Tag Archives: SAG-AFTRA

Wrapping Up An Awesome Year Of Movies (or Still Loving SAG-AFTRA Film Society)

This past weekend was the final weekend of screenings for this season of the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. I’ve written about the Film Society in the past and how awesome it is. It’s one of the few union perks that cost above and beyond your membership dues, but it’s totally worth it! Right now they are taking applications and it is $115 for the season (which runs May-April). Each season there are about 4-6 first run movies a month that you can go to see and you can always bring a plus one.

I’ve been a member of the Film Society for a couple of years and it really is one of my favorite things. Movies are so expensive so paying for the season is so much cheaper than buying all those movie tickets. And since it’s a one-time annual fee, I go to see more movies than I probably would have anyway because I know it’s a free night out. You almost make up the cost of the membership after seeing just a few movies since they do show 3-D movies in 3-D (and in LA 3-D can cost about $25 a person). So to me it’s obvious that I would sign up for it each year.

I think this past year I went to more movies than I have the past few years. Part of that is due to having my friend David (I met him at Orangetheory) who likes to go to movies pretty much as much as I do. He’s already called dibs on any superhero movie that I get a screening for, and since most people haven’t called dibs on other movies he ends up joining me a bunch. We’ve seen a bunch of crazy movies this past year, and it’s better to have someone else driving home with you so you can discuss the movie and rant or rave about it. And I’m glad he goes with me to superhero movies because he knows the back story of them and doesn’t care that I ask a million questions after the movie since I’ve never read the comic books.

The second to last weekend of Film Society I saw 2 movies. First I saw “Midnight Special” (which was good but I was a bit confused at the end) and “Hello, My Name Is Doris”. I absolutely loved “Hello, My Name Is Doris”! Sally Field was amazing in the movie and I loved the journey that her character took! Without giving away a lot about the movie, the final few seconds were my favorite. It was not how I expected it to end but it made the movie wrap up beautifully and really showed how her character grew. I walked out of the theater with the biggest smile on my face and couldn’t stop thinking about how much I loved the movie! It’s one that I think everyone should see but a lot of people might not because it’s not a big blockbuster getting a ton of promotion.

For the final weekend of Film Society, I went to one movie: “Batman v Superman”. This was one of the movies that David had called dibs on if I got a screening for it so as soon as I saw it was coming up I let him know. He was so excited to go see it, but I was feeling a bit worried because of some of the negative reviews I had read online (and a friend who posted a major spoiler that I was afraid would ruin the movie for me). While I did think that it might have been a bit long, I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of good action, I liked seeing all the superheroes working together at the end, and it actually did make sense to me that Batman would be fighting Superman (I didn’t get it before the movie). After it was done, David and I both thought it was a fun and entertaining movie and it helped get both of us excited to see the Justice League movie. I still have some questions about the movie, but none of the things I’m wondering about ruined how entertained I was watching it.

Since I’m already signed up for the next season of Film Society, the movies will be starting up again in a little over a month. I know that I’ll be taking advantage of the membership as much as I have in the past and I’ve got another great year of movies coming up.

I’m aware how lucky I am to have this option for me plus the screenings I get for the SAG Awards voting. Not everyone has that luxury and it’s something that I really do appreciate having and I try to share my plus ones with as many friends as possible. It’s fun getting to bring people to screenings who have never seen them before and seeing the experience through their eyes. Hopefully this season I’ll have more friends joining me and more movies that make me just as excited to be an actor.

A Speedy Friend Visit (or Making The Most Of 24 Hours)

When my friend Kate stayed with me the last time, she mentioned that she might be coming to town in February to watch the Olympic marathon trials. I set the date aside in my calendar and was really excited when Kate told me that she had booked her flights and that she wanted to stay at my place again. But because of her work and the varying costs of flights, Kate was only able to be here for 24 hours (almost exactly). So I was planning out how to make this the most awesome 24 hour visit ever!

