Mahatma Ghandi said, “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
On the morning of June 1st 2012, SAG AFTRA and major record labels, (Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and The Walt Disney Co.) reached an agreement on a contract to cover performers in Music Videos and proved that statement to be true.
I had the distinguished honor of serving on the negotiating committee. It was my privilege to work with some remarkable SAG AFTRA staff members, Lawyers, and many talented dancers and choreographers from New York, L.A. and Florida. I was not particularly inspired by the conference room that we sat in for approximately 17 hours a day for two days (or the lack of dinner on day two), but with Ghandi as my witness, I must say that I have never been so full of passion for my craft and my community.
Over the course of those 33 odd hours, discussion covered but was not limited to: minimum daily rates, re-use fees, health & retirement contributions, production conditions, audition conditions, overtime, turn around time, grievance and arbitration (along with many other fancy words that I had to learn), and my favorite- compensation and language for “hazardous” performances. From caucus to caucus, and proposal to proposal, our team worked tirelessly and my head filled with numbers and legal jargon (some of which may or may not begin to trickle into my daily vocabulary). I experienced the entire spectrum of human emotion from rage to elation all behind a “pa pa pa poker face”.
When everything was said and done, seven pages of a tentative agreement were initialed, and hand-shakes were exchange. I had been a part of HISTORY, made by a small body of determined *dancers*, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission to attain a FAIR CONTRACT FOR MUSIC VIDEOS.
All in favor… say “Aye”