SAG: What’s the Deal and How to Actually Join (no, really)

Alright, people. Saddle up and get ready. This is probably the most valuable information I have ever put on this blog. Seriously, this $hit is priceless. Perfect for our 100th post (!)

What the hell is SAG anyway?

SAG stands for Screen Actors Guild, and is a collection of actors. It is often referred to as “the union,” and it many ways acts like a union, even though it’s technically a guild. Any “legitimate” projects (e.g. things you actually see on TV or in the movie theatre) have agreements with either SAG or AFTRA for every project. These agreements delineate things like how much actors are guaranteed to make, working conditions, the hours you can work people, etc.

Do I need to join?

Eventually, yes. To be a working actor in Los Angeles, you will absolutely have to join SAG at some point. Having SAG on your resume–rightfully or not–gives you a rather giant leap up in credibility. It indicates that you have been paid to act on a seriously professional level.

Know, however, that when you join SAG you are agreeing to no longer work any non-union jobs. Bonnie Gillespie has a phenomenal post on when to join the unions.

How do I join, and what’s all this ‘eligibility’ business?

The wonderful blog Brains of Minerva has a great post on the different ways to join. In short, they are as follows:
  • Principal Performer: As a non-union actor you book a union job as a principal performer. For SAG, this means you will get “Taft-Hartleyed,” meaning a Taft-Hartley form (see below) was filed for you as a principal performer. This makes you eligible for SAG.
  • Vouchers: As a non-union actor you must receive 3 Taft-Hartleys as a background performer to become eligible to join SAG. Basically, 1 principal role Taft-Hartley = 3 background role Taft-Hartleys
    • It seems to take people between 3 months and 5 years (I know) to obtain 3 vouchers
    • The younger, hotter, and more female you are, the better chance you have of getting a voucher
    • On a set, it is usually the 1st or 2nd AD (Assistant Director) who has the ability to give out vouchers (if they have any)
    • I have heard of a large number of people who paid someone roughly $100 per voucher. I personally hate the system that engenders this, but more on that later
  • Affiliated Unions: If you are a member of one of SAG’s sister unions (AEAAFTRAACTRAAGMA or AGVA) you are eligible to join SAG one year after working a principal part through the sister union

This is a very brief, not super thorough overview. Read the Brains of Minerva post for more in-depth coverage of this.

Once you are eligible, you are free to join SAG at any time. Simply pony up $2,335 at the time of this writing (that’s including the minimum $58 in your first year’s annual fees) and you’re a full-fledged SAG member. And yes, you can pay with Visa or Mastercard.

When do I have to join?

Ok, so I’ve been tracking down this answer for a long time and finally came to my senses and just called SAG for clarification. Here goes…

Once you receive a Taft-Hartley as a principle performer OR receive 3 Taft-Hartleys (vouchers) as a SAG background performer, you are eligible to join SAG and can pay at any time. If you choose not to join off the bat, it works as follows:

“SAG Eligible” Status: From the date you first become eligible, you then have 30 days to do as much SAG work as possible without having to join the union.
“OK 30″ Status: After that 30 days, if you book another SAG job and they call to clear you in time, you can be cleared for an additional 30 days to again do as much SAG work as possible without having to join. At this point you are considered to have “OK 30″ status.
“Must Pay” Status: After that 30 days, if and when you book another (ostensibly your third) SAG job, you then become a “must pay.” From the first work date of this (third) SAG job you have 5 business days to join.

Payment Plan: If you are an “OK 30″ or a “must pay” status, you are eligible for SAG’s payment plan. The payment plan is 40% down on the total ($2,335) , and then 3 equal monthly installments of the balance.

Note, if you are in the midst of your payment plan and book another SAG job, you must pay off the balance you owe in full before you can be cleared for another job.

Station 12 Promise to Pay. If you are “must pay” status and you book another job but don’t have the money, it is possible if you are represented by a SAG-franchised agent to have them call in with a promise to pay for you, which clears you for–and I didn’t receive exact clarification on this–like one more week to pay. However, that agent can only have ONE person in a “promise to pay” status at any given time.

