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Understanding SAG

9:30-10:45 a.m. -- 9th Fl. Room #C998

Representatives from SAG explain the process and benefits of joining SAG. Panelists will also discuss what the union of SAG is doing to protect and better its members. Moderated by Todd Amorde, SAG's National Director of Organizing.

Speakers include:
-- Alan Rosenberg, SAG President
-- Ray Rodriguez, Deputy National Executive Director, Contracts
-- Terri Becherer, National Director, Background Contracts
-- Mark Friedlander,  National Director, New Media
-- Anne-Marie Johnson, SAG First National Vice President


Alan Rosenberg
Alan Rosenberg has a formidable list of credits encompassing stage, film, and television. His best-known credits include his portrayal of Eli Levinson on the 1990s courtroom series Civil Wars — a character so popular it was reprised on the hit TV series L.A. Law. Rosenberg also won legions of fans for his portrayals of Ira Woodbine, the amiable ex-husband of Cybill Shepherd on the sitcom Cybill, and Alvin Masterson on The Guardian. On film he portrayed the apostle Thomas in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ.

And on Broadway he performed in Lost in Yonkers, among other productions. In 1995 he received an Emmy nomination for his guest role as an ailing cardiac patient on NBC's ER. He has recently made recurring appearances on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Fox's House, M.D. A native of Passaic, N.J., he says entertainment and social justice are blended in his DNA.

In the 1960s he was highly involved in the civil rights movement and protesting the Vietnam War. He first became active in union politics as a New York stage actor. He recalls earning his Actors' Equity card as "one of the proudest moments of my life" and became even more active after former U.S. President Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers. Rosenberg first ran for the national board of Screen Actors Guild in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ray W. Rodriguez
Ray W. Rodriguez is deputy national executive director and head of contracts for the Screen Actors Guild. As such, he runs the contracts department, which is the guild's largest department — responsible for negotiating, administering, and enforcing the guild's collective bargaining agreements. He sits second chair to the guild's national executive director and chief negotiator, Doug Allen, at all negotiations.

Rodriguez previously served as deputy general counsel of the Screen Actors Guild in the guild's New York office, where he managed the guild's legal function for New York and the eastern states. He came to the guild with experience as a labor and employment lawyer for O'Melveny & Myers LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He has also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Vaughn R. Walker of the Northern District of California.

Rodriguez is a graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia University School of Law, where he was an executive editor of the Columbia Law Review. He hails originally from Brooklyn but lives and works in Los Angeles.

Terri Becherer
Terri Becherer is the director of the background actors department at the Screen Actors Guild national headquarters in Hollywood. She began her career at the guild in 1997 as a business representative-auditor in the television contracts department. In 2004 she was promoted to acting manager and later to manager of television contracts.

She took over as head of the background actors department in 2005, where she has dedicated her efforts to raising awareness of background actor issues in the industry and developing educational seminars for background actors. She is a former member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 986, and a staunch unionist. Her passion is preserving work opportunities and improving working terms and conditions for members of the creative community.

Mark Friedlander
Mark Friedlander is the national director of new media for the Screen Actors Guild, advising senior staff regarding the guild's Interactive and New Media contracts and providing guidance on all issues relating to new media. He also serves as consultant to the member-led Interactive, New Technology, and New Media committees, and oversees the guild's ongoing efforts to monitor emerging technology trends in the entertainment industry. He came to SAG in 2005 as a business representative in the contracts department, specializing in theatrical, new media, and interactive projects. After earning a B.A. in political science from the University of Southern California, he earned a J.D. from California Western School of Law, as well as a Master of Laws in entertainment and media law from Southwestern University. He also attended the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute at Cambridge University.

Anne-Marie Johnson
A Los Angeles native and a UCLA graduate, Ms. Johnson has a very busy career on television as well as on the big screen. She starred in several successful television series, In The Heat of the Night, What's Happening Now, In Living Color, and Melrose Place. Ms. Johnson co-starred as "Donna Cabonna" on The Disney Channels hit television series, That's So Raven. For five seasons she portrayed Congresswoman "Bobbie Latham" on CBS's hit military drama JAG.

Johnson appeared for two seasons on the hit UPN comedy Girlfriends as "Sharon Upton Farley". Her feature film credits include L.A. Riots Spectacular, Hollywood Shuffle, Strictly Business, I'm Gonna Git U Sucka, Robotjox, True Identity, Down in the Delta, Pursuit of Happiness, and Legacy of A Hit Man.

Johnson produced and starred in the critically acclaimed West Coast premiere of Bee-Luther-Hatchee. Other producing credits include "On and On", a pilot presentation for the Showtime Cable Channel. Ms. Johnson is in her second term as the Screen Actors Guild First National Vice President and has spent seven years as National Board Member. Ms. Johnson has also served as Chair of the SAG National EEOC.

Todd Amorde (Moderator)
A professional actor and member of the Screen Actors Guild for 18 years, Todd Amorde was elected to SAG's national board of directors in 1997. He has served on the National Executive Committee, as chair of the National Contract Campaign Committee, and as chair of the Joint SAG/AFTRA Strike Committee during the 2000 commercial strike. In January 2001, he joined SAG's professional staff serving as director of special projects and then director of member education, where he was lead staff on the successful Global Rule One campaign.

He is currently SAG's national director of organizing; his duties include the design and implementation of SAG's national organizing efforts, including those for Spanish-language, new media, and interactive games. He provides oversight to national task forces, Member Organizing Volunteer Efforts, and is responsible for the development of staff and member organizers. Based in Hollywood, he supervises staff in Hollywood, New York, and Miami.

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