Kate got here on Friday afternoon (which is why I couldn’t work out on Friday). I picked her up at LAX and I was super excited to see her. I miss having her live in LA, so even when her visits are super speedy it makes me so happy to have her in the same city as me. It’s funny that it’s such a big deal because since we graduated high school, we’ve lived in the same city for a very limited time. But since she moved to LA briefly I am even more excited when she comes back!

I had gotten an email from the SAG-AFTRA Film Society earlier that week that there was going to be a screening of “Hail, Caesar!” at the DGA that evening. So I asked Kate if she wanted to go to that and she did. It was actually her first time going to a screening with me (for some reason we could never coordinate schedules with the screening schedules when she lived here). But this time it worked out pretty nicely so as soon as I had picked Kate up we headed over to the DGA.

Since the screening wasn’t until 6:30, we had some time to grab dinner before the movie. We walked across the street to The Counter (I love that place!) for burgers and some catch up time. Kate filled me in on her work and her cats and I filled her in on the craziness of everything and my workouts. We had to eat pretty quickly to make it to the screening, but it worked out fine.

I really enjoyed “Hail, Caesar!”! It was really funny and even though some of the jokes were very much about the entertainment industry, I think that enough of the movie isn’t insider stuff that everyone should be able to enjoy it. I was laughing quite a bit through the movie and I think that the entire cast was amazing!

After the screening, Kate and I walked over to the West Hollywood Orangetheory location. I don’t work out at that location, but I wanted to show it to Kate because there is a Orangetheory near where she lives and she’s thinking about checking it out. Even though the studio was closed, the manager (who I’ve met several times and he knows me) was there and he let us in. I showed Kate the various equipment inside and I chatted with the manager about the crazy workout from Thursday (where there was 22 minutes on the floor straight). We didn’t want to keep him there too long after hours, so Kate and I headed out and headed back to my house.

The next day was the main event that Kate came to town for: the Olympic trials. I’ll share more about this tomorrow but Kate went early in the morning and I was able to join her there after I was done with work. Even though I missed most of it, I got to see a little bit.

After we were done watching the racers, we headed over to my side of town to get some lunch at one of my favorite places, Lyfe Kitchen. Even though they have so many good things on their menu, I tend to get the same things each time. I love their BBQ chicken flatbread but instead of fries (since I had some the night before), I got a side of steam veggies with my food.

Lyfe Kitchen

After lunch we only had a little bit of time left before Kate needed to be back at LAX for her flight home, so we were trying to figure out what to do. We finally decided on doing a bit of random searching in the car for new wine bars. My favorite local wine bar, Bottle Rock, closed down right after the last time I was there so I was on the search for a new place. I knew that any new place I found wouldn’t be walking distance like Bottle Rock was, but I still wanted to see what other places were out there.

I had randomly seen a wine bar driving around a few weeks ago, so we headed over there first. Sadly, the place wasn’t open yet for the day. But we were able to see a menu online and it looked promising. After checking out that place, we did a search on Google Maps for other wine bars in the area and we set off on an adventure! We ended up checking out 2 other wine bars (one that looked good and one that didn’t) and then it was time to go to LAX.

Considering that this was all done in 24 hours, I think we succeeded in maximizing the limited time that Kate had in town. She kept saying that this wasn’t really a friend visit since she was coming here for the Olympic trials, but I lucked out because she was staying at my house. So I wanted to make sure that Kate had a fun time in LA and didn’t just feel like she was flying in, sleeping at my house, watching the Olympic trials, and flying out.

I’m just glad that Kate was just as up for going on as many adventures as we could like I was.

SAG Awards (or Watching After Knowing The Winners)

I really love the SAG Awards. All awards shows are amazing and I love watching them, but this one is so special. Part of it is that it is the only awards show that I get to vote for (at least, the only one I can vote for so far). And part of it is because these are my peers being nominated and one day I could be too. I take my voting seriously and work as hard as I can to see everything nominated (I don’t always succeed, but I make a big effort to see them all).

