facility in LA. We can easily negotiate a discount for union members. That’s one of dozens of areas we can organize to save our members money.
MEMBER SERVICE DIRECTORY
Keep the money in the family. We are already building an online directory where members can list their side-hustles so members can hire other members for non-performer-related work. Accounting, painting, plumbing, tech support, etc. Hire a fellow SAG-AFTRA member and help them sustain themselves on this journey.
MEMBER WORK/REHEARSAL SPACE
Our members constantly need space to work, rehearse, and collaborate with each other and our partners in film-making. It would be incredible to have a work-space available to our members not unlike a shared work space like WeWork. Our members could benefit from having access to such a space, especially for those who cannot be productive at home due to lack of space, family, roommates, children, neighbors, or other issues.
HELP OUR MEMBERS BE THE MOST SKILLED, EXPERIENCED, AND STRATEGIC ARTISTS.
NATIONAL CONSERVATORY EXPANSION
Our union has a duty to coordinate continuing education for our members with our existing National and Local Conservatory structure. We will create strong, vibrant Conservatories across the 25 Locals with live-streamed classes, sending our best educators around the country to bring top-tier market expertise to the smaller Locals. This will include self-taping, studios for on-camera and voice-over classes, with a robust curriculum of craft and business classes available to all members nationwide.
HIGH PROFILE GUEST INSTRUCTORS
High profile performers are willing to volunteer their time to teach. We just have to ask them. Nothing is as powerful to an aspiring performer as to have one of the greats share their knowledge and craft with them personally one-on-one. In the past year, we have had Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Matthew Modine, Eric Lutes, Frances Fisher, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Patricia Richardson, Bryan Cranston, Fred Melamed, Ransford Doherty, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., and others guest teach, which was an inspiring interaction for all who were involved.
HELP OUR MEMBERS BUILD CASTING, REPRESENTATION, AND INDUSTRY RELATIONSHIPS THAT LEAD TO EMPLOYMENT.
CASTING SOCIETY OF AMERICA CLASSES
The CSA itself has approached the LA Local with a desire to teach classes for the LA Conservatory. Our members are craving access to casting, especially since the top work is packaged by the Big 4 (CAA, WME, ICM, UTA) and casting director workshops came under attack last year leading to all but a few workshop facilities closing. Members nationwide need access to casting to build those relationships and to successfully create that partnership.
WGA TABLE READS
For the past two years, we have been producing table reads through the LA Conservatory for WGA writers, cast with our members by CSA casting directors. Expanding that program across the nation is such a simple and powerful way to collaborate with our partners in film-making at the WGA. WGA writers are the most powerful producers of television and films. Building those relationships is both important and easy to do.
CASTING & AGENT SHOWCASES
We will strive to abide by the terms of our TV/Theatrical Contract which mandates that casting and agent showcases take place. So many of our members are seeking representation. SAG-AFTRA absolutely should have the best in-person and digital showcases in the business. We already have a volunteer group developing casting director and agency showcases to help our members get repped and connect with casting. As part of this, we are developing a monologue database from network TV and feature films, and a monologue class to help members prepare their best work for participating industry pros.
ENSURE WE HAVE FAIR ELECTIONS AND THE BEST LEADERSHIP.
Right now, our election system is effectively broken. Candidates are intentionally run for office by the current leadership who immediately resign and give their seats away to party insiders. Right now, you can’t have any confidence that who you vote for is who will serve, if elected. The costs of campaigning are so high it effectively prevents all but those in political parties, who group fund-raise, from communicating with members during elections.
MAKE COMMITTEE SYSTEM MORE INCLUSIVE
Right now, approximately 500 members who want to volunteer to serve our union and add their experience and energy to our leadership are turned away from committee service while political party insiders sit on as many as 17 committees. We have committees and operations responsible for crucial services for our members that are constantly stalled and delayed, sometimes for YEARS because so much control has been consolidated into so few political insiders’ hands. We need to restrict the number of committees any one member can serve on or chair. Let’s ensure that we are making the most of our committees by opening the doors to allow the brilliant energy of our members in.