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The SAG New Media Process [or really any low-budget SAG signatory]

So you want to create a web series or video made for web. Great!

…but you are SAG. Or you want to use SAG-AFTRA actors.

You might want to consider signing your project into SAG New Media. I’ve done this recently, and I can honestly say it’s no sweat. It’s not as simple, as say, just shooting without any paperwork. However, I will say the paperwork is minimal.

Here’s the process:

1. Go to and sign up as a SAG signatory producer. It takes about 5-10 minutes to do this section.

2. Now, add your project to be reviewed.

Pick the kind of project it is(new media, short film, etc.).

You will now be required to give information about the project.

Many of these items can be an estimation, because, let’s be honest, things change. For instance, if you think you *might* shoot next Thursday, but aren’t sure, just put that date. You can always change it with your SAG representative or on your contracts, later. If you will be continuing to add episodes to your web series, you can do one of two things: put the number of episodes you know you will be shooting, or leave that section blank. You can continue to add episodes to a web series once it is signed, regardless of whether you indicate the number of episodes on your application.

They will need the most recent copy of your script, budget info(if you have NO money going into it, be honest — just say that), copy of your driver’s license, and a pre-prod form filled out. All of these items can be saved onto your computer and uploaded. No need to fax.

Hooray! You are done with the application process.

3. You will be contacted by your SAG rep a couple days later.

Your SAG representative will have all of your other necessary paperwork loaded into the OSA system for you.

There will be a lot of paperwork that you will probably *not* need to fill out. However, the most common forms that will be required are:

1. Performer contracts(for principals only)

2. Background performer contracts(only if you have background actors)

3. Pension & Health statement(basically a statement of the income your performers are making and how it adds to their pension and health — if you aren’t paying them, then guess what — they don’t get any added — but you still have to file the form)

4. Final Cast list (exactly how it sounds)

5. Time sheets(the times for when your performers sign in and out on set or wherever you shoot)

6. Taft-hartley forms for non-union performers. (this is an excellent opportunity to get someone into SAG who would like to be eligible for the union)

^All of the above forms will need to be sent to SAG via email or fax within 30 days of wrapping the production.

So, that’s the process. A basic outline of the process, anyway. Not bad, eh?

Questions? Leave in the comments.

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16 thoughts on “The SAG New Media Process [or really any low-budget SAG signatory]

  1. Pingback: YouTube: The Ultimate Human Sacrifice. | Sanna Haynes

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    • Yes — I am normally one of the only SAG actors whom I “hire.” You may have to check with SAG on this one, but I believe you have to have at least one union actor to warrant a SAG New media contract. I have not officially ever “paid” myself. When I start making money from Ad revenue, I will start budgeting money for my pay. As an actor, it pays into health and pension for myself.

      • Sweet! Thanks! I am the producer of a new media web series project I just got approved for, but unfortunately I am not SAG and asked one of my friends who is SAG if they didn’t mind being in it for free. They said yes, but I didn’t know if SAG would allow a SAG actor to do the project with no pay unless it was deferred. Others said to defer others said it was ok, so I didn’t know what to do. So I’m assuming on your performance contract you also put $0 of pay as the “SAG” actor?

      • yes, that is correct. SAG does not require you to pay anything. The only time they will require pay is if your budget is above a certain amount — they don’t want actors getting gipped if there is enough money to pay.

  3. Norma Jean says:

    do you know if there is a site that goes step by step for filling out the forms? I have been approved but the paperwork is confusing to me. If I don’t have a production company do I just use my name as the production company? I am going to produce and direct and I have a role in the short. The person who will be doing the camera work and editing — how does he get credited?

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