Don’t join SAG-AFTRA (too fast)!

By Webmaster

  • Don’t join SAG-AFTRA (too fast)!

    As soon as you become eligible to join a union, celebrate! But only join when you are fully prepared.

    (By Jim Webb)
    Joining the union and getting a SAG card, has long been a rite of passage for actors. It was a sense of accomplishment, signifying that the actor or actress has arrived at a place in their careers where they must be taken seriously as a legitimate, professional actor.

    But times have changed. Increasingly, many acting roles, particularly in commercials, are not done under a union contract and, instead, feature non-union talent (or union actors who have elected to avail themselves of non-union work). In fact, it is estimated that around 60% of commercials are now produced using non-union talent.

    As such, it tends to be better for newer actors to wait for as long as possible before joining the SAG-AFTRA union.

    Here are some reasons to do so:

  • More time for resume-building

    Not joining the union immediately when eligible allows the actor more time to compete for the more plentiful non-union roles. It becomes a numbers game. With more acting roles available to compete for, actors have more opportunities for work. This can give actors a better chance to build and bolster their acting résumés in the process.

    Less-experienced competition

    Non-union roles tend to be less competitive than union roles, because the competition tends to be among less experienced actors – actors who have not been acting long enough to have had to join the union. Contrast this with competing for union jobs.

    In competing for a union job, an actor may have to compete with other union actors who have twenty or more years of experience.

    And, there are over 160,000 actors and other performers in SAG-AFTRA, many of whom are actively competing for union work at any given time.

  • Roles are booked mostly based on talent, rather than connections

    You’ve heard the adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. That is partially true in the business of acting and that is especially the case with union work. Experienced union actors tend to have connections with casting directors, whom they may have known for many years. This can tilt the scales in their direction and away from actors who do not have those connections. The playing field tends to be fairer for non-union work, since you are not competing with actors who’ve spent years building relationships with those casting directors.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    There are over 160,000 actors and other performers in SAG-AFTRA, many of whom are actively competing for union work at any given time.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Joining a union is a big deal, and a big accomplishment, for actors. But that doesn’t mean it should be done as soon as you are eligible to join.

    As soon as you become eligible to join a union, celebrate! But only join when you are fully prepared.

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • Don’t Audition Solely for the Purpose of Booking the Role

    Don’t Audition Solely for the Purpose of Booking the Role Always act in truth. (By Jim Webb) You are behind on your bills. You’re facing money shortages. You’re not entirely sure how you’ll…

    5 Good Reasons to Do Student Films

    5 Good Reasons to Do Student Films There are many actors who can cite chapter and verse their negative experiences doing student films. They can be a bit of a mixed bag. But…

    “If you want to be an actor…that has nothing to do with Hollywood.” (William H. Macy)

    “It’s one thing to become a better actor, it’s another thing to want to be somebody, or to want to be a star, or to get recognition. If you want to be an…

    What is a “Student Film”?

    What is a “Student Film”? It is the making of the film itself, rather than the content of the film, that usually provides the educational value (by Tonya Tannenbaum) A “student film”, as…

    “This is a business of rejection.” (Bill Duke)

    “There’s a difference between waiting to be discovered by someone and discovering yourself. Waiting to be discovered and discovering yourself is a different consciousness.” (Bill Duke) Duke went on to explain: “This is…

  • Ad

  • 3 Reasons Your Audition Ended Quickly

    3 Reasons Your Audition Ended Quickly The speediness of the audition may have nothing at all to do with the actor’s performance in the audition room (by Jim Webb) That sinking feeling you…

    5 Basic Facts about Lee Strasberg

    5 Basic Facts about Lee Strasberg Here are some basic facts about the life and career of Mr. Lee Strasberg (by Jim Webb) Lee Strasberg was one of the most influential acting teachers…

    “I think it’s important to stand out and make bold decisions.” (Dacre Montgomery)

    “I think it’s important (for actors) to stand out and make bold decisions. And I think that, there’s not enough people in the world that encourage that for artists. And I think for…

  • Ad

  • 5 Funny Feel-Facts About Acting

    5 Funny Feel-Facts About the Business of Acting They’re not necessarily true for all actors. You can argue that they’re not true at all. But they feel good to say, so I said…

    3 Minor Violations to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

    3 Minor Violations to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé When it comes to an actor’s résumé, there are differing levels of crime that an actor can commit. Here are 3 Minor Violations. (by…

    “If you get good enough, all that other stuff will take care of itself.” (Ed Harris)

    “I would just say, if this is something you’re pursuing as an actor… It’s one thing to learn about acting, it’s one thing to become a better actor, it’s another thing to want…

    What are “Profiles”?

