Yes, it is VOTING that I’m discussing and that would be that ballot you have sitting on your coffee table RIGHT NOW. Now, if you’ve already voted, yay for you…and I personally appreciate it. And sure, if you’re not yet an eligible voting member of the union…PLEASE read on…because this still applies to you.The reason it applies to us all, is the future, and what it will look like. Every time you audition, especially in today’s world with all of the legit “smaller” size projects, consider this question: what is your value as a professional? If you consider acting both an art and a profession then what your value as a professional is…should matter. It should matter regardless of your age, your credits and your present status. Is a professional wage really $50 a day? Does a professional sales person have to drive their own car and not be compensated for mileage? Does a professional referee have to buy their own zebra outfits, clean and replace them?
Sure folks I get the fact that we tend to see this business as a LOTTERY TICKET. It is just something you like or love to do and hey, if you wind up ever booking a job for any money then cool…but if not…that’s ok. Well, if that is your mind set, I’m all for it but L.A. may not be the best place for that type of mentality. And even if you live in a smaller market, like Atlanta, where I started my career…you still have to ask what are you worth?
Voting for the leaders of our Union matters, because the voices, opinions, and expertise are imperative to ensure that we remain being fairly compensated for our skills. Yes, the world has changed, entertainment has changed, monetization of entertainment has drastically changed and the world landscape of production and distribution…has changed. NO one can possibly argue that, but for every intrinsic change in the structure and construct of our business we must have voices who know…and CARE, but also have the ability to see the future…and compromise with one another.
For the last 15 years SAG and now SAG-AFTRA have been torn apart by 2-3 schools of thought on the future of our contracts, wages and working conditions. I have personal and professional friends in all aspects of these conversations and ideologies and I can agree in part with all of them…all of the time. At the end of the day, however, when WE have to stand opposite the negotiation team and lawyers for the AMPTP and get our FAIR SHARE we must have a team of intelligent, informed and committed performers who stand together. Ironically this is something you see our elected officials unable to do for about the last 16 years…and look what it is doing to this country of different individuals.
Please don’t let this be the case with our union. Please care, please take 15 minutes with your coffee and review the material and PLEASE VOTE. I tend to try and have a nice mix of UnitedForStrength folks with a healthy does of MembershipFirst folks, with folks who have been a part of the elected positions for a long time, along with some newbies, young blood, plus old-timers who truly know their stuff…but ALWAYS wanting the larger percentage of my vote to go to those folks who actually WORK our contracts.
Trust me on this one because someday, if you work enough, you will look up and be 40 or 50 and realize that this has been your life, your career, your chosen profession…and you know what you need at that point…A FREAKIN RETIREMENT. So yes, voting matters, our future matters, making sure we get at least “close to our fair share” of the multi-billion dollar pie…matters. Please take 15 minutes of your day…and vote. As a fellow professional, I thank you, and someday…you’ll thank yourself. Always on your side.