Candidate Answers – Matthew Modine

1. As technology continues and accelerates, what plans do you have to increase the union’s IT capabilities, especially as it pertains to staff allocation and member interface?
My goal is to make SAG-AFTRA as nimble as possible. New technology and New Media go hand in hand. It is imperative that we get AHEAD of the curve… And NOT be caught-out like we were with DVD’s and Cable. It’s imperative that we have the ways and means to analyze what’s coming. When we work… I’d like to see electronic contracts and sign-in sheets.
Internally – I have faith in our Chief Technologies Officer Danny Inukai and his Staff. I will work very closely with this Team to make sure we’re always on the leading edge.

2. Actors Equity recently held a vote on removing the dues cap. What are your thoughts regarding raising the SAG-AFTRA dues cap to match the rise of inflation since the number was set?
As of now, our dues cap for all Categories… except Broadcasters… is $500,000. Broadcasters’ cap is $250,000. These have been the caps ever since we merged.
I think we should take another look at these caps. Our base dues have gone up. Inflation has occurred. I see no reason why those that are prospering greatly from our contracts can’t help a little more.

3. Given the recent WGA/ATA talks and strike, do you have any plans to re-establish our own agreement with the ATA, and end the suspension of Rule 16G?
Rule 16G was the SAG Rule that stated that every SAG Member MUST be represented by a SAG Franchised (Authorized) Agent. In 2002 the SAG MEMBERSHIP voted DOWN (55% to 45%) a new deal with agents that would have allowed agents to own, or be owed, 100% by employers. A total/complete conflict of interest. The MEMBERSHIP got it right. What then happened was SAG immediately “suspended” Rule 16G… For fear that the Members wouldn’t hold the line and insist that their agents stay franchised. Thus, allowing the ATA to go off on their own. Leaving us where we are today. I would have done a quick education campaign and done what a union does… And used our strength in numbers to hold the line and hence kept the franchise in place. You see, I have FAITH in our Members. Just as the WGA today has faith in theirs and their fight with the ATA.
So… It is absolutely in our best interest to have a Franchise Agreement with ALL agents. That includes ATA Agents. Under my Presidency we WILL bring the ATA back to the Table and make a fair deal for our Members.

4. During the last few years, a serious issue came to light regarding actors working “Off the Card”. Given those findings and the LA Times article regarding the actions taken against Kip Pardue, do you have any plans regarding increased efficiency in our disciplinary process?
Obviously, our disciplinary process needs to be re-examined.
With so many working “Off the Card” or actually claiming to be fi-core, when they’re not (“LIE-CORE”) … It seems there is little to no fear of any repercussions from the union. This sets the table for a… “do whatever you want – The Union won’t do anything”… attitude.
Re Mr. Pardue. I won’t speak specifically. But… I believe serious misconduct deserves serious discipline.

5. Do you have any plans to revive iActor or any other strategy to ease the financial burden the proliferation of online casting sites and self-tape requirements place on actors?
I’ll admit, I’m not an expert on iActor. I’m told it was an attempt for the Union to help promote our Members. One that wasn’t all that successful.
Self-taping is a concern. We have to address the fact that we are all now in the business of not just being performers… But also, videographers and casting directors. With all the concerns and costs associated with that.
We should immediately put together a group to examine ways for us to mitigate this… And bring solutions back to our new Leadership.