Tag Archives: union

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.

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!

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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.

Observing The Local Board Meeting (or The Beginning Of My Second Term As A Delegate)

After being elected as a SAG-AFTRA delegate, there’s only a short period of time before the National Convention. So it seems like every day I get more information and more emails and it can feel a bit overwhelming. Fortunately for me, this is my second time doing this so I feel much more prepared than I did 2 years ago. I’ve been trying to stay on top of emails and getting registered for things as they come up. But when all delegates were invited to observe the local board meeting which would include information on the convention after, I RSVPed right away.

I did this same thing 2 years ago but at that time I felt a bit uncertain about everything. I wasn’t sure if I was doing all that I needed to do and was nervous that I was already behind on things. This time, I went into the meeting knowing that I’m already registered for the convention, I know what dates it will be, where it will be, and ready to have the convention here because I know how much I loved it last time.

There was a dinner before the meeting, but I had a dentist appointment before and didn’t know if I’d feel up for having dinner (the dentist was fine and so normal that I’m not blogging about it). When I arrived at SAG-AFTRA, most people were still eating dinner so I headed to the boardroom to get a seat on the observer side. I was able to check in pretty quickly and got my name tag which made me feel pretty official.

The first part of the meeting was the official local board meeting. Since I am not a member of the local board, I was only there as an observer and wasn’t able to participate in much. But I still was able to learn a lot about things like the local committees, upcoming events, and what issues are of concern to the board. There were a few things being debated and many people had questions so it was interesting to be able to sit back and watch. It also made me hopeful that in the future I can observe more local board meetings because it is a great way to get informed on issues and be more involved.

After the board meeting was done, there was a quick break and then we got started on the discussion about the convention. It was almost like a mini-orientation on what to expect and what the schedule would be like. It was also a bit interactive with some fun quiz questions we could answer on our phones and the results would be up on the screen. Of course, we all had fun with those and answered with silly responses just to be entertaining.

It seems like the convention will be very similar to what it was like 2 years ago. We will be voting the same way we did before but we will have more amendments to our union constitution to vote on than last time. So as soon as those amendments are announced I’m going to take some time to take a good look at them all. I do take this seriously and I want to represent the LA actors to best of my ability.

This orientation is really the only time we have to officially get ready for the convention. Fortunately, I have many friends who are elected to higher positions in the union that I can go to if I have questions about things before the convention starts. And I do have the advantage this year of knowing what I’m in for and what I do need to prepare for. Last time, there were some things I over prepared for and some things I under prepared for. And because I will also be working my day job while at the convention (the benefits of working day jobs from my computer), I do need to be prepared.

It’s so crazy to think that in 2 weeks the convention will be starting, but I’m so excited. I’ve been looking forward to this since the convention ended 2 years ago and I can’t believe it’s already here again! I know that the next 2 weeks will fly by and soon I’ll be saying that I can’t wait for the next convention in 2 more years!

Representing For My Union On Labor Day (or A Beach Day Fail)

This past Labor Day I didn’t really have any plans. Mondays are my days off anyway so I knew I’d be going to workout in the morning and needing to do errands at some point that day. But since I knew most of my friends had the day off as well I figured I should try to make some plans. But of course, I procrastinated until the last minute and the night before I was trying to figure out what to do.

I texted a few friends to see if anyone was free, and only my friend Dani got back to me. We decided that even though the beach would be really crowded, we should try to go to the beach for a few hours. I hadn’t been to the beach this entire summer and figured it was a perfect thing to do for the day. Plus, it had been so hot and I knew the beach would be a bit cooler than where I live.

We decided to meet up around 1pm at her place because she lives closer to the beach. I was going to pick her up and then we were going to try to find somewhere to park near the beach that wasn’t too expensive. I packed up some magazines, sunscreen, and a towel and got into the car to drive over. And when I got to Dani’s house, she opened the door and had a better suggestion than going to the beach.

Dani recently moved to a new place and she suggested that we just hang out at the pool at her apartment complex. There wasn’t anyone there, we wouldn’t have to deal with the sand, and if one of us had to run to the bathroom there was a clean place to go (and not have to deal with gross dirty beach bathrooms). It sounded like a perfect plan and I happened to find a parking spot right in front of her place.

Once I parked and we got inside, we grabbed some lounge chairs and got ready to have a nice afternoon of relaxing. There were a few other people at the pool once we got there, but it was still pretty peaceful and felt like a nice mini-vacation in a way.