Taft, who? Wasn’t he that fat President?

Wow, you really know your history. But I bet you didn’t know that President Taft had a specialty bathtub installed in the White House for him. So what does this have to do with SAG? Absolutely nothing.

“Taft-Hartley” refers to the Taft-Hartley Act which is a law passed by Congress in 1947 relating to labor unions. Without further boring you, what it means for an actor is that if you get a Taft-Hartley you are then eligible to join SAG as mentioned above.

Getting Taft-Hartleyed is rather difficult to accomplish, as a TV show or movie has to do a (minimal) paperwork and pay a (minimal…like a few hundred dollars) fine to Taft-Hartley you. Fortunately for you, you can get Taft-Hartleyed by doing your own web video or webseries, and pay no fine.

How to form a SAG signatory company for a web-based video project (and Taft-Hartley someone such as yourself)

First of all, know that SAG states you cannot use the following process simply to Taft-Hartley yourself or anyone else. You must actually do a legitimate web project. (There are no listed requirements for what that entails, nor is there any stated way of them checking on this, but that’s what they say.) What I explain below is how to create a SAG Signatory Company, which then produces your web video (or series). There is no cost to forming a Signatory Company through the New Media Agreement.

When doing a project through SAG you are agreeing to abide by their rules, and to hire union (SAG) actors for your project, unless for some reason you are unable to find a SAG actor for a specific role (see the actual Taft-Hartley info below). Brains of Minerva has another incredible article on what this all means when doing a web project. You might also look over the FAQs for New Media Projects provided by SAG.

Step 1: Preliminary info sheet

You must first fill out the Preliminary Info Sheet found on SAG’s website. Along with that sheet, you must also turn in the following:

  • Copy of the driver’s license of the person submitting the form (whomever is going to be the Signatory company/primary contact)
  • A line-item budget for the project
  • A script for the project
  • Be sure to designate how much you plan on paying the actors
    • There are no actual requirements for this, and you can indeed “defer” pay to actors. However, you should know that SAG most assuredly would like to see that you plan to pay your actors something…even if it’s deferred payment
      • If you decide to pay, say, $100/day deferred that’s fine, you just need to stipulate when you would actually pay the actors
        • Ex: You say we would pay the actors 14 days after receiving any distribution money if you theoretically made money on the project at some point
  • You need to indicate whether we want an OPO (One Production Only) or Term Agreement
    • OPO means you are only doing one video, whereas a Term Agreement means you plan on doing more.
    • OPO only obligates to do this single project through SAG, whereas a Term Agreement means you agree to do all future productions through SAG until the next round of SAG contract negotiations (which generally happen every three years.
  • While there is no official requirement, SAG definitely wants to see that you plan on hiring at least some SAG actors for your project. Again, there is no actual requirement, but the more SAG actors you plan on using, the happier SAG will be.

It generally takes 3 weeks or so to process this form. After it is processed, SAG will send you a a packet with the various forms you’ll need to complete your Signatory status and carry out your production.

Step 2: The signatory packet

After you submit the preliminary info they will send you a large packet of information (that will also have the Taft-Hartley form) that you then fill out to officially form the SAG Signatory Company. Once that gets processed, you’re good to go to begin filming your project.

This packet is fairly self-explanatory. A couple notes:

  • It is not required that you form an LLC or separate entity to become a SAG Signatory Company. That is, an individual can effectively act as a SAG Signatory Company
  • If you do not have a separate bank account for your production company you can skip the “credit check” section (though you do need to fill out the rest of that page)
  • If this is a new project, you don’t need to fill out the “New Media Transfer of Rights” page

Once you submit this packet you will receive an email from SAG within a couple weeks with your SAG Signatory number as well as the SAG production number for your project.

Step 3: Film it!

Pretty self-explanatory. The best advice I can give you: find an amazing DP (Director of Photography) and pay your sound guy. Poor sound makes a project seem incredibly unprofessional.

Step 4: More paperwork

There is some paperwork included with your signatory packet that you are required to fill out during your shoot. Be as thorough as possible.

