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Monday, November 14, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions about One Union

When Screen Actors Guild members voted on consolidating with AFTRA in 2003, a strong majority (57.8 percent) approved, but fell just short of the supermajority required to pass it. Since then, support for uniting SAG and AFTRA appears to have grown significantly. The experiences of recent years have given performers valuable insight into the true costs of having separate unions, and most actors seem eager to bring these two unions together.

Any attempt to bring SAG and AFTRA together will require a careful and transparent process and the overwhelming support of the members and leaders of both unions. Elected leaders of both unions are currently holding discussions, through the Presidents’ Forum for One Union, to establish a common vision for creating a combined successor union to represent members across all categories of work that each union covers now and into the future. In addition to these discussions, the Presidents’ Forum is also conducting a Listening Tour with stops in Hollywood, New York, and various SAG branches and AFTRA locals across the country. This has given members an important opportunity to speak with leaders, and one another, about their work experiences, as well as their hopes and expectations for a single union.

Please click here to read an update from the SAG/AFTRA Relations Task Force published in Spring 2010 in Screen Actor magazine by SAG’s elected leaders who comprise the Task Force. Stay informed about any future One Union developments by following SAG on Facebook and Twitter, or by emailing us your questions to  

President serinaded with Occupy Wall Street protest song

Engaging Professional

"Art Lynch is simply one of the most engaging professionals I've ever had the pleasure to work with in the broadcasting industry, and I have worked with a lot of people. As an announcer for Nevada Public Radio, Art was (and is) always prompt and precise and remains one of the strongest announcers in the region.

Truly, any interaction one chooses to have with Art on either a professional or personal level is in for an enlightening experience to say the least." 

Michael Toole

Passion Personified

"Art Lynch is passion personified. He cares deeply about core values central to him, and utilizes them in both his personal and professional life. He has an innate sense of fairness balanced with an analytical mind, and is a writer of the old-school, investigative type. Couple this with his interest and experience in new technology, and you have a triple threat. I admire Art and believe whomever he works with, or for, will always get 110% from him.

Mary McDonald-Lewis

Gordie Greco reference

You were prophetic three years ago. Your class was the changing point in my life. I graduate in 6 weeks from UNLV. Enjoy your life daily Mr. L=)

gordie greco

(Casino consultant, former senior management)

Dr. Who: The Motion Picture

Yates to direct bigscreen 'Doctor Who'

'Potter' helmer, BBC working on pic of sci-fi TV series

"Harry Potter" director David Yates is teaming up with the BBC to turn its iconic sci-fi TV series "Doctor Who" into a bigscreen franchise. 
Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, told Daily Variety that he is about to start work on developing a "Doctor Who" movie with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Prods.

"We're looking at writers now. We're going to spend two to three years to get it right," he said. "It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena."

"Doctor Who" follows the adventures across space and time of a super-intelligent alien in human form, who battles a variety of cosmic bad guys aided by plucky human companions.

Click on "read more" below to continue or click here to go to

"The notion of the time-travelling Time Lord is such a strong one, because you can express story and drama in any dimension or time," Yates said.

The series ran from 1963 to 1989, and then was successfully rebooted in 2005 by writer Russell T. Davies and subsequently by Steven Moffat ("The Adventures of Tintin"). Tranter oversaw the revival when she was the BBC's drama topper in London.

"Doctor Who," starring Matt Smith as the 11th incarnation of the Doctor, is now one of the pubcaster's most lucrative global TV franchises.

The series airs Stateside on BBC America.

Yates made clear that his movie adaptation would not follow on from the current TV series, but would take a completely fresh approach to the material.

"Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch," he said.

Yates and Tranter are looking for writers on both sides of the Atlantic.

"We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too," he explained.

There are two previous films, based on the TV series: "Doctor Who and the Daleks" (1965) and "Doctor Who: Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D." (1966), both starring Peter Cushing.

