Q & A with SAG-AFTRA Chicago’s Kathy Byrne

Kathy Byrne provides a wealth of information for Chicago productions.  Currently the SAG-AFTRA Chicago Local Director of TV/Theatrical, she was a Project Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events in the Film Office.   Byrne has been the Director of TV/Theatrical for SAG-AFTRA Chicago since May, 2010.  In addition to running the TV/Theatrical Department, … Continue reading “Q & A with SAG-AFTRA Chicago’s Kathy Byrne”

SAG-AFTRA slams door on hotel room auditions

On April 12, SAG-AFTRA called for an end to auditions and interviews in private hotel rooms and residences. Defined as an expansion to the Code of Conduct that the union published in February, “Guideline No. 1” specifically states that, “we call on producers and other decision makers with influence or control over decisions that can … Continue reading “SAG-AFTRA slams door on hotel room auditions”

SAG-AFTRA’s “Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment”

Last weekend, SAG-AFTRA released a Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment as part of a broader program to protect its members and to confront harassment and advance equity in the workplace. Called, “The Four Pillars of Change,” it also sets forth clear expectations that SAG-AFTRA members will refrain from engaging in harassing conduct. Leading with … Continue reading “SAG-AFTRA’s “Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment””

SAG-AFTRA, AMPTP reach tentative agreement

Looks as if actors and actresses belonging to SAG-AFTRA will continue to talk and not walk as, according to Deadline, the union has reached a tentative agreement with AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers).

SAG-AFTRA’s current contract expired June 30 at midnight PT and had been extended each of the past three nights. If a deal hadn’t been reached, union leaders had vowed to ask their members for strike authorization.

“Outrageous rollbacks” reignite SAG-AFTRA strike threat

Just when we thought we all could breathe again after the WGA and the studios and networks came to terms on a new contract, The Wrap, Variety and Hollywood Reporter all report that talks have broken down over a new three-year contract between SAG-AFTRA and the AMTMP. SAG-AFTRA’s current master contract for film and primetime TV expires June 30. The union has about 160,000 members.

SAG-AFTRA’s renovated KMRC now ready for use

SAG-AFTRA members’ home-away-from-home, its place to work, record, rehearse, audition and connect — the 15-year old Kaufherr Members Resource Center (KMRC) — has reopened after a month of updating and renovation.

The renovation covered the installation of a new, 6×8-ft. sound recording booth, from Whisper Room Sound Booths, and the upgraded Fern Persons’ 10×15-ft. video suite, with all-new lighting, camera and backdrops for members to use to market their talents and enhance their skills.

The talent union membership is estimated at more than 5,000.

Ad industry, SAG-AFTRA tentatively agree on contract

The advertising industry and SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative agreement Sunday for a new television and radio contract — likely worth more than $1 billion per year in billings — after seven weeks of negotiation.

Terms of the new agreement struck by the union and the ANA-4As Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations (JPC) were not revealed but is contract is one of the union’s largest and is rivaled only by the TV/theatrical contract.

SAG-AFTRA postpones early commercial contract talks

SAG-AFTRA and the advertising industry agreed to postpone their previously-scheduled early negotiations of the union’s commercials contract, the union board announced Saturday.  The current three-year contract expiring March, 31, 2013 covers an estimated $1 billion annual work. 

Both sides said they needed more time to address “data challenges” from the test of the revamped compensation model, also known as the Gross Ratings Point Pilot Project. 

