Emotional appeals at SAG

Guild sees arguments heat up

SAG member mailboxes will soon see strongly emotional appeals over the SAG-ATA tentative deal, with the other side’s arguments frequently bashed.

“Only a YES vote will preserve and strengthen SAG,” the pro-deal ballot argument contends. “A ‘no’ vote will destroy SAG’s ability to regulate agents.”

“For 63 years, SAG has had agreements with talent agents that have protected actors from conflicts of interest,” the anti-deal argument begins. “Today we are being asked to eliminate those protections … forever!”

The arguments — 1,000 words maximum — were turned in Monday, to be followed later this week by 500-word rebuttals. Ballots go out April 3 with a 15-day deadline for return.

Key issue in revising SAG’s master franchise agreement continues to be easing of rules to allow 20% investments in talent agencies by ad agencies, advertisers and indie producers.

The pro-dealers, citing support from SAG’s board, prexy Melissa Gilbert and CEO Robert Pisano, tout benefits including more disclosure, two new actor funds, improved enforcement of Global Rule One and more opportunities for actors to get agents. They also hammered on the potential chaos of deregulation.

“Once the agency franchise agreement is gone, SAG will be on the sidelines, and actors will be at the mercy of unregulated managers and agents,” they said.

The anti-dealers contend that SAG is using fear to promote the pact and warn actors they will give up $34 million in new commissions over four years if the deal goes through.

“This proposal fundamentally changes the relationships we have with our agents and leaves us totally unprotected in our contractual negotiations with producers,” the anti-dealers said. “If these changes are adopted, it will mean that agents will no longer be representing our interests but their own.”

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