Photo: Dave Chilvers
|A Brief Biography:
. . . I was born and raised in England. The small village (population 950) where I was born in the English countryside is famous for its meadows of naturally growing red poppies (see photo). The area is aptly called "Poppyland"and was written about by Clement Scott, who was an influential English theatre critic for the London newspaper "The Daily Telegraph". I have therefore adopted the red poppy as my symbol in this election.
. . .
In England and elsewhere, the red poppy is also a symbol of fallen soldiers in battle. This came about after the poem "Flanders Fields" by Lt. Col. John McCrae in 1915 which mentions red poppies growing on the graves of buried soldiers.
. . . I was in the middle of the war in Iraq in 2007-8, so I am all too aware of those men and women in uniform who died for our great country.
I currently live in Hawai'i, but I travel to Southern California quite often for acting work in Hollywood.
If elected, I will move to Hollywood. I already have a place there where I can stay.
I have been a very active member of SAG (and later SAG-AFTRA) for about 10 years now.
The Best Decision I Ever Made in my Life:
Moving to Southern California from England, many years ago.
One of the Happiest Moments in my Life:
My first Principal role - as a singer in the SAG-signatory movie "Beerfest".
One of the Best Experiences in my Life:
In 2008, on R&R from Iraq, I was visiting the province of Western Australia for the first time. Driving up the coast, along the Indian Ocean, I came across these huge sand dunes that stretched up the coast for miles. I hiked into the dunes with my sleeping bag and slept the night there. It was a very clear summer night and as I lay down, I could see thousands of stars in the sky. There were no humans, no houses, no cars to be seen, not even a plane. The only sounds to be heard were of the occasional bird, the light wind rustling through the tufts of hardy dune grass, and the waves lapping on the shore. I felt like I was one with nature. What an experience!
One of the Saddest Moments in my Life:
In Iraq in 2007, I was responsible for setting up a memorial service to 6 U.S. Army soldiers killed the day before in a single ambush in Baqubah, Iraq.
As a teenager, I was an avid surfer. There's good waves in England but the water is cold, so you have to wear a full length wet suit when surfing. I have lifted weights for all of my adult life. While attending The University of Salford in England, I won the British Universities' Powerlifting Championships at 198lbs body weight. My best ever powerlifts were 500lbs Squat, 350lb Bench Press, and a 600lbs Deadlift. Yes, I am a strong guy. Today, I alternate cardio one day with weights the next. I am a great believer in a healthy lifestyle which means eating right, exercising regularly and staying away from party drugs.
My Favorite Movies:
. . . .
My Favorite TV Shows:
M*A*S*H, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Antiques Roadshow.
My Favorite TV News Shows:
The Rachel Maddow Show, This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
My Favorite Foreign Country I Like to Visit:
Australia (4 times)
|. . . Education:
- Bachelors degree in Business Administration, The University of Salford, England.
- I am currently finishing up my Masters degree in Communication at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu. My thesis is called "Perceptions of the successful merger between SAG and AFTRA". It will make for very interesting reading when completed as I have a lot of inside knowledge on the subject.
. . . For 15 months in 2007-8, I worked for a U.S. Army contractor in Iraq at Camp Speicher, near Tikrit (Saddam Hussein's birthplace) and also at Camp Warhorse (near Baqubah, just north of Baghdad).
. . . Since 2006, on a fairly regular basis (except when I was in Iraq), I have worked as a role player on the "Mojave Viper" missions with the U.S. Marines at their 29 Palms base in the California high desert, north of Palm Springs. For 4 days, we populate a mock-up Iraqi (later Afghan) village while the Marines search for insurgents. There's all kinds of pyrotechnics, bombs going off etc. Firefights and so on. We take part in scenarios that are recreated from real life experiences of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. It can be quite exciting at times. I am very happy to do my small part in helping the Marines prepare for battle before going overseas to encounter the real thing.
To be elected the President of SAG-AFTRA, and to make our union a strong national union for all members.
What I will attempt to do for members if elected:
1. Split Earnings. I believe I can temporarily solve the problem of split earnings by simply following the law. In 1952, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that The Television Authority's (TvA) jurisdiction was television "done in a live manner". The TvA was a forerunner of AFTRA. SAG's jurisdiction was filmed (scripted) television and movies. NLRB decisions become Federal law. If elected, I will follow the law and enforce the jurisdictions as laid down by the NLRB in 1952. This will be a temporary solution until the TV/Theatrical contracts expire in 2014. By then, the two pension and health plans should be closer to merging, and the problem of split earnings should be resolved.