Tessa Films and TimeZoneOne launch State of Illinois campaign Greatest Gift

With the holiday season approaching, the State of Illinois launched a new awareness campaign promoting the COVID-19 vaccine as the “greatest gift” you can give this year. Kids age 5 and up are now eligible for the life-saving vaccine, and doses are widely available across the state of Illinois – from first doses to pediatric … Continue reading “Tessa Films and TimeZoneOne launch State of Illinois campaign Greatest Gift”

Producers control vaccination policies for cast and crew

With the ongoing goal of keeping casts, crews and all set workers safe, the DGA, IATSE, IBT, SAG-AFTRA, together with the AMPTP have announced they have a tentative agreement on adjustments to the COVID-19 Safety Agreement reflecting vaccination policies and other scientific advances. The modifications center on workplace practices for fully vaccinated cast and crew, … Continue reading “Producers control vaccination policies for cast and crew”

Take a virtual tour of the infamous Gallagher house

If you’re still crying in your f**ken beer about Shameless ending after 11 seasons, stop acting like a p*ssy and take this opportunity to look at the Gallagher house one last time. Right after the series finale, Showtime posted a virtual farewell event open to all fans of the hit comedy series. The two-part experience, … Continue reading “Take a virtual tour of the infamous Gallagher house”

Black Media & Entertainment Industry Conference at CSU

Chicago State University (CSU) connects local film and television professionals with industry leaders during a free virtual four-day Black Media & Entertainment Industry Conference, April 27-30. Sponsored by the Department of Communications, Media Arts & Theatre Department at CSU, this power-packed event features keynote speaker Louis Carr, President of Media Sales for BET Networks. Among … Continue reading “Black Media & Entertainment Industry Conference at CSU”

Running the festival circuit with Midwest Film Festival

Join The Midwest Film Festival exclusively on Facebook Live on Tuesday, February 9th from 6 PM – 7 PM CST for a panel conversation led by industry pros. They’ll share their vast knowledge and experience in running the festival circuit and the success they’ve had. All attendees who register via Eventbrite will automatically be entered to win … Continue reading “Running the festival circuit with Midwest Film Festival”

Gov. Pritzker Launches ‘Healthy Holidays to You’

With a new wave of COVID-19 sweeping the nation and concerning trends here in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker launched a new awareness campaign. ‘Healthy Holidays to You’ created by O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul encourages residents to take safety precautions throughout the upcoming holiday season to protect themselves and their families — and ultimately save lives.  The Illinois … Continue reading “Gov. Pritzker Launches ‘Healthy Holidays to You’”

Camera Ambassador Grant winner Raju faces challenges

This past summer, director and writer Sean Sankalp Raju won the Camera Ambassador Community Builders Grant for his project A Nickname. The autobiographical short film tells the story of how the filmmaker received the moniker, Sean, as an Indian American child. In an economy where funding an independent film is especially difficult, Raju was ecstatic … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador Grant winner Raju faces challenges”

MFF Union & Indie Passion Projects exciting lineup

Join Midwest Film Festival and The Gene Siskel Film Center on Tuesday, September 29th at 6:00pm at the CHI-Town Movies Drive-In with a brand new themed night to celebrate the passion projects created by Union & Indie Filmmakers.  This night is all about celebrating the short films created not only by indie filmmakers, but also members of … Continue reading “MFF Union & Indie Passion Projects exciting lineup”

Gardner’s ‘Long Ride Home’ plays Bentonville Fest

Charles Andrew Gardner’s Long Ride Home will compete for Best Short Film this week at Academy Award® winner Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival. In the powerful short film, Long Ride Home, Brandon is an affluent African-American who has climbed the ladder to success, resenting anyone not willing to put in the same amount of discipline. However, his perspective in … Continue reading “Gardner’s ‘Long Ride Home’ plays Bentonville Fest”

Gov Pritzker and OKRP launch $5 M awareness campaign

Governor JB Pritzker and OKRP launched a new $5 million awareness campaign today to encourage Illinois residents to wear a face covering every time they’re in public — because it only works if you wear it. Following the data-driven approach that has guided Illinois’ coronavirus response, the campaign uses local information to advertise on broadcast … Continue reading “Gov Pritzker and OKRP launch $5 M awareness campaign”

Filmmaker Chantel Chavon tackles racism, mental health

Up and coming Chicago-based filmmaker, Chantel Chavon, makes her directorial debut by tackling the connection between racism and mental illness head on in the short film, When the Leaves Fall. Based on an original screenplay by Chavon, the psychological drama tells the story of a mentally-ill homeless woman living inside of a bus shelter, who … Continue reading “Filmmaker Chantel Chavon tackles racism, mental health”

