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Watchdog : SAG Remove Christie’s Page, and Others Like it, from the Next SAG Magazine!

April 19, 2006 (19:02) | 2006 | By: Arlin Miller

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Well, here it is another election cycle, and certain rules kick into place, both in the SAG Magazine, and Department of Labor!

In regards to the SAG Screen Actor Magazine, the rule is pretty clear for the general membership. If you are a candidate for the upcoming election. you can’t even have a letter posted in the “Letters to the Editor!”

It’s a good rule as board members already have a venue to have their voices heard year round. And, of course, it would be a violation of Federal Labor law to give one candidate a step-up over another candidate by giving them an unfair advantage in an upcoming election–by offering them either increased visibility, or a platform for their political views, not matter how subtle, at SAG Expense!

The Labor Disclosure Article of 1959 is very clear:

Article IV,g.( No moneys received by any labor organization by way of dues, assessment, or similar levy, and no moneys of an employer shall be contributed or applied to promote the candidacy of any person in an election subject to the provisions of this title. Such moneys of a labor organization may be utilized for notices, factual statements of issues not involving candidates, and other expenses necessary for the holding of an election.

And that “Huston” is where we have a problem–in regards to the upcoming SAG Magazine.

It’s the Ol’ Dog’s understanding that the National V.P.’s will have columns in the upcoming SAG Screen Actor Magazine. One of the V.P.’s, Paul Christie is already officially a candidate for the upcoming election. This excerpt from the NY Nominating Committee announcement sent to their constituents confirms that:

Now, how can an announced candidate, Mr. Christie, or ANY other candidate that intends to run for the board, get free exposure in SAG’s magazine (exposure that undoubtedly promotes his/her candidacy) without allowing other candidates equal exposure?

The answer, of course, is that they can’t, without, of course, not only violating SAG Actor Magazine policy, but more importantly federal labor law! It would be a reckless maneuver that would most certainly be the basis for an election challenge.

Mr. Christie should be well aware of this since he, and two of his USAN cohorts, recently made an election challenge regarding SAG President Alan Rosenberg and Treasurer Connie Stevens to the Department of Labor! A failed challenge, by the way, that wasted several *money thousand of your dues dollars!

I’m sure our SAG legal counsel would agreeBETTER SAFE THAN SORRY!

So, the prudent, and fair, thing to do is pull any articles by any candidates from this next magazine! After the election, if they want to continue the VP Column policy do so.

Let’s all get behind making this a fair election for ALL candidates.

Of course, the other option would be allow ALL candidates to have a column in the magazine. It would certainly make for interesting reading!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !



SAG Nails “The Hammer ” to Contract!

April 19, 2006 (19:02) | 2006 | By: Arlin Miller

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In a previous post the Ol’ Dog reported on Adam Carolla’s new Non-Union Movie “The Hammer!” Well, congratulations to our SAG Theatrical Contract Department for persuading the producers of that movie to become signatories under SAG’s Modified Low Budget Agreement!*

Now, here is the story about how the whole thing went down! Apparently, quite sometime ago the producers of “The Hammer” had taken the initial step to become SAG Signatories, but, well, gosh darn, they seem to have forgotten to follow through on their movie which begins filming in FOUR DAYS! In the meantime, they allowed it to be advertised as Non Union–while at the same time seeking extras to work for food!

But, by golly when our SAG Staff called them yesterday and reminded them that they had never followed through on their initial step, they did the oops thingy–and signed up!

I guess sometimes folks just need a little gentle reminder. That’s why the Ol’ Dog sent the following email to Mr. Carolla through his assistant Webmaster Marc Chambers:

Dear Marc, congratulate Adam on his movie “Hammer” becoming a SAG signatory. However in regards to unpaid extras working for no pay, I hope you and Adam realize that not only is that a violation of federal law–but also California state law.

Currently, California minimum is six dollars and seventy-five cents an hour!

Good luck with your movie,

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief

Hopefully, Mr. Carolla will do the right thing with the extras. If not, well, the Ol’ Dog has already contacted both the Federal and California Departments of labor with a heads upand of course, will follow through with the necessary action.

Once again, good luck to Mr. Carolla and his new move! When a SAG project is successful, we all win in the long run.

And way to go SAG Staff! *up

A.L. Miller

Although the Ol’ Dog has a bit of a problem with the way these low budget contracts are structuredActors aren’t rewarded for working at less than scale, if the movie is a big successit still is nice to see a non-union project turned into a union one!

Also thanks to the reader that gave me the heads-up on this story! *toast



Adam Carolla: Most Hated Thumbs His Nose at SAG Again

April 19, 2006 (19:02) | 2006 | By: Arlin Miller

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By the thundering boos that erupted at the mention of Adam Carolla’s name at a 2000 strike rally at the Palladium, he was the town’s most hated actor!

Mr. Carolla was the recipient of the boos and catcalls because of derisive remarks made on national TV belittling actors’ efforts during the grueling 2000 strike!

After the successful conclusion to the strike, in which SAG keep its Class A spots and got a hundred and forty percent bump in cable, Mr. Carolla, who had been a hot commodity at the time, cooled off considerably.

