The SAG-AFTRA Stunt Department held an informational contracts panel on March 13 at SAG-AFTRA Plaza. It was moderated by SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer and Los Angeles Local President Jane Austin and filled with representatives from SAG-AFTRA’s various contracts departments, including Stunts & Safety Director Cedric Jackson; Commercials Director Beth Haynes; TV Contracts Director Dan Bowser; and two business representatives from the Theatrical Department, Jessica Johnson and Melissa Sexton.
On March 13 at SAG-AFTRA Plaza, the National and Local Stunt & Safety committees held an informative panel examining contractual questions and concerns that arise for stunt performers. It was moderated by SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer and L.A. Local President Jane Austin, a stunt performer by trade.
Designed to aid veteran performers as well as those just getting started, the discussion focused on what members’ thought process should be from the time they are engaged in work until they wrap. The panel of SAG-AFTRA staff included theatrical business representatives Melissa Sexton and Jessica Johnson; Director, Television Contracts Dan Bowser; Director, Commercials Beth Haynes; and Director, Stunts & Safety Cedric Jackson.
Here are a few critical questions that were addressed:
Q. I get the call, how do I find out if the stunt coordinator is reputable and experienced?
A. Reach out to working members in the stunt community. Contact other stunt coordinators, riggers to try and ascertain the person’s history and types of stunts they have coordinated. If this first step does not yield anything, check for an IMDb page that can be reviewed and, if all else fails, call SAG-AFTRA. Although we cannot release any personal information, we can certainly try and identify coordinator credits on projects.
Q. How do I find out if a show is signatory?
A. You can call the Stunts & Safety Department and make the inquiry. However, there are occasions where a production is still in process and details may not be in the system. Therefore, it is imperative that the performer provide as much information as possible. Note that the name given on set may not be the working title by which the picture is registered with SAG-AFTRA.
Q. What are the rules for makeup, hair and wardrobe?
A. In theatrical: Time spent in hair and makeup when the producer supplies the services of a makeup artist or hairdresser (and/or when the producer designates the place or time for such preparation) is considered work time. However, the producer is allowed to ask the performer to report to set with their hair and makeup already done and in wardrobe without assistance from the producer. In this instance, the time spent preparing prior to the performers’ first call is not considered work time and will not be paid time. With respect to hair, makeup and wardrobe removal that requires assistance, time spent in such removal is paid work time. Alternatively, if the performer is not otherwise on compensable work time, the performer can be compensated for up to 15 minutes of ordinary hair, makeup and wardrobe removal time, which may trigger overtime, but will not be considered in determining rest period violations or other premiums or penalties.
In television: The rules for fittings are the same for performers working on Television Contracts and Theatrical Contracts, except that under the Television Agreement, the free fitting time for freelance or series performers prior to work is three hours over a two-day period. Free fitting time for performers under three-day contracts is two hours for one day.
Q. Please explain non-deductible breaks, grace and meal periods.
Performers may be directed to take a 15-minute non-deductible break, freed from all activity, within two hours from the performer’s first call time. The first meal shall begin within six hours of the end of the non-deductible break. Note: It is a violation of the contract for production to falsify times on the Exhibit G’s. Signing the Exhibit G does not constitute acceptance of the report or affect your ability to file a claim.
Q. What do I do if I see a questionable situation regarding safety on the set, personally feel unsafe or feel that anyone on the crew may get hurt?
The performer should contact the second or first AD as discretely as possible to advise them of the issue. If no corrective action is taken, then call SAG-AFTRA at (323) 765-2911 for non-emergency on-set safety issues and (844) SAFER-SET for on-set emergencies.