Monday, January 31, 2011


Jonathan Handel at THR is out with a post saying that Marcia Smith has resigned after a great 15 year run as the SAG Foundation’s Executive Director and is being replaced by veteran SAG exec Sallie Weaver. The appointment for Weaver is described as “interim.”

Handel has this quote from Smith, suggesting that the merger push is what’s behind her decision to step down: “I feel it is time for new leadership at the Foundation to meet the challenges that the new structure will bring.

Time for Merger?


A post in Variety says the overwhelming number of actors it asked at the SAG Awards yesterday answered that they favor unifying SAG and AFTRA. Recognition that it’s time is apparently spreading, with everyone from Lifetime Achievement honoree Ernest Borgnine to Kyra Sedgwick, Juliana Margulies and Patrick Stewart voicing support.

Definitely worth a click, if not for the confirmation of what we all think we know, for this bit from Ken Howard:
A significant question to be determined is what the merged entity would be called. Last time around, the proposed moniker was the unwieldy Alliance of Intl. Media Artists. Howard said he wanted to keep it simple, i.e., SAG-AFTRA or AFTRA-SAG.
“I just don’t want to have confusion by doing a whole new set of letters,” he said.

One union, SAG and AFTRA...but when?

As talk of a new union, and/or merger with the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors heats us and momentum accelerates, it is important to take a few key factors into account:

1. There is a general belief among most working actors, as was witnessed during last night's Screen Actors Guild Awards, that it is time to stop the division of two dues, two health plans, two competing unions and join under one umbrella in this age of media fusion and consolidation.

2. There is no actual plan or structure as of this date. Such a structure will take time and consensus. SAG and AFTRA have two widely different cultures, with AFTRA being very local and grass roots and SAG being industry Los Angeles top down in structure. AFTRA also represents recording artists, newscasters, talk hosts, some local television producers and writers and assorted other talent.

3. SAG is the larger of the two unions in membership.

4. The majority of AFTRA's members are actors or voice artists who work under acting talent contracts.

6. The two health and retirement (pension) plans do not have to merge for the unions to merge or join.

7. An almost certain merger plan less than a decade ago lost by a slim margin in the Screen Actors Guild, where it failed to gain the required 60% ratification by a few hundred votes. The process was long, costly and failed under the weight of a well organized opposition campaign.

8. AFTRA overwhelmingly agreed to merger under a new umbrella union during those same failed merger efforts.

9. There is a movement, mostly in Hollywood, away from any merger plan toward a far less likely "actors only" union, excluding broadcasters, recording artists and possibly background talent.

10. If not now, when?

So SAG President Ken Howards' optimism on stage and national television during the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night, while it may prove prophetic, is not universal. AFTRA President Roberta Reardon is also solidly campaigning for campaigning for merger or the formation of a new union.

The momentum is there for a new joint union, building monthly and accelerating since the first of this year. Still it could take months but more likely a few years when and if a merger occurs.

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry is moving at the speed of light, literally.

New Mexico Casting Directors

New Mexico is in a casting boom. 
Click on "read more" below for a list of Casting Directors based in New Mexico.

SAG After-Party

Betty White and Ernest Borgnine, the night's elder statesmen honorees, stopped in and settled into one of the designated VIP couch pits, while nearby the trophy-winning "Modern Family" kids - Ariel Winter, Rico Rodriguez and Nolan Gould - danced up a storm to the music of Impulse.

Next Week Join us for one heck of a Dam Short Film Festival

Little Shop of Horrors Auditions: Mark Your Calendars

Tarpits, SAG, Sundance, Oscars and The Social Network

SAG, Unions and Merger

Those who tuned in to see celebrities and a normal awards show were not disappointed by The 17th Annual SAG Awards, but they also got something they did not expect... a dose of unionism.

In the upstairs lobby entrance for the main national SAG offices 5757 Wilshire, across a side street from the LaBrea Tar Pits, there is a mural from various films, with Sallie Fields large and front and center holding up the cardboard hand written sign "union", a scene from the pro-union film "Norma Rae."

While there are obvious jokes about unions and tar pits, the truth is that unions in the entertainment union protect performers wages, working conditions, images and talents. Also located in the same building are the west coast offices of AFTRA and Actors Equity.

The SAG Awards last night were used to promote union cooperation, the value of an entertainment union and a merged or new union with sister union AFTRA. It may not have been as a part of the scripted portion for the event but the union message came through loud and clear in Ken Howard's speech, and in several acceptance speeches. People I work with at CSN and those I work with through SAG who are with other unions heard the message loud ad clear, particular Teamsters.

The entertainment unions are joining with the crafts to deal with the brave new world of technology, shifting political power in Washington and at state levels, and a boarder less internationalization of producers and corporations.


Sundance ended this past Saturday night with more than two dozen "deals", more than any recent year. The reinvented festival returned to its Indy roots this year, with mixed reviews. 

