What Every Member Needs to Know About Directing Residuals to His/Her Agent

What Every Member Needs to Know About Directing Residuals to His/Her Agent

July 29, 2004

As you may know, after the referendum defeat of the SAG-ATA proposed agency agreement in April 2002, SAG’s national board unanimously adopted a motion designed to allow all represented performers to continue pursuing their career objectives with the least amount of disruption possible. To that end, the board voted to temporarily suspend application of Section 16(a) of the SAG Constitution, requiring members to secure an agent from a list of SAG-approved (franchised) agents.

What does this national board action mean to you?

It means there are some talent agencies that are no longer franchised by Screen Actors Guild, that may nonetheless continue to represent SAG members for the time being. These are agents who are members of either the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) or the National Association of Talent Representatives (NATR). Members may currently be represented either by SAG franchised agents or ATA/NATR agents. ATA/NATR agents have no legal obligation to abide by the requirements of Rule 16(g), a/k/a the SAG Agency Regulations, and many of them have chosen not to do so.

SAG cannot enforce its agency rules against ATA/NATR agencies. Although members can be represented by these formerly franchised agents, members are advised not to sign any contracts (i.e. “general service agreements” or “GSAs”) with these groups of agents without first consulting the Guild, especially if the terms contained in those agreements provide less protection than the SAG Agency Regulations.

Because ATA/NATR agencies have chosen to no longer be regulated by SAG, the nature of some of the services the Guild is able to provide these agents has also changed. For instance, most GSAs contain provisions that offer SAG members drastically fewer protections than those in the Agency franchise--including the ability to commission previously non-commissionable residuals and other sources of revenue. Since SAG has determined that GSAs undermine the stability of its agency regulations and ultimately harm performers, SAG cannot endorse the promotion of these contracts. Also, although SAG members are free to enter into these agreements with their ATA/NATR agents (and possibly pay additional commissions as a result), SAG can no longer honor member requests to forward all of their residuals to an ATA/NATR agent (e.g. by utilizing SAG’s traditional residual update form).

Please note: This action on behalf of our members does not affect standard SAG check authorizations that you sign for your agents on a job-per-job basis (provided the area of commission requested in those forms otherwise conforms to SAG guidelines).

Rather, SAG’s actions are meant solely to protect our members’ interests and reflect a policy decision. The Guild is not attempting to pass judgment on the legality of the GSAs or their usage.

The Guild will continue to update you with new information, as necessary. Members are also strongly encouraged to periodically review the SAG website at www.sag.org for any new developments. Should you have any agency-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact SAG’s Agency Departments at: (in L.A.) 323/549-6745, or (in New York) at 212/827-1438, or by e-mail at: agentquestion@sag.org