It was a bit overcast and significantly cooler than it had been all weekend, so we just spent time reading on the lounge chairs and didn’t go into the pool. Plus, I didn’t want to have to drive home in a wet bathing suit. But I wasn’t going to go into the ocean either, so relaxing on a towel was exactly how I had been planning on being on the beach too.

Since it was Labor Day and that day is about unions, I decided that I was going to wear my Union Working hat. It seemed perfect to be supportive of my union and other unions that day, plus it is a really great hat too!

We briefly talked about maybe getting some food (all I had packed for the beach was water), but we ended up not really caring too much about getting anything. It was just nice having several hours laying by the pool and not having a care in the world. My only regret was that I didn’t have my Kindle with me. I didn’t pack it because I didn’t want it to get sand it in, but that wasn’t a worry at the pool. Fortunately, I can use the Kindle app on my phone so after I was done reading magazines I started working on some books.

I ended up being at the pool for about 4 hours. Because of it being overcast (and maybe a bit because I was super careful about putting on a ton of sunscreen), I didn’t get sunburnt at all. I was actually a bit surprised by that and was worried that the next morning I would look like a lobster. But I guess that I lucked out and even though I don’t ever tan, I am always worried about burning. It was like it was a sign that us hanging out by the pool instead of going to the beach was the right choice.

I still haven’t made it out to the beach this summer and I really don’t know if I will go. I don’t always go each summer, but I feel like since I live so close it’s silly for me not to take advantage of that. But honestly, hanging out at a pool where I didn’t feel sandy and gross when I left was so much better for me and made my Labor Day a pretty awesome day!

Working On Priorities (or Adding And Taking Away)

Happy September! The beginning of a month brings the end to one monthly challenge and the beginning to another. And this time, my monthly challenges are related to each other. When I started doing monthly challenges, they were such huge things. Now, I’m getting to where I’ve made a lot of major changes and now I’m focusing on the small things. Sometimes it’s tough for me to remember that small changes can matter as much as big ones, but I’m glad I’m able to focus on changing things in my life even when it’s on such a small scale.

My monthly challenge in August was to work on seeing what things I’m doing every day that isn’t making me happy anymore. This was a tough challenge to decide to do because I don’t like being a quitter and not doing something anymore makes me feel like I gave up on myself. But it was getting to a point in my life where I was looking at my daily reminders and it was stressing me out too much. And it’s not benefitting me if doing those things every day was causing me stress.

I tried to be as nonjudgmental as possible this past month to see what I wanted to keep and what I felt ok not doing anymore. And it came down to 3 things that I felt ok taking off my daily reminders. The first thing I got rid of was my daily reminder to weigh myself. I used to get some peace out of weighing myself every day and being able to track how fluctuations happen. But that stopped being a good thing after I stopped taking birth control pills. I now have weight fluctuations due to my hormones and I haven’t gotten my mind to catch up with that idea yet. And until that happens, I don’t want to feel guilty for not weighing myself every day. I do still weigh myself most days, but I don’t feel like I need a reminder to do it anymore.

The next one that I got rid of was a reminder to do yoga every day. I haven’t done this is a while and I had the reminder on my phone. It was making me feel bad that I didn’t do it because I know I should get back into it. But my schedule and life have been hectic lately and it comes down to not wanting to feel guilty about not doing it. So it is off my schedule now and maybe in the future I will put it back on. But I might change it to be from a daily reminder to something I remind myself to do a few times a week.

The last one I took off of my reminders it to be mindful before eating, specifically mindfulness before dinner. I have more recently added to take breathing breaks to my schedule. I put those on my reminders at the times that are usually the most difficult for me. Having those as a part of my daily reminders (and I do take those breathing breaks and they do tend to help) has made the mindfulness before dinner reminder not something as important to me.

While I spent this past month taking things off of my schedule, this month I’m focusing on adding something to my schedule. I’ve talked about wanting to be more active in SAGAFTRA several times in the past. And that’s what my challenge for September is going to be about. While I can’t control when meetings, mixers, or events happen; I can still stay active every day as a union member.

I thought about what ways I could be involved every day and there were a few ideas that came to me. But I want to start small while I figure out what the best option will be for me. So the idea that I came up with is sending out at least one tweet every day that is union related. That could be something like news, a victory the union has won, or something that is relevant for SAG-AFTRA members to know about. I have a feeling that most of the time I will be retweeting something I see, but that’s ok. The important thing is that I want to be putting out a positive message for SAG-AFTRA members (and all union members) every day.

