Summer 2018

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34 SAG-AFTRA | Summer 2018 | S AG-AFTRA is adapting its contracts to help extend union protections to emerging content creators operating in the "Wild West" of digital media. Part of this effort includes the creation of the Short Project Agreement, which was developed from a combination of elements in the low budget Short Film and New Media agreements. The new contract, which is in effect as of August 1, is designed to make it easier for producers of short bona fide entertainment programs, particularly member producers, to get a project made and released. Merging the two agreements is reflective of how digital content production is changing. SAG-AFTRA staff have heard from member producers about the challenges of being locked into a type of release for a signatory project. For instance, producers of a short film that wanted their project released as a web series would have technically been in violation of the low-budget Short Film agreement. "The new Short Project Agreement allows a producer who doesn't really have an idea of where they want to go with the release to produce and then make a decision later," said Olga Rodriguez- Aguirre, national director, theatrical contracts. Now, signatory producers who get shut out of film festivals can still find a home for their project online and vice versa. "Today's content is all blending; there's more and more crossover," said Rodriguez-Aguirre. "People have a home now to produce content without reservations about whether this is going to be accepted by SAG-AFTRA." Meanwhile, the existing New Media Agreement is also being adapted to help further extend coverage to digital creators. The union recently partnered with several high-profile content creators to create a new media contract specifically for Zeus, their new online video-on-demand platform. "It's the Wild West right now," DeStorm Power, creator and president of Zeus, said during a SAG-AFTRA sponsored panel discussion at Social Media Week in Santa Monica, California. "Being with SAG-AFTRA, we can actually be in a place to protect ourselves and our content." Power was a former Vine creator who switched to posting videos, including some scripted content, to YouTube and Instagram after Vine stopped functioning in 2016. He recently teamed with fellow creators King Bach and Amanda Cerny, and TV producer Lemuel Streamlined Contracts Draw Online Creators At a SAG-AFTRA sponsored Social Media Week panel in Santa Monica in June, the union announced a landmark deal with streaming service Zeus, an agreement that provides coverage for content produced by Zeus and serves as a pathway to SAG-AFTRA membership for Zeus content creators. At the panel, left, creators Lemuel Plummer, DeStorm Power, Amanda Cerny and King Bach; SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris; National Executive Director David White; and moderator Stacy Ike. Right, young digital creators celebrate SAG-AFTRA's presence at the 8th Annual VidCon Kickoff Celebration on June 20. The annual conference in Anaheim, California, brings YouTube creators and fans together.

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