Tag Archives: SAG-AFTRA

More Union Education (or Making Sure Ads Go Union)

You may have noticed that I am posting more and more about union events. I’ve been saying for a while that I wanted to become more involved in the union and I’m finally taking advantage of that! My schedule is fairly regular so I can make plans to attend different meetings and events and I love how this makes me feel continuously involved in union happenings and not that I’m on the outskirts. And this week was another week where I was at union headquarters for another meeting!

So many of the meetings and events I’ve been going to lately have been about commercials. This is a pretty current issue for a few reasons. First, the union will be negotiating the new commercial contract next year so we are getting prepared for that. But also, commercials have always been both union and non-union, but we are starting to see more non-union than before. Many jobs are still union, but we want to make sure they stay that way and that we get even more union commercials.

SAG-AFTRA has an entire committee dedicated to keeping commercials union and that was what this meeting was about. Members of the committee as well as union staff were there to explain more about the plan to get more commercials to be union work and what things have been happening so far.

While I’ve been at several events regarding union commercials, I learned new things at this meeting. These meetings are a response to the growing problem of non-union work and because of what members say in them the union can know what our specific issues are and how to remedy that.

I’ve been pretty lucky. While I don’t audition for commercials a lot, my agents have never asked me to violate union rules and audition for non-union work. In fact, when a commercial lied about being union and when I found out, my agents told me to leave because they didn’t want me to run into any issues. Not all actors are that lucky and they were discussing how their agents are encouraging them to work non-union even though they are union members.

But even though I’ve been lucky since becoming a union member, I know the issues of non-union commercials from before I joined SAG-AFTRA. When I was non-union, I did a commercial that paid pretty decently. It was super easy work and with what I made I paid my rent and bills for a month! I was so excited! But I didn’t realize that because my contract allowed the ad agency to use the commercial in perpetuity (which is common in non-union work), I had no idea then that I would have something that has been on tv for 11 years! It’s a haircare commercial/informercial and I see it on tv all the time. If this was union, I would be making residuals and still be getting paid. But because it was non-union and I didn’t have the protection of SAG-AFTRA and the contracts we have, I only got that 1 payment that doesn’t seem that much when you think about it being split over 11 years.

Because of my experience with non-union work, I’m passionate about making sure that other actors don’t have the same issue. If they aren’t in SAG-AFTRA and chose to do a non-union work, I want them to know what things to look for in a contract so they are making an educated decision. But I am even more passionate about helping commercials be union so that actors will have the protections that we have in our contracts. And that’s why I love getting to know more about the Ads Go Union campaign in meetings and being able to share what I learn with you all. This time, we got more information on recent things that the campaign has done and promoted to other members.

Even if I don’t book another commercial in my entire career, this issue is going to be an important one for me. I know first-hand how easily actors who don’t know better can get into a contract that they may regret later. And I want to see more union work so that my union brothers and sisters have more opportunities to do what they love. For me, my union dedication is all about education and seeing others succeed. And hopefully I will succeed as well.

I am looking to branch out a bit more and find union events about other issues so I can learn more about other union things I may want to get involved in. But for now, I’m just so happy that I’ve been able to get involved in the commercial recapturing initiative and that I will be able to find ways to help out other actors. I do plan on attending more and more events and I will keep finding ways to be involved and to make sure that all actors are educated on the issues.

First Union Working Meeting Of 2018 (or Union Strong For All)

It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had a meeting with the Union Working group, but I think that’s because things have been so busy for me lately! But at the same time, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long because I’ve seen so many of the other group members at other events (both social and union related). I feel so connected to this group and I love that.

But since the group hadn’t had an official meeting in a few months, I was so glad that we had a meeting this week. There have been so many things that I have learned about the union that I wanted to connect to my knowledge that I get in the group and I was so antsy to see what I was going to learn this time. And because I love the group so much, I am always trying to get more people involved. I wish that there was a group like this when I joined the union because I was scared to be involved when I first joined. But a group like this is a great way to ease into getting involved in union issues.

I invited so many actor friends to go to the meeting and a bunch of them were hoping to make it. I totally understand how tough it can be to schedule around day jobs to attend events, so I also tried to let people know that we try to live stream as much of the meeting as we could in the Facebook group. But I was so excited when my friend Sarah said she could make it! Sarah and I were in the UCB class together and I don’t think we had seen each other in person since class! And she’s going to be joining the union soon so I thought it would be perfect for her to attend the meeting and hopefully get more involved in the group.