I might use Hootsuite to schedule tweets to do this, but since things can change so quickly and the news cycle is not as long as it used to be I might just have to be more active on twitter in general to see what I want to share. This isn’t a bad thing for me since I have wanted to be more involved with twitter and not just be passive reading other people’s tweets. I want to be a good messenger and I think doing union related tweets daily will be a great way for me to do that.

Another NextGen Mixer (or A Fun Post-Election Hangout)

Even though the SAG-AFTRA election season is over, there are still so many awesome actor events for me to participate in! I’ve been getting registered for the upcoming convention and submitting interest in various committees. I’m getting so excited about both the convention and the committee opportunities. I know how much I loved the convention last time and I have a feeling that it will be just as amazing this year!

But I’m not just getting ready for future events, I’m going to some. And this past week was the big mixer event for the NextGen Performers Committee. I’ve gone to some of their smaller events, but this one is their biggest. It’s not just a NextGen Performers event, it’s also co-sponsored by New Filmmakers LA. I haven’t been to any of the combined mixers before so I was pretty excited to see what this one would be like.

It was held at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood, so it was a bit of a drive for me. But I was able to get there pretty close to the start time. But I had no idea how big this mixer was since I had only gone to the smaller ones. And when I arrived it was already pretty packed inside! There was a fun step and repeat to take photos at, but I decided to focus on trying to find some of my friends first.

Fortunately, within a few minutes of arriving I found a bunch of friends who were also a part of the slate that I ran on for the recent election. We were all so glad that the election season is over and we can focus on more union work now. And I also ran into some friends from the other slate and it’s nice to know that we are all past the campaigning and political stuff for now and can go back to working hard together.

With the bar being so crowded, I got a bit overwhelmed and when that happens I get a bit shy. So I ended up sticking with my friends for most of the night. I know that we were supposed to be networking, but that’s so difficult to do in a loud bar. It was so much easier to just catch up with people who I already know so I didn’t have to worry about offending them by saying that I can’t hear anything that they are saying. But it was a good mix of people I know through so many different things (even some girls from my Girls Night Out group!). So I wasn’t too isolated in the groups that I was talking to.

Since this was such a bit mixer for the NextGen Performers group, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris was there to speak. I’ve been so fortunate to get to know Gabrielle over the past few years and she is truly incredible. She took over as SAG-AFTRA president after Ken Howard died and that was not an easy thing to do. But she’s done such a wonderful job with the union and I’m so happy that she was reelected. But one of the most amazing things about her is how much she cares about everyone. She is so happy to see people and always asked about how we are doing. When she found out my friend was working on his first union contract, she had the biggest smile and was so proud of him. Having a leader that cares that much is a rare treat.

After the speeches, the official time for the event was coming to an end. We had a reserved section of the bar plus there was some free food and drink tickets. I think we could have stayed there after the official time ended (it just wouldn’t be reserved for our group or have the free stuff), but once it was 9pm I was feeling ready to go. I had a pretty long day that day with working my day job and a doctor appointment, plus the drive to the valley is a bit long. I knew that I was already overwhelmed and adding being tired to that wasn’t going to let me make any good impressions on people. So I started to make my round of goodbyes, which always seems to take forever, and headed back to my car to head home.

I love all the NextGen Performers events. Usually they are much smaller than this one which is nice because I can spend the time getting to know new people and it isn’t as crazy. But having a big event is so fun and festival especially when it comes at the end of what was a bit of a stressful election season.

Election Campaigning (or Being A Captain And Getting Out There)

We are officially in the middle of SAG-AFTRA election season! This election season has been very different from the last time I ran as a delegate. But just because it’s different doesn’t make it worse or more stressful. I’m taking on additional responsibilities and that is making me so happy! But there are other things that are making this a unique election season.

The first thing that has made it different is that while we are doing our officer/board/delegate election, we also have a contract vote. I’m writing this before we know the result of the contract vote so I don’t know the outcome yet. But to be out campaigning for 2 different elections has been interesting. The contract vote is done online (unless you request a paper ballot) and the election has to be on a paper ballot. So many people I’ve talked to thought the paper ballot was for the online election and tossed it out because they voted online. I’m glad I talked to them so they could request a new ballot. And then there are the people who have told me they have voted but they only voted for one thing.

I’m hoping that the contract passes because I think it is a move in the right direction for us as a union and by the time you are reading this we will know what happened. My fear is that it won’t pass and that we will have to strike. If we strike, all work will be shut down and it may take time to get things back up and running again. And when there is a strike, that doesn’t necessarily mean we will gain anything extra in the contract. So I’m hopeful that it will pass (or I guess I should say has passed) and that we can move on from this first election.

