Filmmaking / Directing : Union by Lauren McKean

Lauren McKean


When you're shooting a film and the actors are all SAG does your crew have to be union as well or is that determined by what kind of project your filming, IE short film, ultra low budget, low budget, etc?

Larry DeGala

your crew need not be IA for a SAG ultra low. find the best, highly-skilled camera operator you can find. ask to see their reel.

Joanna Strange

Larry is right - crew and cast unions are very different.

Larry DeGala

thanks, Joanna. as a member of SAG, I have worked alongside IA and respect the skill sets they bring to the table. IA has a similar Ultra Low contract for technicians. however, if this is your first ULB, you don't want to spend 100% of the limit threshold. certain mishaps may occur one after the other and leave you with an "empty fuel tank." plan for the unplanned.

Larry DeGala

if you need DGA, I believe you can get a first-time DGA director (virtually free), but you would bring on board a UPM and 1st AD. You may not hire one without the other. Both must be hired on for the DGA low budget agreement. then again, you do not need this for your SAG ULB.

Allen Gandler

Lauren, Everyone has provided good information here. However, I understand your question and I'll give you a simple answer. The answer is no. SAG is only one union, specific to actors (which can include stuntmen as well) and has no bearing on below the line crew (or above the line talent aside from actors). Below the line crew are governed by different unions, if at all. So a SAG production can use non-DGA, non-IATSE, etc., crew. If you want to utilize union (DGA, IATSE, etc.) crew, you'll need to become signatory of those specific unions according to individual union requirements, in the same vein as SAG.

Lauren McKean

Thanks for the input guys!

Rachael Saltzman

Depends upon the contact. If you're doing ULB/shorts, no.

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