I'm pleased to share this article published by Variety this week about the newly launched SAG Commercial Survey.
First I thought of this idea as a tool to organize and explore the situation of Spanish Language commercials. Later it become obvious to me it is a problem shared by the Englisn language contract as well. Wanting to expand the survey to include both the Spanish and English commercials markets, I brought the project from the Spanish Language Media Task Force to the Commercial Performers Committee to continue the development and launch of the survey from there. The survey is anonymous and confidential, and it will serve to find helpful information about the flux of the commercial market in the U.S. Actors are out there every day going to auditions, getting job offers, and in the middle of the action, we the actors know before anyone else what the new trends are.
SAG probes non-union ads August 2 - Variety
By Dave McNary
Guild website seeks info from members
The Screen Actors Guild is asking members for information about non-union casting calls for commercials -- and promising that it will keep the information anonymous.
In a posting on its website Friday, SAG said it's seeking to learn more about non-union casting calls for commercials in order to better serve and represent the members.
"If you have any recent knowledge of non-union casting calls, please take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey with whatever information about the casting call that you wish to provide," it said. "All information provided is completely anonymous and will be used to help us better understand the non-union work space and create more work opportunities for our members."
Ray Rodriguez, national exec director of contracts, told Variety that the idea originated with the guild's Spanish-language task force, given that such commercials are more of an issue for Spanish-language performers. "We're trying to develop as much insight as we can," Rodriguez said. "The fact is that member earnings are up for commercials. It's not in response to any kind of spike in non-union work."
Rodriguez also said there's no agreed-upon metric for measuring non-union work and added that the survey will probably remain on the SAG website for six months. SAG covers about $800 million in commercials earnings from its members, based on pension and health contributions from employers.
Rodriguez said the survey's unrelated to a recent move by leaders of SAG and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists to ask the ad industry for a one-year extension of the current commercials pact, which would move the expiration back to March 31, 2013.
SAG and AFTRA struck for six months against the ad industry in 2000. The guild subsequently disciplined 187 non-union thesps for crossing picket lines during the strike -- 133 membership bans ranging from six months to 4 1/2 years, along with 54 bans for the maximum five years.
SAG also fined Elizabeth Hurley and Tiger Woods $100,000 each for performing in non-union spots during the strike.