Before going to the meeting, my friend (who is one of the core members of the group) asked me if I could help out a bit more at the meeting. I’m always happy to help and he needed me to run the live stream on Facebook for the group. I figured it was a great opportunity to use my newish tripod and iPad stand and I could live stream from my iPad. It would be easier than doing it on my phone (and would keep my phone free for me to take notes). So I spent a lot of the meeting making sure that the live stream was working (we had some WiFi hotspot issues), but it still allowed me to pay attention to what was happening.

This meeting was really interesting for me. With the special guests we had, a lot of the discussion was about influencers and how that affects union work. This was almost the other side of the event I was at last week where it was mainly influencers learning about the union. This time, the union members were learning about influencers.

We also had a guest who discussed how to maximize using Instagram. I’m not the best at Instagram and I’ll admit that I don’t always have the prettiest photos up there. It’s a wide variety of photos and that’s fine if I want it to be that way. But there is a better way to represent my life on social media that could benefit me as an actor (and probably as a blogger too) and I’m going to be more aware of that from now on. I’m not going to make my social media only show the best things of my life because I do believe in staying honest. But I do want to make it look more like the professional that I feel I am in my career. The guest really gave me a lot to think about and I love walking away from our meetings with a little bit of homework so I stay involved and active.

Besides all the amazing guests we had at the meeting, the leaders of Union Working shared this incredible video that they created. While Union Working has been about SAG-AFTRA a lot, we want to be pro-union for all unions. The group is supportive of all unions and we want to make sure that unions are protected. In this political climate, many politicians are anti-union and trying to encourage workers not to unionize. But we know that as a group we are stronger. Unions protect workers and allow us to have collective bargaining to make sure that everyone benefits from contracts. I’m so excited that Union Working is expanding their reach and I can’t wait to see what unions we are able to partner up with.

I know I’ve said this before, but if you are an actor in Los Angeles I highly encourage you all to check the Union Working website, social media, and hopefully attend a meeting. You can also check out the YouTube channel for more videos. If you are an actor somewhere else in the country, still check out the group and maybe you can start a chapter of Union Working where you are. And if you are a member of a union and want to connect with Union Working, reach out on their website and social media. We are all working together to better unions for everyone in all industries.

Another Educational Union Event (or Merging My Acting And Blogging)

As I continue to work on my union education, I seem to find more and more events that I really want to attend. Some of them are events that they have from time to time at the union that I’ve never attended before and some are new events that I’m so excited to be a part of. And this week, I was invited to attend an event that was brand new and perfectly suited for me!

SAG-AFTRA and Tubefilter came together to co-host an evening to discuss influencer marketing and the FTC guidelines we need to follow. While I don’t do a ton of sponsored posts on here or on social media, I do have them from time to time (I try to limit them to only things that I really believe in). And I know that there are some rules I need to follow in order to follow what the FTC requires and I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything properly. And since many sponsored posts can be under union jurisdiction, I loved that the union was involved in this conversation to answer questions.

I’ve learned a bit about some of the rules I need to be aware of because of other union events I’ve attended. Until recently, I had no idea that things I did on my blog could be under my union’s jurisdiction. I think this is something that most actor/bloggers aren’t aware of yet and I know that SAG-AFTRA is starting to get the word out now that guidelines are starting to be a bit more clear.

At this event, there was a panel that had a lot of amazing panelists. They included a YouTube creator, an employee of the FTC, and a union representative. While there was a lot of back and forth because some rules are still a bit unclear, I think the tone of the entire event was that we all want to work together to figure out how to create policies that protect us as creators and still follow FTC guidelines.

The meeting really reminded me of the Union Working events with how people may be coming from different sides of an issue but we understand that by working together and being strong as a group it will benefit us the most. And while not everyone has the answers to everything, people are bringing up questions that are helping those higher up to understand the issues we are facing and the concerns that we want answered. Sometimes, the answers to questions was to say that they didn’t know, but I highly respect people who aren’t afraid to say that they don’t know (instead of making up an answer).