The Actual Taft-Hartley

If you are planning to hire a non-union actor (such as yourself), then you submit the Taft-Hartley within 15 days of the non-union performer working on the project.

Important Note: For the SAG New Media process outlined here, SAG does not have any fines for a Taft-Hartley, nor do they state anything that would keep one from having their Taft-Hartley go through.

Ever wondered what the actual Taft-Hartley looks like? Are you assuming it’s some monstrous 27-page packet? Well, look no further. Here is the actual Taft-Hartley form. You might notice the myriad ways one might qualify to be Taft-Hartleyed, including “first employment of a person who has training/experience as a professional performer and intends to pursue a career as a motion picture performer.” When filling out the “contract type” section on the Taft-Hartley, you might just write in “___ New Media.”

The performer who was Taft-Hartleyed will receive a letter in the mail from SAG in a few weeks indicating their eligibility to join SAG.

Legal Stuff

Please know that if and when you produce your own project, there are a number of legal ramifications that you need to be aware of. First of all, if you personally are listed as the SAG-Signatory producer when you fill out the paperwork explained above, then you personally are legally responsible for everything that happens on your set. Someone breaks a leg, dies, scratches a Ferrari…it’s all on you. As such, it might be wise to form an LLC or other legal entity that produces your project.

In addition, there are myriad state and federal legal requirements when you produce something. For example, you can only work children for a certain number of hours, you need a permit to film anywhere (even on private property), you have to pay any workers the federal minimum wage (or the CA minimum wage of $8/hour if you film in California), and it is California state law that you need to have workman’s comp insurance if you do a project. Entertainment Partners will actually provide you with workman’s comp insurance for everyone on set if you go through them as your payroll company. Contact them for pricing, but my understanding is that often it will only cost a couple hundred dollars, and then you’re protected if something horrible happens. Sure beats getting sued because Joe Actor decided to trip on the banana peel (he’s sooo cliche) and hit his head on the dalmatian statue.

Many people confuse these laws with annoying SAG requirements so they shoot non-union. The hoops and such that you must jump through with a SAG project are there to help you ensure that you are following all of the laws.


I’ve heard from a couple people that the process described here is a “loophole” that SAG is planning to close (they’ve also been saying they’re going to get rid of the voucher system for about a decade now). I don’t see how producing a new media project through SAG is a loophole, nor does it make sense to me that SAG would make it any more difficult to go through them for new media projects. Moving picture entertainment is moving more and more online, and I can only think that SAG wants to be as much a part of that as possible.


If you have any further questions on what is presented here, I suggest you call the appropriate SAG department (full list here).

New Media: (323) 549-6724
Membership: (323) 549-6757

Final thoughts

I hope this has been helpful. If you’re a rock star who is out there producing their own work, then you might as well take the next step and make it a legitimate SAG production. When you’re ready to upgrade from new media to actual film, Bonnie Gillespie has a great column on becoming a SAG signatory for non-New Media projects. Happy filming!

Ben Whitehair is the Los Angeles contingent of this blog. Find out more information and view his materials on his website, or read the rest of his blog posts.


78 Comments + Add Comment

  • Thank you, this was very informative.

  • Great post, very informative. You Rock, my Friend!

  • Real good information, I just filled out a form for my first Taft-Hartley.

  • Great article but have a simple question. On T/H form under the contract type, you say write in “____New Media” – What do we put on that blank line? Sorry for being so dense.

    John Lucas

    • benwhitehair

      I think that’s where you just put an ‘x’ or a check mark. :)

  • Question: I was just a principal performer in an Ultra Low Budget film with deferred pay. Does that count as eligibility? Or do I still have a ways to go?

    • benwhitehair

      It depends whether they submitted a Taft-Hartley for you or not. If it’s an Ultra Low Budget film through SAG, then they likely should have…I would call SAG and check if you’re eligible.

  • Hi and thanks for a great post.

    My question is, can I form a SAG Signatory Company if I am not an American? I am a European citizen.


