UnionWorking Podcast

8 - Influencers and Digital Work

April 17, 2020 UnionWorking Season 1 Episode 8
8 - Influencers and Digital Work
UnionWorking Podcast
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UnionWorking Podcast
8 - Influencers and Digital Work
Apr 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 8

UW was blessed with the presence of Influencer Content Manager/Creator Brent Popolizio and Low-Budget Digital Waiver commercial producer Nevin Millan for this tremendously important conversation about the state of “micro-budget” content, influencers, Quibi and the challenge SAG-AFTRA faces today in its effort to organize and capture the billions of dollars being lost. 

UW Voices: Kevin E. West, Mike C. Nelson
UW Guests: Brent Popolizio, Nevin Millan 

Episode References and Topical Links: Dude Dad, Quibi, Low Budget Digital Waiver

This episode of the UnionWorking Podcast was recorded February 25, 2020, at Southpaw Studios / ASG Casting. Big thanks to our guests and to our hosts Arlene Schuster-Goss (ASG Casting) & Justin Radley (Southpaw Studios) for helping UnionWorking keep our podcast rolling onward!

Sound Engineer: Shaan Sharma
Sound Editing: Craig Welzbacher
Executive Producer: Jack Levy jack@podcastsage.com / 818-233-0640

Email us at info@unionworking.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

UW was blessed with the presence of Influencer Content Manager/Creator Brent Popolizio and Low-Budget Digital Waiver commercial producer Nevin Millan for this tremendously important conversation about the state of “micro-budget” content, influencers, Quibi and the challenge SAG-AFTRA faces today in its effort to organize and capture the billions of dollars being lost. 

UW Voices: Kevin E. West, Mike C. Nelson
UW Guests: Brent Popolizio, Nevin Millan 

Episode References and Topical Links: Dude Dad, Quibi, Low Budget Digital Waiver

This episode of the UnionWorking Podcast was recorded February 25, 2020, at Southpaw Studios / ASG Casting. Big thanks to our guests and to our hosts Arlene Schuster-Goss (ASG Casting) & Justin Radley (Southpaw Studios) for helping UnionWorking keep our podcast rolling onward!

Sound Engineer: Shaan Sharma
Sound Editing: Craig Welzbacher
Executive Producer: Jack Levy jack@podcastsage.com / 818-233-0640

Email us at info@unionworking.com

spk_1:   0:06
We're rolling on the union working podcast at Southpaw Studios and a SG casting union. Working is a grassroots organization of film, television and commercial performers of SAG AFTRA.

spk_2:   0:18
We're dedicated to solutions, ideas and creating a union that works for all of us. So we hope you will enjoy our informative, entertaining and at times a reverend podcast about the challenges facing the modern day union actor. We support a membership driven membership model because way people

spk_0:   0:35
Hello, I am Kevin E. West, one of the podcasting UW core. And to my right is my man. Mike Nelson might say, Hi, Hi, everybody. And we have with us too Fabulous guests today, one of whom is the executive producer of Top Five Live flagship Daily Show for Awesomeness TV Head of Creative for Life of Dad. And the man had himself has done over 100 commercials. And that would be Brent

spk_3:   0:58
Felicio. I wrote that myself. I did a

spk_0:   1:05
good job. I hope I have pulled that off for you. You didn't intercourse next to Britt. Over here we have ah, Mr Nevin Milan, who is done commercial production for Honda and Pro Flowers and Dole and Natural light beer. You got several indie films and you got a comedy pilot coming up. Nevin, are you here this time? I'm here. Way haven't we? Haven't actually lost you yet, but anything is possible with this.

spk_3:   1:32
Ran down his list a lot faster than mine because there was a lot more to get through this. It's nice. I like to kind of 100

spk_0:   1:39
100 commercials. Is a nice round figure

spk_3:   1:40
is getting on. And we're

spk_0:   1:42
gonna be covering some stuff today with regards to low budget digital waiver contracts and commercials. But also mixing in a lot of influencer content which, because we now actually have some signatory, is related to influencers and just where we're all headed. And eventually we'll all just have the middle name quickie.

spk_3:   1:59
So, uh, short, fast, short, fast. Give it a rest of life. I have a quick

spk_0:   2:04
opening question for both you guys and I'm open. I get somewhat severely different answers.

spk_3:   2:09
Uh, what do you

spk_0:   2:11
think the greatest and worse things about the digital world are for actors and producers?

spk_3:   2:18
Uh, I think the greatest part of the digital world is that people have the freedom to kind of create their own universe, especially artists, performers. That's really what it's all about. They're creating their own universe. And I I would even go so far as to say to me, It's really the future of what content is going to be. I think the studios and networks are going to try harder and harder to align themselves with great performers like Kevin Hart is a great example of someone who is taking his content and shaping it into, AH, whole network and a whole studio system of you want to see Comedy. Kevin Hart knows the comedy not just Kevin Hart's comedy, but somebody Else, This guy's comedy and this girl's comment on this woman's comedy. So I think that's the best part. The worst part is the digital world has accepted a life of peanuts, which is bizarre, right? So, um, because it's do it yourself, they're willing to do everything themselves. They don't know how to produce. They don't know how to hire. They don't know how to pay people properly. They don't know how to produce anything. And so you get this. You have this whole universe of people who just don't understand ah, business that already has quality regulations all surrounding it. They don't know how to do it,

spk_0:   3:43
right. Outstanding. Nevin. From a commercial production standpoint, you you have a couple of wrinkles on that.