I usually watch the show live on TV and try to live-tweet my excitement over the winners. It’s fun to live tweet those sort of events and see what everyone else has to say about things. Even if I can’t watch with my friends, I still get to be connected with them while watching.

But when the show happened this past Saturday, I was babysitting. So I didn’t get to watch live this time. I don’t mind babysitting, but I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t get to watch the show when it happened. But I needed to babysit and I had my DVR set to record the show (plus an extra hour in case they ran late). So it wasn’t that horrible that I didn’t get to watch live.

Fortunately for me, twitter and various news sites online kept me posted on who the winners were throughout the evening. I was finally able to see who all the winners were when the kids were asleep at the babysitting job and was pretty happy with who won (a majority of the people/shows I voted for won) and I was anxious to hear all the speeches.

I got home from babysitting super late, so I didn’t get a chance to watch the awards until Sunday morning. Since I knew who all the winners were, I was able to fast forward a bit on my DVR. I watched all the introductions and speeches, but I skipped when they announced the nominees and the moment the announced the winner. But even with skipping those parts, there was so much good stuff to watch.

I loved all the speeches. Everyone seemed so grateful and gracious when they won. I knew that some of the winners were people who had almost given up on acting or had been trying to make it for years and seeing them win gave me hope that I will be there one day. And of course there were some random funny moments and I loved those as well.

Plus, I loved getting to see my friend Woody’s name in the credits at the end.

SAG Awards

All in all, it was a really great show. It did feel a bit weird not watching it live and not being interactive with people while watching. It was almost like it was my own awards show viewing and not something that everyone else watched. But even without being online and tweeting with people while it was happening, it still made me have so much pride to be a union member.

Was I Bold? (or Recapping How I Did With My Word Of The Year)

For this year, I decided to do a word for the year for the first time. I was inspired by my fellow bloggers and decided to go for it. The word that I had decided on was “bold” and I really felt like it was the perfect word for me to use for 2015. Now that the year is about done, I’m looking back at my year and trying to think if I was bold.

I worked hard to remind myself to be bold when I could. I used the word as the background of my computer and used a similar graphic without the word as the background on my phone and iPad. So I was constantly reminded of it. There are still times that I feel like I can’t or won’t be bold, but I think I made a good effort at it.

Bold

The place where I think I was the boldest in 2015 was my acting career. I took new risks in my auditions and wasn’t afraid to make a wrong choice. I know that making an incorrect choice is really better than no choice at all. I decided that I was going to make each character strong in my mind and go with it full force. I know that not all my choices were right (and I didn’t book much this year), but I know that casting directors will remember me for being prepared and taking a risk. So many auditions of mine are in offices that I’ve been in before, so I know that they like me as an actor. It just might have been in the past that the part wasn’t right for me.

Not only was I being bolder in my auditions which allowed me to leave the audition room feeling better, I was bold in my actions outside of performing in the acting world. I never would have thought of running as a SAG-AFTRA delegate in the past, but this year when I was asked to do so I said yes before I could talk myself out of it.

Running as a delegate wasn’t always easy (some of the hate messages I got still are stuck in my head), but I’m so glad that I did it. I met some amazing people and I really had the best time at the National Convention. I’m actually sad that the National Convention isn’t every year. I don’t know if I’ll run for local or national board in the next elections (I’ve got plenty of time to think about that), but there’s no question that I’ll be running as a delegate again. The education that I got about the union during the convention was invaluable and I know that it will make me a better union member for it.

I was also bold in working on overcoming my eating disorder this year. I got a new therapist and I’m now trying medication to help me win this battle. I’m still in the depths of my battle and it feels at times that I will never get over my eating disorder, but I’m done being a victim of it. I’m working hard at it and hopefully sometime soon my hard work will pay off.

Finally, I think I was bold in my social life. Not in the sense that I was bold as a person at events but in the sense that I stopped being scared of saying no to an event and staying home. While I’d love to go out every time that someone has a fun event, sometimes I need to be at home for the evening. I might be tired or not feeling well or I might just not feel up for it and don’t want to force myself to go. But I don’t care anymore about missing things. Sometimes I wish that I could go, but I’m not feeling like I’m missing out on things as much as I did in the past. So saying no is a bold choice.