The panel was about 2 hours long (and they probably could have gone for another 2 hours and I still would have been fascinated) and then there was a bit of a social mixer after. I was sitting at a table with some of my friends so I had a chance to be social before the panel. And after the panel, we came together to discuss what we had learned and what issues we are concerned about. We had a chance to speak with the National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA and I got to express some of my personal concerns or confusion over the rules. Influencer marketing is still a pretty new system so I think there is a lot of confusion by a lot of people. And since I don’t do it that often I think I had extra questions. But I did leave the meeting feeling much better about the situation and knowing who to contact if I needed to get something specific answered.

I don’t know how big the overlap is with actors and bloggers (or other types of influencer marketers), but I’m very excited to be someone who fits into both categories. I’ve already talked to the union about how they can reach the blogger community to help those who are not in the entertainment industry understand what is happening and what the union is doing for them. I think it’s going to be a very exciting time to see those two worlds come together and I love that I get to help connect them and bring them together.

SaveSave

Continuing To Support My Friend’s Place (or Learning New Ways To Help Others)

I’ve written a few times in the past about My Friend’s Place. It’s an amazing organization that helps homeless youth in Los Angeles. So many organizations to help the homeless focus on adults and their needs. So it’s great that there is a place for homeless youth to get support and services they need. They do such a great job with providing education, health services, housing information, and other services that homeless youth need. Every time I have things to donate I bring it there since I love the work they are doing. I always just wish that I could do more to help.

At the SAG-AFTRA Convention, we encouraged delegates who were staying at the hotel to donate their hotel toiletries if they didn’t need them. Since My Friend’s Place has shower facilities, toiletries are needed so they have enough supplies for everyone who wants to clean up there. When there have been National Board meetings in LA, board members from other locals come and stay at a hotel here and they have been encouraged to do the same. We’ve managed to collect quite a nice collection of things to donate from people at the union.

I also had some things from friends who knew that I do donation drop offs. Sometimes people just need a way to be able to make a donation easily and don’t have the time or ability to do a drop off on their own. So this week, I went along with 2 other members of SAG-AFTRA to do a drop off of the things we collected.  It felt so great to be able to go with lots of donations even though most of them were from other people.

A lot of times when I do drop offs, I just bring things over and then head back. But this time we had some time to be there and I’m so glad that we weren’t rushed. We got to check out a new thing that My Friend’s Place is doing called the Corner Collective.

The Corner Collective is art, apparel, housewares, and jewelry that was made by the youth at My Friend’s Place that is for sale. Artists come in from time to time to teach a class and then the youth get to create their own work. And now, they are selling them so the youth are able to gain new skills like marketing and are able to gain confidence knowing that what they create is valuable. I know it must give them so much pride to know that someone is buying what they made. And I bet that confidence and pride can be shifted into other areas of their life so they can continue to make steps to getting a job and getting a place to live. It’s such a great idea and I love that we were able to see the work that was for sale!

We also found out that they are going to be doing their 30th anniversary gala on April 7th. It’s going to be held at The Hollywood Palladium and I’m definitely going to see if I’m able to attend. I’m sure it’s going to be an incredible event and I know that supporting such a great organization is something I want to do whenever I can.

I wish I had the ability to donate more items to My Friend’s Place because it is an organization I believe so much in. But since I can’t give as much as I’d like, I figured I could help continue to spread the word about them and the work they do. I found out about them through someone telling me so hopefully I can inspire others to do the same. They have a list of donation items that they are always looking for on their website. I know that some people have been hesitant to donate to certain organizations because of how they may use the donations. With My Friend’s Place, I know that the things we drop off go directly to the youth that they support in Los Angeles. There isn’t a corporate office that determines who gets what. It all goes right there and is used by who needs it first.

If you are in Los Angeles, please consider donating to My Friend’s Place the next time you have items to donate. Or if you have to buy a gift for someone, please browse what The Corner Collective has available and know that your gift will go to support the homeless youth in Los Angeles. And if you are interested in attending their gala, there will be more information on their website soon.

Union Holiday Party (or Seeing A Lot Of People In A Little Time)

This seems to have been the week of parties. On Monday I had the 300th episode party for the podcast. On Tuesday I was supposed to go to a holiday party but I ended up being too tired to go (I was still recovering from Monday). And Wednesday was the SAG-AFTRA holiday party!