Next phase & beyond protocols, guidelines & what’s next

The State of  Illinois and City of Chicago are now operating in Phase 3 of their respective reopening plans and there is a lot of film production news and information to share. In addition to the Chicago and Illinois Film Offices issuing Phase 3 film production guidelines, last Friday, SAG-AFTRA, DGA, IATSE, and the Teamsters released “The Safe Way Forward”, COVID 19 Safety … Continue reading “Next phase & beyond protocols, guidelines & what’s next”

Chicago Film Office lists new production guidelines

With the world slowly reopening, the film, advertising and TV industries are in search of answers, especially with COVID-19 and demonstrations still ongoing.  With economic and political uncertainty pushing insecurities, filmmakers, actors, and other collaborators look to the Illinois Film Office and Chicago Film Office. This week, the Chicago Film Office website posted their Be … Continue reading “Chicago Film Office lists new production guidelines”

Indie Film Town Hall: Production and New Protocols

The Indie Film Town Hall series brings together Chicago’s independent film and media-making community during these difficult times. In a series of lunchtime meetings over Zoom, members of Chicago’s indie film and media organizations will discuss the challenges that face our industries and actions we are taking in support of each other and Chicago-area creators. … Continue reading “Indie Film Town Hall: Production and New Protocols”

AICP townhall: Crew Safety and Filming (video)

Yesterday, members of the AICP Midwest held their second townhall, discussing the best practices for the safety of crew and everyone on set while filming. With the Chicago Film Office scheduled to begin issuing permits for filming on June 15, this was an important meeting as the Chicago film and TV industry prepares to get … Continue reading “AICP townhall: Crew Safety and Filming (video)”

AICP Midwest holding town hall on crew safety & filming

AICP Midwest presents: A Look Forward Crew Safety and Filming Thursday, June 4, 2020 10:30 am CST Via Zoom  A town hall Q & A for crew on navigating the road ahead when production resumes.  AICP Midwest Board Members/Moderators:Qadree Holmes – Founder / Executive Producer Quriosity ProductionsMarsie Wallach – Freelance Line Producer Panel: Tim Harris … Continue reading “AICP Midwest holding town hall on crew safety & filming”

Joint Letter: from the unions and guilds to the workforce

These are unsettling times as COVID-19 has impacted our personal and professional lives. Or unions and guilds have come together to assist the working professionals in this industry. In a display of unity, the following joint letter was sent to entertainment workers from the major entertainment unions and guilds, including the AFM, DGA, IATSE, Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA, … Continue reading “Joint Letter: from the unions and guilds to the workforce”

Craig J. Harris, producer, actor, writer, stuntman

Versatile film pro Craig J. Harris joins the 2020 edition of Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. The Reel Chicago Black List includes Global Mixx founder Mary Datcher, McDonald’s US Marketing Director Lizette Williams, and filmmaker Rhyan LaMarr. To view the archives, click here. Craig J. … Continue reading “Craig J. Harris, producer, actor, writer, stuntman”

MFF launches 2020 season under new director Duffy

Erica Duffy, a transplant from San Francisco, has been part of the Chicago film community for 6 years and counting. No stranger to film production, she’s the proud owner of Camera Ambassador, a local rental house in Chicago. Camera Ambassador provides resources and services to filmmakers such as workshops and screenings.  The space also hosts … Continue reading “MFF launches 2020 season under new director Duffy”

Local 476 appoints Connelly to increase commercial work

I.A.T.S.E. Local 476 is sending VP Joe Connelly on a mission to forge partnerships with advertising agencies and commercial shops throughout the city. A production industry supplier with deep roots, the Chicago Studio Mechanics Union intends to reinforce a foundation it laid nearly a century ago. “This union is built on commercial work,” says Local … Continue reading “Local 476 appoints Connelly to increase commercial work”