I’m still finalizing what my word for 2016 will be and I’ll be sharing that next week. But I’m really happy how I embraced bold as my word for 2015 and the results that I got from it!

Miss You Already (or Women Filmmakers and Cancer Patients)

I recently had an opportunity to see an advance screening of “Miss You Already”. I was excited enough to go see a new movie, but this screening also had a Q&A with the director, Catherine Hardwicke, as well as with Toni Collette and Tyson Ritter, who are actors in the film. While going to screenings are a fairly regular occurrence through my union, my WIF membership, or other industry opportunities; this one ended up being very special for me.

The first thing that was so special about this screening was the casualness of the entire event. Usually when there is a screening with a Q&A, after the Q&A is done the cast and crew are whisked away by their publicists and other handlers and are in their cars before the audience gets to move. There’s almost never interaction between the audience and the guests.

That was not the case with this screening. It seemed to be not only a WIF event, but a crew and production team screening. Many people in the audience were involved with the film in various positions and they had a little after party after the screening that my friend who joined me for the screening and I got invited to join.

I got to talk to Catherine Hardwicke a little bit. She’s seriously amazing. She’s a big advocate for making sure that more movies are made with female directors and writers. Men are a majority of writers and directors and things really should be more balanced. She is an incredible director and I feel honored that I got to meet her and she spent a little bit of time talking with me (and taking this awesome picture with me).

Miss You Already

The other reason why this screening was so special to me was the subject. Without giving a ton of spoilers away, one of the characters in the film gets a breast cancer diagnosis. The character has to go through several of the same treatments that my mom went through (the character had a similar type of breast cancer). But the way the character reacted to her cancer was very different from how my mom did and that made me feel so grateful for my mom.

When my mom was diagnosed, she told me pretty much right away. I wasn’t able to share it with friends right away because we wanted family to know first and my mom to get through some things before the news was shared. But it was a pretty open discussion with us all. I could ask my mom anything I wanted to without fear of her reaction or upsetting her. A lot of things were (and still are) unknowns, but nothing was hidden from me or anyone else in the family who wanted to know.

After my mom’s surgery, I saw her in Tahoe when I went to visit my family. While I was there, I got to see my mom’s scar and what things looked like. That helped me feel much more comfortable with everything. When you look up post-mastectomy photos online, they can seem both scary and unbelievable. Seeing what it looked like on my mom normalized things.

Through surgery, chemo, and radiation; my mom kept a very positive attitude. Yes, technically cancer at any stage can kill you (or the treatments can kill you or make you sick), but as a family we just focused on positivity and recovery and believed that my mom would get through this just fine. That’s exactly what happened, but I know that even if it wasn’t that way my mom would have still maintained her positivity. Again, that all made me feel much better about the circumstances and helped me avoid googling things that I shouldn’t.

For all I know, my mom just put on a brave face for us all and it was much scarier and more horrible than I know; but if she did protect me from the negativity I appreciate that.

Obviously, my mom’s cancer story isn’t everyone’s cancer story. Not everyone has the ability to stay positive or immediately get a fatal diagnosis. And my family is much luckier than most because almost everyone is in medicine so we understood things without having to do as much research (and that research is so terrifying). And even though the story in “Miss You Already” isn’t my mom’s story, it’s so refreshing to see a cancer story that tells things honestly and doesn’t make it seem easy or so hard that life is over from the moment you are diagnosed.

“Miss You Already” opens this weekend and I really encourage you all to go and see it. Not only will you be supporting a fabulous movie, you will be telling the studios that films by female directors are popular and there should be more of them. Both of those things are very worthy things to support.

A Week Until Race Day (or Helping Out My Friend’s Place)

The 3rd Hard Rock Cafe 5K is just over a week away. I’m excited for the race to see if I’ve made any improvement since my last 5K. And my best friend is coming to town to do the race with me! I’m also nervous because I know that my calf injury isn’t totally healed (it’s super close!) and I don’t want to hurt myself during the race.