I’ve gone to the holiday party before and knew it would be pretty crowded. But I think I kind of forgot how overwhelming the entire party could be. I was still feeling tired from the week and had spent Wednesday working and working out. As soon as I was showered from my workout, I got into my car to go to the party. I knew I was missing the beginning of the party, but I wasn’t too worried about that. Last time they were running low on food toward the end of the party, but I was feeling a bit off besides being tired and didn’t feel like eating. So lack of food at the party wasn’t a concern for me.

As soon as I arrived and got in line, I started to see friends of mine. That is one of the great things about being more involved in the union. The more events I go to the more I recognize people at other events. It’s still a bit much going to a party like this alone and I had wished a friend could have come with me. But at least I knew I’d be seeing a lot of friends.

Once I was in the party, I started to try to make a lap around the room the best that I could to see who else I knew there. It seemed like everywhere I looked I knew at least one person so that was pretty awesome. Some of my friends there had been up since 3am that day because the SAG Awards nominations were announced that morning. That put my tiredness into perspective for me!

It was nice to have a fun social event to catch up with actor friends. We didn’t really discuss union issues, there was no need to talk about election season, and everyone was in a fun and festive mood. I didn’t take any pictures, but fortunately I had friends who took pictures with me so there is some evidence that I was at the party!

Since I got there late, I wanted to stay until the end of the party. But things just weren’t working for me that night. I was having a great time catching up with my friends and wanted to do more of that, but I knew I needed to get back home. I didn’t want to drive and feel tired so I wanted to leave before the tiredness started to feel worse. And my body was just feeling worse. I have a tendency to get stress sick (where you get sick right after something that was stressing you out) and I think I got that from worrying about the podcast party. I knew that I could potentially stay longer, but I would be paying for that later and I didn’t want to have to worry about that.

I only ended up being at the party for about an hour or so and I wish I could have been there longer. But at least in that hour I saw so many people who I knew. There were a few people who I saw in photos later that I didn’t get to see in person, but I think I saw a majority of my friends there. I felt like I had been pretty social and got to catch up on life with people. I think a lot of people were feeling tired and stressed so at least I wasn’t alone in that feeling. And my friends understood when I wasn’t acting like my normal bubbly self.

Of course after this crazy party week I don’t have any more big holiday parties that I can think of besides NYE parties. It would have been nice to have all the parties spread out so I could have enjoyed each one (and attended all of them), but things don’t normally go like that. I’m just glad that I didn’t feel too tired or sick to get to the union holiday party and that I did have a great time in the limited time that I spent there!

SaveSaveSaveSave

Final Union Working Meeting For 2017 (or A Commercial Roundtable)

I’ve been so lucky to get to be a part of Union Working for a while now. Their meetings are always so inspiring and I’ve learned so much from attending. I’ve made some awesome friends and I’ve been getting more and more involved with the union, which has been a goal of mine for a while. I know that there is much more that I can do, but I’m taking steps in the right direction.

The meetings for Union Working are about every 6 weeks and the meeting this past week was the last one for this year. It seems like a lot of things are winding down because of the holidays but I know that it will be back in the new year. But since this was the last meeting for the year, the group did one of the best meetings they’ve ever had as a 2017 finale.

Usually the meetings have a guest speaker who answers questions from the group about what is happening in the entertainment industry. A lot of the focus is on what is happening with commercials but other things come up too. But for this meeting there was a roundtable discussion. So instead of just one guest there were multiple guests. And the questions were asked to everyone so we could see how different people in the industry have different answers and they got to learn from each other as well.

In the roundtable we had staff from SAG-AFTRA (even though the group is not officially affiliated with the union we do have staff members who have spoken before), casting directors, agents, actors, and even the creator of one of the online submission services that is used for submitting actors for auditions. It was a really great variety in the panel and I was impressed by who they were able to get.

There were a lot of topics that we’ve heard about before, but it’s always great to hear someone else’s perspective. And to listen to the people on the panel debate amongst each other was interesting. Sometimes they helped to form ideas as a group that could help actors together. Or they learned why one idea or another wouldn’t work based on what we as actors have access too. And some of them weren’t aware of all the limits or abilities of the union so I’m glad that information was able to be shared with them.

