Morning (SAG-AFTRA) Merger Wake Up Call
Yes, I am a gym rat again. Yay. But this morning, this Wednesday morning, I can sleep in for a change, right?
8:02AM the phone rings. Ugh. Why?! Please, God! It better be someone on the West Coast with important news.
No. It's an 855 area code. I don't know this area code. Oh, dear. Trouble with the law. Joking.
I answer just to stop the phone ringing. I manage a faint, "Hello?".
I hear a loud female voice on the other end, "Is this Ann Hu?"
I answer, "Yes..?", in my froggy, half-brained, still have earplugs in my ears, morning voice.
This woman is talking AT me. Not TO me. Not FOR me or even ABOUT me; as a member of both unions who is now even more perplexed on which way to vote.
I felt like I was being pelted by a high frequency verbal AK47.
And then I realize that there is no way my brain is going to comprehend the details or even remember anything she is saying to me.
I'm still wrapped up in the snug!
I beg, "Ma'am? Can you please call me back at another time to talk about this issue? I know it's important, but I was sleeping."
She answers, "Oh, I'm sorry Ann, but I'm afraid I won't be able to get a hold of your number again, oh wait, could you hold on for a second please...?"
I hear her give website instructions to someone who must have been sitting next to her, "Click here and then here, yes, that's right! Oh! Ann! Sorry to interrupt your call! Yes, so...".and she keeps on talking.
She continues to lecture, from what I'm guessing is a script, at the loudest audible volume I can imagine, in the most incomprehensible rhythm of speech needed in order to clearly relay the significant facts she was responsible for communicating.
"D.C.", she answers.
"Okay, ma'am, I'm in Los Angeles, and it's early here."
"Oh dear! Oh my God! I am so sorry," she gets it finally.
"Yes, please...thank you for calling, but I really need to go. Thank you. Goodbye." And I hang up.
Less than a minute later, my phone rings agian. Same number. "Hello?" There is no sound on the other side, but I know exactly who it is. "Hello??!!"
Still no response, and then five seconds later, she hangs up.
Well! It turns out she could in fact get back to my number after all. Wow. I attempt to go back to bed.
Fail. My brain had already started to write this blog.
But now I have more questions besides the To Merge? Or Not to Merge dilemna?
First, why is someone from D.C. calling me about my unions? I thought both the SAG and AFTRA headquarters were in Los Angeles and New York respectively? Maybe I don't know?
I do live in the bubble that is the west side of Los Angeles. And I'll admit, my head has been buried in scripts lately more than newsletters.
Secondly, the woman sounded like she was hired to campaign. She sounded desperate, over stimulated and well, to be honest, crazy.
Thirdly, since when did SAG or AFTRA invest in marketing campaign calls?
This whole merger issue sounds like there is a lot more at stake than giving actors the strong representation and protection we deserve. A few days ago I found this video of Ed Harris speaking on the merger.
A few days before that, I learned on the local news that there is a lawsuit being filed against this merger...?
Can we afford to be this unorganized? And by we I mean, SAG, AFTRA, and all the actors in between?
In the speed of the digital age, where producers are at least ten clicks ahead of us, can we afford to be anything less than a union, less then unions, that have our s--- together?
It seems that this long awaited merger is only tearing us further apart.
I would love to be an actor who has the potential to make a living off of residuals, while working on new creative films and projects, accumulating health and pension benefits.
Kevin Costner must be rolling in it. I think both The Bodyguard and Robin Hood; Prince of Thieves have been playing on the BBC channel, FX, and the Lifetime Channel simultaneously for the past month.
And I would also love for there to be one strong, progressive union for actors. But now I feel confused, torn and suspicious. Who do you trust? The movie star? Or the morning merger wake up call?
(photos and videos courtesy of CVS, SAG, AFTRA, and Ed Harris)
Yours Truly -- Ann Hu