Well, his name has resurfaced in a manner that will do little to increase his standing among SAG members. According a website announcing Casting News & Projects, Mr. Carolla will soon star in a Non-Union movie!


We have a “NEW” Non Union Film starting June 18th, with Adam Carolla! It is titled “The Hammer”! Details of what we are looking for to follow soon!

But not to worry starving-actors will not starve. if they work on Adam’s new non-union movie. This from his website:

“The Hammer”, starring Adam Carolla and Heather Juergensen, is looking for UNPAID extras.Here are the details:

–Shooting in L.A. from June 18-July 17 (we’ll need you for ONE of those days)
–No pay, but meals will be provided

Synopsis: At 39 years old, Jerry Ferro returns to competitive boxing after a 20-year layoff, thus beginning this hilarious fish-out-of-water quest for Olympic gold.

If interested, please e-mail thehammermovie@gmail.com

Thanks!! I hope to meet some of you on set.

Marc Chambers
Asst. Webmaster, “The Adam Carolla Show”

Food for thought with just a little taste of what actors could expect if there was no SAG to protect ALL of our actors. If you’d like to view the actual post click the following”


Once again, it seems SAG member Adam Carolla is thumbing his nose at the Screen Actors Guild! Only this time, it also seems the guild may be in a position to return the favor in a meaningful way!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

For the record the Ol’ Dog called SAG before posting this article, and the above mentioned movie is not a SAG signatory!



The Ol’ Dog’s biting observations about the ATA/NATR impasse

April 19, 2006 (19:02) | 2006 | By: Arlin Miller

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* With a few minor changes, the following is an article that I posted on a Bulletin Board debate concerning the lack of action by our leadership to solve the ATA/NATR impasse.

First, we should all understand that SAG is in the drivers seat on this issue under a 1981 Supreme Court ruling (H. A. Artists & Assocs., Inc. v. Actors’ Equity Assn.) which allows the establishment of “a licensing system for the regulation of agents, prohibiting union members from using an agent who has not obtained a license from the union.”

So, if SAG members stand together just as they have for over the last 70 years, ATA/NATR agents would be between a rock and a hard place.! The only thing that sustains this debate is fear! A fear that was perpetrated on members by Melissa Gilbert, Restore Respect and USAN leadership after members overwhelming voted not to give into the ATA/NATR!

I had the privilege of being a board alternate at the plenary where the Agency Relations Committee recommended that SAG give the ATA/NATR a Drop Dead Date to become franchised! There were several rousing solidarity speeches and overwhelming support from most of the Hollywood leadership, but Melissa preempted the board voting on the matter, by informing all that it was late and that the meeting should be adjourned. Thus with the help of her RR supporters in Hollywood and the entire USAN board video conferencing from New York, the meeting was adjourned!

It was right around that time that we started to hear a new fear inducing mantra never before heard in SAG’s illustrious history: The idea that members would have to choose between their agents and SAG.

This of course is a completely bogus proposition, since members have already made that decision by the very act of becoming SAG members. Upon joining SAG, members agree to abide by SAG’s rules, regulations and constitution! Rule 16 A of that constitution mandates “that Guild members shall deal only with agents who are franchised by the Guild.”

One of the very reasons this union was formed was so that actors would have an organization to stand up for their rights, and individual members would not have to stand alone against employers, agents, and others– that might seek retribution on any single individual that stood up to them! As stated on the SAG website, the union was formed as “outrage primarily over long, grueling hours and workweeks that they found intolerable in Hollywood.”

There were agents at the time! They were not protecting all actors then, so why would anyone choose their agent over their union with the expectation of such protection now?

Unfortunately, CEO Bob hoodwinked those union leaders in power at the time after the ATA/NATR referendum defeat into temporarily suspending the enforcement of 16A in order to educate the membership and come up with a strategy to deal with noncompliant agents. (This act in itself was a violation of the SAG constitution. One that continues to today!

The promised strategy or education never materialized. And as agents saw that the SAG leadership, under President Gilbert, would not enforce its rules, they began to force GSA’s on their clients in defiance of the Agents Memorandum–which suspended the enforcement of 16 A as long as such agents abided by the franchise agreement! At that time rather than protecting its members, SAG’s leadership cowering response was to advise members victimized by these GSA’s to get a lawyer.

A Bulletin Board poster asked what was meant by “it might be too late.” The answer would be that SAG has the right, reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, to regulate agents by prohibiting its members from being represented by non-franchised agents. Some believe that this mandate could be in jeopardy by the fact that it has not been enforced for the last several yearsand that if we continue to allow our constitution to be ignored by allowing our members to be repped by non-franchised agents, we could lose that right under what is called Custom & Practice.

So what should be done! It is my opinion that ATA/NATR agents should not be rewarded for their actions of the last five years. They should be told that SAG is willing to return to the bargaining table, but if they are not, SAG will set a date in which it will once again enforce 16 A.

