Tag Archives: union

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!

SaveSave

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!

SaveSave

Union Working (or Connecting With My Fellow Actors)

As I’ve said the past few weeks, I’ve been making a big effort to be more involved with the acting community. I feel a new motivation to do so and I’m so glad that there have been several opportunities for me to do so. The past few weeks have had at least one event a week for me to attend. I know that this won’t be like this forever, but I’m taking advantage of it right now. And this week, I had the chance to attend my first Union Working meeting.

Union Working is a group that was organized to help strengthen unions, both entertainment based and other, because right now it seems like unions are being attacked. In the current political climate, there are people who want to weaken unions and feel like unions aren’t benefitting workers. I disagree with that because I know that being a member of SAG-AFTRA benefits me as an actor and protects me against so many things. I think that some people have forgotten that unions are the reason we have minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, and time off like weekends. So I want to help the effort to remind people that unions are great and that we need to support them.

This meeting was a mix of a panel and information. First was the panel where there were two session directors (who help run auditions for actors) talking about their experience with union versus non-union work. They had some great information from the other side of the table about how sometimes commercials can be turned union when originally they were non-union. And they said some examples of things that we as actors can do to help them and to help bring more commercials back to being union.

Going off of the idea about turning commercials union, we had someone else discuss the SAG-AFTRA Best in the Biz effort. This was all about why union commercials benefit actors and why actors should think twice about working non-union. Some union actors will work off the card hoping that nobody will catch them working non-union, but we learned that people are getting caught and are going in front of a disciplinary panel where they face penalties or expulsion from the union. I knew that it was wrong to work off the card (and I never would do that), but I didn’t realize how often people are caught doing so and how harsh the penalties for doing so are.

There was also discussion about the commercial contract and the negotiation that will be happening in a few years. It seems far off, but negotiations will be here before we know it and the members of Union Working want us to all be as educated as possible about the current contract and the changes that we’d like to see in the next contract. They actually had copies of the contract (and most recent changes from the last negotiation) and I was able to grab a copy to bring home with me. This will be my reading for a while because I do want to understand this contract and hopefully in the future will have the opportunity to do the same with the theatrical contract.

There were other things discussed in the meeting that I don’t think can be made public just yet, but a lot of it was how to help keep the union strong to benefit us all. There was also some discussion about the upcoming election and the deadlines that have been set for each step to be a part of the election. The first step, which is to file a petition to run, is coming up soon. The petitions are available next week and they are due in June. So nothing has to happen super fast, but I will probably be filing as soon as I can get it done just so I don’t forget or miss the deadline. I know some of the people who were at the meeting also are running, but maybe more people were inspired after hearing more about it.

While this wasn’t an official union event (we met at the union, but we are not affiliated with SAG-AFTRA directly), it was filled with amazing union actors who are so educated on multiple issues that are affecting us as union members and actors. As I have gone to each event lately I’ve been more and more inspired to be like those I’m meeting. I want to get more educated, I want to be more involved, and I want to make sure that the benefits that I’m getting now as a union member are still available to others in the future. I think that attending this Union Working meeting was a great step for me to take to continue my involvement as an actor and I am already looking forward to attending the next meeting!

Another Actor Night (or A Diversity Panel)

Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’ve been trying to get back into acting any way that I can right now. While auditions are hard for me to get, there are so many opportunities in other ways and I’m really working on making myself more available to them. When I was at the Next Gen Performers mixer, they mentioned the event that would be happening in April. I assumed I couldn’t go, but it ended up working out perfectly for me to be there!

I spent the day with my parents (this was on their last day in LA) and then after we were done hanging out I got into my car and drove to downtown LA. The event that was happening was more than just a mixer, it was a panel on diversity in the entertainment industry and I was super excited to hear what the panelists had to say.

A lot of times people think of diversity as just ethnicity, but it really is so much more. There is diversity in ages (so not everyone is in their 20’s), diversity in appearance (so not everyone is beautiful and thin), and diversity in abilities (so deaf characters aren’t only played by hearing actors). And of course diversity in ethnicity is a big deal too and that was discussed by the panel a lot.