Filmmakers worry about up front distribution dollars and P&A budgets (Prints, Advertising and Marketing) for their projects. The dollars a film options for represents only a portion of those expenses. This year's Oscar nomination includes three films that debuted at Sundance, and have critical and financial success. Oscar winner "Little Miss Sunshine" from a few years was a "come from nowhere " Sundance winner.


"The Kings Speech" is now the front runner for the Oscar for Best Picture. "Social Network" which was a leader, shares audience demographics with "Black Swan" and "The Boxer" which cold impact its vote potential.

"The Kings Speech" received the equivalent of a PG-13 rating in England, while it received an "R" in the US for the use of one swear word, used in historical accuracy and for very specific purpose. The producers say they will release a version without the word to capitalize on its success.


KCRW's "the Business" includes an interview with producer Dana Brunetti about how the film came to be, the obstacles it faced, and how to fund, assemble and produce successful films.

'The Social Network' Producer Dana Brunetti

He may not be the biggest Hollywood name behind The Social Network, but without his relationship with author Ben Mezrich Hollywood may not have made this movie. Producer … more >>

Goodbye Until Tomorrow: A Benefit for The Onyx Theatre

Friday, February 4 at 10:00pm - February 5 at 1:00am

LocationThe Onyx Theater

Created By

More InfoCome out for a late night benefit and fun, with proceeds going to the new renovations at the Onyx Theatre.

"Goodbye Until Tomorrow" features a special performance by the cast of The Last 5 Years, fresh back from the premier production in Omaha, Nebraska.

Tickets - $10

Bar and Raffles!

Featuring the musical stylings of Michael Spadoni on piano, and Amanda Wright on cello.

Be the first to see the newly renovated lobby area at The Onyx.

Come out and support a great home to the arts in Las Vegas. The Onyx gives so much to the arts community; and it's time that we give back. Help RagTag get the Onyx's renovations finished.

Action Actor for Short Film

Male actors between 18 and 30 needed for a action type short film. I prefer theatre trained actors but will consider others as well. Send pictures, resume and a phone number. This is a NON-PAYING job. Film credit, festival exposure and gas money is all you will receive. Thank you 

Modern Family, SAG Awards, Angry Birds, Where are the lady weather"men"

"Manny Get Your Gun" episode promo photo from "Modern Family", SAG Award Winning series ensemble at last night's SAG Awards in Hollywood.
Victory speeches. "The King's Speech" was a big winner at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, along with "The Fighter." The SAG Awards record as an indicator for the Oscars is mixed, but it is worth noting that the Guild didn't show much love for "The Social Network." On the TV side, HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" had a winning hand, as did ABC's "Modern Family." More on the awards from VarietyHollywood Reporter and the Los Angeles Times.
Angry Birds Rio
As far as partnerships go, this one is for the birds. Literally. 

20th Century Fox struck a deal to bring the domesticated macaw and other feathered characters from its forthcoming big-screen animated film, "Rio," to one of the most popular mobile game applications for the small screen, Angry Birds.

The Finnish creators of Angry Birds will release a version of the game -- Angry Birds Rio -- to coincide with the film's March 22 world premiere in Rio. The movie opens in theaters April 15.
Al Jazeera makes waves. Egypt, caught up in the midst of political unrest and protests, is cracking down on Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the uprising is getting notice around the globe. TheDaily Beast looks at how Al Jazeera is causing headaches for the Egyptian government.
Harvey opens wallet. The Weinstein Co. did some big deals at Sundance, which is leading to more stories that brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein have not burned through their nine lives. This time, it's New York Times columnist David Carr looking at the company's prospects. Carr notes that while lots of people are against the mercurial Weinsteins -- particularly Harvey -- it is a "little like being against the coming of winter." In other words, he's always going to be around.
Kennedys near home? "The Kennedys," an ambitious miniseries that the History Network pulled the plug on after getting pressure from the Kennedy family and their friends, may find a home in syndication since no other cable network seems interested. Deadline Hollywood reports that Tribune, parent of TV stations across the country including WGN Chicago, which also has a national reach through its carriage on cable systems, is kicking the tires of the "The Kennedys." 
Forecast still not good. Broadcasting & Cable takes the temperature of the nation's TV weather forecasters and notes that women appear to be very underrepresented. "Some industry watchers believe the male-dominated world of weather on TV stations perpetuates itself, creating roadblocks for female advancement for years to come. Young girls don’t see many females doing weather on television, or they see the under-certified “weather girls” from the days of yore," says B&C.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: This year's Oscars are shaping up to be a showdown between Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin. Did ABC really need to promote an Adam Sandler movie in the middle of its coverage of the Lakers - Celtics game?

"Born Free" and "James Bond" composer John Barry dead at 77. The five-time Oscar winner also created the soundtracks for 'Midnight Cowboy,' 'Dances With Wolves,' 'Out of Africa' and 'Born Free.'

John Barry, the Oscar-winning movie-music composer best known for composing 11 James Bond soundtracks, has died at the age of 77. Photographer: Dave Hogan/Getty Images.