spk_4:   3:48
Well, you know, I don't know you're gonna get severely different answers, but, um, you know, like you said, I think the content creation is fantastic, especially for as an actor myself. And you know, someone who writes and create stuff that for me to act it and also my friends and whatnot. Um, it's fantastic. The digital world. I mean, you can put stuff out there like you couldn't before 10 15 years ago even, you know, um, but when it comes to commercial production and actors and being an actor, that's in a unique spot. Having produced and been in those rooms, when you're, you know, they're they're all doing non union, this non union, that they all want to go nonunion for everything because it's cheaper and it's less of a pain in the ass. Always other excuses that they give, um, Now you've got this digital influencer world, and well, I've got this person who's got you know, one million followers on whatever and why do I need to hire someone. So, Union guy, when I can get this person who can get my word out in the same way And they're not union, I have to deal with all that other stuff and I can pay them like you said peanuts and s. So there's a lot of challenges from that aspect. Like trying to figure out what is the solution to monetize this in a way with the union and everyone is happy. And how do you track though commercials and all these kind of techie, you know, bumps in the road that, you know, we gotta figure that out.

spk_3:   5:03
Can I say what? Can I say this? So it's right along this. It's kind of a weird, long story. I'll try to make it really short story. So I'm managing people right now. I'm mentoring influencers right as we speak and having a conversation this morning with a guy who I'm not gonna mention who it is, but he's a really big influencer. He's got a new show coming out on a D. I Y. Network on like a you know, like a food network type type thing. Cute big influencer got now to the cable network side. Now he's dealing with. But but because he's come from this world, he's dealing with three brands that want to work with him and create contracts with him. He's dealing with the cable network that is trying to tell him what he can do when he can't do for brands. And he doesn't know how much to charge the brands for his influence. Our work. And he also doesn't know how to produce the stuff on his own. It's like it's like the beginning of television. It's like we're back 100 years ago. I'm not kidding. It's think

spk_1:   6:13
this kid is coming to

spk_3:   6:13
me and going like, How does this work? And I'm going, Oh, men, this is how we're. Here's how it works. Like I'm gonna I'm gonna explain to you how it works, and and he's like, Oh, but I don't I can't put all those things into places like No, that's why it's taken like 100 years for us to get here with contracts and producers and directors and all

spk_1:   6:31
of these

spk_3:   6:32
different people who are in place to help this process go smoothly and fairly, and I don't blame him. I certainly blame. It's almost like we've broken the building apart and and now the The client is just running around like they're so giddy. They can't even believe it. They're like it's like it's like a free market. So I guess it's going to be This guy might get this many eyeballs, my thinking, no mind to deal with the union stuff. And it's like it's a wild West, Wild West Wild West until it's gonna it's gonna form itself because these people are going to start. He's going to start to get pissed off. He's gonna realize eventually he's getting Hoodwinked and he's going to get picked up in any way. I'm sorry. I know it's that's That's an interesting diatribe, but just well, it's that double edged sword.

spk_4:   7:18
You know what I mean? Where it's like, Oh, I can get more work because I'm doing this non union and there's no union than evidence, No, that stuff. But then he's like, Well, now getting screwed exploitation that for me. How am I gonna do this? You know, so there there needs to be a cohesive conversation created and put this all together,

spk_3:   7:35
and he doesn't and the guy doesn't know it's not his fault. Like he just he hasn't been in this world. That is new,

spk_0:   7:42
right? See, that sounds like the worst to me. The worst part is, is that you have people who have developed an audience, you know, you go back to Procter and Gamble, you go back to Johnson and Johnson and the the audience was there, and then you paid for how much it was worth. But now you can create an audience, and this is all done backwards, and it just sounds to me like it fits in the court of corporate America's scheme in that they do a lot of ready fire aim. They just start firing stuff of people before they actually have a game plan, and it leads me to ask, and I'm really curious because I know some of this is always gonna be the latter. But I'm curious about the former is how much do you guys really think that it's on Lee about the dollars or how much it is in this decision based on someone who's got a 1,000,000 followers or doing a project for Honda or Dole who has money and it's about the dollars or we just don't really want to deal with the union.

spk_4:   8:30
Um, I think it's mostly about the money. It's mostly financed most. Their decisions are financial based. And then, um, there's there is, you know, with the union. You know, the quote unquote pain in the, you know are dealing with that you

spk_3:   8:46
can say Yeah, okay.

spk_4:   8:47
Pain in the ass dealing with him. Um, but ah, from my from sitting in those rooms with those people with the people that make decisions about the money, it's usually like, Well, you know, I'd rather pay this guy 300 bucks for this one day instead of dealing with residuals or, you know, $20,000 buyout or whatever. Um, it's mostly financially based.

