Fall/Winter 2010

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SAGCelebrat DIVERSITY AWARENESS MONTH media. “Diversity awareness is a cause that RENEWED FOR ANOTHER SEASON is close to my heart and has been for more than 40 years,” said SAG President Ken Howard. “Our union, our industry and our culture are made stronger when everyone has equal access to work opportunities. It’s time to open the door of opportunity that has remained closed to so many for so long.” Te touchstone program of the month was the Get Your ACT Together: Careers in Focus Conference on October 16 at SAG National Headquarters, which provided actors with talent development workshops and seminars presented by SAG Affirmative Action & Diversity, SAG National Spanish Language Media Task Force, SAG President’s National Task Force for American Indians, Back Stage, Casting Society of America, iActor and SAG New Media. Te panels and workshops featured Producer Anastasia Ali, left, and SAG members Tatyana Ali and Ruth Livier discuss new media projects at the Get Your ACT Together: Careers in Focus Conference. and in which roles are written with the presumption that, unless stated otherwise, the character is Caucasian, your Guild remains dedicated to creating awareness of how diverse the professional acting talent pool really is. For the second year in a row, Screen I Actors Guild renewed its commitment to diversity awareness with a series of programs that took place primarily in the month of October, dovetailing with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Te full slate of activities was inclusive of all under-represented groups of actors in film, television and other recorded 36 SCREEN ACTOR - Fall/Winter 2010 n an industry in which approximately three times as many men than women are likely to be billed as leads, subjects as broad as stunt coordinating, Spanish language voiceover work, new media, and a session for young performers, where talent manager Addison Witt told the audience, “Te message from us today is your own empowerment. Believe in yourself and prepare for the success you can visualize.” During the stunts session, panelist and stunt coordinator Melissa R. Stubbs revealed her own struggles in the industry: “You have to reprogram people to accept a woman as a stunt coordinator.” In a panel about moving beyond stereotypes, Emmy-nominee Lupe Ontiveros talked about taking risks and auditioning for roles that may not sound like you on paper. “You just have to make it happen for yourself,” she said. Actor Tamlyn Tomita discussed confronting stereotypes in a script: “When you encounter something that’s not cool in the script, you don’t just complain about it, you have to come up with another suggestion on how to do it differently.” Back Stage presented three workshops, which gave participants practical information on commercial auditions, actor deals, and tips on becoming successful in television and film. Running concurrently all day were “speed casting” sessions presented by the Casting Society of America. SAG members rotated through five-minute, one-on-one interviews with casting directors who provided valuable advice and feedback. Members also received tutorials on iActor, the online casting directory exclusively for SAG members. “We were able to offer truly exceptional career and talent development workshops and seminars for a community of actors who are oſten underrepresented and underemployed,” said Rebecca Yee, national director of Affirmative Action & Diversity and senior EEO counsel. “We are grateful to the many industry professionals who participated for their demonstrated commitment to diversity and equal employment.” Te career conference was one of more than a dozen major events held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Among them: Actor Danny Woodburn was honored October 8 with the Screen Actors Guild Harold Russell Award at the Media Access Awards in Beverly Hills. He received the recognition for his union advocacy on behalf of performers with disabilities. Woodburn is one of the most successful Little People working in the entertainment industry today and perhaps best known for the recurring role he played as Mickey Abbott on Seinfeld. He has made more than 120 television appearances, on comedies and dramas alike, and had featured roles in such films as Watchmen and Death to Smoochy. He is also an accomplished stand-up comic. In accepting the award, Woodburn said, “I was told, ‘No—you can never be a truck driver, your arms won’t reach around the wheel. No—you can never be a doctor; people won’t take you seriously. No—you can never be a police officer.’ “I can be all of those things. I’m an actor. I can portray them in film and someone might be inspired to ignore those no’s and live their own dream.” Harold Russell, the award’s namesake, was the first actor with a disability to esD

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