Archives for : SAG-AFTRA


imagesAre you ready to work? Prove it!

Create your own New Media project and Taft-Hartley yourself. You can become SAG-AFTRA eligible that easily.

So, there are NO EXCUSES non union actors. If you feel you are ready to work, keep reading.

One of my clients from Act Now went to a SAG New Media FREE lecture recently. They have these frequently and you can find the next one by checking the CALENDAR. You don’t have to be a member to go, and they validate your parking, yay!

Here is what several of my clients had to say about the process:

The paperwork is only about 4 pages. There is no cost to process it. Your project can have any budget level. The only requirement is that a current member of SAG has a speaking role in the project. But only one SAG member (in good standing) needs to be employed by your production. If they agree to “defer” pay then technically you could have a zero budget self financed project.

The union will need a copy of your script and a cast list. Once you submit this preliminary paperwork, a rep contacts you for approval. You want to submit that paperwork at least 3 weeks before filming. “The Taft-Hartley forms for non-union members sound so easy to do and its real…makes you eligible. You could literally put something on youtube and even if it sucks just delete it after a few days because it was available for a time.”

Another client and a former co-worker who completed projects like this both said they spent no money on thier New Media productions aside from postage to mail things to the SAG-AFTRA office. “We were willing to sacrifice quality on sound and lighting (we had a good camera). We literally did this just to get into the union.”

One client took 3 months from start to finish. Another said,”In all honesty it took no longer than an hour to get everything filled out, signed, scanned, and sent back to SAG. Paperwork was easy and I AM SO GLAD I DID THIS!”

Both the clients who followed through with this were successfully able to Taft-Hartley themselves and several friends. “It was just a matter of submitting their names and Social Security Number on a Taft Hartley form that SAG provided. The folks at SAG were very helpful every time I had a question. I got quick answers via email and phone.”

“I kept telling myself I was going to do this for six months but kept being lazy. Once I finally got going it was so much easier than I thought. I’ve already lined up a manager meeting for next week, and feel much more confident handing my headshot to CD’s with that magical SAG-E on it!”

So there you have it. Don’t be lazy! I’ll even add some links and phone numbers below to help you get started.

If you have more questions, please put them in the comments section below. * And I invite you to come back and share your story and a link to your work when you’ve got your new media project up! *


New Media and Interactive: (323) 549-6446

Membership: (323) 549-6757

To get the New Media contract click: here!

New Media FAQ’s at the SAG-AFTRA page!

Three weeks prior to production submit the “preliminary Information sheet” and be sure you have all your New Media Documents!

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imagesI remember when I arrived in LA and an agent told me “If you’ve been here for more than a year and you don’t have your SAG card you’re not doing your job.” Ouch. And yet… yeah. It’s not that hard, you just have to know what to do, and then do it.

There are several routes which I’ll outline below

The route that works best for you will depend on the resources you already have in place. That said, choose one and make it happen.

Before you can audition for any network TV (for the most part) you will need to at least be eligible. That is because the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union will fine a television production for hiring a non union actor if the union feels that the production could just as well have hired someone already in the union.

So, unless you are a Vietnamese little person with trapeze skills who can speak Spanish with a German accent (an extreme example but you get my point ) or someone equally as rare, you are unlikely to be called in to audition for or Taft-Hartleyed by Prime Time Network Television. Taft-Hartley is the name of the law by which an actor is drafted into SAG-AFTRA. This is due to budget constraints. A production such as this does not have it in their budget to pay such fines.

However, a commercial production may. If a commercial is going to hire 1 or 2 actors for a 1 million dollar shoot that lasts 3 days and they can get all the ad executives and all the producers and the director to agree on one actor, who cares if they spend $2,000 on a Taft-Hartley? As compared to say, a 1 hr. drama that hires 20-25 co-stars and 6-8 guest stars PER EPISODE and has a budget of, say $35,000 per episode. Make sense?

For this reason many actors are Taft-Hartleyed on commercials or even films, which likewise have fewer budget constraints than TV. Occasionally on a network or cable TV show if the actor does have a special skill or an unusual attribute which makes them hard to find, (or if they just REALLY REALLY want a certain actor) a production will risk the fine and Taft-Hartley that actor.

Once you are ELIGIBLE for the union you may work several jobs without having to pay the full dues and join.

It’s wise to ride that fence for a while so that you can build credits and make money on both union and non-union jobs until the union tells you its time, you’re then called a “must join,” which is self-explanatory, no? You then must FOLLOW THE STEPS to join on the next union job you book.

You can find out more about all of this online at or at the Los Angeles office:

National Headquarters

5757 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600
Switchboard: (323) 954-1600
Toll free: (855) SAG-AFTRA / (855) 724-2387



1. Book a union commercial, film, or (rarely) a part in a TV show and get Taft-Hartleyed. If you’re not sure if a production is union or not you can ask or check with SAG. Usually it will be in the breakdown.

2. Work 3 days as a background actor on a union production. You will be expected to provide proof of employment (such as a pay stub), so keep good records!

3. “Sister in” through an affiliated performers’ union (ACTRA, AEA, AGMA or AGVA). You must be a paid-up member in good standing for a period of one year and must have worked and been paid at least once as a principal performer in that union’s jurisdiction.

4. Produce and perform in your own New Media production and Taft-Hartley yourself. You must have existing union members in your production. You can find out more information at the SAG Website on how to become a signatory.

HINT: I strongly advocate for route #4 because it puts YOU in control and you end up with a piece of material for your reel, a new credit, and the satisfaction of knowing YOU made it happen for YOURSELF! For more on this read my FOLLOW UP POST ON EXACTLY HOW TO DO THAT! 


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