And I’ve gotten much more involved this year in the officer/board/delegate election. I’ve been trying to be more active in reminding my union friends to vote and it makes me so happy when I get text messages from people showing that I’m the first bubble they filled in.

Our voter turnout was very low 2 years ago and I’m making an effort to try to get the word out so more people will vote. I know that some people think it doesn’t matter (like how they feel about a presidential election), but it really does. 2 years ago, the difference between getting elected or not was sometimes 2 or 3 votes. So literally every vote counts.

I’ve already written about attending the Union Working event (although that is a non-partisan group so that was a one time only campaign thing), but there have been other in person opportunities I’ve been taking to get the word out about the vote and my slate. I’ve done the campaigning at the Film Society screenings before when I was running 2 years ago, and I’m doing them again this year. This is such a wonderful opportunity to talk to members who may not usually vote or don’t have an idea of what each slate represents. They get campaign material in the mail, but it’s so much better to talk to someone one on one.

I normally just go to the campaign events and help out, but this year I was asked to be a captain at some of the screenings! That was a big honor for me because I still feel like a newbie at all this, but this shows that the slate knows how hard I’ve been working to help everyone. Being the captain isn’t too tough of a job, but I did have to get the flyers to provide to everyone else volunteering and just make sure that things were running smoothly. Fortunately everyone is familiar with the rules we have to follow and the shifts that I was captain went really well.

And finally, if you follow me on social media you know that I’ve been getting the word out that way too. Tweeting about the election is important and I’ve been recycling a tweet I used 2 years ago. Since the election is right after my birthday, I say that the slate is my birthday wish list and that that’s what I want people to get me.

I know that not everyone I know is a member of SAG-AFTRA, but I use what I can to get people to pay attention. And saying that it’s for my birthday seems to get people to notice. So I’m fine taking advantage of the timing and hopefully that will get me and my slate a few extra votes (again, every single vote counts!).

Ballots for this election are due in a few weeks so I know I’ll be busy campaigning more this election season. I’m hopeful that I’ll be elected again, but I know it’s not a guarantee. But I’m doing everything I can now so I don’t look back and wish I had done more if I’m not elected.

If you are a SAG-AFTRA member, please vote! And yes, I do want you to vote for me and the rest of the Unite for Strength slate, but to me I really just want to encourage people to vote no matter what. If you don’t vote, you are not taking the opportunity to decide who the leadership of the union is. The leadership will help guide the union over the next 2 years and you shouldn’t ignore the chance to have your voice heard.

Union Unity (or Giving A Candidate Speech)

I’ve been doing much better with being more involved in the acting world. It is election season and that is pretty exciting. Election season gets me super involved with the community and it’s very exciting for me to get to see the changes that people have been making in the union. And I’ve become more active in the Union Working group. I did miss a meeting due to work, but the most recent meeting was this past week and it was a pretty special meeting.

Union Working is a non-partisan group because the goal is the bring the union together so we can be stronger and unified. But with election season they decided to allow all the candidates who wanted to attend the meeting to give a quick speech so we could share our platform. When I heard about that, I assumed that they meant just the officer and board candidates so I didn’t think too much about it. And when I got to the meeting I was very excited to see how many people were there!

There were a lot of people who are a part of my slate as well as lots of candidates from the other slate or who are running as independents. And while we are not all on the same slate, it is really great to see everyone coming together to try to make the union the best it can be.

The guest for the meeting was a casting director and it was so much fun getting to hear him speak. I actually had met him for the first time my last year of college in a class where we got to learn about the business of acting. I remember the lessons I learned when I met him and I still use those in auditions now. So it was fun to get to see him again and reintroduce myself to him.

After the guest, it was time for the candidate speeches. And then I realized that everyone running in the election would get to give a speech, including me. I had nothing prepared, but I figured I’d try to speak from the heart and not stress too much about it. But before it was my turn, I got to listen to so many amazing (and prepared) speeches. I loved the dedication to the union that Gabrielle Carteris shared and I’m so excited that she’s running for SAG-AFTRA president on the slate I’m a part of.

And before I knew it, it was my turn to go up and speak. I’m not a huge fan of speaking in front of a large crowd. When you act, it’s a smaller crew and you are usually not aware of things. Plus, you aren’t being yourself. But getting up in front of everyone to say why I want to be a delegate is a bit scary.