Reel Black List: Troy Pryor, producer, actor, speaker

Troy Pryor is the inaugural honoree for the 2020 Reel Chicago Black List, an annual celebration of African-American creativity published during Black History Month. Troy Osborne Pryor is an award-winning producer, actor, and speaker from Chicago. He is a Chicago Scholars 35 Under 35, Black Enterprise TCX Fellow, and ADColor nominated Innovator of the Year. … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Troy Pryor, producer, actor, speaker”

‘61st Street’ to begin shooting at Cinespace this April

AMC announced today from the Television Critics’ Association (TCA) Press Tour that Emmy Award-winner Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Lovecraft Country, Genius) will star in its upcoming thrilling courtroom drama 61st Street, from BAFTA-winner Peter Moffat (Criminal Justice, The Night Of, Your Honor) and executive-produced by Michael B. … Continue reading “‘61st Street’ to begin shooting at Cinespace this April”

Reel Black List: Charles Andrew Gardner, actor

“I am most proud when I’m able to shift peoples’ perspectives through the work that I do.” Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, SAG-AFTRA Chicago local president Charles Andrew Gardner is an actor with a passion for illuminating the stories of the underrepresented. On-camera credits include episodes of The Chi and Chicago PD; feature … Continue reading “Reel Black List: Charles Andrew Gardner, actor”

Cutters New York hires editor Alison Grasso

Versatile, award-winning pro brings post, radio, on-camera, voiceover, and production expertise to the Big Apple boutique Cutters Studios welcomes the highly accomplished commercial editor Alison Grasso to its New York staff, effective immediately. Well known as a staff editor for Crew Cuts in New York, Grasso started her commercial career with the company immediately upon … Continue reading “Cutters New York hires editor Alison Grasso”

AICP sets new venue, agenda as it comes to Minneapolis

New format includes a ‘happy hour’ for drinks and socializing, followed by a screening of the Next Awards (Minneapolis — 30 August 2018) The honorees of the AICP Show: The Art & Technique of the American Commercial and the AICP Next Awards will be showcased in Minneapolis this year at a re-vamped screening and reception … Continue reading “AICP sets new venue, agenda as it comes to Minneapolis”

Charles Andrew Gardner at Black Harvest Film Fest

“We are starting to have a way for our stories to be shared, told, and heard … it’s only gonna make us and the entertainment industry stronger … It’s time” Charles Andrew Gardener, President of SAG-AFTRA Chicago, was among the guests enjoying the reception following Black Harvest Film Festival’s opening night at The Joffrey Ballet. … Continue reading “Charles Andrew Gardner at Black Harvest Film Fest”

In response to #metoo, MIFF teams with LiftUPLift

Led by acting Director Mike Kwielford, The Midwest Independent Film Festival (“MIFF”) has teamed up with nonprofit LiftUPLift Worldwide in order to create a safer, more inclusive and harassment-free environment for all its participants. LiftUPlift Worldwide is an Illinois-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to end sexual violence by promoting awareness and prevention. Founded … Continue reading “In response to #metoo, MIFF teams with LiftUPLift”

“Middle class” actors, writers, crew hit hard

It’s official. President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (which we’ll call the “Tax Jobs Law”) during an Oval Office ceremony this morning. Next stop, holiday in Florida. With the corporate tax rate set to drop from 35% to 21%, the Tax Jobs Law has been hailed as a “middle-class miracle” by … Continue reading ““Middle class” actors, writers, crew hit hard”

Chicago creative community to aid hurricane victims

Seeking to comfort victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, independent agency Schafer Condon Carter and several trade organizations yesterday launched Chicago Creative Relief, an industry-wide effort to raise $500,000 for affected areas in the US and Caribbean. The program intends to channel the generosity of Chicago’s creative community through a secure online portal that enables … Continue reading “Chicago creative community to aid hurricane victims”

AICP expects 300 guests at annual social event, 4/7

MEET. DRINK. TALK. — that’s the official title of AICP-Midwest’s popular annual event held exclusively for Midwest agency, commercial production and editorial professionals Thursday, April 7 at The Underground.

