What Is Screen Actor’s Guild?

By Darryl Green

  • Getting into the Screen Actor’s Guild can be a humbling and emotional experience for many actors. Most actors work really hard for many years to become established actors. For many actors, getting a SAG Card signifies that an actor has “arrived” and become a respected, professional actor.

    The Screen Actor’s Guild was established to represent actors who perform in film. Like all actor’s unions, Screen Actor’s Guild, or SAG for short, protects actors from unfair treatment and ensures that actors receive fair and just compensation for their work. SAG is responsible for setting the minimum amount of money an actor should be paid, which is known as scale. SAG also sets guidelines for working conditions and for the amount of time an actor is to be expected to work

    How Does SAG Help Actors?

           The Screen Actors Guild helps actors in a number of ways. In particular, SAG provides benefits and contractual representation, as well as other services that help actors further their careers.

    Benefits Include:

    • SAG negotiates the minimum rates at which their members must be paid for SAG-recognized projects.
    • Collects compensation for actors when use of their work is unauthorized or misused.
    • Health benefits for members
    • Retirement benefits, such as 401k and pension
    • Alerting actors to auditions and other opportunities
    • News alerts

    How Do I Join SAG?
    Joining SAG is usually not very easy. Joining SAG requires that an actor has worked on a SAG-recognized film project. The trouble is, an actor cannot work on a SAG-recognized film project if he or she is not a member of SAG. However, there are a number of ways to join the union even if you are not a member:

    • An actor can join SAG through the Taft-Hartley Act, which makes it possible for an actor to work on a SAG-recognized project for 30 days, even if he or she is not a member.
    • An actor may be able to join SAG if he or she can prove that they have worked or are expected to work on a SAG-recognized project.
    • Actors may be able to join SAG if they can prove that they have been a member of another actor union, such as the Actors’ Equity Association, and they have had a lead (principal) role while a member of that union.

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