    • benwhitehair

      I’m not actually sure…I would call SAG directly and double check with them about the rules on that.

  • I just worked on a very big studio production, they Taft Hartleyed me, is it possible that the production will pay for my dues?

    • benwhitehair

      The idea is that with a big job that qualifies you for SAG that you would then have enough money to pay the union dues. I highly doubt they would pay for your dues, but I suppose your representation could ask…it’s pretty doubtful though.

  • Does anyone know if this is still valid under the new merger? Has the merger had any effect on this at all?

    • benwhitehair

      I haven’t looked into this post-merger. Has anyone else? Definitely something worth investigating.

  • Hi! I got Taft-Hartleyed on a web project, but still haven’t received my letter from SAG regarding eligibility. I looked online at their site to see if I’m eligible and it says I’m not. Can I keep booking SAG projects til I get my elibility letter, since the 30 days starts the first day I’m eligible to join? Or does it start when the papers are filed with SAG?

    • benwhitehair

      If you haven’t received your letter that’s probably not a good sign. The online eligibility checker, though, is not necessarily always up to date, or in my case my name was spelled wrong in their system so I didn’t show up.

      I would call SAG and check on your status. If they don’t have you in their system, I would check with the production that Taft-Hartleyed you and make sure the paperwork got submitted.

      I’m not entirely sure, but I think the 30 days starts from the day you were on set (that’s the day they’ll have), but I would definitely double check with the SAG office to be sure.

  • I recently produced and starred in my own web series. We just finished filming and the production is currently in post-production. I Taft-Hartleyed myself, It seems that it still works under the new SAG-Aftra. At least my SAG rep told me I could T-H myself.

    I’m wondering though. The contracts, paperwork, meal break schedule, and my T-H paperwork were Submitted about a week ago. How do I know when it’s official and I’m SAGe? Do they send a letter? How long does that usually take?

    • benwhitehair

      Technically you’re eligible from the day you do the job, though SAG might not process it for a little bit. If you needed to work another SAG job, they should be able to pull it up in their system. And they will send you a letter confirming your eligibility once everything is processed, though my recollection from when I did it is that it took at LEAST a few weeks before I got that letter. If you need to confirm for a job or something call them up, but you can certainly starting putting SAG-AFTRA-eligible on your resume :)

  • I just got booked for as a Principal performer for an SAG commercial. What do I do now to get Taft-Harleyed? Do I ask to speak with the assistant director at the shoot? Have my agency speak with them? Thanks in advance.

    • benwhitehair

      They should have the appropriate paperwork on set when you get there to fill out. However, I would have your agent double check to make sure they’re aware of your union status, and all set to T-H you. And if you’re on set and things seem weird with union stuff, paperwork, etc. call you agent ASAP.

  • This is beautifully explained. Thank you so much!

  • Thanks so much for the article! Quick question. Is it possible to be completely denied being Taft-Hartley’d? For example, say a movie company hires me and submits a Taft-Hartley form explaining why they chose me instead of a SAG-AFTRA member, but is denied because it’s not a good enough reason. Can they then pay the fine anyway to guarantee I can be Taft-Hartley’d and used?

    Just wondering if as long as you have the money, you can be Taft Hartley’d.

    • benwhitehair

      I’m sure it’s possible, but I’ve never heard of it happening.

  • What about financial core?

    • benwhitehair

      That means joining the union then essentially backing out. That’s a whole other can of worms. My personal belief is that the unions are here to protect actors, and going fi-core harms that very purpose.

  • To become eligible for SAG do the 3 T/H for background rolls for need to be from a SAG production, or not?

    • benwhitehair

      Yes they need to be from a SAG production. That’s the whole point. :)

  • Any information as how this can work for an animated webseries? Only difference is drawing everything instead of filming it (and having voice actors instead of onscreen ones).

    • benwhitehair

      I’m not sure, I would check with SAG. My guess is it would be the same…voice acting is still covered under SAG guidelines.

