Wednesday, March 05, 2014
SAG-AFTRA's New Code of Ethics for Personal Managers
SAG-AFTRA has finalized its Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct [PDF of the code], a voluntary agreement that is designed to promote honest and ethical relationships between the union's members and the managers they choose to represent them.
This Code of Ethics and Conduct was conceived and executed by our members,said Zino Macaluso, National Director and Senior Counsel, Professional Representatives.We are thrilled to release the final document after years of input from our members and the management community. SAG-AFTRA looks forward to establishing a closer, mutually beneficial relationship with this community to advance the needs of all concerned
The Code includes "putting the member's interests above their own and not deriving personal gain at member's expense," and other items which sound like good things for actors.
However, The Wrap reports the Talent Managers Association (TMA) is urging its members not to sign and quotes the TMA saying in a statement that their
...organization was in dialogue with SAG-AFTRA regarding their new Personal Managers Code of Ethics and Conduct, and goes on to say,
[a]fter thoughtful review and consultation with legal counsel our position is to advise members against signing the SAG-AFTRA code in its current highly restrictive and regulatory form. While the TMA says
...[c]urrently, there are counterproductive elements we believe that can be further revised for everyone's benefit, The Wrap doesn't mention what the counterproductive elements may be. My voice-mail, tweets, email and the TMA web site's contact form asking what elements they don't like, and for their comments, haven't been replied to yet by the TMA as I publish this.
I read the Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct and it doesn't seem too unexpected. I've heard rumor of many managers "procuring work" for their clients; it's rumored many managers do exactly the same thing agents do, only without regulation and for 15% instead an agent's 10%. California law says managers aren't allowed to procure an actor work, but in reality, it has been alleged that many function as unregulated talent agents. Perhaps this code may counter some of those alleged activities.
This code also seems to bring any possible disutes between an actor and a manager more within SAG-AFTRA realm. It sets up how conflicts would be resolved though arbitration through SAG-AFTRA. I have a message in with SAG-AFTRA's communications department to get their thoughts and reactions.
For most of us as actors, a manager having signed the code may be a sign of at maximum a manager trying to work closely with the union in accordance with all the rules and laws, and minimally, a manager having signed the code may suggest the manager is trying to message how serious and legitimate they are. In the end, as with all our business relationships, the specifics of the people we work with, and how we treat them and they treat us will have far more bearing than any code, organization, government or anything else ever will. For things like honesty and effectiveness, the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. These are all just my initial thoughts. Caveat actor and break a leg.
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