Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bucking Up

I've found myself having some interesting career conversations lately. When I have these conversations, I start to evaluate what I'm doing and how action help me and don't help me. I know I have to keep my purpose strong and maintain my desire to pursue my art no matter what comes my way. I think I can be smarter about it.

I'm eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild. I meet lots of non-union actors on these shoots who are not yet eligible. Why am I not in SAG yet? I had convinced myself it was smarter to play the field until I had to join. See, I could work non-union and union jobs until I booked a speaking role in a union gig so I had to join. Of course, I book union shows as an extra and get non-union wages since I don't need any more vouchers for eligibility. I also stand the same chance of booking a role in a non-union project as I do in a union project.

Why do I need to make that extra $1500 to join this year instead of waiting? Here's what I've found:

- There is always someone on every gig I book with non-union people who has complaints about SAG but isn't in the union and has no vouchers. I don't dig this negative energy. You should at least have to be in the union before you can bitch about the union. Or there's always the option of not joining or pursuing union work so much if you hate the union so bad.
- I want to just work union jobs eventually. All of the speaking roles on television are union. All of the studio motion pictures employ union actors. If I want these jobs, maybe I shouldn't wait until someone tells me I have to join. Maybe I should just be causative and join now.
- I still haven't gotten paid for the work I did on that skater movie a few months ago. The union wouldn't let that happen. If it did happen, I'd get paid a penalty for their late payment to me.
- Being a union member is like having an agent. When you have an agent's name on your resume, it says that there's at least one person in the industry who will vouch for you. If you're in the union, it says that someone believed in you enough to get you union work (because everyone is non-union when they start out) or that you have the work ethic to be considered a professional. It's an indication that you didn't just fall off the turnip truck. You at least know something about working in film and television.
- There are a number of agencies who won't even consider representing someone who is non-union. They don't make a lot of money of non-union gigs. There are still plenty of agents who accept non-unoin, but most want union folks.

So now I just need that extra $1500 to join. I'm tempted to do a yard sale to get rid of a bunch of my toys. If I had a better house, I'd throw a "help me pay my dues" party and charge $10 a head for one pole of a good time.

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