More than 300 guests are expected from AICP member production companies and their agency clients, “to eat, drink and “talk face-to-face in a comfortable, casual environment,” notes Stan Glapa, Cineverse rentals manager and a member of the event planning committee.

Six industry orgs unite for one big networking event

For the first time, six visual media-related organizations will bring their respective memberships together for the inaugural “getting to know you” Chicago Creatives Cocktail Party, Tuesday, May 26.

Leading the initiative is the Chicago Screenwriters Network (SCN) organized by its president Dante Bacani, who works in legal marketing. 

Colin Costello boosted to top creative post in L.A.

IT ONLY TOOK A MONTH for Colin Costello, a former local agency CD and recent L.A. transplant, to land a big agency job.  Walton Isaacson (of which Magic Johnson is a partner), the agency for which he’s been freelancing, jumped him up to senior creative director, on staff, of course, after he executed successful campaigns for the agency’s Lexus and Los Angeles Dodgers accounts.

MoFest7 a mo’strous hit with 900 guests

One hundred to 200 guests who turn up at an industry event is standard, 300 is darn good – but the 650 people who work as crew members attending last Saturday’s MoFest7, organized by producer Mo Wagdy, was spectacular.

Held at the imperiled 1,200-seat Portage Theatre, the men (it’s safe to say that since women workers, wives and/or dates were few in number) had a great time talking, drinking and devouring massive amounts of food.

The number of guests hit an all-time high of 900 over the two-day Saturday and Sunday fest.

Benefits of merged SAG- AFTRA union welcomed here

After 80 years of on-and-off efforts to merge the two national talent unions, history was made March 30 when the members of national SAG and AFTRA voted in amazingly high numbers to approve the merger of the two labor organizations.

“The merger will immediately have a positive effect on our combined Chicago membership,” says Eric Chaudron executive director of Chicago SAG-AFTRA.

Advertise with REEL CHICAGO

Reel Chicago and national spinoff, Reel 360, are the trusted sources for news, information, industry trends, new campaigns, and the people behind the scenes in advertising, film, TV, music, digital, social and entertainment since 2004.  Speak Directly to Industry Influencers and Potential Clients! Our audience includes: Agencies: Ad Agency Chief Creative Officers, Creative Directors, Heads … Continue reading “Advertise with REEL CHICAGO”

Sweet Home Illinois a sweet night in L.A.

SWEET HOME CHICAGO was a spectacular success Monday at the Le Grande Orange restaurant in Santa Monica, when 350 Chicagoans in the industry turned out for a night of meetups, fun and some down home Chicago food favorites.

Sweet Home was picked up by former IFO director Brenda Sexton after a four-year hiatus, Lettuce Entertain You’s Rich Melman and entertainer Tom Dreesen, who emceed the first party 20 years ago and most of the 15 since then.

AFTRA/SAG okay commercials contract

After three months of negotiations, the Joint SAG-AFTRA National Board on Saturday unanimously voted to approve the new three-year television commercials contract, which provides an estimated $36 million payment boost and about $21 million in increased pension and health benefits.

AFTRA and SAG members will receive the referendum for ratification this week, with a mid-May return date when results will be announced.

Illinois Production Alliance board unanimously elects TV-film producer Sandy Gordon president

Running on a pledge to reinvigorate the Illinois Production Alliance and expand its activities to a larger constituency, film and television producer Sandy Gordon was unanimously elected president of the six-year old organization.

Gordon, who ran unopposed and will serve a one-year term, succeeds Eileen Willenborg, who had been IPA president since 2004.

Up and Down the Avenue

Nicholas Paul heads the Chicago office of FCB’s new 361 Degrees Sports & Event Marketing division. A staff of ultimately 12 will work on sports and sponsorship marketing, event and hospitality services. Paul formerly headed KemperLesnik Sports Marketing.

Film & Tape Works added Mark Johnson as Smoke and online editor, formerly of Swell for 7 years. Another Swell departure was audio engineer Steve Wilke.

Gov. Blagojevich and IFO director Brenda Sexton took a meeting last week in L.A.