In the Trenches—Day 3 Year 2: Filed and Waiting

Posted by on Jan 3, 2013

In the Trenches—Day 3 Year 2:  Filed and Waiting

Day 3 Year 2:  Our SAG paperwork is all officially filed!  Even though it’s my union, they don’t make it terribly easy for true independent, no-budget productions to use SAG actors.  There was a pile of paperwork required and a vial of my blood.  I’d always heard they were difficult and a pain in the ass to go through but with the advent of SAGIndie, (who, when I spoke to someone there, was incredibly helpful but they are not actually a part of SAG), I thought that had all changed.  I was wrong.

Now I wait to find out the amount of the deposit they will want.  To go through SAG you have to pay double what your SAG actors will cost you.  You pay a deposit of the total amount you estimate you’ll be paying the actors to SAG plus you have to give the payroll company that same amount to actually pay your weekly payroll.  I’m not going to lie, that sucks!  I get it, especially as an actor who wants to be protected, but it still sucks.  When you have no money, it screws you to have to tie up several thousand dollars of your already meager budget for basically nothing that goes on screen.  Just so SAG has piece of mind you won’t screw the actors and not pay them.  I can only presume there is a long history of why SAG has to do this.  Which sucks, too.  Actors are always getting the short end of the stick.  Which is exactly why I want to pay my SAG actors.  It’s a catch-22 though as a micro-budget film producer.  Deep sigh.

You don’t get your deposit back until a month or so after you wrap—after you’ve delivered all of the post-production documentation, and another vial of blood, they require.  If you don’t do something they think is correct, I guess they can then screw you and keep your money?  I don’t know.  I certainly hope they don’t screw me because I will not be screwing them!

And speaking of SAG actors, this afternoon my director is meeting with a wonderful actress who is hopefully a match for one of the last three roles we’re casting.  Fingers crossed.

Our new line producer is a firecracker.  She’s young, she’s passionate and she seems very organized and with it.  Just what we need to pull off all that has to be pulled off in the next 11 days.  I’ve got to gather some information for her and do a few production tasks but mostly, I’m getting back into the script and my character today.

Until tomorrow, create from what you have….unions.

Kelli Joan Bennett is a filmmaker, actress, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for creative thinking and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Think Outside The Box Inside The Box Media.

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