The idea of this meeting wasn’t necessarily to walk away with actionable steps but to leave with ideas that we can use toward working on things for the future. I was more inspired than ever to keep working hard for my union and to keep trying to bring more people to Union Working meetings. When they start again in the new year, I want to try to get one friend to each meeting I go to. These meetings are great for members of the union but they are also great for those who aren’t members yet. There are many things I wish I had known when I wasn’t union. I probably would have been much smarter about my career and I probably would have joined the union sooner. But now that I’m in, I want to see all professional actors as union members so we can continue to strengthen the union.

There was a hangout at a bar after the meeting was over, but I needed to get home to get some work done and go to sleep. Last week was a bit of a rough week for me with sleeping due to the nausea issue so I really was making an effort to try to get to bed sooner than normal. I missed the social aspect of going to the meetings, but I know that leaving was the best thing for me and that I’ll have plenty more opportunities to go to bar hangouts when the meetings start up again next year.

Even though this is the end of the Union Working meetings for the year, it’s not the end of my involvement with them for the year. I was asked if I’d help out with some work that the group is doing and I’m pretty excited about that. I don’t have all the details about what I’m doing, but I’m just happy to be involved. That’s all I’ve wanted to do and it was an opportunity that presented itself to me and I’m taking advantage of it.

I’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a part of this group. I’ve been able to do so much this year with them and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring for the group and for my involvement with them.

Trivia Night (or An Unexpected Friend Hangout)

Since I’ve been trying to be more involved in SAG-AFTRA events, I’m trying to not say no to things when they fit into my schedule. So when the NextGen Performers committee posted that they’d be doing a trivia night on Tuesday I figured that I should go. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone to an organized trivia night before but it sounded fun. I tried to get some friends to come with me, but nobody seemed to be able to so I planned on just being there on my own.

But right after I arrived, my friend Rayshell walked in! I hadn’t texted her since she lives on the other side of town and usually can’t come over to my side of town after work, but she heard about the trivia night and also wants to be more involved in the union so she made the effort to go. It was so exciting to see each other there when we weren’t expecting it!

And I’m glad she was there (and had a friend with her) because it turned out that this trivia night was a team event. We ended up with a group of 4 and named our group The Misfits. There were lots of really clever names, but we were rushed to come up with a name because we missed that part of the instructions so we didn’t have any funny puns with ours.

At first, the trivia night seemed a bit complicated but I think that’s because we missed some of the instructions. But we picked up the idea pretty quickly. There were 4 rounds that each had 4 questions plus a bonus question. You bet a certain number of points for each question based on how you feel about your answer. And in the first round, we got all the questions right and were in 2nd place!

But after that amazing first round, we hit a slump. Rounds 2 and 3 didn’t go that great for us but it seemed like other groups were struggling too. And after the last round but before the last bonus question, we were all updated on how the scores looked. We were pretty close to the middle of the pack and the last bonus question was one where you could bet up to 20 points, but you risked losing those points if you got the answer wrong.

We figured we had nothing to lose so we bet 20 points and tried hard to think of the answer for the last bonus question. The question was which movie was the only one where Harrison Ford was nominated for an Oscar. All of us immediately thought “The Fugitive” but we weren’t rushing to answer. But then one member of our group remembered that he was in the movie “Witness” and that was probably the answer. So we put that down, turned our answer in, and hoped for the best.

Once everything was done, the MC was announcing the scores starting with last place. Once he got through half the groups we were so excited to know we were in the top half of the groups. Then he announced the 3rd place winner and that still wasn’t us so we knew we were in the top 2! We couldn’t believe it, but somehow we came back from the middle to end up in second place!

There was a basket of prizes to choose from and I got a SAG-AFTRA key chain. A lot of the stuff in the basket was similar to what we got in our swag bags at the convention so I didn’t really care too much on what I got. But just knowing that we got second place was awesome enough for me! I really wasn’t thinking we’d do that well and I think the entire group was shocked when we realized that we were in the top 2.

Even though winning second place in trivia was amazing, what was even better was getting to hang out with Rayshell again. Neither of us knew the other would be there, but fortunately there was a lot of downtime between trivia questions for us to catch up. It was like one of our happy hour hangouts! And this time there was free food since the NextGen Performers events have free food (actors always love free stuff!). We will still do another happy hour hangout soon, but at least we won’t feel as guilty about how much time will pass since we got to see each other this week.

