50 union actors protest making of ad at reservoir; Colin Powell project under way at Loch Raven

About 50 protesters from local unions banged pots and blew horns and whistles yesterday at Loch Raven Reservoir, where a production crew began filming retired Gen. Colin L. Powell's public service announcement for his America's Promise campaign.

Powell was nowhere near the filming area yesterday, or even in the state, but that didn't deter protesters from the Washington-Baltimore branch of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.


They were protesting the campaign's crossing a national picket line that SAG-AFTRA is conducting against the advertising industry in search of higher wages. Actors in TV and radio commercials went on strike May 1 demanding a bigger cut from the booming cable market. It was the first major Hollywood walkout in 12 years.

"Colin Powell approached the entertainment industry to join forces with him on his campaign to improve the lives of needy youths," said Pat O'Donnell, executive director of the Washington-Baltimore branch of SAG-AFTRA. "It's unconscionable that he turn his back on us now."


O'Donnell said she will recommend that her group , which volunteered to read and perform during visits to poor schools, withdraw from America's Promise.

O'Donnell said SAG-AFTRA offered the Lord Group, a New York-based advertising agency, an interim agreement that would have allowed union workers on the production while the strike continued. It was rejected.

Instead, the Lord Group chose to continue with the two-day shoot using nonunion actors in the reservoir's expansive woodlands. Powell is expected to appear for the filming at some point.

Protesters had no luck yesterday pinpointing the shoot's location, so they stood along Loch Raven Drive waving to passing motorists.