John Barry, the Oscar-winning movie- music composer best known for composing 11 James Bond soundtracks, has died at the age of 77.
Barry, who was born in York, England, suffered a heart attack in New York, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported today.
His arrangement of Monty Norman’s “James Bond” theme led to Barry scoring the music for 007 films such as “Goldfinger” and “You Only Live Twice.”
His five Academy Awards recognized his work on “Born Free,” “The Lion in Winter,” “Out of Africa” and “Dances With Wolves.” The last movie also picked up a Grammy for best score soundtrack album, while “Midnight Cowboy” won a Grammy for best instrumental composition.
His work gained a new popularity when Robbie Williams featured Barry’s “You Only Live Twice” on his 1998 hit single “Millennium.”

Hip Professional Spokespersons: Open Commercial Casting Call Today

Open Casting for Tax Pro Experts TV spot will be held on Monday from 3pm - 8pm at 9510 W. Sahara, Ste 200 (Cross street is Ft. Apache. On Sahara, behind I-Hop and KFC).

If cast, you must be available on the day of the shoot (Tuesday, Feb 1st), from 6pm - 9pm (or possibly later).

We are looking for a male or female spokesperson between the ages of 30 - 40 for a Tax Preparer Service, who is not only businesslike and professional, but cool and hip.

Pay to be determined, but this is a low budget TV spot, so SAG talent probably need not apply. 

"Here to Hire" film audition at UNLV

Auditions for “Here to Hire” will be held on Saturday, February 5th, 2011.

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154-2008
(702) 895-4449

Log Line:
A Catholic counselor with a fear of confrontation is forced to keep an abused child in danger, but after he learns of a dark secret, and involvement from those who stand in his way, the chance to help comes, but with high stakes.

Limited slots available. The following times are open as of Monday January 31st, 2011.
5-6p – 3 spots
6-7p – 3 spots
7-8p – 1 spot
8-9p – 4 spots 

Note that this is from Craigslist but appears to be a student film. SAG Actors are encouraged to audition but may not work without a SAG contract. Affordable contracts that protect both the talent and the producer are available. Contact the SAG office for additional information.

Click "read more" for a character breakdown and additional information.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

SAG Awards, and the winners are...

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The King’s Speech
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading RoleColin Firth, The King’s Speech
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading RoleNatalie Portman, Black Swan
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting RoleChristian Bale, The Fighter
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or MiniseriesClaire Danes, Temple Grandin
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or MiniseriesAl Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack
Screen Actors Guild Awards 47th Annual Life Achievement AwardErnest Borgnine
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesModern Family
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy SeriesBetty White, Hot in Cleveland
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesAlec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo, 
The Fighter
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesBoardwalk Empire
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama SeriesJulianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesSteve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire

Actors featured spoke of value of the Screen Actors Guild, unions and of the need to merge with AFTRA, our sister union. The awards were voted on by the Screen Actors Guild membership after screening committees in each categories narrowed down considerations. The Lifetime Achievement Award was considered in three ballots by the National Honors and Tributes Committee, on which I serve. - Art Lynch

Reports on the SAG Awards: TV Squad

Hollywood Reporter

What the winners said about their awards.

Variety on SAG Awards (and links)

Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi, above, accepts the Best Actor award in a television series for 'Boardwalk Empire,' which also took home best ensemble Sunday night.
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman wins the Best Actress in a motion picture award for Fox Searchlight's ballet thriller, 'The Black Swan.'
Christian Bale
Christian Bale is in good spirits after winning the Best Supporting Actor kudo for 'The Fighter.'
Modern Family
The cast of ABC's 'Modern Family' accepts the SAG award for best ensemble, television comedy series, during Sunday night's broadcast on TNT.

And The Wrap.

"Modern Family," "Boardwalk Empire" Take Top TV Ensemble Awards; Christian Bale and Melissa Leo Win Supporting Movie Honors
By Steve Pond & Joshua L. Weinstein

And Backstage.

SAG President Howard sees new joint union by this time next year


A bold prediction by the President of SAG at the Awards.  Notably, the statement was cheered by the actors in attendance.
Perhaps more surprising, Melissa Leo (of Membership First) on the same subject:
“I don’t know what is ahead in the future for now. If we’re talking about joining together and making the voice of the working actor stronger, let’s join together. Let’s make it a real voice. Unions made this country great because they give the voice to the working people. “
Reality check: this time next year still seems very unlikely. This time two years from now? Probable.


Just before the big show, a note on one we missed. On Friday, in Variety’s SAG Awards Edition, an interview with Ken Howard. One union was a key theme:
“The obvious challenge to both SAG and AFTRA is remaining current in a rapidly changing industry,” says Howard. “We have to be nimble, pro-active and unified, and we’ve got to bring compelling value to future members. Young performers don’t want to join two unions to pursue a career; we have to end that and become a single organization that works powerfully for them.”
The article doesn’t have anything particularly new from Howard, but does have an interesting line from Dave McNary, the Variety writer. He describes merger as something that “appears to be gaining traction among members.”