  • Hello, I was Taft-Hartley in a SAG commercial a few days later I recieved a letter and recieved a phone call came in from SAG that if recieved my letter and then was asked to join I was suprised, I’m in Houston where here in Texas its half of what you would pay if in Cali. I was SAGe for a few years and now I just decided to join my agent wasn’t to happy, oh well I’m happy !

  • Mike. Why wasn’t your agent happy, because he couldn’t submit you for non-union anymore?

  • Thank you so much for this info. SAGAFTRA has nothing about the OK30 status on their site and I almost turned down a gig thinking I was a must join. I called the LA office and sure enough I can still do it under the OK30 status. Thank you again!!

  • I have a question regarding SAG Eligibility. If you put SAG Eligible on your resume, does that indicate to the casting directors that you are SAG and you can do SAG jobs? Do they have to pay extra or fill out forms for you to work since technically you are still non-union? Or is it just like you are SAG and they treat it as such when considering you for jobs?

    • benwhitehair

      SAGe is really the best place to be in many regards. It indicates that you can work SAG jobs if hired (and they don’t need to do any extra paperwork), and also that you can do non-union work. To be clear, though, you need to actually become SAG-eligible before putting it on your resume.

  • So, it’s ok to put SAGe on your resume if your principal Taft-Hartley was turned into SAG but you haven’t received the letter yet?

    • benwhitehair

      I would say yes. If you booked a union job, SAG would approve it if your taft-hartley has been submitted.

  • Just learning about all this so excuse my ignorance – my younger brother (21) has only done indie films to date, but now has been booked to work as a stand-in for the leading man in a pilot being filmed for one of the major pay-per-view networks. The job should last apprx 3 weeks.
    Will he be eligible to join SAG-AFTRA? If so, is there anything he needs to do once on set?
    Would being SAG improve his chances of becoming a full time stand in if the pilot is picked up?


    • benwhitehair


      It totally depends on whether or not the project is a union project. Being a stand-in for 3 weeks doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. He would need to find out if the job is union, and if so if he’s going to get taft-hartleyed for it.

      I don’t think him begin SAG would change his chances of becoming a full-time stand-in. Best thing to do there is be super easy to work with and really nice to everyone on set. :)

  • Aren’t there many sag members who play in independent films or no?

    • benwhitehair


      I’m not sure what you’re asking. Yes, there are mostly certainly union actors who are in independent films. Most “independent” films though are done through the union. The term “independent” just means they weren’t funded by a major studio.

  • Thanks for the info…… Aren’t there sag actors that do independent films?

    • benwhitehair

      Yes, there are indeed. Most “independent” films are still done through a SAG contract. Often the SAG low-budget, modified low-budget, or ultra low budget contracts.

  • Hi! I wrote and produced my own webseries under Sag New Media earlier this year and I submitted my Taft-Hartley as well as the other 2 non-union actors; however, my Taft-Hartley was denied due to my listing as not only the Principal Actor but as Casting Director. This is what the supervisor, Kam Talbott, told me. The other non-union actors are now SAGe. Have you heard of this? What should I do? So bummed!

    • benwhitehair


      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I would call them back and see if you can enroll them in allowing your taft-hartley to go through. Wish I had a better idea.

  • Can someone who is SAG-e joining the union using a payment plan WITHOUT getting the loan?

    • benwhitehair

      I’m not sure, you would need to call SAG-AFTRA

  • My child was on set doing a tv show (principal) when the manager called me and said he must join SAG immediately. Luckily I had enough money on a payment plan for SAG membership. My child had just received a letter saying to join SAG but his manager said don’t pay, he hasn’t done enough yet and he wasn’t ‘must join’. Well he was. It took more than 5 days for this paperwork to process through SAG after my son first day of work on this TV show. It was a mess. My child’s manager kept calling me to find out from SAG what was taking so long. they kept telling me the production company was upset. Found out someone dropped the ball at SAG and paperwork wasnt processed in time. Shouldn’t my child’s manager have knowned to advise me better or helped. Shouldnt they have knowned he was must join? They get 15% – they just sent a new contract for another two years. Does this jeopardize my child’s reputation in the business? How does my child look in his agency’s eye? Help!

