Reported by John Henley, the outgoing Chair of the Caucus.
I don't have the final numbers yet but think there were around 75-80 people at the meeting, so the hall we were using was reasonably full.
I opened the meeting with thanks to everyone who took the trouble to wade through slush and snow to get there, to Dan Mackenzie and staff for setting up the meeting, and to the Apprentice caucus committee for their assistance.
The first part of my report dealt with matters that were of concern when the caucus was formed two years ago. These included the 3% deduction from our cheques, preference of enagagement, and the fact that being an Apprentice really placed us in limbo! Money was better, the food was better but the work opportunities diminished rapidly.
Then I covered what had been achieved in the way of changes to the system during the 2 year period:
I was able to have the motion tabled, and was asked to participate in a committee meeting to discuss the issue. I fought for a maximum of 3 credits, and ACTRA wanted 1. We settled at 2. Not as many as I would have liked but better than a single credit. Councillors appear to consider that there is more value in an SOC in a commercial (where there is virtually no acting) than a student movie in which you have a real acting role and lines.
Because the proposals are just at the discussion stage I am prevented from outlining them here, but I do suggest that Apprentices build up their number of credits as soon as they can, as this may help them down the road. That is why I have spent so much time trying to exhort people to get their student film credits NOW and to take the new Intensive Training Course (which replaces the Actraworks Course) beginning in March/April 2004.
There is no reason for anyone, who is an Apprentice right now, not to be able to get to 3 or 4 credits by taking the course (which will run from Friday to Sunday) or do the 2 student movies. I mentioned that I post student movie auditions on the Apprentice web site.
During my two years in office I have helped to raise the profile of the Apprentice Caucus among the ATP councillors, and the changes that are taking place are a direct result of that work.
Just remember that the membership changes are only at a discussion stage. The suggestions have to be presented and approved by the Toronto Council, then the document goes to ACTRA National, then to all the branches throughout Canada, then back to ACTRA National, then back to Toronto and then to a referendum of the members. You can be sure there will be changes, which is why it is so important for ALL Apprentices to keep working towards their 6 credits until a final decision on the membership changes have been approved.
I then introduced Brian Topp who spoke for half an hour on ACTRA related topics, the state of the industry, projects on which ACTRA is working and the money being invested to get production to come to Toronto. He also talked about the promised support from David Miller and also the Provincial and federal governments.
The meeting was then handed over to Dan Mackenzie who ran the elections, with the following results.
For continuity purposes, the positions are for 2 years even if a person becomes a full member in the meantime. This is to save having additional meetings here and there to elect replacements.
Chair: James Finnerty (formerly the Vice Chair)
Vice Chair: Shereen Airth (formerly Vice Chair of the ACTRA Extras)
Secretary: Cheryl Hancock (No change)
Two members at Large:
David Gray (No change)
David Farquhar: (New committee member)
The elections were followed by a Q & A session with a panel consisting of Barbara Larose (Steward), Eda Zimler (IPA), Judy Barefoot (Commercials), Austin Schatz (New membership initiative) and Elizabeth McCallum (VP Internal) covering the Co-op programme.
There were some excellent questions and I was particularly heartened by the number addressed to Barbara Larose about student movies. As most of you know, I have been most supportive of student movie ventures and have tried to get Apprentices to realise how important it is to get involved with them so that they can gain two of the credits they need.(Only 1 student movie credit if you are a minority group)
Once the Q & A was over, I closed the meeting with final thanks to everyone and handed the "metaphorical gavel" over to the new Chair, James Finnerty.
To those of you who attended, thankyou. I would also like to thank everyone for the support that they have given to me during my terms as Vice Chair and Chair of the Apprentice Caucus.
Thankyou Roz and Paul for getting the caucus started. I have enjoyed representing Apprentices for the last two years and I know that we have made a difference.
January 22nd 2004