STEPHEN WADDELL – THE (SOON-TO-BE) END OF AN ERA

After 39 years as our Master Steersman of this mighty ship called ACTRA, our Scottish lad from Clan Waddell will soon be taking a step back from the helm.

Stephen Waddell

After 39 years as our Master Steersman of this mighty ship called ACTRA, our Scottish lad from Clan Waddell will soon be taking a step back from the helm.

How to describe what Stephen Waddell has done for this union, YOUR union, is somewhat impossible to describe in a 700-word essay. But here we go.

Stephen helped us achieve a lot of firsts for our union. He helped revamp ACTRA’s infrastructure, making it purr like a kitten. From the get-go, Stephen found ways to better our working conditions, securing residual fees so that long after we shoot a film, we would still see money coming our way. With each successive negotiation with producers, Stephen (our Chief Negotiator) steered the Negotiating Committee into making great gains for ACTRA. The 1995-1998 Independent Production Agreement represented a major change in the way Use fees are calculated so producers could no longer deduct questionable expenses that chipped away at what performers were owed. Then, in 1999, he helped negotiate the VERY FIRST collective agreement in the world to cover performers appearing in digital media ads (that means the Internet!). And who can forget 2007 when Stephen guided us through the very first strike in our union’s history. I was part of the Negotiating Committee that year and it was particularly volatile, but ultimately a successful bargaining round. Not once did Stephen waver in his convictions that we ACTRA members were worth the fight. This led to us achieving the first collective bargaining agreement in the world to contain provisions for New Media production and Use.

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