Film composers and post-sound crew now have their own representative body, in readiness for the Screen Industry Workers Bill that is expected to pass by the end of this year. The Screen Music & Sound Guild of NZ (SMSG) held its inaugural AGM in Wellington at the end of July, electing screen composer Marshall Smith and sound editor Polly McKinnon as co-chairs of the organisation.
Composers Claire Cowan and Andrew Hagen, sound editor Stefanie Ng and POW Studios’ CEO John McKay are the other committee members elected.
With over 20 Wellington-based SMSG members attending there was discussion on how the new guild will support the sector moving into the future. Financial sustainability was the primary issue, along with health and well-being initiatives, education and skill development, legal and contractual support, and building industry diversity.
Polly McKinnon says they look forward to advocating for members to get the conditions, pay and support they deserve.
“We know our sector has a diversity issue, and we’re committed to addressing this. We’ve started with a 50/50 gender split and a depth of professional experience in our committee but have a lot of work to do from the training level up to really address this issue across our workforce.”
Co-chair Marshall Smith says he hopes more screen composers and post sound crew will sign up as members because working together as a whole team was crucial to getting the best outcome possible for members.
“Talking and communicating with each other will be a critical part of our strategy so we need everyone working in our sector to be part of our growing community. Numbers matter and having as many members as possible will absolutely give us more leverage to negotiate.”