Here is the second such entry on my series regarding where we are after the newly MERGED unions of SAG-AFTRA. The subject of this post is very clear, WAY overdue, and going to become on of the main 3 reasons actors either survive or don’t…in my opinion. With all of the administrative duplicity costs that this merger is “suppose to save us over time” it is time to put it to SMART use, technological use…not just good use. Yes, we do need better contracts, yes we do need a better residuals package, yes we need to use our MERGED strength to garner better wages and working conditions…but to what end. If we do not have the power to ENFORCE the very contracts for which we’ve worked so hard to negotiate. Back in the mid-90’s SAG commissioned a survey on just a few dozen commercials and found that we had been screwed out of over a $100,000 in residuals because we didn’t have an IRON-CLAD monitoring system. Now you don’t actually think that after 17 years monitoring is easier do you? Of course you don’t, because now we’re talking about “Internet Only” commercials, hits, IP addresses etc. etc. But even still, just like back in the 90’s we are like the old phrase of the 6 Million dollar man series: we have the technology.
We absolutely do, indeed, and it is time for our leadership to stop pandering and falling down in front of our employers and the television conglomerates and television advertisers and the program directors and media buyers in this country. It is absolutely beyond manageable to create a system, a technological system, to ENSURE that at least 98% of our monies, based on usage, as it pertains to our mutually negotiated contracts be tracked, monitored and documented. This alone, in today’s world and marketplace, would generate thousands upon thousands more dollars for its members …which in turn means more money for the Union in dues, and also makes our pension plans much more solvent, more trusted and more valuable. It is a flippin…win / win / win / win. And that is just a ridiculous corporate overreach of a cheesy phrase…but it is TRUE.
We have had Google Analytics for HOW long now? Jesus, Facebook is now a public company with a value in the billions. You don’t think that Google, YouTube and Facebook don’t track every single piece of information down to the latest number of hits on a video with a dog “eating balloons.” Of course they do, and we can too, if it WE finally say “Hey this shit matters” and we MUST get it done. Yes, we can be the generation of actors who changed the concept of making a living as a professional performer forever. We can be the generation who saw that merging the unions can be better, better in strength, efficiency, technology, in resources, in defending working conditions, AND in finally being responsible for creating the greatest tracking/monitoring system ever devised media distribution fraud.
So if you have a friend who has worked in this field, if you know someone who is passionate about “creating a genius” new piece of software that in some way might become the next best “model” for tracking usage and money in media tell them that this is desperately needed. Get on it. Get them involved, put them in contact with SAG, and let us start with the soon to be imperative needs with our new Commercial contract. Be sure to look for the rest of this series as I cover “Intelligent Admin, Limiting Modified Producers” and much more!! My best always, Kevin E.