After trivia was done, I had to get home. I’m still getting over being sick and I wanted to get home to get some sleep. But most people were leaving once the winners were announced. This mixer was more of a trivia night than a hangout night, but that was ok with me. It was something new for me and I had a great time. And even though it wasn’t the most actor related event, it was still a great night out with my union friends and that is always a win for me.

SaveSave

Enjoying The Gala (or Having An Awesome Friend Date)

I’ve already written about the SAG-AFTRA Convention, but I left out the gala. To me, the convention and the gala almost seem like separate events. Part of this could be because the gala is a ticketed event so not everyone who is at the convention goes. But to me it was a no-brainer that I’d be going to the gala again because I had such an amazing time the first time!

When you buy your tickets for the gala, you have the choice to get 1 ticket or 2. Last time, I got 1 because I really didn’t want to stress about finding someone to go with me and I was already overwhelmed about everything. But this time, I decided to be hopeful about what has been happening with my online dating adventures and got 2 tickets. And I did try to ask someone who I’ve gone out with a few times if he wanted to go with me, but that really didn’t work out.

So with my extra ticket, I decided that I should make it a really fun friend date! And fortunately my friend Ben was happy to come with me! Ben is also a delegate so he was already at the convention. And he and I have been saying that we were overdue for a hangout so this was the perfect opportunity for us to catch up!

Last time, the gala was at WB studios so I had to drive over from the convention. But this time, it was at Universal Studios and there was a shuttle from the Sheraton Universal to the gate so it was much easier to get to. And the union staff arranged for LA delegates who didn’t have time to go home to change to have a meeting room to use as a changing area. It made things super easy for us and I was ready to go right when the shuttles started.

When Ben and I got there, we lined up to check in and ran into a bunch of friends. And as soon as we passed the metal detectors the first thing we saw was the red carpet. I figured we should do photos while we still all looked really nice so we lined up for photos and the interviews they were doing.

At the end of the red carpet was the open bar. I enjoyed water while my friends got drinks. Even though I invited Ben to be my date for the night, I figured we both be off on our own (which would have been totally fine with me), but we ended up sticking together. It was awesome getting to hang out so much and we seemed to be pretty lucky with things. We went inside to the lobby of the Globe Theater (where the dinner was going to be) to check things out and the doors to the theater opened up right when we were at the doors! So we went inside and managed to get a table in the front and center of the room behind a reserved table.

At our table we had some friends that we knew as well as some new friends we just met. It was so nice having a fun night out where we weren’t worried about the politics of the union and just got to have fun. At the gala, they give out awards and things were split up a bit. We had some awards and then there was a break to go to the buffet for dinner. The food was really good (I think it was better than last time) and there was also a dessert buffet. And after we ate, the awards continued.

It was so fun watching the union honor those who have done awesome things. And having friends at my table was fun because we could chat to each other about the weird and cool things we were observing. And once the awards were done, it was time for dancing. But I was so tired that I decided against dancing. But I wanted to make sure I got some pictures with people while we were all dressed up and fancy!

Ben was leaving around the same time so we headed out together. And then we realized that we never took advantage of the photo booth setup that was near the red carpet. There was no line there so we were able to do a photo with each of the backgrounds they had for the green screen set up. And I think we were both feeling a bit crazy and tired so the photos are pretty weird even for me.

But they were awesome and I’m so glad we took an extra minute to do that before getting the shuttle back to the hotel. And once we got back there, I said goodnight to Ben (who had a meeting for convention that night super late) and I headed home to try to get some sleep before having to get up super early the next morning.

I had an amazing time at the gala. The gala on its own is already great, but getting to hang out with an awesome friend makes things so much better! And like I said in yesterday’s post, I’m already waiting for the next one in 2 years. I know I will be going to the gala again because it is one of the highlights for me for convention weekend.

It’s Convention Time (or I’ve Been Waiting 2 Years For This!)

This past weekend was the SAG-AFTRA National Convention. I was attending as a second term delegate and it was just as amazing as it was the first time. I honestly had been waiting for convention to happen again as soon as the last one was done and I am now already anxious for the next one in 2 more years!