    What are “Profiles”? Profiles give casting a more complete picture of how the actor looks when performing on-camera (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Profiles are a request for additional information about an actor’s appearance, particularly…

    You’re Not Really Acting When You’re Over-Acting

    You’re not really acting when you’re over-acting It’s amateurish and does a disservice to the script, your fellow actors and to the audience. (by Jim Webb) It’s understandable for aspiring actors to want…

  • Ad

  • “Don’t become an actor, unless you HAVE to.” (Mandy Patinkin)

    “Don’t become an actor, unless you HAVE to.” (Mandy Patinkin) Here’s the best thing I ever heard about acting, that my wife said: “Don’t do it (become an actor), unless you have to.”…

    Today’s Rundown

    TODAY’S RUNDOWN Thought of the day: Thinking of quitting your acting career? Hang in there! You don’t have to have all the answers today. You only have to survive the day. #actorslife  …

    What is a “Sense Memory”?

    What is a “Sense Memory”? Armed with a sense memory, the actor’s experience is no longer rooted in fantasy. It is now real to them. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Sense memory is an acting…

  • Ad

  • Booking Commercials: Talent, Looks or Luck?

    Booking Commercials: Talent, Looks or Luck? What does it take for an actor to be successful in commercials? (by Carmichael Phillips) What does it take for an actor to be successful in commercials?…

    What are “Notes, Adjustments and Redirects”?

    What are “Notes, Adjustments and Redirects”? Regardless of what one might call them, these changes are usually necessary for a thorough evaluation of the actor’s fitness for the role being cast (By Tonya…

    Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition

    Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition Don’t apologize during an audition. Ever. If you stumble over your words or make a mistake, simply correct it. Confidently. (by Carmichael Phillips)…

    Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé!

      Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé! This is a brief “NEVER and WTF Were You Thinking!” list (By Carmichael Phillips) Sometimes there are “Should and Shouldn’t” lists. Sometimes there are “Do…

    5 General Rules for Demo Reels

      5 General Rules for Demo Reels Before you get knee-deep into this endeavor, there are a few general rules you should consider. (By Jim Webb) Are you putting your first demo reel…

  • Ad

  • Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together!

    Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together! Before you approach an agent, make sure that you are ready to present yourself as an actor who understands the business and understands what…

    3 Helpful Suggestions When Slating

    3 Helpful Suggestions When Slating While the slating process may seem insignificant, it represents an additional opportunity for actors to stand-out, when done properly (By Jim Webb) You already know what slating is….

    5 Reasons Why Background Acting is a $h*tty Job

    5 Reasons Why Background Acting is a $h*tty Job Let us count the ways… (By Jim Webb) Recently, I listed five benefits to beginning your acting career as a background actor. To be…

  • Ad

  • Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior

      Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior Fame and fortune must not be your primary pursuit. They should be the fortuitous byproduct of a larger pursuit (by…

    5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve

    5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve So many riddles to solve. So little time. And on it goes… (By Carmichael Phillips) In a normal profession, everything is clear and easy to understand. The…

    What is “Slating”?

      What is “Slating”? (By Tonya Tannenbaum) The term, “slating”, for auditions, describes a standard industry practice whereby the actor briefly introduces themselves while facing the camera. This process usually happens right before,…

    5 Basic Facts About Method Acting

      5 Basic Facts about Method Acting Method acting refers to a collection of training techniques meant to aid actors in the understanding and building of their characters (By Jim Webb) Method acting…

    What are “Inner Motives”?

      What are “Inner Motives”? In order to consistently deliver natural, emotionally sincere performances the actor must understand their character’s inner motives (By Tonya Tannenbaum) Inner Motives are the rationales that an actor…

    What are “Animal Exercises”?

    What are “Animal Exercises”? An actor can study how an animal or animals move and, then, use some of those movements when preparing to capture the physicality of their character (By Tonya Tannenbaum)…

    Actor Stories: How John Krasinski Almost Gave Up on Acting

      Actor Stories: How John Krasinski Almost Gave Up on Acting (By Carmichael Phillips) Check out the story of how actor, John Krasinski, almost gave up on acting, right before his big break….

    Make Sure Your Name is Added to the “Nice” List

      Make Sure Your Name is Added to The “Nice” List You may not get the role you auditioned for, but make sure your name is added to the “nice” list (By Jim…