I haven’t experienced too much discrimination except with my weight, so I don’t always understand the struggle others have due to lack of diversity in roles. But being at this panel and listening to the stories really got me thinking about how I can help and what I want to see in the future with projects that I want to support. I love being able to learn about the industry and the issues that other actors experience and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

The panel was about 2 hours long (I was a bit late but I was able to be there for most of it and just took a seat in the back so I didn’t disturb people) and when it was done we all headed around the corner to the Far Bar for the post-panel reception.

I had never been to the Far Bar, but it was a pretty great place! The space was reserved for our group but we were a pretty big group. Every seat was taken by the time I got there and I found some of my friends and we just hung around the bar to wait for the food that was being served to come by us. We spent time just catching up (again, I was around people who wanted to learn more about how I was able to not need surgery) and then I noticed that the Next Gen Performer signs were out for people to take photos with.

Then I volunteered to help get some fun photos with the signs. I walked around helping to encourage others to take photos and then I had a weird idea. The bar had a balcony/loft area and I thought it would be cool to have a picture of the party from above with the signs being held up in the background. I recruited my friend Woody to help me and I think the photo ended up looking pretty fun!

I was just having such a great night out being around other creative people and feeling the positive energy that was in the room. I’ve realized lately how much I’ve missed doing this and how I’ve forgotten how much it makes me happy. It’s so easy for me to be in my normal routine and to not do too much at night, especially if it’s an evening after I workout at Orangetheory. Usually when I get home from a workout I shower, eat dinner, and just relax the rest of the night. But I could make more of an effort to go out after to do things that make me happy and help me network and make more connections to help advance my acting.

Sometimes you need a kick in the butt to take some action that you really should have been doing. And for me, I guess I needed the idea that I would be out of the acting game for a while and then not have that happen to make me realize that I needed to make more efforts to get out there. I haven’t been slacking on my acting career, but I haven’t been doing everything I should be and I know that I can’t just relax and let my career happen to me. I need to get out and make things happen for myself and see what is possible.

I’m not sure what the next actor event will be that I can attend. I need to look at the SAG-AFTRA calendar and see what I can attend and see what other groups might interest me. But my motivation is so strong now to be out there more and I think that this is going to be a really great thing for me!

SAG-AFTRA Local Meeting (or Coming To The End Of My Delegate Term)

I’ve been lucky to be able to do a couple of different things with SAG-AFTRA recently. Earlier last week, I was able to go to the NextGen Performers Mixer which was a really great time. It was a fun casual event and I got a chance to see a bunch of friends and meet a couple of new people. It reminded me how much I want to be involved with the union and how I need to put focus and attention on doing just that.

And fortunately for me, I had the perfect opportunity to do just that on Sunday. The Los Angeles local had their big membership meeting and it happened to be on a day that I had free! I had been wanting to attend one of the meetings since becoming a member of SAG-AFTRA. But they seem to keep falling on days I have to work or am out-of-town. So with this one being on a day I’m free plus being right after attending a fun union mixer seemed to be fate and I was super excited to be there!

The meeting was held in Burbank and once I got there I quickly found the meeting room. There were 2 rooms set up for us. The first one was an expo type set up with different SAG-AFTRA committees and helpful organizations there with tables so you could learn more about them. I took a quick look around and was able to see a bunch of my friends who were there helping out at the different tables. Then there was the large room where the meeting was going to be with all the chairs facing a projection screen and the stage area. I was able to find some seats near the front and center and got myself and my friend Robert some great seats.

The meeting was really informative and educational. I can’t share too much of what was shared because it is union only information, but there were a lot of things that we discussed because they had been announced to everyone recently. These include the new SAG-AFTRA Members app (which is awesome!), Telemundo voting to unionize, and the news that we will soon be able to get residuals by direct deposit. While I don’t get residuals on projects yet, many of my friends do. And they are always posting how they may be getting 5 or 6 different checks for under a dollar in the mail. Being able to have these by direct deposit is going to be really nice!

