SAG Waivers?

(Emma Drewry) #1

Has anyone worked on a production with only one SAG AFRTA actor? We’re not sure what our budget is (we’re thinking in the range of 4-8k, we’re crowdfunding), and the majority of the actors who have come to audition and who we like are non-union, but we have one incredibly strong actor who’s SAG AFTRA who we would love to cast… however, sorting through the different SAG waivers for indie/low-budget productions is so, so hard and difficult to figure out. I’m not sure we qualify for the ultra-low-budget waiver (although we’re definitely under $250,000 in budget), since it’s not a film, and their rules on digital are very new and underdeveloped. Any advice/experience would be incredibly helpful!

(Anna Bateman) #2

I would call SAG and ask… I know there’s options. But I just don’t know the exact implementation.

(Kate Hackett) #3

What’s the length? If it’s a short film, ignore all the feature film options.

Are you submitting this film to festivals? You’ll need a short film agreement. Low/No budget.

If you do not plan to submit it to festivals, but do plan to release it digitally, you need a New Media agreement.

If you don’t know, you can file for new media (or short) and transfer the contract later if you decide to go a festival route. If you have time, you can also wait for a new type of contract, which is going to be “agnostic” – you don’t know where you’ll end up.

I’m not sure where you are, or if this is any different outside of LA, but be warned:
SAG requires production insurance and worker’s comp. They also require that your actors be paid as employees, which means not-on-1099s. Which means you have to pay payroll taxes.

Also, if you’re going SAG, you’re going SAG. The other actors will become eligible to join the union.

(Emma Drewry) #4

We’re LA based, so we know we have to get insurance. We’re currently looking at become SAG signatory under the new media agreement, definitely, because it has the option for deferred payment and we’re looking to first distribute online, not submit to festivals.

Our show is a 22-episode web series that should be abouttt 90-120 minutes depending on our final two episodes, which we’re holding off to write until we’ve finalized the rest of the reason.

We’re primarily interested in the new media agreement, but I’m still a bit confused since SAG’s website is a bit all over the place. If we became a signatory, would we have to hire an entire cast of SAG actors? We only have one SAG actor that we like and most of our applicants were non-union/not SAG-eligible. Thank you so much!

(Kate Hackett) #5

Yes, you want New Media.

If you go SAG sig, you can hire non union actors and you do not Taft Hartley them. Be sure to include them on all your paperwork so if they DO want to join, they have that info to back up their eligibility.

Once you start the process, you’ll get a SAG rep who can also tell you all this stuff. It frequently changes.

(Emma Drewry) #6

thank you so much! that’s exactly what i needed to know-- we were a bit confused about whether sag signatories needed to abide by taft hartley. thanks so much!

(Anna Bateman) #7

Wait can you not submit the series to film festivals if you do a New Media agreement? Like web fest and stuff?

(Kate Hackett) #8


(Kate Hackett) #9

Technically, yes, everyone has to abide by TH. It’s a law. But you don’t have to jump through hoops about it.

All TH means for producers is if you hire someone not in the union, you have to file paperwork about it. I’m sure huge scale productions pay a fine if they go with someone nonunion for a role a union member could’ve played.

ALL of your principle actors work under a SAG contract.
Your background have to be 50% SAG, after that you can pay/do what you want.

All that is to say, don’t worry about it. It’s New Media.

(Bri Castellini) #10

Wait really? So if it’s under a new media contract, no film festivals? What about a separate contract giving permission for that? Didn’t you do new media contracts for CA and also submit it to fests, or did you use the short film one because of that?

(Emma Drewry) #11

ahh so we’d still have to potentially demonstrate we couldn’t find someone we liked better in SAG? or is it much less of an issue for New Media?

(Kate Hackett) #12

It’s not an issue for NM.

(Kate Hackett) #13

You have to transfer the contract. It only becomes a “problem” if you get into a festival, though, and play at it.

(Bri Castellini) #14

That is fascinating and kind of bizarre. Huh.

(Kate Hackett) #16



This is terrible advice. Don’t do this.

(Emma Drewry) #17

yeah, my SAG actor is a professional stuntwoman as well, and works on some pretty high-up sets. definitely won’t be asking her to ditch the union.

(Tommy Eboli) #18

Being a stuntwoman is valid reason to stay in the union.
Nevertheless, there is a huge ground swell of actors getting educated on the choices available to them by going FICORE.

Don’t take ANYONE’S advice on this important subject related to your career/income - especially the union’s.

Actors need to do the research…you do NOT lose your critical union benefits by going FICORE.

Do your own research, be informed, make important career decisions.
The info is out there buried deep in the pages of the search engines because it is not an organized effort. It’s just a legitimate option that is obfuscated by the union’s phenomenal SEO content crowding work.

Do the research and make good choices.

(Kate Hackett) #19

Going FiCore has nothing to do with this user’s question and I’m shutting this down. You can open a new thread to discuss the pros & cons of actors going ficore.

(Kate Hackett) #20