2. SAG-Producers Pension & Health Plan (SAG-PPHP). With alleged embezzlement and cover ups and other alleged wrong-doings that have been happening, it's time for an independent outside forensic audit of the SAG-PPHP going back at least 7 years. This will ensure that our pension and health money is being protected and invested wisely.
3. A National Union for Background Actors. I will work on making SAG-AFTRA a NATIONAL Union for all actors, not just Principal actors. I will work on bringing the current background quotas in the West Coast zones (currently 57 for film) in line with the New York zone of 80. Then work on making quotas national, not just in the small number of zones. SAG-AFTRA background actors need more work, so why should it be given away to non-union actors? Once background quotas are the same in every state of the U.S.A., there will be one less reason for productions to leave Hollywood or New York.
4. Keep the Locals Open. There has been a lot of controversy over the closure of ten locals, and the reduction in budgets in the other small locals. I believe this is a very bad decision. SAG-AFTRA needs representation nationwide, especially with what Republicans are trying to do by attempting to spread right to work statutes to other states. I support keeping all the locals open. But, in return, they must try harder to unionize local TV and radio broadcasters, and other productions.
5. New Media. The future is New Media, where residuals are pitiful at best. I will work diligently to get them substantially increased. When the Producers make money, we should also.
6. Working Off The Card. No, it's not okay for SAG-AFTRA members to work non-union. Global Rule One applies to everybody, and will be enforced if I am elected.
7. Foreign Residuals. I will appoint an independent outside commission to investigate all matters regarding residuals, foreign and domestic, and the alleged theft that has been going on for the last 20 years. Once a final report has been made, I will take any necessary legal action against any and all those responsible for the theft of our residuals. I will also ask this commission to recommend safeguards against future theft, and then put them into place so that SAG-AFTRA actors will be protected.
8. TV/Theatrical Contracts. I will play hardball in the upcoming negotiations in 2014 for the TV/Theatrical contracts. I don't care how many times the union negotiators have to go back to the bargaining table. I will work my tail off to get the best possible contracts for all members. I will NOT allow our negotiators to capitulate on the first round, like the previous administration did with the new Music video contract, where an estimated 40,000 union background jobs per year were eliminated nationwide.
9. Board Member Salaries. There is a provision in the new SAG-AFTRA constitution that allows Board members to be paid a salary. If this is allowed to happen, it may attract the wrong kind of person who is only there for the money, and not the members. I am opposed to paying all Board members any kind of salary.
10. Building Purchase. According to the latest LM2 (a union financial statement that is required to be filed yearly with the US Dept. of Labor), SAG's lease rent for the building and parking at 5757 Wilshire Blvd is a whopping $3.3 million per year. I will have SAG-AFTRA staff work on finding a suitable free-standing building in Hollywood to purchase for the future home of SAG-AFTRA after the current lease at 5757 Wilshire expires. Why are we making our landlord rich, when we could purchase our own property and build equity, thereby putting SAG-AFTRA on a much sounder financial footing? Once the Los Angeles building has been purchased, we can work on doing the same thing for our offices in New York City. Although it will be a tough nut to crack due to the very high cost of real estate in Manhattan.
11. A Democratic Union. Unlike the current administration, I am a firm believer in democracy. When it comes to major policy decisions, such as elections etc., I will make sure that both sides of the argument will have equal space in the SAG-AFTRA "Actor" magazine and at the SAG-AFTRA website www.sagaftra.org.
12. Changing the Name Back to SAG. The Screen Actors Guild had a very prestigous and well-recognized name, with a spectacular history of almost 80 years. If elected, I will give members a chance to vote on a proposal to change the name of the union back to SAG from SAG-AFTRA. If a majority of voters agree, we can bring back the prestigous name of The Screen Actors Guild, together with the logo.
13. The New Constitution. This needs to be changed in many areas which can only be done at the Convention. One section that particularly irks me is the provision that allows our union to charge a fee for residuals. Luckily this hasn't happened yet, but let's delete it before they do, shall we?
I fully realize that as SAG-AFTRA President I cannot implement all these policy suggestions by myself. But the President can lead and make recommendations to the entire SAG-AFTRA Board. I can also make suggestions to the Trustees of the Boards of the SAG-Producers Pension and Health Plan and the AFTRA H&R plan. This requires LEADERSHIP, something our previous President lacked.
for SAG-AFTRA President
If a man from Hawai'i can become President of the United States, then another man from Hawai'i can become President of SAG-AFTRA !!
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