I’ll be the first to admit, I’m one of the “lucky” ones. I’ve been a member of SAG (now SAG/AFTRA) for more than 30 years, as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and made a decent living in Film, TV and Commercials. If it’s okay, I’d like to ask you a few questions:
It wasn’t anything new, but it was kind of a sore spot for him. “Yeah, I’ve just never been able to break through.”
He’d even done some extra work over the years trying to collect “vouchers” to get into the Guild that way, but, as anyone will tell you, it’s not that easy.
As I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. I got into the Screen Actors Guild when a pretty well known actor broke his arm two weeks before shooting began on a PBS movie, and they suddenly had to recast. I got the part because the producers were willing to take a big gamble on an unknown actor (me). They signed what’s called a Taft-Hartley form, and I was in. I was 17. But the fact is,
For my friend KJ, it was taking much longer. It was starting to take its toll. In fact, he was starting to wonder if his “big break” would happen at all. Around the time of this conversation, I had recently helped out some friends on a couple of short films and New Media projects as the first assistant director, handling contracts and forms and stuff, among other things.
Wanting to help, I said to KJ, ”You’re a pro-active guy, Couldn’t you find someone who’s doing a web series, and get Taft-Hartleyed into SAG that way?”
“Some of us were talking about raising $10,000 on KickStarter to do our own Web Series,” he said. ”But we want to do it right, and that’ll take a few months. And even then, there’s no guarantee you’ll get in.” So I left it at that. But I kept thinking about that conversation. Particularly the last part. “Even then, there’s no guarantee.”
I started digging around on the internet reading about actors joining SAG by Self-Producing using the New Media Agreement, and found a ton of half-truths and misinformation, even urban myths. Things like, “Oh, my friend’s cousin tried to sneak into SAG doing a web-series and got red-flagged for LIFE!!”
I called the SAG membership department directly and spoke to one of the representatives. She told me Taft Hartley applications aren’t automatically approved. Even if everything’s done right. Someone in the membership department goes through the applications and approves or disapproves them. “Based on what?” I wanted to know. She wouldn’t give me specifics.
But I wasn’t concerned about everybody getting in, I was looking out for KJ, who was (did I mention?) a damn good actor. I admit I became a little obsessed. I started reading all the SAG contracts and agreements cover to cover, looking for some DEFINITIVE information. I was looking for the black and white, concrete answers. Specifically I wanted to know what a person would have to do to be 100% sure that his Taft-Hartley Application got approved if he produced his own New Media project.
Something that would benefit those pro-active actors who were willing to commit the time and energy it took to invest in their professional careers? Then I found it. I had to dig pretty deep, but I found the language in the official SAG Contracts and By-laws that absolutely Guarantees it.
I called KJ. “Remember we talked about doing a web series so you can get into SAG?”
“Forget it. I’ve cracked the code,” I said. ”You’re going to make a short film. Less than five minutes long.
“There are three things you have to do. Dead stupid simple things,” I told KJ. ”But if you do them all, They HAVE to invite you to join SAG.”
“Really?” said KJ, a bit dubious.
“Really.” I said. “My guess is that MOST people don’t do them, but if you do them in exactly the right way,
Cutting to the chase, KJ followed my instructions to the letter, and is now a full fledged, Dues Paying Member of SAG/AFTRA.
And it happened in just a few days.
Then I noticed something strange.
Within weeks I started getting emails and Facebook requests from other actors asking me for advice on their projects.
Some were friends of KJs, others were complete strangers. I told them what I’d found out, and helped a few of put their projects together.
But I have to say, as much as I enjoy helping brother & sister thespians out, I have my own acting career to pursue, and unless I cloned myself, I just didn’t have time to help everybody out one-on-one.
So I did the next best thing. I documented the entire process. On video. All my research. All my recommendations. I made:
I designed Get Your Actors Guild Card Now to be the ultimate way for Non-Union Actors to become SAG/AFTRA Eligible in the fastest, easiest way possible. Without having to collect extra vouchers, waiting to get hired on a feature film, or spending thousands of dollars self-producing a web-series.