spk_3:   9:08
I agree. I worked at ah production company called Durable goods as the E. P for their branded stuff back in the like, 2009 when I moved to L. A. And it was for me, it was that was sort of when I first started realizing, Oh, man, these people have money, and they just don't want to pay for it. They just don't want to pay for stuff. And so you know, nonunion directors and on union actors. And I would show them commercials and say like, Hey, like, this is way better of a commercial, then this one over here. And this is because, you know, and all you had to spend was, you know, maybe 30 $40,000 more and you could have all this. And people are people feel comfortable and we'll actually dig into the story if they feel comfortable with the shots and the production design and the actors, and it doesn't cost that. I know you have it because I know because I know you have it because you're a publicly traded company and I know you have it. So So you got it. But, um, and

spk_4:   10:12
you can grease those wheels, you know, if you really want to push him and double, we need, you know, if it's the day of the shoot and like, there's some disaster, like we need an extra 50 grand, they're like, Fine, Here you

spk_3:   10:21
go. But I will say this. They also they chop up their budgets all year, right? So they've already parsed out to a ah, an account executive or whoever or or the PR company or a marketing firm. They've already parsed out what that marketing budget is for them. So then that whole company needs to go out and figure out how they're going to spend this budget and get the most eyeballs they possibly can. So there's also then you have that PR company That's not just thinking about, well, the budget, but they've got to chase the audience. So that's the adjustment is another. And that's what's so so their goal when you get to boots on the ground is how many eyeballs gonna get on this? Where are the eyeballs? And the eyeballs are all on social media right now? I mean, that's where the eyeballs are, and so the landscape is. I can go out and get those those guys cheap. I mean, just go look a twitch. Go look at how many kids are watching twitch. It's it's

spk_1:   11:23
billions and billions and

spk_3:   11:24
billions. I'm not saying EMS. I'm saying bees. And so it's very easy to grab a kid who's who's live streaming their video game and be like, Hey, man, who gonna pay you like 2500 bucks? You're gonna live stream that fortnight round you're gonna play and kids like I get 2500 bucks, I scream my video game. 00 yeah. And he's getting 30,000 people to watch him.

spk_4:   11:49
Well, you know, it is a good point. You're kind of settling into. I don't know if you were gonna ask about this, but, you know, when it comes to sag after as a union for on camera talent, you know, where do we draw that line? You know, kid played live streaming video Shouldn't be under a SAG after country is not really on camera. Talent is just a dude with a bunch of followers or dissect after created full on influencer

spk_3:   12:11
way be getting their wait. Is that

spk_4:   12:18
line? Where is that line? Where do you cut off? You know where it does someone have to have bring something to the table on camera with some kind of talent, plus his followers to to qualify for that influence or sag after a membership? Or, you know,

spk_0:   12:33
Well, that I mean, that kind of takes me in tow, tow where we're headed. I literally never. It was my my my next question in the sense that you know, they have the money because we just finished with the Super Bowl and you saw at least five spots. Sure, during the Super Bowl, that must have cost 15 to $20 million produced along with the ad buy. We know it cost that. And the low budget digital waver just went from 50 grand up 200 grand, which is doubling it, you know, in session rates went up, but we know they have the money. But how do we go about? And this is kind of my question, Mike. Ah, same same to you is it's Wild West. And what you just said, Brent is completely correct. So how do you corral the Wild West? Because it brings me back to the conversations that must be happening in those rooms when they start talking about is, we would all think is actors the casting concept, along with storyboard. And I used to use a phrase about how theatrical would right around the problem. If they didn't, they didn't necessarily like somebody was on their show. But how much conversation do you see in the creative storyboards side where they're literally trying to storyboard around talent because they want to go nonunion so badly. How do you corral that in the wild West that we're in? How we're gonna do it?

spk_3:   13:42
Can I just say just Just so we're clear, Um, you and I might do kind of different things. So when I'm working with the influencers who the clients are coming to and saying we want your audience and then the first thing we tell them is then let us create the spot. So I think you're working in the world of We need to create a spot that ends up on

spk_4:   14:06
digital Well, but basically, it's Ah, I work. I get, you know, independent contractor by production companies who hire me to produce commercial that a client came to them or an ad agency came to them to create. Sometimes there's, ah, you know, can we find an influencer for this? Okay, you're going

spk_3:   14:22
a little toasty, were

spk_0:   14:24
colliding a lot. And that's exactly why we're sitting. And

spk_3:   14:26
they are. They are so But I think for the for the sorry, can you repeat your question again? Just so I'm

spk_0:   14:35
clear about Well, it's the Wild West. So whether you're creating a Brent or whether it's being brought to you, Nevin. And and we're the all of us or the hopeful people somehow being in a spot when you start talking about non union versus at least doing low budget digital waver, even for an influencer, and you're the one doing the spot. Brent, how are we gonna corral the Wild West at this point? Because it's cat so far out of the bag. So there's 10 years. So the

