Producer’s Guide to Working with SAG-AFTRA on a Low Budget Theatrical Motion Picture
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SAG-AFTRA Signatory Producers have access to the world’s most talented and professional performers for their projects, but becoming signatory does require completing some paperwork. We understand that dealing with paperwork isn’t as much fun as shooting your project, so to ease this burden we’ve created this guide to completing the signatory process.
The Signatory Package Zip Files that are posted on the Production Center at SAGAFTRA.org are provided so that producers may review and consider them before beginning the signatory process. They are for demonstration purposes only---documents with signature lines are watermarked “SAMPLE” and cannot be executed.
For your reference, the Signatory Package Zip Files are divided into 2 folders: Signatory Documents and Production Documents. You will use the Signatory Documents to sign with the Guild, and the Production Documents to manage the production and post-production phases of your project.
Once you have decided to begin the signatory process, start by following the steps outlined in the Pre-Production section below.
These are the steps you must take at least 3 weeks prior to your first day of travel, rehearsal, or principal photography, whichever comes first.
- Unless you have already done so, start by filling out the Preliminary Information Sheet Low Budget Modified Low Budget Ultra Low Budget 4.22 (attached at the end of this Guide). Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. A SAG-AFTRA Business Representative will contact you within a few days to explain the steps to becoming a SAG-AFTRA Signatory Producer. He/she will also send you a packet of information and documents. The documents in that packet are not samples and can be fully executed.
- At this point you should send us the following documents from your packet:
- Information Sheet Theatrical 4.24
- Distribution Checklist Theatrical 4.14
- Adherence Letter Theatrical 2009 2.1 (Return two signed originals)
- Low Budget Agreement 1.5 (Return two signed originals)
- Adherence Letter Pension and Health Plans 2.3 (Return two signed originals)
- Production Checklist Theatrical Television 4.7
- We also need to know who is employing the actors. If your company is a:
- Corporation – We will need your Articles of Incorporation and completed Corporate Resolution 3.11.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) – We will need your Articles of Organization, LLC Operating Agreement, and completed Limited Liability Company Resolution 3.19.
- Partnership or Joint Venture – We will need your Fictitious Business Name Statement (if applicable) and Partnership Agreement (if applicable).
Note: It’s very important that the information you provide in this step is consistent with the information submitted in Step 2 above. For example; if you’ve submitted your company’s official name as Film, L.L.C. in Step 2, submitting it as Film LLC (without the punctuation) in Step 3 could cause problems with your paperwork.
- Also send the following required production documents:
- Complete Pre-Production Cast List 5.1; if you intend to use the “Diversity in Casting Incentive,” please use the Pre-Production Cast List Affirmative Action 5.2 form.
- A copy of the shooting script
- Day Out Of Days Form 6.15
- Line Item Budget; this budget must be detailed and complete, including all above-the-line and below-the-line costs.
- We also need to review any agreements you have that affect the ownership of the film and its story. These are called ‘Chain of Title’ documents. Chain of Title documents usually include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A copy of Form PA (relating to the screenplay) and proof of its receipt by the US Copyright Office (USCO). The writer (or copyright owner) of the script should have filed this document with the copyright office. They should be able to provide you with both documents;
- Complete chain of title documents relating to the film and the underlying rights, including proof of filing each with USCO (For example, certificate(s) of authorship, “work made for hire” agreements, and copyright assignments); and
- Copies of all distribution, license, and/or sales agency agreements pertaining to the right to distribute the Picture in all media and territories worldwide.
- Once we’ve received and reviewed all of the applicable documents listed above, your SAG-AFTRA Business Representative will contact you and let you know what financial assurances are needed. Financial assurances usually include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Security Deposit (in the form of a cashier’s check or wire transfer) and related Security Deposit Letter 3.5 and W-9 Form-Request For Taxpayer ID Number & Certification 9.24.
- Security Agreement
- Assumption Agreement(s)
- Intercreditor Agreement(s), if applicable
- And all other financial assurances that may be required, including, but not limited to, a Collection Agreement, Guarantee Agreement, and/or a Residuals Reserve and corresponding Custody Agreement.
Not all of the financial assurance documents are referenced here because the ones that may be required for your project are determined after the initial review. When all of the requirements outlined above are fulfilled, your SAG-AFTRA Business Rep will give your production “clearance”, meaning that the Performers and Background Actors may now start work. This is the point at which you should contact the department known as “Station 12” to check the status of the Performers and Background Actors you’ve hired for your project.
Important Notice Regarding Signatory Documents
Who may sign? Signatory documents must be executed by an authorized person or persons.
- Corporations – Any person who is authorized by the President or Secretary of the Corporation on the Corporate Resolution. The Corporate Resolution may be signed only by the President or Secretary of the Corporation.
- Limited Liability Corporations – The Manager or Managing Member as indicated by the Articles of Organization, the Operating Agreement and authorized by the Limited Liability Company Resolution.
- Limited Partnerships – The General Partner as identified in the Partnership Agreement.
- Sole Proprietorships – The Individual Owner.
- D/B/A (“Doing Business As”) – The Individual.
During production, complete and submit the following to your SAG-AFTRA Business Representative:
- SAG-AFTRA Performer Contracts for Low Budget Theatrical Motion Pictures
- Production Time Report Exhibit G 6.14 (submitted on a weekly basis)
- If you are hiring a performer or background actor who is not a SAG-AFTRA member, you will need to complete a Taft-Hartley Report Principals Theatrical-Television 6.1, or a Taft-Hartley Report Background Theatrical-Television 6.2, and submit them to SAG-AFTRA, along with head shots and resumes.
After production, complete and submit the following documents to your SAG-AFTRA Business Representative:
- Final Cast List Information Sheet 7.1
- Casting Data Report 7.2, and Casting Data Report Stunt Performers And Coordinators 7.4 (if applicable).
- If you intend to use the “Diversity in Casting Incentive,” please use the Casting Data Report Low Budget Affirmative Action 7.3.
- Detailed Line Item Final Cost Report
If you have any questions, please contact your SAG-AFTRA Business Representative.