Summer 2010

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SAG Takes Off Kid Gloves When Fighting for Young Performers W e have all heard horror stories about young performers and their families that fall victim to so- called acting or modeling scams. Te businesses oſten charge exorbitant up-front fees and advertise expensive classes, photographers, or other services through their own company or third-party vendors directly or indirectly related to them. At the end of the day, the victims may have little to show for their efforts except an empty wallet and crushed dreams. 22 SCREEN ACTOR - Summer 2010 Kay Panabaker, Han Wen Wen and Jaden Smith, Elsie Fisher, Charlie Tahan, and “Marmaduke” with Caroline Sunshine. “Te number one thing to remember is that if an agent or manager wants you to pay them up front, run away,” she said. “Tat’s rule number one.” Te experience of per- formers being taken advantage of is less common now that California Assembly Bill 1319 went into effect on January 1. Screen Actors Guild co- sponsored this important piece of legislation, instrumental in curbing unscrupulous talent services in the state that prey on young performers, whether they’re our members or perhaps future members of this union. In addition to addressing the above concerns, A.B. 1319 outright prohibits any entity that offers an advance-fee talent representation service. Te law was another victory in SAG’s ongoing campaign children,” SAG President Ken Howard said. “In fact, since our founding members organized SAG in 1933, our union has helped create numerous laws and bargained critical contract provisions designed solely to protect children’s income, education, and most of all, their safety and well-being.” Beneath the near universal support for protecting kids in the entertainment industry lies a complex web of political and economic hurdles. For example, local school districts, individual states and the federal government all play a part in making laws that affect children. SAG fights for strength and consistency to the rules that govern a child’s life on set. Aſter all, child actors are among the most vulnerable of In many ways, today’s young performers are largely protected in the same manner as their adult peers — by the SAG Collective Bargaining Agreement — but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1970s, with production moving out of California and to states without the same kind of laws and protections for young performers, the SAG National Young Performers Committee wanted to remedy the situation — and needed to do it without having to lobby lawmakers on a state-by-state basis. Tey succeeded in their mission by taking a stand in collective bargaining and working protections into the 1980/’83 TV/Teatrical Agreement. Aſter that, it didn’t matter where the production filmed, as protections for Just out of her teens, Kay Panabaker has appeared in the film Fame (2009) and on TV series such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Brothers & Sisters. She is one of the stars of the upcoming series No Ordinary Family on ABC. With 10 years of experience, Panabaker has heard plenty of horror stories from her peers. to expand protections for its nearly 5,000 active young performers, and the Guild hopes that the law will be modeled for adoption in other states as well. Legislative advocacy for young performers is an essential function of our union. “Screen Actors Guild has a long history of protecting SAG members. Tey are the only members who cannot vote in American political elections, the only members who cannot run for SAG office, and even though they work just as hard as their adult colleagues, the only members who must rely on others to fight for their most basic rights and protections.

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