spk_3:   14:59
first problem is you've got I'm gonna sound like Elizabeth Warren when I say this. But you've got these major corporations who are not transparent at all. So and what I mean by that is when I'm working with influencers and now let's take a side. Let's take McDonald's coming to the influence or out of this and just say McDonald's just put a spot inside of the influencers content. And now the influencer is getting thousands and thousands of dollars because Facebook was allowed to put a commercial inside of that. Influences content, right? It happens. I've been happening on YouTube for years and years and years just started happening on Facebook about a year, year and 1/2 ago, right? There is absolutely zero transparency for that influencer to understand the algorithm that takes place in order for them to get paid by Facebook. So Facebook is making a transparent deal with the client with McDonald's commercials to run that commercial. They're getting a whole bucket full of money, and then they're not telling the influencer how they're paying them. They're just sending them a check at the end of the at the end of the month saying, Hey, here you go, Here you go influencer one. Just take it and we join you. Just You just made a You just made a 10 million view video and we're paying you $12,000. But you'll have no idea how you got that money you have in calculation. They give, like some real generic stuff. That's like I've tried. I mean, I work with these people all time, so we're trying to figure it out right now, and it's so it's impossible to figure it out. Sounds like Netflix how they're so secretive about everything they do. Facebook, instagram, even YouTube ISS is pretty cagey about it. Once you get to a certain level on YouTube, they start to become more transparent cause they want to make an actual deal with you. But so that's to me. Is the first hurdle, right? But then you, Mike and Kevin and I, we've all talked discussed this before, which is you need to You need to have an open door for these influences to know that they can come right in and they can get served. Bye. Sack right by a union. They need to know that the door is open to them. They need to. They need to know that they can get health benefits, that they can have Facebook page that 18% for wages. Right? And those kinds of things have have those things covered. So I guess, really, the simple answer is, once they create consistency, they need to know that the door is open to them to become a union member.

spk_4:   17:44
Well, how do you qualify that? How

spk_0:   17:45
do you use any of that in heaven? Like from your side of the contents coming to you? And as opposed to Brent, who do you use any of those angles to try and get more money out of them with what they may or may not do with the

spk_3:   17:57
spot? I mean,

spk_4:   17:58
every single situation is different, you know, every commercial ever. It's all a different animal every time. So I'm you know, if there's if they come to us and you know, we were on the production side, we're not really so concerned about the ad placement, you know, unless they're like Kay, we need an influencer for this spot. We need them to do this X y z thing on camera. Um, then, you know, usually it's a list of people that we have to approach, you know, see what you can get or, you know, it That becomes like a like a, you know, varies

spk_0:   18:28
a little too nebulous. A little

spk_4:   18:30
production thing. I mean, when it comes to the what they're gonna pay, you know, for the ad placement, that's really not the department that I would really be in. But, um,

spk_0:   18:40
you don't use it as a tool in a way to try and get more money to get something better for your spot.

spk_4:   18:45
Not really. I mean, I guess there could be a unique situation where I'm like Well, look, that she's got 25 million followers. I mean, you know, let's you know, this is some serious followers there. Can we have three Annie here? You know, like like, can we make this a higher production value and get something really cool? I could possibly use that as a bargaining chip, but you know, when? When set. When when you were talking about sag. Um, having an open door for the, you know, what is the qualification? We have set up this? That's a conversation that SAG has to have and the influence that there has to be a conversation about that. Is it the amount of followers you know? Is it is it the amount of money they bring in? What's what? What is it?

spk_3:   19:23
It's got to start. But it's gotta go somewhere. A decision that happened. I've gotta have that Congress and then, you know now than later. But then you

spk_4:   19:30
guys also things like, you know, it's just to play Devil's Advocate, you know? So you couldn't go on by these random, you know, followers and someone could drop a few 100 grand and by 10 million volt. I don't remember throwing numbers out there, but, you know, you could buy followers these days whether or not they stick or not. Over the long term. But you know, someone could buy followers, get into the door and sag. And then now I'm in sag and oh, whoops, halfthe, um, fell. But, hey, I'm in sag now. Let me negotiate this

spk_2:   19:53
contract, right? Hi, it's Jack Levy as an awarded audio producer who's contributed to some of the finest feature films television shows, video games and records produced. I've been inundated with requests by peers and major studios alike to produce and manage podcast production, and I'd be delighted to do the same for you. Have an idea for a podcast and don't know where to start or who to call. Look no further. Have a scripted podcast, investigative or documentary interview show, solo cast, game show, talk show or literally any other project. Give me a call at 8182330640 That's 8182330640 or email me at jack at podcast sage dot com. We have a world class studios here in Culver City and can work remote on location literally anywhere, and have the broadband experience to help with everything from concept development to recording and editing staffing and writers and, of course, music. Call me at 8182330640 or shooting email. A jacket podcast age dot com mentioned union working and get a 10% discount Help. I'll make it 15 and now back to union working.

spk_3:   21:03
I mean, the truth is, I stopped really being an actor full time because I because I was getting less and less commercial auditions. And that's how I made my money for 20 years and I saw the writing on the wall and I saw it and it's fine. I'm I'm happy to say that it's going to influence is going to a new group of artists part of that money that was going to I'm not happy to see television going one. My commercial work back. You know, it's just the pie has gotten chunked up more, and that's really nobody's fault. That's just innovation, right? I mean, that's all that ISS. But now how do you help that innovation? How do you help a great union like sag get mawr of that? Get that pie, get that money back into our union and they and those and keep those people safe there. So they're out there. They're getting flogged. Yeah. Well, can I? Yeah. Go ahead. Go ahead.

