No wonder the industry is leaving Cali...

2009-02-23 11:07:14 by sirjeffofshort

Has anyone out there ever dealt with the Screen Actors Guild as a producer? It's a pain in the ass.

We are trying to hire a noted actor for one of our projects and he is SAG, so therefore we must get the project SAG approved, so we had to delay the project a month so that we could fill out the paperwork and get SAG to say "whelp, I guess you can hire this guy." Grrrr, arg.

Now the only thing standing in the way is getting the project insured for workmans comp. because California won't let anyone work, even on an independent funded project without it. So in the end we are going to end up spending way more than we wanted to on a pilot that isn't guaranteeing any revenue... sssssssuck.

And of course our project is on the low end of the radar so I can only imagine what some of the bigger indi productions or even the studio productions have to go through... It's no wonder the industry is packing it in out here.

Sorry about the complaints, but I gotta vent somewhere.

In other news, the new Sketched is well under way and should be out in a few weeks. Also, be sure to check out the voice acting contest in the forums if you would like to win a chance at acting in an upcoming Sketched movie.

Till next time, i leave you with another old live action Sketch we did starring Tim Friel, founder and song writer of "The Bloodening."


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2009-02-23 11:28:05


sirjeffofshort responds:

I know right?


2009-02-23 11:42:17

I suppose on the positive side, you are gaining the experience of working within the Hollywood system, which could be very valuable and make you more marketable down the road. Some people might spend their money going to school to learn these things, but you're spending the money actually making something, learning the system and getting real-world experience all at the same time.

When you deal with SAG, are you required to have craft services and all that crap? :)

sirjeffofshort responds:

That's true. I'm used to the hassle of production in my day job as a writer/producer for radio, but working with SAG is a whole new bag of suck, however the pilot has already generated some studio interest (hence the reason we are sinking our own money into the production) so I just hope I don't get screwed by another strike. (I actually had a pilot in at Fox in 07' but the writers strike killed its steam... I was pissed.) All in all it is more experience, and experience is always helpful, so thanks for that fresh perspective.

SAG doesn't require catering, that's more something you have to work out with the actor and his/her agents (agents are a whole n'other pain in the ass, but I'm pretty used to dealing with them.) We do always provide 2 meals a day and a snacking spread for our productions, so that will appease most actors (and get a good amount of crew to work for free surprisingly enough). It's always funny that the hardest people on a production to please are the agents and lawyers who don't even work on the damn thing. Haha.

Thanks for the input and more moral support Tom.


2009-02-23 13:45:08

New Orleans = SAG free. I mean they have SAG projects going on down here, but it isn't a requirement.

sirjeffofshort responds:

That sounds like a dream come true. Haha.

There are ways around it out here, a few of our actors are SAG but we can fly under the radar because they are friends, but for our new production we are hiring a "name actor" because it's hard to get anyone to look at a new project without one, and that's where the troubles began. As soon as you sign a name actor their representation and union come a knockin looking for their cut.


2009-02-23 14:41:13

I am currently part of a "team" of animators (three of us) working on a crap cartoon featuring the voice of Tom Baker (70's Doctor Who).
It's for the BBC so there was no problem getting him involved.

Not that I have any real input in the project. I'm just loitering around trying to get involved in things that look good written down on paper to hopefully one day forge a semi-reasonable resume.

sirjeffofshort responds:

Haha, Tom Baker? That's awesome! Best of luck on your project, it's always good to work on everything you can get your hands on.

My first year out here I got tapped on the shoulder by a stranger at staples when I was getting prints made up, she asked if I could do production artwork for her new movie. I had no clue who she was and I was like "Sure." A week later I was meeting on the Warner Brothers lot talking about working on some horror films for an indi subsidiary of theirs.

The grunt work like that sucks, but it's the best way to make connections, so best of luck to you.


2009-02-23 17:08:18

I dread even thinking about all that. I think Ill stick to gorilla film making till I get caught

sirjeffofshort responds:

Not that gorilla film making doesn't come without its headaches either, but at least there are no legal ramifications if you do something wrong.

We still do our fair share of gorilla work, but there are just some projects that you have to go legit on if you want to make it right. At least out here.

I kinda noticed that film making was much easier back in Massachusetts. Sure I have a lot more support and contacts out here, but back in Mass I could make a decent film just by grabbing a few cameras, pulling a few favors and making some calls. It's just once it gets done I had nowhere to go with it. At least now if I manage to finish something I can shop it around the studios and producers I know.

Sure the odds of anything happening after that are still pretty low, but it still makes me feel better, haha.


2009-02-23 18:33:53

Do you guys mean guerilla filmmaking? Or is there a whole side to Mindchamber that I didn't know about??

Stick with it dude, it sounds like a huge pain but this is something you love so it's worth it entirely. I'm considering switching to live action in the future because of the depressingly long working hours animation requires, every medium has it's pros and cons.

sirjeffofshort responds:

It's actually an animated pilot, but to hire our 'celebrity guest' SAG still needs to have their hand in the mix. Yuck.

I agree that every style has its pro's and cons. And guerilla (every time I tried to spell it that way it gives me the little red "you fuk't up" line under it, doh') or live action film making is much less strenuous and time consuming, but it really takes its toll when you are trying to hold together a production crew of more than 20 people for multiple days. All things considered I've actually found I can move faster in animation than I can in live action (of course my animation isn't that great, but that's a whole n'other story.)

When all is said and done, you either do it because it's something you love, or you don't, regardless of medium, but I also think it's important to experiment so best of luck in your trials with live action.


2009-02-23 18:50:20

I live in LA...
and my dad is a screenwriter...
so I guess he doesn't have to deal with shit like this...

sirjeffofshort responds:

Living as a writer or other creative moneymaker isn't without its problems too, it's just a whole n'other set. I personally don't think I have what it takes to try and strike out as a screenwriter alone so definite props to your dad.


2009-02-23 19:34:27

Hey, you could always come to Detroit and see our spiffy new studio. THAT'S where everybody's at.

Detroit - city of the future, today

On second thought, maybe Detroit IS getting some good publicity. I mean, Gran Torino was shot there (the movie, AND the person).

I still think California is the Mekkah of film making.

sirjeffofshort responds:

Haha, we are actually building a new studio in Mass too, so I may just move back there when it's finished in the next year or two, depending on whether or not I can get a good job.

I agree that Cali is still the go to place for creative work, but there is an undulating concern that the industry is slowly spreading out because of California's financial problems and artists ability to telecommute through the internet.