There’s not much I can really do about how my calf (or my hip) will feel during the race. I know that I’m not going to push myself as much as I might have just to be careful. And I am going to time out my workouts leading up to the race to make sure I have rest days right before.

Since I can’t do much about dealing with injuries at the race, I’m trying to focus on something else. Last year, I got to tour My Friend’s Place, which is the official charity of the Hard Rock Cafe race. I’m so glad that I had that opportunity because I never really thought about homeless youth in Los Angeles. I’ve helped at shelters for homeless adults, but youth have very different needs. After touring  My Friend’s Place, I knew that I wanted to help out with donations in the future.

I hadn’t really been able to donate in the past year, but My Friend’s Place was always on my mind. Whenever someone mentioned having things to donate, if they were things on the wish list, I’d recommend they donate there.

Then, at the SAG-AFTRA Convention, one of my fellow delegates mentioned how AFTRA used to do donations at their conventions (this was before the two unions merged). Many delegates come from out-of-town and stay at the host hotel, and we know that most people don’t use the toiletries that the hotel provides in the bathroom. So at the AFTRA conventions, they would collect these toiletries and donate them to a place that could use them.

I connected with the delegate who brought up the donation idea (and got it all started) and said that if she didn’t have a charity in mind that I’d love to donate them to My Friend’s Place. So all of our donations (about 5 bags full) went to My Friend’s Place recently and we know that they will be going to good use.

I’ve also told my parents to bring all of the dog supplies that were Dante’s or Tucker’s that Tucker is too big for because My Friend’s Place allows the youth to bring their pets there and they need collars, leashes, and other pet supplies. So I will be doing that donation after Thanksgiving when I get them.

And the other day, a box showed up at my house. Somehow, I am on a baby/pregnancy mailing list (I’m not pregnant) and lots of baby related coupons have been arriving at my door. But this day, there were two cans of powdered baby formula inside!

Baby Mailing List

So I will be adding those to my post-Thanksgiving donation and several of my friends with kids will be giving me baby clothes that their kids have outgrown, the leftover diapers in a box that their baby has sized out of, and other baby supplies that are on the wish list. I’m really excited to have another nice size donation that I will be bringing to My Friend’s Place soon.

If any of you are in Los Angeles, I highly recommend donating to My Friend’s Place if you can. They are so happy for any donations they can get and I know that they are working on helping the homeless youth find jobs and homes so that they don’t have to sleep on the streets as adults. I know that I haven’t made a lot of donations in the past there, but I’m hoping to fix that now and to make donating there a somewhat regular thing.

More Friends More Fun (or Still Building My Social Circle)

I’ve talked before about how I’ve had to work hard as an adult to make friends. I lost a lot of my friends when my best friend from college and I ended our friendship and it was tough for me to start over. I was eventually able to reconnect with people I had lost track of in the past (social media was a huge help in doing that) and also went out of my way to make new friends. And after a while, I had a ton of amazing friends that I am incredibly grateful to have in my life and continue to push me to be the best person I can be.

Because I have so many amazing friends now, I do get lazy from time to time when it comes to making friends. I meet people at events and we friend each other on Facebook, but then we never really hang out. And my schedule is partially to blame for that because I’m still over booking myself a bit (I think life will calm down after Thanksgiving).

But lately I’ve been in opportunities to not only meet lots of amazing people, but to get to spend time with them and build real friendships. The SAG-AFTRA Convention is the perfect example of this.

I spent so many hours with my fellow delegates. A lot of the time, we were exhausted from long hours and lack of sleep which helps to put everyone’s guards down and make friendships much easier to start. I did know some of my fellow delegates going into the convention, but through the convention (and the fun of the gala), I got to know so many more people and I’m happy that I’m already finding time to hang out with some of them!

I had the chance to work with one of my fellow delegates when I did coaching for my audition I had recently. While I had an hour of coaching, I was really there for like 4 hours because we were having too much fun hanging out and getting to know each other.