spk_4:   21:59
Ask you a quick question, Brent. Um, so do you think that the whole influencer thing right now is just a very hot fat, Do you think? Do you think it might normalize in a couple of years to wear? Okay. The actors who are traditional actors who used to do it like myself, I had to do a ton of commercials. I mean, multiple nationals were that kind of thing as an actor, and it kind of dried up these past few years. I think it's a lot of it's going to digital and influencers. Is that going toe normalize out at any point? Or is it you think it's just all going that way? And and you know what did the other what do the traditional actors non influencing actors do?

spk_3:   22:33
Well, it has to solidifying some way, right? I mean, I remember when you two came out and they said, we're never gonna have commercials on anything. It's the democracy of content on. It was like, Oh, wait. Now you're a cable station, you know? So it alone it will consolidate in some way. I think the consolidation, like I said, it's gonna be a guy like dude, Dad, he's got a 1,000,000 followers. He's one of the best d I Y parenting influencers out there today in the country, and he's gonna have his own, like comedy content and like Building Show. And then he's going to find other people like him, and he's gonna grab them instead of, you know, uh, house hunters, you know, instead of Food Network or whatever, it's gonna consolidate under him, because why do I need to go to that station that's arbitrarily going to tell me what's good when I know this influence or is already serving my needs from a content standpoint, and he's going to tell me what's good and I'm gonna believe him or because I already believe him. He's a him. He's an individual who I already believe. So I see it kind of ballooning that way in the future, and I mean, it's it's already hit. Like I said, Kevin Hart's a great example of someone whose way high up Jordan Peale's gonna do that. You know, there are. There are P. I mean, funny or die. Was that right? Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were that? Yeah, I had a question because we're talking about It's the Wild West. And I think any time there's something new happening in our industry, what we're going up against his producers or management or whoever you want to call it, they're always like we don't know. They always played dumb of like, Did you know what's new? Well, it's like the Internet's been around for like, 20 years. I think the news media thing is absurd, so there's so there's that. But I think another thing on top of that, that is this thing that we're battling against is the use of the term, like that's disposable disposable advertising. It's disposable content. It's It's this less than content, which means it's it's not worth anything, but they're spending billions of dollars on this. Supposed that its disposal will be up for four weeks on a bomb. A blonde. I feel like that's a double edged sword work dealing with. Besides, Oh, it's the Internet still new. It's not, um, it's disposable. It's still advertising. You're using influencers with tens of millions of followers and all this stuff it's still advertising. It still should be paid accordingly. But, Deb, you guys found that when? When you're trying to ask for more money or or anything, are you? Are you coming up against that where it's like, Oh, it's just this little thing. It's just one. It's just it's just one part of our, you know, advertising budget. I mean,

spk_4:   25:11
from from a production standpoint, when you make these, you know, just for digital, you know, commercials, they do. It's always less. I mean, I'm not gonna name the specific brands that I worked on this one commercial, but it was a very large brand, working in conjunction with another very well known, established large brand. And it was this. The commercials were amazing. They were really cool. But they were like, Oh, well, it's just for digital So you know, blah, blah, blah. We can't this we can't, Dad. And I was like, You know exactly the point you just made, like so what? It's not like it's 1998 and we're trying to figure out how to get this, you know, animated GIF onto someone's whatever it's. It's 2000. We shot this last year, 2019 like this needs to be. This is a legit commercial dish deserves a legit budget.

spk_3:   25:57
I'm gonna name names. It was Fuddruckers. Build your own hamburger. Get out! Well, I think also that what they've done a nice job of doing is creating what I the sort of firewall. So we know in an influencer world. As soon as a PR company is contacting you, we know it's the bottom of the barrel. We they have no money. So So they do it like if it's a PR company, they have the least amount of money. If it's a marketing firm, 1/3 party marketing firm, they have a little more money. It's the actual client. They have the most money, but they'll never come to an influencer unless it's Kim Kardashian or our Friday right, the rock or somebody, somebody who's really got, you know, really, really big influence. And also they'll put a whole production team behind it. But for the for the middle class influencer who's making good money? Still, you know that and that PR firm is just like they'll just play games with you the whole time. There's like only has 10,000 bucks for the whole year, you know, that's all like, Yeah, and it's not true. I mean, it is. It's It's kind of true, I guess. In a way, it's what

spk_0:   27:08
did you get some laundry detergent and a case of black beans? And they're gonna, you know, send something else to your

spk_3:   27:12
house. Yeah, and it's tough. And I you know, because I've been in the business for so long when I work with these influences, I mentor them and even working life a dad was consistently going. Oh, just just say $100,000. I don't even care what itwas like just say $100,000 just start there because, like, who cares like they're gonna whittle you down to 2500 bucks anyway, So started 100 k. They need you. They need your audience. But here's the other thing that I wanted to stay on top of. What Kevin said is, um, the the hard part for the client right now is that, um, the other part of these were talking digital, right? So we're talking YouTube, Facebook, instagram, they own, They are digital, they own it. There's really nowhere else to go write a little bit of tic tac toe, but what's up with him? But, um, what they do for the to the influencer as soon as you have to make that legally binding handshake on on a piece of content that you are a branded piece of content that you were contacted by a client and you are now making a brand. If he is the content, you make that handshake. Guess what Facebook does to that video. Just suppresses the shit. Really? Yeah, because they don't want you going around them to make a commercial, right? We're trying to put commercials in your content, right? So they don't want you making your own brand deals. So and they tell you straight out handle it suppresses the It's like the YouTube video stuff, right? Like Facebook's like, Oh, it's a YouTube video. They're owned by Google. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nobody season. I mean, go back to, like, the sixties and seventies