I recorded a series of six short videos, and wrote a brief, to the point, yet thoroughly detailed guide book.A complete, step-by-step blueprint to getting your SAG card through New Media. In it you’ll find:
Now The fact is, when I first started selling the system, I charged $197 for it. Well, to be fair, I was including two hours of personal coaching with it. But I quickly found out that I had made the system so complete, that no one took me up on the coaching! I’d made my services completely redundant. Well, that was good news for everyone. I lowered the price to $97, and got my time back.
With the merger between SAG and AFTRA came some necessary changes to the SAG website. So I lowered the price again until I could investigate and make any necessary updates.
After I made the changes, I never got around to changing all the buttons back to $97.
So there it is. My sloth is your gain. You get the entire package, the eBook, the 7 part video series, the quickstart guide, PLUS, an excellent ebook on auditioning that I’m sure you’ll like, AND a report that will give you details on getting your Initiation dues FINANCED (That’s right, you can break it down into 24 monthly payments if you know who to talk to) All for the dirt cheap price of… Drumroll please:
Joining the Screen Actors Guild and getting your SAG Card is a milestone in your career as a professional actor.
As actors, we don’t have a whole lot of control of our own destinies. Which is why the best thing we can do is be ready. For anything.
Look at it this way: If a good friend called out of the blue and offered you an all expenses paid trip to Europe, only you had to get to the airport in two hours, that’d be great, right? Exciting… Spontaneous… As long as you have a passport.
If, not? WHAT a missed opportunity…
Having your SAG card is like that passport. If you aren’t a Screen Actors Guild member, or at least SAG eligible, you’re not 100% ready for that big call.
It certainly gives the producer one more reason to say “no” when considering you for a role, no matter how talented you may be.
Of course you are certainly welcome to get your SAG Card the hard way, like thousands of others, and wait as long as it takes for your “Lucky Break.”
OR you can be pro-active and take advantage of what some people are calling a “loophole” in one of the SAG contracts that has been quietly allowing actors to legitimately become SAG eligible and get their SAG card by their own choice and volition.
Look, if you search the internet you’ll get a LOT of conflicting information on this joining SAG and getting your SAG Card. A lot of half-truths, a lot of hearsay, some scary warnings, and a lot of stuff that’s ridiculously wrong.
Allow me, and I’ll take you through the actual contracts, showing you exactly what makes this possible and completely legitimate. Then I’ll show you the simplest way to get your SAG Card: with a weekend project that delivers 100% guaranteed results.
It’s a solid, foolproof system that will work for you, just like it has EVERYONE who has done it so far. (And it’ll also be a lot of fun!)
If you want to go about it the hard way, which is to say the way actors have been doing since time in memorium, I spell it out for you, step by excruciating step! Check out the sample module to the left.
I break open the so-called “loophole” in the New Media contract that makes it possible for you get into the Screen Actors Guild on your own timetable, and on YOUR terms. I show you every line in the contract that proves this is a completely legitimate way to join SAG, and not really a loophole at all (though it does require specific knowledge, that you won’t find just anywhere).
Then I reverse engineer the whole process and show you EXACTLY what you’ll need in order to take advantage of this “loophole” and get the job done in the SIMPLEST way possible. I take you through a specifically designed weekend video project that will not only showcase your best qualities and talents, but also qualify you for Screen Actors Guild membership, while you’re at it. I also tell you exactly what elements you MUST include to guarantee success. HINT: do this part right, and the membership department is REQUIRED by federal law to offer you membership in the Guild. Do it wrong, and you’re back to square one (Don’t worry, it’s a piece of cake).
Then we go step-by-step, line by line through all the SAG Signatory paperwork. I point out all the places you really have to pay attention, so that you don’t have your Signatory Application (and ultimately your membership) denied.
I steer you safely through all the on-set paperwork, showing you exactly how and when to fill out each form, and keep you from making simple mistakes that could cost you dearly.
All the details on correctly filing with the membership department. What to say, and what NOT to say.
Author: David Knell