Joining the IATSE Local 161 in NYC – Film Accountants
February 10, 2010 2 Comments
I got this on my facebook from a young woman in New York who is breaking into film accounting and had a question about IATSE Local 161. I thought it was a good question so i’m putting it here on my blog, along with my answer, for you all to read:
I was contacted by the assistant to the business agent for local 161 about joining the union. My option was to join now, and pay the yearly dues upfront or wait until I am on a union job. I’ve been working on mod. L/B and documentary films; so coming out of pocket to join 161 isn’t feasible at this point (and the prospect of getting on a union gig fresh outta the gate seems like a catch 22).
Are you currently a 161 member? What are your thoughts on joining careerwise?
Any anecdotes or advise from you would be greatly appreciated. Very much looking forward to the Accounting 101 classes in April – I’m FIRED UP!
I’m not a Local 161 member (I’m in the Director’s Guild), but career wise I’d say it’s a good move when you come out of the commercial arena into TV/Film. The benefits are good and you don’t have to take as much flak from producers. I worked on a low budget production years ago (1987), called “The Brain” (yup – for real). It was non-union and the crew started to work on a Friday morning and worked straight through to Sunday afternoon, taking turns laying down on the mats for a rest. The producer said it was 1 day because there wasn’t break in their day!! (The producer died a few years ago and nobody missed the poor sod). The UPM did fight for the crew and got them 2 days pay, no overtime. True story. So…. unions really are needed as much as I love to bellyache about them.
See you soon!