    • benwhitehair


      It sounds like the storm has passed, and there’s nothing to panic over anymore. Definitely understand your stress, though. Yes, the manager certainly could have done a better job of knowing you status with the union, but it’s also always good to know that type of information yourself. Most agents and managers are most focused on getting the client the next job, not always on the other pieces of it.

      I don’t know that your child has anything to worry about reputation wise…always good to take responsibility though and make sure issues don’t happen again in the future.

      And congrats on the job booking!

  • Thanks for this it’s very useful! I’m currently filling out my signatory packet, and am stumbling over the ‘Producers Pension and Health Programs Made for New Media Report of Contributions’ form…From what I can understand I need to send SAG a check that will go towards the performer’s pension, however I have no idea how much I’m supposed to send them! I hadn’t realised that I would have to pay anything in the application process – have I misunderstood this completely??!!

    • benwhitehair

      I don’t know the answer to your question specifically. I would call the new media department at (323) 549-6446. Hope that helps!

  • Hi!

    Thank you so much for all the info!

    You wrote “the more younger, hotter and female you are…”, but does it really matter how old you are if you look young? If you’re 30 for example and you look 20-25. Or is the business so obsessed with a number?


    • benwhitehair

      River, I say what really matters is your grit, determination, and passion. Some people care about the number, but don’t let that stop you. My main point is that there is a separate market for young and beautiful people, but it’s a small thing.

  • Thank you, this helped a ton. I went on the official SAG website and I had a hard time understanding exactly what they wanted in order for me to join. I was wondering, though, about my lack of experience. I only ever took one acting class and played a small part in a school play when I was in high school. I’m 19 now, and have always wanted to get into acting, but I feel like because I waited so long to really get into it that it could jeopardize my chances in becoming an actress, let alone a SAG actress. Any thoughts regarding this question would help a lot.

    • benwhitehair

      19?! You’re SO young. Worry not about age. If you think acting is what you want to pursue, then go for it. Dive in and learn if it’s the life path you’re interested in. Take classes, talk to people, do research, etc. But 19 is by far a late start. For reference, I moved out to LA when I was 23.

      • Thank you so much. This honestly made me feel tons better, hehe. I was doing some IMDb research on some of my favorite actresses and actors to see when they started getting major rolls. Some were as young as eleven (Christina Ricci.) Not to mention the fact that many of my family and friends were telling me that because of my lack of experience I’d never make it. I definitely want to try. I’ve been planning to move out to LA either next year or the year after depending on when I save up enough money. But yeah, thank you again. I feel a lot better.

    • Thanks! :) Such a refreshing positive blog.

  • Great info! Ive been in a huge back and forth with SAG for the last few months. We shot a low budget film with two sag actors and hundreds of volunteers in South Central Alaska. The original head of SAG Seattle was an AK sympathizer. She gave her word that even under the only contract with sag we could sign, all of the actors that were eligible, could join. The Ultra Low Budget agreement states that the actors wont be eligible. Only if you sign a Low budget agreement or higher. So I went on her word. She left sag soon after, and this is where the problem lies. Trying to leverage her word with the rest of sag. New York recently sent a letter reiterating what the contract states. So i’m basically pleading with them. But they wont listen. I wonder if there’s a way to use the footage already captured, mixed with interviews between our SAG and non-SAG actors, to do a sort of promo for the film already made?

    • benwhitehair

      Mike, I’m not sure the specifics of the contract, but I can’t imagine a way of getting around the actual contract regardless of what anyone told you. On the flip side, if someone actually is eligible to be Taft-Hartleyed then you shouldn’t have any issues.

  • Hi,

    In regards to Taft-Hartley. I saw a casting notice for principal role in a pilot that which states under the ‘Union Status’ that it’s SAG-AFTRA/Non Union. Can you get Taft-Hartely’d into that or does it need to state Union?

    • benwhitehair

      If they’re doing it through the union (SAG-AFTRA), then yes they could Taft-Hartley you.