What I ended up saying was how I consider myself extremely lucky. When I was ready to join the union, I had the guidance from people who I’ve met through The Actors’ Network and through Inside Acting to help guide me on what I should do as a new member. And I got to be a part of Unite for Strength and met more amazing people who have encouraged me to get involved and who have educated me on so many union issues. I only want to pay it forward and being a delegate is the perfect way to do that.

I know I flubbed my words (I couldn’t remember the phrase “pay it forward” and kept saying weird variations of it), but I think everyone knew I spoke from the heart and that I was just being honest. And I bet a lot of people were also very nervous about what they were going to say so they might have been distracted. No matter what, I’m glad I got up to speak and that it seems like my 1 minute speech went over well.

Everyone who was a candidate at the meeting who wanted to speak had the chance to. And since the group is non-partisan they did have a few rules about things we could and couldn’t say in our speeches. Mainly the rule was that the speeches were supposed to be why we wanted to be elected and this was not a time for personal attacks. And I’m glad that with the exception of one person everyone followed that rule. Election season can get a bit harsh and I would rather see people campaigning on why they want to be elected and not why others should not.

After the meeting, most people went to a bar to hang out and have fun. It was nice to have a fun night out with so many friends and just have some good social time. It was meant to also be a time for people to meet the various candidates, but most of us were just enjoying having drinks and catching up on life. I couldn’t stay too late since I had early work the next morning, but I feel like I was there long enough to have fun and not feel like I was missing out.

I’m so glad that I’ve decided to be a part of Union Working. They really are a wonderful and positive group who are working so hard to better the union no matter what slate people may be associated with. And while at the meeting, they were selling Union Working hats so I got one. This way, I can show off my Union Working pride when I’m out and about!

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Election Season Time (or Being A Part Of Unite For Strength)

It’s officially election season again for SAG-AFTRA and I’m so excited to announce that I am running for a delegate seat again! 2 years ago when I ran for the first time, I had no idea what I was in for. But I’m so glad that I had friends who told me I should run because it really was one of the greatest things I’ve done for myself!

Within an hour of the convention 2 years ago, I knew I had to run again. I never knew that being involved in the union could be so inspiring and that I would get so much out of it. And after the gala 2 years ago, I knew that I needed to let my friends know that they should be a part of this too! And because of my excitement, encouragement, and maybe a little peer pressure I have some friends who have decided to run for the first time as delegates this year.

As I had before, I am a part of the Unite For Strength slate. And I’m so proud that I get to be a part of this slate. They are most knows for helping to lead the way to merge the union (it used to be SAG and AFTRA as different unions) but the leadership of Unite For Strength has done so much for the union in the past few years. I’ve been lucky that I have witness many amazing things that they have done first hand since so much has happened in the past 2 years. But knowing the legacy of Unite For Strength is pretty awesome too!

Here’s just a sample of some of the things that the leadership from the slate have done for SAG-AFTRA:

And that’s just a portion of what they’ve done! There are so many more things that the members of this slate have done or are currently working on! To know that I get to be a part of this group is such an honor and I feel so lucky that I get to have such educated and inspiring peers. I still have to pinch myself often when I realize that these leaders are my peers. They are not just actors that I have dreamed of getting to work with or admire from afar. I get to learn from them and many of them have become my friends.

If you want to see more of who is a part of the Unite For Strength slate, there is a list of candidates on the website. Also, since no union funds can go toward a campaign, we are hoping to get some donations to help us with the costs of running the campaign. Things are not free for us (like creating flyers to educate members on the election) and every dollar helps. If you can help, even with just $1, you can donate via PayPal on the website (please note all donations must come from personal accounts and not a business one).

If you are a member of SAG-AFTRA, please remember to vote. We’ve actually got 2 voting opportunities right now. First, we are voting on the new TV/Theatrical contract. That is due on August 7th so please take the time to look at the new contract, see what gains we have made, and vote. I encourage you all to vote yes on it, but most importantly I just want to see more members vote. Our voting turnout isn’t that high and I think we need to work hard on fixing that.

And I would love for any of you who are members of SAG-AFTRA to vote for me in the upcoming election. The ballots are being mailed out this week and they are going to be counted on August 24th. And I would really appreciate you all voting for the Unite For Strength slate, but again I just want to encourage everyone to vote. I hate when I see that the voter turnout is so low. During the last election, the Los Angeles local had under 17% of the eligible members vote. We need to improve that. And hopefully while some of you might be voting for the first time, you will vote for the slate and for me. I’m #217 on the ballot!

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