Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Coming up Short

My impression of I.A.T.S.E. president Tom Short has not improved after reading these two articles which appeared originally in the L.A. Times (2006) and the L.A. weekly (1995.) They can speak for themselves.

I myself have been rather bemused by the fact that as a freelance photographer working for a magazine or newspaper I was paid better rates and retained more rights to my photographs than I would working under the Local 600 contract. Of course, I couldn't actually shoot on a set without belonging to the union, as I discovered when my friend George R.R. Martin asked me to take pictures for him to promote his pilot "Doorways" back in 1992. I'm lucky that the producer nicely told me that after two days I couldn't shoot any more, rather than find my equipment destroyed (a reaction I had read about in the past.) I did join Local 600 when the opportunity arose--it took me two years to pay off the $5000 initiation fee, which is far higher than the WGA's, btw--and I pay my $800 a year in dues despite never getting a job through the union. Those annual dues are eight times what a non-working WGA member pays. The only reason why I simply haven't quit paying those dues is that someday I might need to be on set with a camera and I'd rather not be stopped.

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