I’ve seen delegates at the SAG-AFTRA Film Society screenings I’ve gone to lately. I’m sure we’ve seen each other at the screenings in the past (most of us go to as many screenings as we can), but since I didn’t really know them until the convention, I never really paid attention. Now, we are all running into each other at each screening and usually we also end up trying to sit together. It’s nice to have friends at the screenings with me since we usually have to wait in line to go into the screening (sometimes for a pretty long time) and there is always time to kill once we are in the theater. And while I’m always prepared with a book, I’d rather use that time to be social.

With it being the start of awards season, I’ve got a lot of screenings coming up. And I’m making a serious effort to try to reach out to my friends (old and new) to come and be my plus one for them. For the past few screenings, I’ve been able to bring a different friend to each one and that’s been pretty awesome. I get that one on one time with a friend while we are waiting for the movie to catch up on life and be silly. And that’s something that I know I don’t do often enough.

I know I always say this, but I have to make my social life a bit more of a priority in my life. These screenings are helping, but once screening season is done I don’t want to neglect my friendships. I don’t know what I’ll do to fix this problem. Maybe I should start going out after I do my late afternoon workouts, but usually by the time I get home all I want to do is shower, eat dinner, and be lazy on the couch for a bit before going to bed. My weekends are getting a bit packed with work obligations until Thanksgiving (seriously, I don’t have a free weekend until after then) but I’m going to start trying to schedule things with friends more in advance so it’s on my calendar and becomes a priority.

Even though I always have the concern about not spending enough time with my friends, I’m glad that right now it’s not a huge issue and that I’m aware of it enough that hopefully I can make sure that it’s not an issue in the future.

Watching Some Inspiration (or A Weekend Of Screenings)

I realize that I’m pretty lucky with the screenings I get invited to. Some of them are because I am current on my SAG-AFTRA dues and I get to vote for the SAG Awards. Some of them are through Women In Film. And some of them are because I pay to be a part of the SAG-AFTRA Film Society.

Most of the screenings I go to (with the exception of the voting season for SAG Awards) are through the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. Prior to this past weekend, I had been to lots of movies through them. Most of them are either in theaters right now or about to be in theaters. And on the rare occasion those screenings include a Q&A.

Late on Friday night, I went to go see “The Walk”. I knew the story pretty well because I had seen “Man On Wire”, but I think that this film was pretty awesome. The screening was in 3D and my palms were sweaty the entire time the walk was going on (the friend who joined me said that he was barely able to breathe that time because he was nervous). It was a fun movie to watch and even though I was really tired Saturday morning I’m glad I went out to see it.

And on Saturday I got to see “Steve Jobs”. I was looking forward to this movie because I love the actors who are in it. I picked a screening time to go to that worked out with my schedule and was ready to go. But then a few days before the screening I found out that the screening time I was going to was also going to have a Q&A with the writer, director, and 3 of the actors in the film.

I was excited to attend the Q&A (which fortunately was after the film because it’s always weird when it’s before the movie you are seeing), but I knew that that movie was going to be extra crowded because of that.

I got to the theater pretty early and was a decent way back in the line, but I managed to find a pretty close and centered seat.

The movie was amazing. I had read the biography of Steve Jobs that the film was based on, but the movie was so different from what I expected. It pretty much takes place in 3 distinct acts (each act is a somewhat real-time representation of a certain day). The pattern of the movie was fascinating to watch and it felt like the movie flew by.

And soon as the credits were done, the Q&A started.

Steve Jobs Screening

It’s always fun to hear about the making of a movie, but what truly inspired me was hearing how they did the rehearsal process for each of the acts. The actors had over a week of real rehearsal time (not being distracted by wardrobe fittings or other things) where they were in a rehearsal room with the set being marked out by tape. This way, the actors had time to get used to the dialogue (and there was a lot of dialogue) and not have to worry about taking up time on the set while the crew was there.

