Working with SAG doesn’t have to be a pain in the ass for indie producers...
When I made my first SAG short film, I was completely overwhelmed. It was my first time working with a real crew, renting a location, and working with union actors.
The hardest thing about working with SAG wasn't any individual to-do item or form or rule. It was that I had to figure it all out during the most stressful period of my life (pre-production).
I wanted to spend my precious time on creative decisions -- not spending hours reading random pages on the SAG website, waiting for SAG to respond to my emails, and, worst of all, reading through legal contracts that were not written for human beings.
Whenever I thought that I had a handle on things, a question or a problem would pop up and it would take me hours to figure it out.
If you’re like me, then you probably have a lot of questions:
- What contract do you need? Short film? Ultra-low budget? New media?
- What's the minimum pay rate? Can I defer it? Can it be waived?
- Where the hell do you even find the application?
And... DOES EVERYONE ACTUALLY FOLLOW ALL OF THESE RULES!?
The Indie Producer's Guide to SAG
Based on that experience (and the experience of two more SAG shorts and an ultra low budget feature), I created the resource that I wish I had when I started producing.
- A list of all the required steps in an easy-to-follow checklist.
- A translation of the SAG agreement into normal language.
- Real-world working knowledge about how things are actually handled by low-budget indepenedent producers.
I wanted to help other producers get through it without going through it the hard way. It’s designed specifically for indie producers that are working with small budgets and don't have dozens of hours to figure out how to deal with SAG.
The guide will cover all of the topics above and many more:
- Which SAG contract is right for your production.
- How to become a SAG signatory.
- When and how to defer payment to actors.
- Understanding the contract you’re signing with SAG
- How to work with union and non-union actors on the same project.
- P&H payments and taxes
- SAG rules on set and how do avoid violations
- How to manage the entire process without stress
We'll go over the four main low-budget SAG contracts:
- The Short Project Agreement (formerly the Short Film Agreement) for short films under $50k
- The Ultra Low Budget Agreement (for features under $250k)
- The New Media Agreement (for web series)
- The Student Film Agreement
Included in your purchase:
- A 29-point checklist to keep you on track from start to finish throughout the SAG process.
- An easy-to-understand guide to choosing the right SAG contract for your short film, feature, or web series.
- A spreadsheet to calculate P&H payments and overtime.
And each section includes "In Practice" commentary that tells you how other indie producers are handling things so you're not flying blind.
The guide has over 70 pages of information and commentary, but if you're in a hurry and just need to get the ball rolling, there's a Quickstart section that can get you started within the next hour.
Order your digital copy and get instant delivery.
I’m only charging $25 for the guide.
When you think about how much your time is worth, I think that you’ll find it’s an insanely good deal at that price, even if it only saves you three hours of research and a few late nights of frustration.
In addition to the 70+ pages of actionable information on how to navigate SAG, you’ll also receive a step-by-step checklist with everything you need to stay on track of the entire process.
(and if you're in a hurry, you can skip ahead to the “quick start” section and get your application rolling in the next 30 minutes).
Or get a sample chapter!
Send me your email and I'll send you a sample chapter, plus a free guide to choosing the right SAG contract, and you'll be on the list for more tips about fearlessly making SAG projects.
About the author
Robert Carter is a writer, director, producer, and web developer in Chicago. Since 2015, I've produced and directed: a web series, three SAG short films, a SAG ultra low budget feature, and many union commercials. You can check out my work on my website.
Got questions? You can email me at info [at] producercoffee [dot] com.