The Hoot Smalley Report #3: Reporting from Santa Fe
Coffee, Eggs Benedict who could ask for anything more? Friday was an exciting day! Our President won the Nobel Peace Prize, not for what he has done, for what he hopes to do. The teachers of New Mexico stormed the round house.
Now I wasn’t in Norway or D.C., but I was in Santa Fe. That’s where I saw the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) along with a few other unions form a sizable mob that stormed the front steps of the Round House.
What I found interesting was the solidarity that I.A.T.S.E Local 480 and 423 leaders and members showed in their support of the teachers. Whether through providing a launching point from their meeting hall at the New Mexico Film Museum or running waters to the kids and seniors who were incensed enough to show up and protest the idea of our legislators that cutting off the funding to public education is actually a good idea.
Then as the procession marched its way up to the Round House I noticed that the same I.A.T.S.E. leaders and members were the same ones setting up the P.A. system for the teachers so their leadership could take the stage and speak.
At the end of it all these same guys and gals from I.A.T.S.E were there cleaning up the mess of signs and various bits of litter; leaving the Round House as pristine as it started out before the protest.
To say the least I was very pleased by the decorum of these men and women and their willingness to extend themselves beyond the scope of their own Union’s worries and concerns.
Why, you might ask? The answer is simple, for years I have heard that I.A.T.S.E members are stuck up, crass, and rude. Having seen them in action for the first time I have to say that this is an unfair treatment that they have received over the years. These people are just honest hard working folk who want what we all want I think. A better life and they are not afraid to work for it.
So, with that said. Is it enough? No, the guys and gals of I.A.T.S.E. have an uphill battle against them. Right now the Film Industry here is completely dependent on outside revenue. The profits from spending that revenue here never come back in the form of dividends for the betterment of our state. Sure the state makes money while the New York and L.A. types are here spending their capital, but once the movie is made those profits belong to them.
What then can be done to make the Film Industry more of a firmament in our cities and our state overall? What is required is personal investment. Independent Production Companies are a start. However, if you ask around you will find that none of these local producers are SAG, WGA, or DGA signatories; or if they are they aren’t saying it very loud.
Okay, so let me back up a second: SAG is the Screen Actor’s Guild, WGA is the Writer’s Guild of America, and DGA is the Director’s Guild of America. What is a Signatory? The Signatory is the individual or the company that has signed an agreement with one or more of the above mentioned bodies and agrees to hold themselves accountable by the terms and conditions of the contract.
What does signing one of these contracts do? It is a sign that the given production that is a signatory is professionally produced, thus a more credible source of content for Distribution Companies to take a chance in investing in (i.e., purchasing) the final product and display across the nation.
What all this means is that the membership, specifically, of I.A.T.S.E. local 480 will need to do and the surround film communities of Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces will need to do as well is create long term business models that work with the various other guilds and create and establish the businesses in a perpetual sense that will more fully allow for their own growth and development. This is where we need to help these folks as a state and put up the cash that will allow them to have the seed money necessary to fulfill their future financial obligations and actually create a sustainable industry.