spk_0:   28:48
and imagine, you know, p and G looking at you know, Johnson and go. Yeah, we're just gonna make that commercial disappear from your television

spk_3:   28:54
right now in the middle of Walter Cronkite. That's literally gonna happen, right? So So what happens? What had happened probably 56 years ago when I was at awesomeness TV was you had this bubble for the middle class influencer people who had a few 100,000 followers and they were charging 15 2025 k to do a little product placement or little spot for their for their for the client thought, This guy's What's up. I love this. And then the videos were getting, ah quarter of the views that their regular video weekly videos were getting. And so the client pulled back on all that money. So, um, so I don't know where it went, but they pulled back on it. And and so the middle class influencer has now taken a big hit because they know but being and it makes sense again, they got to go where the eyeballs are, right? I mean, they have to keep chasing the eyeballs, and so it Facebook's gonna go. Well, I'm gonna suppress that video. Then they're like, Oh, well, guess what? I'm paying you $20,000 I'm getting 1/4 of the amount of views that you normally get so she can't pay you 20. Sorry, can I swear I can't pay you $20,000. I can only pay you 5000 bucks now. And so it's a game. It's a game that's being played

spk_0:   30:12
there, too. All right, so I got a big curve ball. Now this could be a short thing. And Mike Ah, like for sure comment on this, But I'm a little bit of a curveball, and it's just a metaphor, and this does not. This is not about throwing anyone under the bus, but I wanna have a non honest perspective. If you were to metaphorically, give me an answer as to when you grapple with all that we've just discussed for the last half hour in terms of technology algorithms suppression, where we're at low budget digital contracts. How far behind since both of you guys have done a ton of on camera commercials as actors? How far behind is SAG after technology wise in both ways, in terms of being able to service its members, but also its engagement with the agencies and with the companies that we deal with that hire us metaphorically? What are we grappling with?

spk_4:   31:04
If if we're in the ah electric car phase and you know, it's weird, you know, metaphorically. Societies there sag is like horse and buggy like Like it's okay, So

spk_3:   31:17
prints laughing, and Mike Mike just fell off the couch way have other people in the room. There's a notable gas. I think we're gonna have

spk_0:   31:25
to, um, actually perform CPR on Jim and Nancy over.

spk_3:   31:28
I'm laughing that there's a buggy and right before maybe pre horse. But that's

spk_0:   31:36
important to note. That's guys air. You guys work these

spk_3:   31:39
deals on a daily basis, so to hear that, it kind of, you know, backs up with a lot of out of people. Think. And just look at the look at how

spk_4:   31:47
sacks of all of the contracts from just from, you know, when when Digital really started making 10 15 years ago, when it's like this is a thing, you know, this is here to stay, and they basically have done nothing. The last contract was the only really major step forward toe like tried to do something with the buyouts, but even then it's like it needs to be a totally reconfigured like

spk_0:   32:09
he's got a horse and buggy where you like you like maybe not even the horse.

spk_3:   32:13
No, no, no. Uh, like the wheel. I, uh uh no, it's not I big. And the reason I have a different outlook on it is because I think that the I think everyone except Silicon Valley was shocked by how quickly social media took off. And I think that not only was sag caught with their pants down, but I think all of the I think all of the advertising into was your pants terror. No, no advertising agencies are flailing right now. You want to Do you wanna walk on the other side? They are flailing. They're our production companies now that are flailing. Everyone is trying to keep the art on the walls, and it's not easy right now,

spk_4:   33:02
but what does it come down to? It's because of where is that money being funneled? And that's all. That's why they're flailing because back in the day, they're still, their minds are still on that model That's 2030 40 50 years old at that, where it's like

spk_3:   33:14
these massive commercials

spk_4:   33:15
and all these huge but right and everyone takes a little piece of that pie and bam, we're all happy. Let's move on to the next one, and that's just not how it is.

spk_3:   33:21
He's right, it's It's It's like it's like you're walking down a 26 lane highway right out front and you and there's a 1,000,000 off ramps. There's just a 1,000,000 places to spend your money. This is why I I would say they're about 15 years behind. And essentially what? What? I think sad could start with a couple of things. I think the first thing is to start having conversations with YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Just start with those three. And then once you get a handle on what it would take to have a contract with Facebook or what it was potentially take toe have a tohave some sort, I mean, Or maybe they just shut the door in your face. While you're doing that, you start having conversations with influencers. I think it's about it's about the people. It's as much as it's about the producers right or Facebook or or Instagram or or YouTube who's who's, you know, organizing the content and putting it out there and getting the eyeballs for these people influencers. It's really about talking to these influencers having influence or town halls Hey, here's what you could potentially be earning with us. Here. Is the safety net potentially have now. Obviously, we've talked about this. The three of us. Um, so, you know, you'd have to have something in place or just have some informational meetings. What would it take for you guys to want healthcare toe want, um, protection toe? Want a baseline toe? Want? Do you want that kind of stuff? What are you interested in?