  • Was just reading the comments on this. People are hyper anxious about age WAAAAAAAY too much. I feel incredibly sorry for the “age anxiety”. I think what people need to focus on is the type of actor they want to be, what kinds of directors they would like to work with, how marketable they are and to what people. And really it is just how old you *look* or *act*. When you audition, you don’t have to give your real age. It is what you can pull off.

  • What’s the lowest level SAG-AFTRA contract that you can get cast for that allow for Taft-Hartley’ing;
    Modified Low Budget?
    Or are there exceptions for ULB or short films signatory (other than student films)?


    • benwhitehair

      ANY SAG-AFTRA contract allows you to taft-hartley. Including student films, short films, new media, etc. As far as I know there are no exceptions. Probably worth a call to the union to double check.

      • Update: I just followed up with SAG-AFTRA and they noted that the lowest level contract to get Taft-Hartley’d into the union was Modified Low Budget.

        • benwhitehair

          Thanks for following up. You might talk to someone else over there. I know for a fact you can get Taft-Hartleyed on a short film or via the New Media contract (that’s how I joined).

  • Question. I just got Taft hartleyed as a background actor on a web series. Does that count as a voucher (aka I need two more) or am I all set to join SAG?

    • benwhitehair

      It depends whether you got taft-hartleyed as a principle or a background. It sounds like the latter, so you probably need two more vouchers. You can call SAG-AFTRA and double check. :)

  • I was recently cast to play the DATE of the main actress in a SAG Web Series…..i filled out the paperwork and everything….but i got a lil nervous because i heard the director say that there was no sound at some point..not sure if that meant during the whole date or not(we both said things) and she sat on my lap and we were playing with each other etc….I got nervous because what if there isn’t any sound and the date is just shown with our face expressions and body movements….would that still make me a principal performer in this production? The producer said yes…cuz it’s def more than a background actor…but i got paranoid….what do you think?

    • benwhitehair

      As long as the Taft-Hartley gets filled out you’ll be fine. :)

  • Hey Ben,

    Just to be clear, so if I am a Non-Union extra on a Union(SAG) set I “can” be Taft Hartleyed? Also do you just get approached by the AD or do you (myself) ask directly about it if he/she doesn’t? Thanks!


    • benwhitehair

      As an extra you can get a voucher. You need three vouchers to become eligible.

      I haven’t actually worked as an extra so not sure entirely how it works. I would work on developing a genuine relationship with the AD and ask them how it works.

  • I recently produced a new mediaproject under sag. It was an approved sag project. I had all the requirements. My one sag actor and two non union actors are principles. since im the producer and im a principle in the film is there a chance they could deny my TH? How closely do they go over the paperwork?

    • benwhitehair

      As far as I know, that’s not a reason to deny you. So even if they do scrutinize the paperwork–which they probably will–I still don’t think they can deny it as long as you’re following all of the union guidelines.

  • HEy, Ben! I have one question. I have been looking for this answer since forever.
    Do I need to be a SAG member before moving to LA?
    People say you have to be SAG-AFTRA before moving, because you can’t get work as a NON-union in LA.
    IS this true?
    I think it is a excuse to not take the next step, it’s out of fear that people stay in their hometowns.

    Charlotte just killed their film incentives. I cannot stay here anymore because of that.
    What do you recommend I do? Save up and move to LA as a Non-Union, and try to get work there?
    Or stay in Charlotte and try to do as much as possible- in Atlanta/New York/Louisiana.

    • benwhitehair

      Great question. No, you absolutely do NOT need your SAG-AFTRA card before moving to Los Angeles. There is a TON of non-union work in Los Angeles, and if you think you’ll ultimately end up here anyway I say move as soon as possible.

      If you think you can absolutely book one or two co-stars on a legitimate television show in the next year before moving to LA, then that would be something to consider. There’s definitely a lot of work in Atlanta, NY, and Louisiana. Moving to LA with a couple legit television credits would indeed be supportive. That said, my thought is you might as well be in LA making relationships and building a resume if you’re going to end up here anyway.

      My three cents (adjusted for inflation).

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