Monday, November 26, 2007

Actor Market

As actors, a lot of our job is to find our next job/project; we spend our careers in the labor market searching for jobs. Al Roth, a professor in Harvard's Department of Economics, gave a talk at google last month that was an overview of the field of market design called Market Failure and Market Design; it focused on labor markets.

He speaks of things like "stable matches" and "thin markets" and other fun econ stuff. A stable match is when both the hiring firm (producer/production company) and the worker (actor) would mutually prefer to be matched to each other. That seems to describe the roles actors should be booking.

Some of his examples, like an endocrinologist who likely fits in an endocrinology department and would apply for a position in a predictable way at a predictable time, don't perfectly reflect the realities an actor who might be bookable for two (or more) very different parts at any time (e.g., Liz Stauber played two notably different roles in movies that were in theatres at the same time [Ally Hayden in T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous and Debbie Barlow in Three Kings]).

I'm mulling how Professor Roth's talk may apply to or inform the daily routine of submitting oneself, or courting the most ideal representative for one's own unique career.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

WGA and AMPTP Will Talk Again

...the WGA and the AMPTP announced that we will resume negotiations on Monday, November 26 (from wga.org).

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

So Many Strikes

CBS News writers voted to authorize a strike, New York stagehands continue to strike, as does the WGA, which is having a 'Solidarity March' starting at 1 PM today starting at Hollywood Blvd. at Ivar Ave. in Hollywood [google map].

Update December 1: the New York stagehands' strike has ended.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Layout

I updated the layout a little, any thoughts/likes/dislikes? I'd like to know if I just made my readers smile, cry, or hardly notice.

Also, the feed has a new home.

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Stage Name

I mentioned joining SAG, and since there are several David Lawrences in SAG already (both the first and last names, and various ones with middle initials too), I switched to a stage name; I'm now using David August as my professional name. Did anyone else have a name that was already taken, and sign SAG's wavier in order to use it anyway? Please comment.

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The Office is Closed

A YouTube video of striking writers of The Office mentions that they ...just wanna be paid fair for their promotions (at about 1:55).

The AMPTP website links to, among other things, a New York Times article that says, among other things, that the conclusion of a surprisingly bleak new assessment of financial dynamics in the movie industry titled 'Do Movies Make Money?' The researchers' answer: not any more. If that were true, why would movies still be made? And moreover, how?

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Joined SAG

Yesterday I joined SAG, and I now await final confirmation of my stage name. On the phone I'd been told one gets a name confirmed the day you pay, but it turns out that is not the case.

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Ethnic Minorities Cast More

Following a fifteen year trend, non-Caucasian performers made incremental gains over the past two years, although mostly represented in supporting roles, according to the latest casting data collected and analyzed by Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2005 and 2006. Casting data for women and senior performers has remained relatively unchanged
(from SAG's website).

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Joining SAG

Vivek left a comment on my WGA on Strike post suggesting that actors don't join SAG, or even AFTRA, until the strike's called off. I see what he is saying and the timing of the comment (and the strike) is interesting to me because I'm planning to join SAG tomorrow.
  1. At this point in my career it makes sense for me to be SAG.
  2. Joining makes sense for any actor when it really makes sense for them both personally and professionally. One can always come up with a reason to delay (e.g., WGA strike, a specific audition, DGA contract is up, etc.). If I delay based on the WGA strike, would I delay until the DGA has a new contract? Would I delay further, all the way until SAG has a new contract?
  3. The SAG contract isn't up until June, and hopefully will be negotiated without any strike at all. That's a long time during which one can work SAG jobs (though yes, some may disappear without working writers during their strike).
Also, keep in mind that SAG will likely treat non-union as they have before and the WGA is now:
The Guild does not have the authority to discipline non members for strike breaking and/or scab writing. However, the Guild can and will bar that writer from future Guild membership (WGA strike rules, #13).
Even working "non-union" writing jobs during this strike likely needs WGA's blessing/approval if one wants to be able to join the WGA in the future. I think the same would be true of SAG during a strike; you can't cross the picket line and hope to join the union later.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

WGA on Strike

The WGA homepage now says they are on strike. They say they've made further offers to producers today, to no avail. The producers say, on the AMPTP homepage, that they think it is unfortunate that they [the writers] choose to take this irresponsible action [of striking]. Remember, actors can picket in their spare time, and still must go to work; caveat actor.

In other news, I'm planning to join SAG this week! Any thoughts?

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

WGA Still Strikes Monday

It seems that this morning's meeting between producers and writers did not end in an agreement. The WGA website has a long list of struck companies and info on picket places and times. As I mentioned before, SAG and AFTRA are not striking; actors must go to work. However, you can picket in your free time. Caveat actor.

I've also just read an interesting article by Robert J. Elisberg about truth and it's lack in the war of rhetoric, waged by both sides.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

WGA Strikes Monday

The Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Council of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), acting upon the authority granted them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01 AM, Monday, November 5
(from wga.org). There is a meeting scheduled between the writers and producers on Sunday morning that could result in an agreement on a new contract.

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WGA Will Strike, Maybe

Update 1:47 AM PT: A posting on the WGAW website doesn't yet seem to say they actually are on strike:
The WGAW Board and the WGAE Council will meet Friday to consider the recommendation of the Negotiating Committee and to decide the next steps. The decision of the Board and Council whether and when to strike will be communicated to the membership by e-mail and through the Captains system, and will be posted on the WGAW and WGAE websites.
Earlier post:

As AP reported about 1 hour ago:
Hollywood writers who have long complained of being underpaid and getting little respect said Thursday they would go on strike for the first time in nearly 20 years to fight for a bigger piece of the television and movie industry action.
I mentioned earlier, it looks like SAG and AFTRA actors must still go to work:
If you are contracted to work on a show that continues to produce episodes you are obligated by your personal service agreement and the "No Strike" clause in our collective bargaining agreements to go to work
(from SAG website). A PDF on the AFTRA site says close to the same thing. Caveat actor.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Strike Looms

In less than an hour the WGA is having a meeting at the LA Convention Center. The New York Times and Variety say producers and writers stopped talking last night at around 6. While SAG members seem to have no-strike clauses in SAG contracts (so SAG actors have to work even if the writers strike), a WGA strike could stop production on some shows, leaving actors with a day off (or more). If the WGA strikes, check with SAG for specifics and consequences if you're inclined to not show up to work; caveat actor.

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