Since this time I knew what the convention was going to be like, I was much more prepared for things. I planned out my schedule a bit better so I wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed and exhausted, but since I was battling a cold it was still a bit tough on me mentally and physically. But it was totally worth it.

Convention started on Thursday night with a cocktail party to meet my fellow delegates. Last time, I was feeling a bit nervous and stuck with mainly talking to the delegates I already knew. I also felt like I had arrived late so I was feeling a bit scattered. So this time I got there early so I wouldn’t be late and had time to get checked in for the convention to get all my things before the party started.

While at the party, I did talk to a lot of my friends who are delegates, but I did make an effort to meet new people too. I got to talk to a bunch of people from New York, Portland, and New Orleans and many of them were first time delegates. The best advice I could give to them that it was going to be so overwhelming but they would be wanting more when everything was done. Some of the smaller locals don’t have slates to help prepare new delegates for the convention like LA does, so I tried to do my part. I also found out over the few days of convention that some first time delegates found my blog post from 2 years ago to learn about what convention would be like. So if you are reading this 2 years from now to get ready for the 2019 convention, hi!

I didn’t stay out too late because I knew the next morning was going to be an early morning. I was going to work my day job from convention again and I was going to start 2 hours early to make up for any time that I was going to miss to vote. That meant getting up at 6am to be out the door by 6:45 to deal with rush hour traffic. It was a very early morning, but it worked out ok since I was able to get logged into work right on time and I got a great seat for the convention in the LA section!

I also spent a bit of time that morning checking out the expo since I missed that the last time. Most of the organizations weren’t set up that early on the first day, but there was a “Words of Wisdom” wall we could sign and since the convention hadn’t started yet I got to be the 3rd person to sign it.

I wrote on the bottom “Don’t forget to smile!”. I knew that it would be getting filled up throughout the convention, so I’m glad I got to sign it before a lot of the space was taken.

Once convention started, things moved pretty quickly. We had to do the elections for the various vice presidents which included the executive VP as well as the geographical and categorical ones. Fortunately, most of that time was spent in the main convention room as Los Angeles and the actor categories are the biggest one. And they made some changes to the voting this year so it was significantly faster. I thought I’d have to be away from work for maybe 20 minutes when it ended up being less than 5!

And after those elections, we moved on to the resolutions. This would take part of all 3 days of the convention and is pretty important. This is where we vote as representatives for other members on various issues. I take this seriously and spent time before convention reviewing all the information and seeking answers to questions that I had. And since I had my computer with me, I was able to text others that were there that know more than me if I had questions.

At the end of the first day, I then had to get ready for the gala. But that is going to be a post for tomorrow. But I was out pretty late that night and had another super early morning for day 2. And again, I had to work from the convention, but my work shift was only 3 hours instead of 7 so that was much better. And we had more resolution voting and then we had what so many of us considered one of the highlights of the convention: the food truck lunch!

I didn’t take any photos of lunch, but trust me, it was delicious! And it was a bit of a longer lunch break so I had some time to wander around before the next part of the convention started. I took advantage of the photo set up with the giant SAG-AFTRA card.

And I saw my friend Robert who was there volunteering as a member ambassador! He also ran as a delegate but wasn’t elected. But it made me so happy to see that he is still being super involved in the union and of course we had to take a photo together too!

I also had some time to check out the expo again and see what was set up there. I got some information on various union affiliated organizations and got some fun swag too. And while I was there, our National Executive Director David White was adding his words of wisdom to the wall. He is one of the most inspiring speakers at the convention and at any union event he’s at and I had to get a picture with him.

Day 2 ended with finishing as many resolutions as we could and then there was a film screening we could go to. I ended up skipping the screening because I was really tired, but I heard it was amazing and I’m a bit sad I didn’t go.

Day 3 was the last day of convention and started a bit later than the other days. I also didn’t have to work my day job so that was nice. While we had breakfast provided every morning, the last morning is the nicest breakfast and I was able to eat outside with some of my fellow delegates. It was a mix of people I already knew, people I met for the first time earlier in the convention, and people I was meeting for the first time at breakfast. We had an amazing conversation that really was what being at convention is all about. We learned about each other’s concerns about the industry and what we all want for the future. It’s just so inspiring and I love getting to be a part of that.

