Advice on going Local 600 as a 2nd AC?
Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:04 AM
I am a 2nd AC based out of New York looking to join Local 600. I am a little confused as to how to start off and get myself into the IER. I also have a few other related questions of things I'm trying to better understand.
If I'm not on the IER does the union help me get work as a member that's not on the IER?
How much are the upfront dues to join as a 2nd AC? And what is the annual dues and what's the billing cycle like?
Is there any way I could shadow a union shoot specifically in the camera department through 600?
Is it difficult to meet the 400 hours/12 months requirement for health benefits when you start out? If so how long was your struggle?
Was there anything like attending networking events that helped you establish yourself in the union world as an AC? If so what were they?
Any tips in specific about reaching out to ACs or DPs I'm trying to work with?
I am a mature, well organized and dependable professional who is 21 years old and chasing a true dream. I don't wish to be a DP, my heart lies in being an AC. My end goal is to 1st but I am not one of those 2nds that wants to prematurely try and move up to 1st'ing. My hopes with this thread are that I can gain some clarity on a few questions and maybe even some contacts that can help me get my foot in the door as a 600 AC. Thank you to those who respond, any help or wisdom is greatly appreciated.
Posted 03 January 2014 - 11:05 AM
First off, you should contact Contract Services. They are the organization that administers the Industry Experience Roster.
Usually the requirements are 100 non union days in a 3 year period or 30 union days in a 1 year period.
On the West coast, there is no point joining the union without being on the roster, as you will not be able to work union jobs without it, but I believe the East coast has no such requirement.
The membership reps at the guild will be able to answer all your questions.
Posted 03 January 2014 - 11:40 AM
If you don't have union contacts I don't see any reason to make the jump and join - but you can't accept union jobs if you aren't in. It's kind of a catch 22.
The only way to "shadow" the camera department on a union show is to find someone who's willing to bring you on as a Camera PA or trainee. In my experience I have either known the director or 1st AC who was able to make this happen.
My classification is 1st AC, but I've been able to 2nd as well. The cost to join 600 as an AC is about $7,000. If you're on a show that flips I've heard people pay as little as $150. Your quarterly dues depend on how much of a deposit you put towards your entry fee. My roommate put down about 2k and her dues are about $250-$300 every quarter.
Being 600 and/or on the IER doesn't guarantee you work nor does it help you get work. The IER is also known as the Producers List. Producers have access to this list if they're absolutely at a last resort to find crew.
I worked at a rental house at the beginning of my career in LA and made some great union contacts from my time there.
Posted 03 January 2014 - 01:30 PM
Posted 04 January 2014 - 09:13 PM
I just finished going through the process of submitting my days and awaiting approval. It's worth mentioning that the only type of work that CSATF accepts are Broadcast TV shows & commercials and feature films with intentioned distribution. They do not accept web only.
This might change or they may be a little more flexible on things like Netflix or Hulu shows. A lot of my work has been on web commercials; Those paid advertisements that appear before you watch something on YouTube. Because they only appear on the web, CSATF would not count them toward my days.
Also, CSATF will have a form letter - to be signed by a producer - to verify the number of days, type of project, method of distribution, and a bunch of other things that have nothing to do with your job. Be sure that ALL the details of the project are included on this letter or they will send it back for re-submittal, and interrupt what is already a slow process.
One more thing: CSATF is happier if you submit your days as you go rather than just mail them a big wad of paperwork. I kinda did the middle ground of accumulating my days then submitted piecemeal as my producers' letters trickled back to me.
Posted 31 January 2014 - 01:23 PM
Definitely do call CSATF and find out exactly what the requirements are for your position.
I am 600 based in Dallas, TX and have about 20 union days and several hundred non-union. But when I called they told me that as a loader I cannot submit ANY non-union days, and furthermore, my union days do not count since I was hired local. They required that my union days be hired in Los Angeles and transported by the production out of state for them to count at all.
for what it's worth.