They got to do this rehearsal process for each of the acts (rehearsing for the week or so prior to filming that section). This is not normal. Most movies don’t really give actors real rehearsal time to work on their characters, lines, and relationships. But hearing that some directors feel this passionate about making sure their actors had what they needed to do the best performance possible really made me happy. I can only dream that I get to have an experience like that on set one day.

Normally when I go to screenings, I have fun because it’s a day or night at the movies. This past weekend, going to the movies inspired me to keep going and keep pursing my dream. Just seeing the passion in the filmmakers’ and actors’ eyes proved to me that I’m on the right path.

The Convention Gala (or An Evening Under and With The Stars)

With all the business surrounding the SAG-AFTRA Convention, I’m glad that there were a couple of fun events planned as well. Most of the fun things were free (like a screening I decided to skip because I needed to catch up on sleep), but there was one ticketed event as part of Convention.

The gala did cost money to attend, but I justified it by saying that I was saving money by not having to buy food during Convention (since they fed us) so I got a ticket before they sold out.

Part of the gala was the American Scene Awards, but mostly this was an event to have fun, dance, and get to know the other delegates there.

Since Convention was at Universal and the gala was at WB, I didn’t want to have to go home to change (I never would have made it in traffic). Fortunately, one of the SAG-AFTRA staff members let a couple of us use a meeting room to change in at the hotel. While there wasn’t privacy, none of us minded since it was better than having to change in the bathroom (I don’t want to have my bare feet on a public bathroom floor).

After we got ready, we carpooled over to WB were there was some on-site parking for us (most people bussed over, but I wanted to have my car there to get home quicker). The parking was pretty easy and we were on our way to the backlot right away so we could enjoy the party.

Gala

Of course, when there is a step and repeat, we have to take a photo.

Red Carpet

The museum was open for us to enjoy, but I ended up not making it up to the second floor. I was having too much fun seeing my friends there and enjoying seeing everyone dressed up fancy.

We moved over to the buffet to get dinner and to the bar for drinks (just sparkling water for me) and then found a table to sit at for dinner and the awards.

WB Backlot

Yes it was cool to see the awards, but I really just enjoyed having a fun night out. There are so many things to vote on and debate about at Convention, but this night was all about fun. I goofed off with people at my table and was just silly and giggly (it’s been a while since I felt like that).

Gala Friends

After the awards and getting dessert, it was time to move over to the dance floor. There was a live band there and they were pretty awesome!

Dancing

I’m not much of a dancer, but when there is a good band and lots of awesome people, I can’t turn it down. I was jumping around and pulling people into our group to dance. I’m not sure how long I was dancing, but by the time I was ready to go I was super sweaty and my feet had blisters. And I didn’t even care because I had such an amazing time!

I was worried about the timing of the gala, especially since I don’t live super close to everything. And yes, I was a bit tired the next morning, but it wasn’t unbearable and it was totally worth it. Bonding with my fellow delegates and getting to know people from all over the country was amazing and really helped me not feel like an outsider in the union anymore. I had gotten some haters during the election who didn’t believe that I should be a delegate due to what they perceive as a lack of credits. I questioned things a bit, but even beginner actors have the right to be active in the union government. I don’t regret things at all anymore and seeing everyone having fun all night made me realize that I totally fit in.

The next gala (and Convention) is 2 years away, but I’m already counting down the days. This entire 4 day process really was an eye-opening experience for me and reaffirmed all the choices that I’ve made in my career. And if I can feel that from my first Convention experience, I can’t image what will happen after my next one!

SAG-AFTRA National Convention (or I Had No Idea It Would Be Like This)

I’m going to split my recap of the SAG-AFTRA Convention into two posts. Today will be about a majority of the 4 days I spent at Convention and tomorrow I’ll write about the gala.

I’ve mentioned this on here before, but when I ran for my delegate seat I wasn’t 100% sure what I was in for. I knew that it would involve attending the National Convention, but that’s pretty much all I knew. I have been wanting to get more involved in the union for a while, so this was jumping in with both feet.