The BBC has since made a few unsuccessful attempts to develop a "Doctor Who" feature, and shot a one-off telepic in 1996 at a time when the TV series was dormant.

But the combination of Yates and Tranter means this is the most high-powered effort to date to launch "Doctor Who" onto the bigscreen.

Before directing "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and both parts of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Yates worked with Tranter on several BBC TV series, including "The Way We Live Now" and "State of Play."

Contact the Variety newsroom at 

Is the new Muppet Movie be a Muppet's Movie?

Jim Henson is no longer alive.

Frank Oz, his co-creator, was taken off the project for creative differences (he says the characters are doing things and saying things they would never say).

None of those behind who the characters are (writers, actors, producers) are involved in the film.

Disney is in total control. They purchased the Muppets from the Henson estate.

What is safe are the Sesame Street Muppets and those creatures created by the Jim Henson Creature Shop. The Sesame Street Gang and all future Children's Television Workshop characters world wide (licenced) are the property of CTW, which is exclusive to PBS. Other characters from "Farscape" to "The Laberenth" remain the property of the Creature Shop.

So, if you want to see a Sesame Street (there is a promotional licenced with Disney, but not ownership for Ernie, Bert, Big Bird and crew...).

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Healthcare Law


The US Supreme Court will decide whether President Obama's healthcare law is constitutional, right in the middle of next year's presidential campaign. The court considered appeals from three lower court decisions, and then decided to consider just one. David Savage covers the court for the Los Angeles Times.

Is the death of the CD looming?

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

July 20, 2010 4:40 p.m. EDT
Compact disc album sales continue to be on the decline, even as digital downloads increase in popularity.
Compact disc album sales continue to be on the decline, even as digital downloads increase in popularity.
  • Music compact disc sales have been decreasing while digital downloads increase in popularity
  • Some artists continue to sell well, like the group Lady Antebellum and teen star Justin Bieber
  • Billboard analyst sees "natural progression" in the decline of CD sales
(CNN) -- If you think the musical compact disc is dying or dead, you're probably younger than it is.
"Show me a teenager buying a Susan Boyle album on CD and I'll show you someone buying a gift for their grandparent -- for Christmas," jokes Billboard senior chart manager and analyst Keith Caulfield. "There is definitely an age component to the consumption of music."

As the music industry as a whole struggles in a down economy and direct download business models like iTunes flourish, the compact disc -- which was commercially introduced in 1982 -- has the appearance of going the way of vinyl.

And contrary to the recent declaration of singer Prince -- who said that the Internet is dead and released his latest CD for free via European newspapers -- there's some evidence that consumers aren't as enamored with ripping the cellophane off that new CD as they once were.

According to data from Nielsen SoundScan, in 2007 CDs accounted for 90 percent of album sales in the United States, with digital accounting for the other 10 percent. Just two years later, that number had shifted to 79 percent CDs and 20 percent digital, with the remaining percentage point being made up of vinyl and other media.

Click "read more" below to continue reading this story.

Death of the compact disc as iPod boom forces CD maker to end production

A high-end manufacturer said their customers had fast realised the limitations of CD players in the age of home networking.

CDsOne of Britain's most prestigious hi-fi firms has signalled what could be the beginning of the end for CDs.

Linn Products, which has the Royal Warrant, is to stop manufacturing CD players as demand plummets because more and more people are downloading music online instead.

Founder Ivor Tiefenbrun, who set up the firm to sell turntables in 1972, said customers 'recognised the limitations of CD players'.

He added: 'People want better control of music and the ability to enjoy it in any room of their home.
'People are not buying new CD players. The success of the iPod means people are used to downloading music.'

Instead, the company is focusing on digital music streamers - wireless devices to connect your home computer and hi-fi system.

This allows music fans to play any tracks downloaded on the computer or MP3 throughout the home.
A Linn spokesman, which is based near Glasgow, said that these digital players outsold CD players this year for the first time.

