By Brad Anderson Executive Director, SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local
Recently, the SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local celebrated with all of SAG-AFTRA the talent of union members by hosting a viewing party for the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Nearly 60 people attended the event held at St. John’s Bar & Eatery on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Actors from around the region mingled with colleagues, as well as others in the entertainment industry, including producers and broadcasters. Celebrants participated in raffles and enjoyed hosted hors d’oeuvres, as well as the pageantry of the ceremonies being displayed on the big screen at the venue.
Local talent has been prominently on display recently, often represented by talent agents that have signed franchise agreements with SAG-AFTRA. The opportunities for local talent represented by Z Nation and the recent TV pilot filmed by Amazon called The Man in the High Castle, as well as the continuing Oregon productions of Grimm and The Librarians, have drawn the incredibly talented SAG-AFTRA actors the region has to offer. In addition, “Commercialize Seattle” (www.commercializeseattle.com), jointly promoted by the City of Seattle and Washington Filmworks, has successfully expanded the range of productions for actors in the commercial arena. As successful as these efforts have been, more work needs to be done to fully actualize the marketplace for talent in the area.
One effort that the SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local is fully behind is a new push to increase Washington’s film incentive. The incentive program in Washington provides for an aggregate total of $3.5 million for approved projects. Because the existing incentive is so low relative to many other incentive programs around the country, Washington is not as competitive as it could be. In fact, last year alone Washington had to turn away a projected $55 million in economic benefits because the incentive fund had already been exhausted. So, the SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local has joined forces with other labor unions and with Washington Filmworks to go to Olympia this legislative session and ask the legislature to increase the size of the incentive fund. And everyone can help: Go to www.washingtonfilmworks.org and register the district that you live in so that Filmworks can keep you informed about what’s going on and how you can help.
SAG-AFTRA wants to increase the availability of jobs for the talented professional performers it represents. Of course, in addition to “glamour” work discussed so far, there are many other projects that use SAG-AFTRA talent—from projects for local creative agencies to projects for corporate education for companies like Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft, and, of course, radio commercials. In all of these areas, local producers can recognize the wealth of talent in this locale and the strength of the professional performers of the SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local.
Visit www.sagaftra.org/seattle for more information.