With National Convention coming closer, all the delegates got lots of emails with schedules and things that we would need to be aware of. The Convention website (and later the app they created) had all the amendments and resolutions that we would be voting on during Convention. Some of these things made sense to me, but many confused me. Fortunately, I have friends who know more about the union than I do that I can trust and they explained things to me and helped me understand which way I was wanting to vote on each thing.

The first day of Convention was Thursday evening for the delegate party. I don’t have any pictures of this because I had to run an unexpected errand right before the party and ended up arriving an hour late (the party was only 2 hours). I checked in and got my delegate badge and bag filled with information for the weekend.

My Badge

I got to see a bunch of my delegate friends at the party. But since I knew the next morning would be a very early morning for me, I didn’t stay too long.

The next morning was the first day of “real” Convention activities. We voted on the Executive Vice President as an entire group and then we divided up to vote on Vice Presidents for our regions or categories. The voting took time, but I appreciated that because on Friday (and again on Saturday) I was working my box office day job from Convention. I got permission to do chats only and not phone calls, but I still had to focus on my customers. So while the voting was being done or counted, I sat at my table and worked (most of the other delegates used that time to talk to friends or meet new people from other parts of the country).

Convention Room

We also spent a lot of time at Convention voting on the amendments and resolutions that we had been sent prior to Convention. I really can’t say too much about what happened during that voting. But I do want to say that while during the elections over the summer there was very much an attitude of one side versus the other, at Convention everyone came together as one and we all worked to make sure that what we chose to do is in the best interest of all performers, recording artists, and broadcasters in the union.

We also got to hear from our National Executive Director, David White, about what is coming for the union and what he wants us to accomplish. I’ve met David White briefly before, but getting to hear his report was so inspiring and I’m so happy that he is our NED and helping us make the union the best that it can be. Again, I’m not able to share a ton of what was discussed, but there are some really great plans for the future that should be announced in the next few months.

At one point during Saturday, we got to split up and chose a workshop to attend. There were a couple of different options and it was tough to choose one, but some of my fellow delegates and I decided to all try to attend different ones so we could share what we learned. It was interesting hearing the issues that members of the union face and learn what we can do to fix things, whether or not we are personally affected.

While a lot of the business was work, the staff (who did an amazing job putting together and coordinating Convention) did try to make things fun for us too. Every morning there was a breakfast (I only took advantage of that on Sunday when they had some eggs, bacon, hash browns, and fruit) and on Friday and Saturday there was lunch provided. Friday lunch was good, but nothing too special. But Saturday lunch was provided by several food trucks!

Food Truck Lunch

I got to enjoy some tacos and ice cream before heading back into the Convention room to get back to work. The food truck lunch was a highlight for many of us and a much appreciated break from working so hard on getting things done.

We heard speeches from our President, Executive Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer to hear what their plans and goals are for the next 2 years (when the next election and convention will be). There have been so many things done in the past 2 years and I know the next 2 will be just as productive, if not more so.

I know this sounds like a lot of information. It is. I’m still a bit overwhelmed on everything I experienced. A friend of mine asked me to explain why I thought that Convention was so beneficial for me as an actor. The best thing I came up with was that before it was like I was a tourist of my union. Now I’m a citizen or resident of the union. I had no idea about the issues that the broadcasters or recording artists deal with, but since we are one union it is important for all performers to help them with their fight. I learned so much about what I can do when I see things that aren’t on the up and up and how to properly report them to the union (I haven’t done that properly in the past). I learned about how there are so many things in the works for the union that can’t be announced publicly yet because that puts those things at risk for not being able for being done. But most importantly, I became more proud of being a SAG-AFTRA member than ever before and want all my fellow union members to feel that same pride.

I hope that this is just the beginning of my political career with SAG-AFTRA. I know 100% for sure that I will be running as a delegate again in 2 years. I don’t know if I’d want to be a board member yet, but I’ve got plenty of time to learn more about that position and to decide.

But for now, I’m taking the inspiration that I feel from Convention and making sure that I keep this feeling and momentum going and share it with you all.