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.

OH! and please subscribe. Thankyouverymuch.


  1. […] (get it? get it?) I made several “vlogs” in character. I even signed it into a SAG New Media agreement — I want to honor my union. So, just in case it gets popular, there’s that. And, I […]

  2. […] Audition for as many web shows as you can! Heck, even make your own! (I outlined the SAG signatory process here.) […]

  3. john lucas · · Reply

    Do my crew members have to be union??

    1. No. SAG new media refers solely to your performers. (not sure if crew is supposed to be union for higher levels of SAG contract)

  4. What did you fill out on the Principal Contracts for Pay? Did you defer at all? And if you deferred what did you put for the triggered payment? Thanks!

    1. For pay, I put 0.00. I did not defer. I do not make enough ad revenue to yet pay myself, or other actors.

  5. Also did you have a SAG actor at all? Was there pay anything different?

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

  6. Norma Jean · · Reply

    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?

    1. You know, I’m not sure. I had some of the same questions as you do when I started. I don’t have any sort of LLC set up for my videos, but for “production company” I just put the name I produce my videos under. In my case, that is the name of my channel.

      The person who does the camera work will not receive a cast credit, no. Not unless he makes an appearance. No paperwork will need to be filed on his behalf. The SAG new media paperwork only covers performers.

    2. Just know that no one is going to reject the paperwork if you get a space wrong. And, also know you can contact your SAG rep if you have questions.

      1. Norma Jean · ·

        Thanks so much.

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  8. Hey I just submitted everything a few weeks ago and I was just wondering how long it takes to process everything and do they contact the Taft-hartleyed actors?

  9. Paul Hewitt · · Reply

    Hey Sanna, thanks for the lowdown on the New Media documents. Have you ever had to fill out Taft Hartley forms for any of your actors? I anticipate that I’m going to need to for a couple of non-actor friends who I wrote the roles for. Of those 4, only 2 have very short lines. The union seems to really demand that you try to hire SAG actors first but honestly, this is just me and some buddies messing around. Do you foresee a problem? I went to last month’s New Media Contract workshop and this was a recurring question from many attendees and SAG wouldn’t really commit to this being easy to resolve.
    Any sage wisdom?

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