Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Some good news!

Hey all.

We got some great news yesterday in the mail... there was a FedEx overnight package from the production company who filmed Trish's national Discover Card commercial. Her part in the commercial has been upgraded from "extra" to "Principal." What's this mean? Well, it means more money (which is always nice), but more importantly it means that she's not just going to be in the background of the commercial. Instead she'll be front-and-center in most of the camera shots.

We have no idea what the commercial will look like, or when it's going to be broadcast, but the extra exposure is very welcomed. The down-side? She has to sign a contract with Discover which says that she won't do commercials for any other credit cards, and the Screen Actors Guild may be knocking on her door soon demanding that she join.

Why would either of these things be an issue? The exclusivity contract with Discover would mean that she's cut out of work for any other credit card. If she was guaranteed a certain number of commercials for Discover, that'd be ok... but there's no such guarantee. So, by signing this contract she's effectively taking herself "out of the running" for future work. Kinda lame, but there it is.

The union membership is a little more complicated. If we lived in Los Angeles, union membership would be a very attractive thing. There are many many many SAG commercials and film projects shot down there (and in other larger cities like New York). SAG membership, however, means that you aren't allowed to work on non-union shoots. In the small market of Portland, most of the commercial and film shoots here are non-union. So, if she were to join SAG she'd be taking herself out of the running for that work.

Now, one hand, I'm in full support of the union, and its television (AFTRA) and theatre (Actor's Equity) cousins. Like all unions, these entities protect those folks working in the field. They make sure that health and safety requirements are met, that their members get paid, and that the individual has collective bargaining power within the industry. These are all very good things, and things that every worker in every field should want.

The sticky part, however, is in the pay scale. The acting unions have a minimum amount of pay that they require for each type of role (and, at least in the case of Equity, the pay for the entire run has to be sent to the union in advance of the process). Most of the theatres and production companies in Portland are small, low-budget outfits who can't afford that pay rate, and don't have the money at the beginning of their production process available to pre-pay the union. Because of this, there are few union plays and television/Commercial/Film shoots here in PDX. Consequently, many of not most union actors are forced to travel outside of Portland if they want to work. Trish and I like working, and we like staying in Portland. So... there's the rub.

And that's not even touching on the disarray that SAG is in right now after their recent election... check this out:

Yyyyyeah... this'd be a good time to join. Absolutely :). Sorry, Mary.

In any case, she got upgraded for this spot, and there's no guarantee that union membership is going to be required. So, for the time being, we're just happy that she got upgraded.

Other news:

  • Went to Sam Barlow High School's production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers last night (you may remember that I did some stage combat choreography for this production). It was a hoot! The kids all put out their best performances, and they all committed to the fights I'd arranged. Rhonda McBeth, the director, added some combat elements I wasn't aware of to the show. She said that the kids were all comfortable enough with the moves I'd taught them to be able to work the fights up on their own... and they ended up looking great. I'm very proud of all the kids for what a fine job they did. Sure, there were some hiccups last night... a dropped line here, a mis-cue during a song there... but it was a fun show.
  • It's been a while since I posted any photos on the MSN photo page. We recently got some pictures back of Trish in one of her costumes from Frankenstein at Northwest Children's Theatre. I scanned them in and posted them here (scroll to the bottom of the page to see the new shots).
  • I also posted some new City of Heroes and City of Villains shots. You can find them here. City of Villains is a blast! Trish and I have been playing since the Beta Test period. The game mechanics are exactly the same as City of Heroes, but the tone and style is very different. Plus, the character "Archetypes" (classes, for you traditional RPG'ers) are very different as well. Best of all, we get to play both games for the same monthly fee, AND our the good guys and bad guys can interact in special PVP zones. If you've been waiting to join us in City of Heroes, this could be your chance. Check the game out at, sign up, and join us on the Justice Server. We'll be happy to invite you to our respective supergroups :)

Ok, that's it for now... hope you're all doing well...