Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dedication Beats Experience and Talent

...rather than mere experience or even raw talent, it is dedicated, slogging, generally solitary exertion - repeatedly practicing the most difficult physical tasks for an athlete, repeatedly performing new and highly intricate computations for a mathematician - that leads to first-rate performance. And it should never get easier; if it does, you are coasting, not improving. Ericsson calls this exertion 'deliberate practice,' by which he means the kind of practice we hate, the kind that leads to failure and hair-pulling and fist-pounding

(emphasis added, from The Science of Experience - Time, Feb. 28, 2008).

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

SAG and AFTRA Ratified Commercials Contracts

In nationwide voting completed today [May 21], members of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have overwhelmingly approved new three-year successor agreements to the 2006 Screen Actors Guild Television Commercials Contract and the 2006 AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts.
The memberships of AFTRA and SAG voted 93.84% percent in favor of the new agreements.
The new agreements cover performers working in commercials made for and reused on television, radio, the Internet, and new media. The total combined value of the AFTRA and SAG contracts is projected at more than $3 billion over the three-year term of the agreement for working performers, including actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, stunt persons, and extras

(from sag.org).

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SAG Proposed Contract Reactions

Ballot on the tentative Theatrical Agreement has begun to arrive, and among the materials included:

  1. $0 residuals & $0 P&H contribution for original SAG shows made for new media (unless >$25,000/minute budget).
  2. New contract does not raise pay 3% as claimed; it only keeps up with inflation since 2007 (Dept. of Labor data)

Others point out that all TV can be sent over the net and labeled new media, effectively ending residuals.

On Thursday, SAG had a meeting discussing the new Theatrical Contract and Nikki Finke's coverage is good.

Disclosure: I am both a SAG Actor and a SAG signatory producer.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Google In Upfronts

New media is now indistinguishable from old media (TV/Film). Google is now buying and selling TV ads in a big way, just like the biggest TV networks do: in Upfronts for extended periods of time. Residuals as of last week, Old fashioned residuals, applied to broadcast and cable TV (not internet/digital). Keep this in mind while considering your vote on the ballot for the new SAG Theatrical Contract mailed 2 days ago.

Google TV Ads has begun booking upfront deals with major agencies and advertisers for the first time.
Marketers are committing upwards of seven figures to buy ads through the TV spot buying system in the year ahead, with agencies like Deutsch and Saatchi & Saatchi and advertisers like Coldwell Banker coming to the table, said Mike Steib, director of Google TV Ads.
They [major agencies and advertisers] can also buy ads on YouTube now using Google TV Ads

(from The Hollywood Reporter, via my Details - Video, Social Media and the Internet blog).

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

SAG TV/Theatrical Contract Will Be Mailed Tuesday

After more than a year of negotiations, ballots for the tentative agreement reached between SAG and the AMPTP for television programs, motion pictures and new media formats will be mailed on Tuesday, May 19.
We urge you to carefully read the materials and to cast your vote. The SAG National Board of Directors and negotiating team are recommending that you VOTE YES on this tentative agreement.
The agreement includes an immediate increase in wages of 3%, followed by another 3.5% increase next year. We also achieved an additional .5% in pension contributions, raising the total P & H producer contribution to 15%. Background actor’s jobs will go from 19 to 20 in television in the Western Zone, and up to 55 from 50 in motion pictures. We have also established rates and working conditions for new media platforms, including provisions for residuals in made-for-new media programs, and residuals for streaming and downloading of features and television shows.

(from sag.org).

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Save 4.5% on Stamps/Postage Costs

Update 2012: postage rates have gone up again.

Forever stamps from the US Post Office cost $0.42 today, and go up 2 cents to $0.44 on Monday, May 11, 2009. Buying a lot of them today saves more than 4.5% on postage after today. A headshot mailing that costs $0.83 today will cost $0.88 on Monday; use two forever stamps bought today, and all that headshot mailing costs is $0.84 (from TheyAct's tweet).

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Commitment and Beginning

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!'

(from GSNA's clarification of commitment quote attributed to Goethe but apparently both W. H. Murray's and Goethe's).

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Friday, May 01, 2009

SAG/AFTRA Commercials Contracts Ballot Mailed

Your 2009-2012 Screen Actors Guild Television Commercials Contracts and AFTRA Television and Radio Commercials Contracts Referendum Summary and Ballot is on its way to you in the mail today

(from sag.org). If you are SAG, remember to pay your dues, which are due today, in order to vote or attend informational meetings about the contracts.

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Acting for 'Free'

When acting without being paid money, you are paying to act. It may just be the gas, train or bus fare that you use up, but you are paying to act. Keeping in mind that compensation is not just financial, in all cases paying to act must serve as a valuable class-like experience or it is misspent treasure, time and opportunity costs. Classes can hone skills and build a resume, so must non-paying acting projects. This is basically the "three prongs" a project can have that I mentioned last May.

We pay to take classes, and act in those classes. Paying to act in a project that doesn't pay at least $1 must make sense as though it is a class since it is paying to act.

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