Another thing that was discussed was the election that will be coming up this summer. It is the end of my time as a delegate, but I will be running again for sure this year. I was worried that my surgery might be during the time that I need to get my paperwork submitted so I could run, but when they announced the dates for all the deadlines I found out that everything is well after my surgery. So that won’t cause any issues for me! And while they were talking about the election, I mentioned to my friend Robert that he should run for delegate too. I think he’s still thinking about it, but I really hope that he goes for it!

The last half of the meeting was dedicated to Q&A time. Before the meeting, you could write down a question on a card and they would be brought over to the Los Angeles Local President so we could get up to ask something. As much as I hate public speaking, I had a question about the app that I wanted to ask so I submitted my question. I was shaking and nervous when I was at the microphone to speak, but I was able to get my question out (which was about logging into the app) and get it answered without shaking too much. Robert told me that you couldn’t hear the nerves in my voice so that made me happy.

Besides questions on the app, people had questions about the current contracts, upcoming elections, committees that either currently exist or they would like to see in the future, and general union questions. It was really educational for me because I learned a lot of new stuff about the union but also what my fellow members are concerned about. The meeting lasted as long as we could stay in the room (there was another event after ours in that space so we couldn’t keep going forever), but most of us ended up going out into the lobby or parking lot to keep talking.

After the meeting, I was able to catch up with more of my friends. Some people arrived a bit later than I did so they were in the back of the room during the meeting. But since I was in the front of the room and pretty much stayed seated the entire meeting, I hadn’t gotten to see them before the meeting was done. I ended up staying over an hour after the meeting just chatting and catching up with friends before getting into my car to drive back home.

I know I probably sound like a broken record, but this really made me think about more ways I can be involved in SAG-AFTRA. I think that most of it will need to wait until the beginning of summer since my schedule is starting to fill up now to get things done before surgery and after surgery I’ll need to take some time to recover. But just because I can’t do more things in person for a while, I will try to be more active with the union on social media and sharing important information as I hear about it.

I’m so grateful that I’m a part of such a strong and involved union and that I have the opportunity to be involved as well. I’m really looking forward to running as a delegate again (and hopefully winning my seat again so I can attend the convention this year). I hope that if you are a SAG-AFTRA actor that you are getting involved in the union as well and that you consider running as a delegate this year too!

A Happy Hour Mixer (or Being A NextGen Performer)

As much as I’ve wanted to get involved more with SAG-AFTRA, it seems like it just hasn’t been working out well with my schedule. I’ve wanted to attend various gatherings and meetings, but they seem to always be when I’m working. So when I do see an event that I can attend, I try to do whatever I can to make sure my schedule stays clear so I can go.

The NextGen Performers Committee is a committee within SAG-AFTRA to help unify those in the union between 18-35 and to help them get more involved. It’s a great committee and I have several friends who are a part of the leadership of that committee. They do a lot of great work especially since many younger union members don’t realize how important the union is. They haven’t known any other time and sometimes don’t realize when something is something that the union had to fight hard to get. It’s one of the committees that I’ve wanted to get involved with but hadn’t had a chance just yet.

But when they announced a mixer this past week at Rush Street, I knew I had to go! I had that evening free (except needing to pick up a friend at LAX at 11pm) and Rush Street is so close to my house that it wouldn’t take me long at all to get there. So I RSVPed and was excited about getting to spend some time with my fellow union members. I had ever intention of walking over there since it’s so close to my house, but I decided to dress up and wear heels. I don’t have to wear anything other than workout clothes normally, so I took advantage of this mixer. And since I was wearing heels, I didn’t want to walk over. So I drove over and found a free parking space!

The mixer was upstairs at Rush Street where we had a private space. I’ve been upstairs at Rush Street before for dinner, but never on the back patio where we were this time. And there was some free food (which always gets actors excited) and postcards promoting the upcoming Los Angeles meeting for SAG-AFTRA right when I walked in.

