Producing : SAG Contracts by Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett

SAG Contracts

Hello Everyone! I am producing a short film and have 3 SAG E Actors and a SAG actor cast. Do I need to make my project SAG if one of them is SAG? Im also wanting to send it into festivals once the movie is completed. When I do, if its not a SAG project and they figure out that I have a SAG actor will they fine me? Or not accept my submission? Thank you, -Sarah Jessica Bennett

Regina Lee

Straight from SAG's website: "Under the terms of the Student, Short, and Ultra-Low Budget contracts you can use both SAG-AFTRA and non-SAG-AFTRA actors in the same film. Under the Modified Low Budget and Low Budget Agreement the so-called Taft-Hartley rules apply." Call SAG and pose a hypothetical, "I'm thinking of casting a SAG actor in a non-union short film... what signatory requirements..." They will answer your questions; they understand that their web of short film rules are a different beast and quite confusing. If a SAG actor violates his union rules by working outside his union, the union reprimands the SAG actor, not you as an indie producer. (Please understand I only have direct experience doing studio movies with SAG, and I don't know precisely what the best scenario is for you. I think few people will know the specific path for you, since different types of short films are handled differently by SAG, e.g. student film vs non-student, budget level, etc.) You really should talk to SAG and get it straight from the horse's mouth.

Robert Amico

Yes, you can use both Union and non-union under the SAG short film contract. however, they do not qualify for membership through the contract..... :)

JD Hartman

From what I recall, your production company will have to apply to be a SAG signatory. There will be some additional forms related to the short and some record keeping. There are or were silly requirement like separate holding areas for SAG and non-SAG talent, SAG talent eats before non SAG, etc. IMHO using a SAG in a small non-SAG production is a waste of time, being a SAG card holder is neither a guarantee of talent nor is holding a SAG card a guarantee of finding paying work.

Robert Graphik

Your project does not have to " be" sag but they need to know what their members are doing so for them to be covered you need to supply a cast list and several other forms such as business entity, budgets......they are nice enough over there and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Of course I will let you decide what is too invasive. Happy to share contacts if you need.

David A. Melendez

There should be an assigned sag office for your can call directly and ask questions...they're very helpful. I say this because some of the info online is outdated. Also sag projects go through an approval process which takes up to a don't wait till the last minute. Good luck.

Robert Amico

IF you are using a SAG member, they are in violation of their card IF the project is not SAG Signatory. You would shoot it under the SAG Short Film Agreement, no pay up front...Only if you get a distribution deal, then the actors get $100/day....You are able to be in all film festivals with it...

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