Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Soul of SAG

The Soul of SAG

From: "The Soul of the American Actor"
Commentary (2008)
by Rebecca Damon

We carry our union cards proudly.

They are a symbol of us binding together with others to form entities that champion our craft as a profession.

When we step on a set or a stage, the concern of the actor is their art.  Off set we have the opportunity and responsibility to participate in Guild processes and committees ensuring that those protections stay in place.

Sam Freed, SAG New York Division President said recently: “It did not occur to me when I ran for election for a position on the board of the New York Division of SAG that I was in any way taking on a position of leadership.  I recognize now that is exactly what I was doing.  I would learn that my initial motives of simply wanting to be able to assert my opinions in the process would also require a responsibility to listen to others who were in the room.  Leadership is manifest in a responsibility to others.  It requires the ability to present possible directions or actions.  It equally requires the ability to help a group come to a consensus that allows that group to move forward. That is how I see my responsibility as a leader.”

SAG New York Division Vice President Mike Hodge added, “Vigilance is just as important now as it was in those early years. This Guild was founded by members working in the industry.  It continues to be run by members working in the industry. Our constant participation is the only way we will be able to maintain the viability of this precious organization.”

It is a changing world and as technology evolves so does our craft.  Today SAG is providing protection for its members in the traditional media of film, television, commercials, and industrials as well as in new media forms that producers choose to utilize.

Recently SAG was instrumental in getting the state of New York to triple the film and TV tax credits for companies producing in New York to 30%.  Additionally, New York City has enacted a 5% credit bringing the total credit for projects in the city to 35%.  But it is more than just an organization fighting for actors’ salaries and working conditions, more than a labor organization fighting for an industry that is becoming increasingly global.  From the SAG Conservatory, the SAG Foundation’s Casting Access Project, and MORE’s Business of the Biz seminars, SAG offers a spectrum of workshops and programs to educate and inspire the membership.   These programs are about supporting an actor through all phases of their professional career.

It is a group of professionals that provides fellowship and programs to foster the growth of the actor.

It is an organization that is born out of the spirit of all the great thespian societies.

And, at its heart, at its soul, it is still the creation of six visionary performers who wanted nothing more then fair wages and working conditions.

At its soul, we are SAG.

You are the union.

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