The last day was a mix of finishing the resolutions as well as some speeches. We got to hear the reports from the president, vice president, and secretary-treasurer. Those speeches had some really inspiring moments. One of my favorites was when Vice President Rebecca Damon used a “Hamilton” quote. She said how this convention room is the room where it happens. And she is so right and I feel so lucky that I am inside that room.

Once the convention was adjourned, all the LA delegates had to stay so we could take a photo. Since I’m one of the shorter delegates, I was up in the front again.

And then technically it was all over. I couldn’t believe that it was done. It felt like it was so fast and even though I was ready to sleep for 27 days in a row, I wanted more! But I wasn’t ready to leave because I wanted to make sure I got lots of photos with my friends there. Everyone at convention is someone who is inspiring, creative, and just awesome.

Officially, my time as a delegate is done. But there are lots of opportunities for me to stay involved and I’ve already been working on those. And before I know it, it will be election time again and I’ll be running for delegate again. Being involved in union service was not something I considered before my first term as a delegate, but now that I’m involved I don’t want to stop. I know that this second term is still only the beginning of my union service career and I can’t wait to see what is next for me!

SaveSave

Another Night Of Union Working (or Back To Back Union Events)

I’ve said several times that I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to get involved in the union and this week has been the perfect opportunity. I had the local board meeting/SAG-AFTRA Convention orientation one day and the next day was a meeting of the Union Working group!

I’m so glad that I’ve joined the Union Working group. It’s great having another opportunity to hang out with awesome people and to get to meet more like-minded people. But I’ve learned so much in my time in the group. There are things that the union has restrictions on doing because of our constitution or because of how certain things are handled in the entertainment industry. But as a non-partisan and not officially SAG-AFTRA group, Union Working doesn’t have those same restrictions. We can talk to people without having to worry about the official procedures or making sure that lawyers are there. So we are talking to people more freely and that allows us to know what the issues are and how we can fix them.

Each meeting has a focus and a guest, and this meeting was a bit different. The overall focus of the group right now is how to get commercials to be union more often (which is a big focus of SAG-AFTRA too). So this meeting had a lot of general overview of the issue of commercials being non-union, what is currently being done to work on this, and what we are going to be focusing on next. We learned about the process of what happens when a commercial tries to go from non-union to union and what we can do to help make that happen more often.

We had a couple of guests that spoke at this meeting including the Los Angeles local president of SAG-AFTRA, the chairperson of the commercial committee for the union, and a staff member from SAG-AFTRA who discussed members of the union who take non-union jobs. When you are a member of our union, you can’t work non-union work (or work off the card). And if you are found out, you have to face the disciplinary committee and can possibly be removed from the union. It’s a serious issue and it is not taken lightly by anyone.

It was great hearing the perspectives of different people on these issues. While most of us agree on things, each person has their own story of how things affected them or things they’ve experienced or witnessed. For me, I did a non-union commercial before I joined SAG-AFTRA. At the time, the payment I got for it seemed awesome. But I had no clue that the commercial would still be airing 10 years later. If this was a union project, I would have gotten residuals and payments as they continued to run it. But since it was non-union, I got the payment as a buyout and the commercial can run in perpetuity. While I don’t regret doing it, I learned a lot from it and want to share my experience with other actors so they can understand what can happen if they chose to do a non-union commercial with a buyout.

There were a few debates about things during the meeting, but even in the disagreements everyone was pretty much coming together. Compared to how us vs. them the election season was, having these types of debates was nice. Everyone won’t always agree on things, but disagreeing doesn’t always have to mean arguing. And I think that everyone learned things from others while at that meeting and we all have a lot to think about now.

The meeting was about 2 hours and then we had to leave because the space that we use had to close. But I know that we probably could have kept going for another hour or two because everyone is so passionate about making the union the best it can be and the strongest we can make it. Fortunately, many people at the meeting are also elected delegates so we can continue working hard at this when we are at the convention in 2 weeks. And because I’m a part of this group, I know that all the work I do at the convention will continue after because I will be bringing that knowledge to the meetings and continuing to educate myself.

I’m so lucky that I have friends who told me about the Union Working group because it is one of the greatest things I’ve done for my acting career lately. I’ve said I wanted to be more involved and I was presented a great way on how to do that. And I know that this group is going to continue to grow and make some amazing things happen for the union. I’m just so lucky that I will get to be a part of that.