spk_4:   34:52
I I personally think that the conversation with the influencers needs to happen even before you approach. Sure, Big.

spk_3:   34:57
I'm fine with that too. I mean, together, a

spk_4:   35:00
team of those major influences behind you and then go to them, be like, Look, we've got these guys that are really interested in creating a contract with you through us. Then they might be more apt to open those doors. It's

spk_0:   35:12
such a I got to tell you, my I don't know about these two guests that we have in here, but, like, did you shoulda my cheat notes or

spk_3:   35:17
something to questions at me? Oh, how

spk_0:   35:23
we get a young agency director of production company and an influence, or to be willing to understand why they needed Pete being agent. You guys are already discussed. Is Mike would you want to throw in there? Um what were we What were we

spk_3:   35:34
just talking about? Yeah, it's a re occurring thing that we've had on the podcast and at our meetings and everything. It boils down to starting with one on one conversations. We just had this on one of the other podcast recordings of just one on one conversations with influencers with you, whatever to find out What? What, what? The pain points People are feeling healthcare. Yeah. Everyone wants health care. I I will. Every single influence I work with is not in the union and all they talk about its health care, right? They had health care. They could quit the regular job and just be influencers full time. If they had health care, they could move to the city. They want to move to and keep creating their contacts and buy a house like it's Yeah, and so oddly predicated on health care, you know, it's it ranges to younger demographic. So the word pension again Is this weird? It doesn't even make sense. Then what is it? That sense now wait todo what an influencer is like. What is a pension? They don't even know what it is but a healthcare everyone knows about. And that's that's maybe like the first carrot to get him inside the door. Like there it is like health care. What wouldn't that be? Amazing if you could have thes companies that are giving you 10 grand toe hock, their tear, their soda pop or whatever you could have health care and your it's good health care. Um, on top of that 10 grand, it's her 19% for pension and health like that. Would you know? Maybe that's where it starts? I don't know. That's a great great. I just want to say this. It's their job, thes influences that I work with. It's not like fun time. Happy time at the at the OK corral like this is their job. They work on this stuff. They do it all themselves. They work. Their ass is off on this every week, putting out jumping every week, great content that that they're listening to their acting like that. The performer, the director, the producer, the network, they're doing it all themselves, and there's no safety net. Yeah, all and set free. And if they're good on top of that, they're interacting with their audience conflict, because that's how you feel. That audience team is their PR, their marketing firm. All that you deserve to be exactly a safety net, and SAG is the closest thing to be able to be that safety net.

spk_0:   37:44
So that's the last question is we? You've identified all of this stuff, all of the things that are in the sausage while we're trying to make. We've even identified what if the challenge, maybe, too. Why you don't want the sausage Maur, But here's the last question, because it is with anything. What's gonna be the tipping point? What's

spk_3:   38:03
goingto have to happen either to somebody or to a group of people? What's gonna be

spk_0:   38:08
the tipping point? We're finally some of the best influences and even someone maybe the agencies that produces go Yeah, that's that's enough with that. We've got a bridge too far. Is there anything? Or just until finally someone says, Stop, That's enough. We quit. What's gonna be the tipping point that causes the 25 or 26 year old has been doing it for five or six years ago. That's it. I'm done. Unless you do this. I'm not, because that's what it takes for any form of organizing has to be a tipping point. You go screw it. I'm done.

spk_3:   38:34
I I know what I think. And I say you go for I think it's generational. I think that social media so new Still, it's only like, really half a decade, maybe a decade old as faras, like really being powerful. And I think those people just have to grow up, have kids and have real needs, and then they're gonna go. Oh, shit. I got nothing. I got, I got a safety net. I got no health care. I don't have anything. Well, I got to be a grown up now, Like I I think it's going to be generator. It's gonna be a wave. I see that generation right now. They're in their twenties, they're in their late twenties, they're starting to have kids, and they're going Oh, man, not be weird. I'd love to make this, like, I'd love to make you know, 5000 you know, a week. That'd be great. That'd be really nice. Oh, you can't. Yeah, because you've got no safety net and you don't know how to do this. And no one is helping you Make sure that you don't get screwed over all that. I mean, clients pulled out of deals all

spk_1:   39:31
the time on these guys. There's no

spk_3:   39:32
safety. Oh, we didn't do this. It'll kill feed. I didn't mean that Kill comes in with a kill Fay at the last second i e. I think it's generational unless we can. And we can speed that up by starting to have that conversation with those influences now.