But he added that although this spelled doom for home CD players, CDs themselves were still useful as a way of recording and storing music.

Read more:

Suit against IMDb shedding light on how birth dates can kill acting careers

This is a real and very thorny problem. From the many, many non-celebrity working actors I have spoken to about it, the career damage is serious. I hope IMDb takes it seriously and moves in the right direction.


Lea Michele is older than the high-school-age character she plays in "Glee." 

It's a joke almost as old as show business itself. The aging actor - or, the more common stereotype, actress - who insists they can play characters decades younger than they are.

In our modern information age, though, it's no laughing matter.

In October, an actress filed suit against Amazon and its subsidiary, the Internet Movie Database, for posting her birth date on the latter website.

The world's most comprehensive repository of information about films, television shows and just about everybody who's ever worked on them, IMDb has become the standard reference for not only journalists and fans, but increasingly for folks in the industry who want to check out potential hires.

The actress, who remains

Lea Thompson and Michael J. Fox in "Back to the Future."
anonymous but is described as pushing 40 and appearing much younger, complains that by posting her birth date, IMDb effectively destroyed her career - which had been exclusively playing younger women.
How? With actors' real ages virtually at their fingertips on the increasingly relied-on IMDb, casting directors and their bosses, producers and directors have grown ever more reluctant to even audition performers whose ages aren't within a few years of the desired age for the role.

"I have found, when I'm trying to sell an actor who very legitimately plays 30 for a 30-year-old role and I'm on the phone with a casting director, they will say, in some instances, `I just looked them up, they're 35, they're too old and I'm not going to bring them in,"' veteran talent agent Marilyn Szatmary noted. "So the IMDb stopped them from seeing somebody that maybe they would have seen on the basis of my saying that this person plays 30."

As IMDb usage has steadily grown, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the two major actors unions, have seen a corresponding spike in member complaints about such situations. The Jane Doe actress's lawsuit prompted SAG and AFTRA to issue a joint statement on Oct. 27 deploring IMDb and other database- facilitated age discrimination.

"An actor's actual age is irrelevant to casting," the statement began. "What matters is the age range that an actor can portray. For the entire history of professional acting, this has been true but that reality has been upended by the development of IMDb as an industry standard used in casting offices across America."

Casual observers might question the severity of the problem. After all, things don't seem to have changed much since the 1980s, when Michael J. Fox played teenager Alex P. Keaton for eight seasons on "Family Ties," starting at the age of 21. He was 24 when he starred as "Teen Wolf" and high school rebel Marty McFly in "Back to the Future."

These days, we have the likes of Lea Michele and Dianna Agron just now outgrowing their high schooler roles on "Glee." Both actresses were 23 when they started three years ago.
Of course, ageism has been a problem in Hollywood ever since Silent Era producers discovered they sold more tickets to movies that featured attractive young people. Nevertheless, good actors tended to work their whole lives. For decades, the issue was more a matter of dignity than it was of gainful employment.

Especially, to confirm the cliche, for actresses. The emblematic example of old school Hollywood ageism was character actress Jessie Royce Landis, who played the Cary Grant character's mother in the Alfred

Cary Grant in "North By Northwest" 
Hitchcock classic "North By Northwest." For years, Landis claimed that she was 10 months younger than Grant. In truth, she was seven years older, but still. 
Angela Landsbury was  younger than her "son" and Frank Sinatra's character when she played the mother in the classic "Manchurian Candidate."

Click on "read more" below or click here to continue.

SAG Foundation: Archie's Final Project

Screen Actors Guild Foundation

Starring Gabriel Sunday,
Mariel Hemingway, Joe Mantegna, David Carradine, Brooke Nevin and Nora Dunn

Winner of over 20 film festival awards
Screening followed by a Q&A with Gabriel Sunday
Tuesday, November 15th

SAG Foundation Actors Center
5757 Wilshire Blvd, Mezzanine
Los Angeles

**Additional guests are welcome at this event**