A letter should be sent to the membership explaining what SAG’s course of action will be and it is taking it. Those with ATA/NATR agents should be sent a list of franchised agents along with an update of any former non-franchised agents that decide to reinstate their franchise. Or newly formed agencies that most likely would spring up in order to take advantage of the situation. It’s no big secret that most of the bigger ATA agencies, and high-profile agents, never miss an opportunity poach high-profile members from each other. *

At the same time, SAG must once again meet with its high-profile members to explain to them what’s at stake! This was done before the ATA/NATR Conflict of interest referendum! There were two such meetingsand only one semi high profiler stated that she would pick her agent over her guild!

Once, agents are convinced of the resolve of all our members on this matter, they will come back to the table! For instance, if at the time, an ad appeared in the trades listing a hundred of so high-profilers and superstars stating that they are loyal SAG members and stand by their union in ALL union matters, and this was followed by an ultimatum appearing at their doorstep a few days later, agents would return to the bargaining table post haste!

So, far the only thing I have heard in this string is the decision making SAG members have to make. We seem to forget that agents would also have a big decision to make! After all without clients, they would be in the untenable position of the store that has no product to push!

Personally, I think we have a mechanism already in place that would allow us to go after them one at a time, Divide and Conquer, so to speak.

But, until our current leadership, decides to take action based on our strengths rather than our self-induced fears, I’m afraid that we will eventually end up back with ostensibly the same situation we faced in the Thirties when the Producer-run Academy maneuvered to represent actors.

In regards to the definitive actions of our founders in forcing agents to franchise with a take it or leave it offer, a poster basically said that things are different then than they are now. Perhaps! But one constant survives. Those who make decisions based on their strength WIN. On the other hand, those whose decisions are based on weakness LOSE!

Can SAG regain the confidence of its members, after five years of turning its back on them with decisions based on fear?

With weak leadership, NO !!

With strong leadership, YES !!

A..L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !



SAG continues to Herald New York Tax incentives even as they take another Big Bite out of the Hollywood pie

April 19, 2006 (19:02) | 2006 | By: Arlin Miller

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As SAG continues to Herald New York and other state tax incentives, the Hollywood Membership continues to pay the price.

Number of TV Pilots Shot in L.A. Drops 23%

The loss of projects to other cities is costing the area thousands of jobs and millions of dollars, a

FilmL.A. study says.

By Richard Verrier,
Times Staff Writer
June 2, 2006

The number of television pilots shot in the Los Angeles area dropped 23% this year compared with 2005 as New York, Canada and other rivals continued to lure productions away with lucrative tax incentives, according to a survey by FilmL.A. Inc.

In a study to be released today, FilmL.A., a nonprofit corporation that handles film permits for the city and much of the county, concludes that other locales are steadily eroding Los Angeles’ core television pilot business, costing the area thousands of jobs and as much as $70 million in lost revenue.

“Aggressive incentives from other jurisdictions have succeeded in luring a third of the season’s pilots away from L.A.,” said Steve MacDonald, president of FilmL.A., which has been pushing for statewide tax incentives to keep film and TV production in California.

Although the overall number of pilots slipped just 3% to 120 during the February-to-May pilot season from 124 a year earlier, Los Angeles’ share of that total took a bigger dive. This year, Los Angeles was home to 68% of the pilots, or 81 projects. Last year, it claimed 85%, or 105 projects.

In contrast, New York saw its share of pilots increase to 11 from seven in 2005, including such shows as Fox’s “The Wedding Album” and NBC’s “30 Rock.”

Washington, D.C., played host to three pilots, and Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas each had two. The Canadian provinces combined drew 11 pilots.

In all, 39 of this year’s 120 pilots were produced outside of Los Angeles, about twice as many as in 2005, according to the study, which was based on an industrywide survey of production companies.

The concern, said MacDonald, is that as studios shoot more and more pilots outside of Los Angeles, they will have less incentive to produce TV series here as well.

“It’s certainly not good news,” he said.

FilmL.A. board member Lisa Rawlins, senior vice president of production and studio affairs at Warner Bros., agreed.

“If California doesn’t do something to stop television from moving, we’re going to see this trend continue,” she said.

The survey found that Los Angeles’ share of so-called pilot pickups would be down this year from last.

In 2006, Los Angeles will produce 26, or 67%, of 39 new or midseason shows. That compares with 35, or 74%, of 47 picked-up shows in 2005. New York will pick up eight of the new shows this year

Now what makes this so irritating is that the SAG Website continues to herald these tax incentives lobbied for by SAG leadership in New York and other states! Even despite the mounting evidence that they are costing Hollywood Members thousands of jobs.

The story accompanying the pictorial blurb states, “Screen Actors Guild lobbied aggressively for this bill that will bring more film, TV and commercial production to New York with its guarantee of nearly $400 million in tax incentive funds.”

So our guild lobbied aggressively for a bill that has been proven to be luring jobs away from the Hollywood Membership! Obviously, SAG seems to be looking out for New York and the branches. The question the Hollywood Membership should be asking is:

So who is looking out for us ??

You get an answer to that let the Ol’ Dog know!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

All formatting is SW’s