spk_4:   39:49
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I you are. What can I say? It was a great answer. You know, uh, I don't think there's much I can head to that I know from a from a production side. Ah, would have Mork contracts in place would, you know, make that negotiation process just, you know, easier and and everything would be smoother. And then instead of going at it And you know what? There's so many different ways thio for different influences that so many I'd say you know, countless ways that you can create a contract with someone right now, you know, without any kind of template or something to go on our minimum to jump off of, you know, so you could get this influencer for whatever 50 bucks and this next one for 50,000 cause they are better negotiators. It's so across the spectrum that we're still in that Wild West Phaze

spk_0:   40:37
bring us home like

spk_3:   40:38
I just think now that we've talked about like the state of affairs and like what it's gonna take to move this, Let's talk. Let's its aims. Let's aim high. What? What's in a perfect world? How would this world work? We talked about like maybe simple contracts. There's, you know, a one page contract, and there's three different parts of it in it's a B and C or whatever, but also on the front of having the union involved Do we have, like, our own influence or department where again an influencer can walk in? And there they're, like, welcomed in with warmth and care and their lead through the steps, which I think they would need. It's like all of our actors. We need that by our union to be helped. It's like, you know, actors need to meet halfway and be be involved and help themselves out as well. But in a perfect world, how would this world,

spk_4:   41:20
you know? Bye. I have kind of a quasi devil's advocate kind of angle on this because and this is a question for also branded to kind of piggyback on what you see in terms of the talent level. I mean, let's look at this. You know, music, SAG actor. You know, You know what training had to work my way into it. Get those that sag voucher, get that sad gig. And, you know, that took time. That took years that took experience. And what was the thing that differentiated? Ah, sag actors and non union. Was that you know? Okay, we've got a higher talent level we used. These actors are trained. These actors have experienced they've gone through X y Z gamut to get here. Um, you know, now you've got influencers. How are we gonna create that qualification that you are now worthy of being a sag after influencer? Are we gonna just let anyone or there's gonna be some kind of process that makes them more elevated above the fray? You know that's gonna be okay. This is a sack After influencer. And how and how do we do that? And that's a conversation that not only do we have to have with influencers, but needs to be a conversation internally within sag not only sex current members, but obviously the

spk_0:   42:28
why you got to get influences in a room.

spk_3:   42:30
I think that's easy. I think you I think there's actually a simple answer to this. You start with verified. So if you verified on Facebook, if you're verified on Instagram, that's already the threshold. That's already the threshold that you have to meet and set. Now. SAG will now sag will help

spk_4:   42:45
you. CanDo sag after influencers convey Now work on a union television show that's required for acting Because then I feel like

spk_3:   42:54
that they're going to

spk_4:   42:55
That mix is the one. I don't know if they are, because

spk_3:   42:57
of course they are there. I mean, are there already? They're already showing up everywhere. They mean they awesomeness TV. He has made that so part of it that television shows and they're just using influence. Her talents. I mean, they created a chauffeur where row Caribbean cruises they're on their fifth or sixth season right now for Royal Caribbean and it's all influencers. There's no actors. They have a built in audience of pool up. You know, to this millions of views, the followers. There's not one actor on it and just influencers. Not when it comes to verified. Sze. You can't you can't pay to become verified. And what does it mean to be verified? For people that don't know? It's a certain amount of followers, and you're like you're established. You're an actor, you're a musician, you get put in a queue with Instagram and Facebook, and then they see the blue checkmark Chuck and then for YouTube. It's the same thing. So YouTube will have. You can't start getting commercials put into your content until you have, I think of. Right now it's 4000 followers. I think it is so somewhere they change it all the time. But last I checked, it was around 4000. Make that the threshold. You have the capability now. Now you're verified or or whatever the whatever the capability is for Facebook to allow you to start putting ads in your commercials in your content. That's the That's the level. Now you can come to sag and we can create a baseline for you and we can create a safety net for you. You could

spk_4:   44:23
be a part of that. I think would be a great place. I hear you, But I respectfully disagree.

spk_3:   44:26
I think there should

spk_4:   44:29
be more. I think there should be a next higher That should be just the first level where they should even think about it. But I think there should be yet another threshold to where you could become a sag after influencer. And that's just, you know, I think there should be a higher threshold,

spk_0:   44:43
and we're going to see if we can't find a way to get the horse and buggy up to that threshold and onward Guy's unbelievable conversation. Very much appreciated. Never. Milan Brant, Pope Leo. And of course, you w my man, Mike. See Nelson? Always nice, Kevin the West. That was an outstanding conversation. We clearly we should circle

spk_3:   45:02
back and have this conversation and in a little while, and, uh, if the ball's rolling it because I don't

spk_0:   45:07
think we've corralled the Wild West.

spk_3:   45:09
Yeah, I will say this. Both my boys have decided that they want to act, and I just got them agents and they care more about their YouTube channel than they do about even meeting an agent. And the fact that they got an agent here last stoked about their YouTube channel. That explains the life of Dad. Thanks, guys. Thank you very much.

spk_1:   45:32
Be sure to download the next episode and subscribe to the union. Working podcast on Apple podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts stitcher I heart radio on any Alexa centric platform or find us at buzz sprout dot com and union working dot com. On behalf of the Union Working Team, we'd like to express our deepest gratitude to Arlene Schuster Gauss, a SG casting Justin Radley and southpaw studios for their tremendous support and generosity. If you would like to learn more about our nonpartisan solution based grassroots movement and follow us at union working as we positively affect the future of our industry and union,

spk_2:   46:13
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What are the greatest and worst things about the digital world?
A weird, long story
Is it about the dollars?
Who/what should be union vs the Wild West?
Influencers getting more money and ...
Making just-for-digital content
Who’s behind, and how far?
Everyone wants healthcare
What’s going to be the tipping point?
Closing remarks