By the way, if you are a member of SAG-AFTRA and are free on Sunday, I highly recommend coming to the meeting. It should be a really educational afternoon and you will get to meet many leaders in the union. I’m excited to get to be there to see some people who I haven’t seen since either the holiday party or convention.

I wasn’t sure how many people I would know at the mixer, and there were a ton of people I didn’t know. But I did keep running into friends there including the friends who are a part of the committee. Some of them I had seen within the past month and some of them I hadn’t seen in over a year. Either way, it was awesome to get to catch up with everyone. And while everyone was busy saying hi to everyone who was there, I felt like I did get some great quality time with the people who I wanted to see while I was there.

And since this committee is focused on millennials (and those of us a bit older than that), they had a challenge for us for social media. They had different signs and if we could take a photo and post it on Instagram, we would get a free water bottle. I’m never one to turn down a free water bottle, so I took a photo with 2 friends to post online.

Since this mixer was a casual event, there was no agenda or timeline of anything. It was just a good time to get to hang out with other union members and talk shop. And that’s exactly what I got to do. It was perfect and again made me feel the pull to want to be more involved in the union. I know there isn’t a ton that I can do right now, but with elections happening this year I know that I want to do more than I have in the past.

I would have loved to have stayed at the mixer for a while (even though it was supposed to end at 9 it was still going strong at 9:30), but I did need to get home to get stuff done before my late night run to get my friend at LAX. I was trying to leave quickly, but of course it was taking forever to say goodbye to everyone that I wanted to say goodbye to. But I eventually made it out of there and was on my way back to my car.

With this mixer this week and the meeting coming up this weekend, I’m just feeling so excited about everything happening with the union. There have been some really exciting announcements lately (including the official union app and that residuals can be direct deposits now) and I can’t wait to hear what might be announced next!

 

Enjoying Movie Nights (or Watching My Screeners)

It’s almost time for the SAG Awards which means I’m getting ready to vote on who I think should win in the various categories. It’s still so much fun that I get to vote on the awards and it fees so special to me. I know that all union members get to do this, but it’s still relatively new to me and feels like a novelty. And I do take it seriously and want to make sure I vote for who I feel deserves to win and not just who is my favorite. I know that no everyone does that, but I look at it as if I might be nominated one day. I might not be a name actor by that point, but I would want as much consideration as an a-list actor might get. So I take each nomination just as seriously as the others.

Usually, I’ve been able to see more of the films before the nominations come out. I get to go to screenings through SAG-AFTRA and the film society as well as thought Women In Film and usually toward the end of the year those end up being the films that are the ones that get nominated. But this year, for some reason I really didn’t get to make it to many of the screenings of the films that were nominated. In fact, I didn’t get to see anything other than shows that were on Netflix this time. It’s just the way that the screening season went. A lot of screenings were times that I couldn’t go, and during the holidays a lot of screenings were the blockbusters and not necessarily the films that get award nominations.

So when we started to get our screeners, I was excited because I knew I needed to watch a bunch of movies. But somehow time was going by and I wasn’t watching the screeners I had. And over the weekend, I realized that I needed to start catching up in order to have time to watch everything before I had to vote. So I have been trying to watch one movie a day if possible to make it through my movies. I haven’t been able to do that every day, but I’ve been able to do it for many of them and I’m finally about halfway through watching all of them.

It’s been a fun routine at night (or sometimes before I start work in the morning) to pick out a movie that I want to watch. It’s a luxury to be able to watch these movies at my house where I can be comfortable on the couch (and pause the movies if I need to get something to drink or run to the bathroom). And when my hips have been hurting, it’s nice that I can stretch out on the couch or floor and get my body to feel ok. That’s not something that I can do in a theater, even though I do have to stretch out in my seat when I’m out at a movie or a show. Each time I watch a screener, I feel so lucky that I get to have this privilege and hope that I never get so jaded that I start to expect this treatment.

