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SAG Eligible
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[User Deleted]
Posted 10:49 PM May. 14, 2010

I am in both AFTRA and SAG and I was able to survive doing talent work in the DC/MD/VA area as long as I was willing to travel regionally to PA & NY. I think the benefits have outweighed the drawbacks for me because I became eligible for AFTRA health benefits and I also receive residuals. I hope to retire with a union pension someday, especially because so many company pensions have gone away. Both unions now have payment plans for initiation fees and you can write the cost off on your taxes as a business expense. I dd not list myself as SAG Eligible or AFTRA eligible, but I did advertise it once I joined both unions and let all of my agents and casting directors know. I hope this helps. Please visit

In Solidarity with both sister unions, Tanya H

[User Deleted]
Posted 12:16 AM May. 15, 2010
Depending on what your looking for and your location, SAG can be more prohibitive than good. If you are strictly looking to do major motion picture/film or tv work than by all means join and promote SAG on your resume. However, numerous casting directors and agents have told me that for industrial, commercial, and even some film and tv project, only prefer non-union talents instead. Basically, joining SAG can be more prohibitive than anything especially in around the DC, MD, VA, PA area. I would recommend only joining SAG if you are in NY, CHI or CA and are a major player in the industry or are considering or already have a talent agent or manager. Otherwise many low budget or cost conscious jobs in these areas will skip over union talent due to the hassle and stipulations.
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Total posts: 1
Joined: 10 year(s) ago
Posted 2:06 AM May. 15, 2010
Just do it because you've earned it,you may not win anything but then--you don't know. Good Luck
Total posts: 2
Joined: 10 year(s) ago
Posted 9:23 AM May. 15, 2010

Anthony ~ As a Casting Associate working for Casting Director, Pat Moran....we do NOT appreciate the term Sag Eligible or SAG-E on a headshot or resume. There are several reasons for this. You are either AFTRA/SAG or NON UNION. If you are non-union and a "must pay" (which is your status if you use the term SAG ELIGIBLE), then we prefer that you use the term "must pay". We do see headshots with the term "must join" which is a collogualism- the correct term is "must pay" (THANK YOU BRIAN FOR REMINDING ME OF THIS) We do have actors submit with the status of SAG-E on their resume, who are, in fact not "must pay". This is misleading ~ When we see SAG ELIGIBLE or SAG-E, we are less inclined to call an actor in for Non Union projects because there is a good chance that their status is no longer Non Union....and the other side of that is that we also are less inclined to call them in for SAG projects because we have to dance around whether or not they can pay their dues if booked.

Best advice ~ Keep it simple! Accurately put your current union status on your material. If you really are a "must pay" then let the casting office know that you are willing to pay your union dues if called in for an SAG audition and booked.

I would also suggest talking with someone at the AFTRA/SAG office about this. I believe that they strongly frown on Non Union Actors using the term SAG (including SAG E or SAG ELIGIBLE) on their material. For more information on AFTRA/SAG requirements and waivers, contact your local AFTRA/SAG office.

Hope this helps! Best, Carol Davis

[User Deleted]
Posted 9:25 AM May. 15, 2010
Bonnie Gillespie, my mentor, in her fabulous MUST-HAVE book "Self-Management for Actors---Getting Down to (Show) Business" (3d ed., 2009) at page 127-128, says this, referring to LA. (Note: this is my extract of only portions of what is on the two cited pages.. Get the book for more--whether you buy it or get it at a library. I decided to buy it, after I borrowed it from a lib'y.):
"SAG-eligible is one of the best statuses to have in this town. Before you're eligible, you're nonunion (or, at most, a member of AFTRA or AEA--Equity.). . . .means you cannot be hired to work on SAG projects without getting Taft-Hartleyed, earning SAG vouchers as an extra on SAG projects, or working under one of the SAG Low-Budget Agreements that allow for nonunion performers (which doesn't get you any closer to being a SAG member.) . . .
Once you're SAG-eligible (meaning you've gotten your three SAG vouchers and just haven't joined yet, or that you've been a member of AFTRA for a year and have had a speaking role in its jurisdiction), you are eligible to work on SAG and non-SAG projects.
Suddenly you have the best of both worlds! Should a SAG producer choose to hire you. . . You simply must go to the SAG membership office and pay your initiation fee and first dues prior to the clearance date for shooting the SAG project on which you've been hired.. . .
"SAG-eligible" on your resume tells people that you are available to do SAG work without costing them much hassle or potential fees AND that you are available to do nonunion work without violating SAG rules. . . . .
A caveat: Do NOT put "SAG-eligible" on your resume unless you have at least a grand put away to put toward your SAG initiation fees. Unlike AFTRA, SAG will not simply deduct initiation fees from your first paychecks. I've seen an actor who
was SAG-eligible lose a part in a film due to the fact that, when it came down to it, he couldn't afford to visit the SAG membership department and "become official" prior to the clearance day for the SAG shoot for which he'd been hired. Since he was not cleared by SAG's Station 12, he was off the project and the producers went to the next actor on the list. Ouch!
[User Deleted]
Posted 9:36 AM May. 15, 2010
Wow. It is amazing that Carol Davis and I posted at almost the same minute. (See the last two posts above.)
As to the practical aspects of whether to have "SAG-eligible" on the resume, I would defer to Carol, as to the oracle at Delphi . . .. Thanks for the perspective from the practical-application side, Carol.
Some may find the info in my post, extracted from Bonnie's book to be instructive, too, at least for background fund-of-knowledge info.
Full disclosure: I am strictly nonunion, so far; not even SAG-eligible. . . yet. :-(
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Total posts: 2
Joined: 10 year(s) ago
Posted 5:32 PM May. 15, 2010

Hey Terry ~ Synchronicity....clearly whether to Sag-E or not to Sag-E differs coast to coast...I defer to the regional AFTRA/SAG office which is very much against using "Sag" anything unless you are actually a member. Best, Carol

Total posts: 17
Joined: 4 year(s) ago
Posted 11:44 PM Feb. 26, 2016
I'm new in this industry and have 2 backgrounds under my belt. I'm having fun. I meeting and networking with people. I'm traveling. Military vet, former cop just enjoying what life throws at me! Good luck to all!
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