Most of the movies I’ve watched have been very good. I’m actually sad that some of my favorites are only available on the screener website because I know I’ll lose access to watching it soon. And there are some other films that I’ve struggled to get through and haven’t understood why my friends have thought it was the greatest movie ever or that it was better than all the rest. But whether or not I like the movie, I totally agree that the performances in the films have all been the best of the best and all the actors have been very worthy of their nominations.

There totally are some front-runners in my mind for who I want to vote for already. I won’t vote until I finish watching the movies because that’s only fair. I don’t feel like there is a lot of campaigning by actors and producers to get their films or performers to win. I do get flyers and things in the mail (and I guess you could say getting a DVD screener versus having to watch it on a website is a way to campaign), so I don’t feel pressured to vote any certain way like some other awards shows might have. I get to be an actor watching actors and deciding who is inspiring me the most with their performance.

I’ve got less thanĀ 2 more weeks to work on this and I think I’ll be fine getting through all the movies. I do need to set aside time to work on it (which seems like a funny concept to me), but as long as I make it a priority in my off time, I will watch everything before needing to vote. And right after voting, I’ll get to see how the rest of my union actors feel about the performances when the winners are announced. I can’t wait to see what happens!

SAG-AFTRA Holiday Party (or Getting Ready For Elections Again)

This past week was the SAG-AFTRA holiday party in LA. Even though I’ve been a member of SAG-AFTRA for a while, I have never made it to a holiday party before. Either I was working the night it was held, I had a commitment I couldn’t get out of, or I got sick. So even though I RSVPed for the party this year, I was worried that something would come up that would prevent me from going.

Fortunately, nothing came up and I was able to attend the party! When I arrived, it was just as things were starting and there was a pretty big line to get in. But they had several representatives from the union throughout the line to talk to people and greet them. Many of those people were people I know from Unite For Strength, so it was nice to have some time to catch up with friends even before I got inside the party.

Most of the people standing in line with me were people I didn’t know, but I didn’t pay too much attention to that since I was so focused on catching up with the friends who were hanging out with the line. And as soon as I checked in for the party, I walked past the food area (I wasn’t hungry so I wasn’t planning on eating) and tried to find some more friends.

The problem with big events like these are that they do make me a bit nervous and shy. I was there alone (it’s always easier when you arrive with a friend) and was really trying to find someone I knew so I could hang out with them. It took a bit of time to find a friend, but once I did I felt much calmer. And once I found one friend, it seems like more people I knew were coming over to where I was.

Since I don’t get to see my delegate friends that often, there was a lot of catching up to do. It’s been an interesting year for most of us so it was fun to hear the cool projects that they have been working on. And since most of us are friends on Facebook, they wanted to hear more about the liver tumors since they had seen the posts about them.

Most of the stuff about the liver tumors was pretty quick since I don’t have a lot of updates right now, but I did realize something at the party that I didn’t think about. SAG-AFTRA elections will be coming up next year. While the elections will most likely be in the summer, getting signed up to run and doing the prep work will be in the spring. And that will be when I will be having my surgery and recovering.

As soon as I realized that, I talked to some of my friends who are higher up in SAG-AFTRA. I explained how I have every intention of running for a delegate position again (and I’m still considering running for the local board) but I’m worried the timeline of election stuff and my surgery will be an issue. They reassured me that they will do what they need to do so everything works out for me. Hopefully the surgery won’t take me out that long, but if it does I’m glad there is a plan that we can follow that won’t cause the recovery to be an issue for the election.

For most of the party, I stuck with the few friends I found there. I don’t know if more of my friends were there, but we were all looking around and didn’t really see too many people we all knew. And as things always seem to be at a party, I started to say goodbye to people and it seemed to take about an hour for me to leave. I did run into a few more friends while leaving so the goodbye got mixed in with trying to quickly catch up, but I was able to leave at a time that was early enough for me to not have to stress about rushing home to get to bed.

I’m so glad that I was able to go to the holiday party this year. It was a good positive thing to get to do when my day had been a bit long (customers have been getting pretty angry the past week at my day job). And I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in a while and was able to start planning for the election next year. I know I keep saying I need to do more with my union, and having fun at this party proved that I need to work harder at that.