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I saw this quote in an email about a workshop:

*Walkthrough of how to become SAG-AFTRA eligible (Guaranteed!) within 2 weeks...FOR FREE...Raise your level of professionalism in the eyes of agents, casting directors, directors & producers

What can they possibly tell you? (I'm already in and don't need it but curious.)

It took me and everybody else I know a long time to get in. Even a friend who was discovered by CAA at college. Even CAA didn't have enough connections to get her in right away.

by Anonymousreply 3305/12/2013

There have always been legit ways to get yourself into the union. Consider the following:

1) Rent a very high end car that's not red or white and approach an extras casting company. Tell them the next time they can't fill a standard request for luxury sports cars that you and the car are available just for a union extras voucher. This will also work for the right period car on period movies. Just 3 extras vouches means you qualify for full union status and a large initiation fee and dues payment.

2) Cast yourself in a SAG bare bones budget or commercial or possibly even a radio spot. I've heard just 3 words on a nowhere radio station in nowheresville, played in the middle of the night, is sufficient. I also know of those who've filled out the union paperwork and never did the actual gig and still became union eligible.

3) Smarter move. Offer your free but superior services as a makeup artist, hairstylist, 24/7 gopher, etc to an existing very, very low budget production co in exchange for a line in their union project. Make sure that they fill out the paperwork for you to become union eligible.

There is a myth that a union card will get you an agent, and will lead to more union auditions and jobs. Good luck.

by Anonymousreply 105/09/2013

I joined AFTRA in 1952 for a series. Did my first film a year later. Then actors under 18 didn't have to join SAG.

by Anonymousreply 205/09/2013

A friend got an Equity card without being on stage. A summer stock theatre owner claimed he was an apprentice. He apprenticed in the owner's bed.

by Anonymousreply 305/09/2013

The other big myth for American actors is that belonging to a union makes them a professional, even if you never work. It's more for their personal identity.

What's the point of joining a union if you can't get the work?

by Anonymousreply 405/09/2013

Prior to the merger anyone could walk in, pay the initiation fee and dues and become a member of AFTRA.

by Anonymousreply 505/09/2013

It used to be that you couldn't join doing an Ultra Low Budget - did that change once the merger happened or not?

by Anonymousreply 605/09/2013

$$$ - enough of it will get you anything you want in Hollywood and as soon as you want it.

You are just too poor and/or don't have the right friends OP.

by Anonymousreply 705/09/2013

R6, There are varying degrees of "ultra low budget." Smart wannabes get a group of actors together and split the costs. Of course if you're a producer and an actor you can pay yourself the SAG daily rate.

by Anonymousreply 805/09/2013

R8 That wasn't my question. What I said was that it used to be that you couldn't get a SAG card by being in an Ultra Low Budget movie, and I was wondering if this is still true after SAG merged with AFTRA.

by Anonymousreply 905/09/2013

Nothing is funnier than a bunch of flaming queens that all think they're going to be a "STAR".

by Anonymousreply 1005/09/2013

I have never understood this angst about joining the union. You Taft/Hartley your first job and join on your second. What's the difficulty?

If you can't get a union job in the first place, you probably shouldn't be joining the union.

by Anonymousreply 1105/09/2013

A crazy guy my husband went to HS with is a "professional extra." Has a SAG card, commutes into Manhattan from Queens for work. Has been an extra in just about every TV show or movie filmed in NY since the 1990s. There's no way this guy could hold a real job, so it's perfect for him. He is totally nondescript -- Jewish-looking guy with glasses. Can wear a baseball hat and a backpack or a business suit with a briefcase or tattered Homeless Guy clothes. Fades into the background brilliantly. He actually makes a living doing this. Doesn't have to deal with cube fraus, office queens, bosses, human resources. Not bad.

by Anonymousreply 1205/09/2013

Could you link this, OP? It sounds like a scam. You have to get three waivers and $3000 to join SAG-AFTRA now. There is no easy way in.

by Anonymousreply 1305/09/2013

R13, Not OP but R1, and I was speaking from personal observation of the many I saw get into the union and then get small principal roles. If you have money or the "right look," especially if you're the right ethnicity or have a good character look, it's still very easy. As a matter of fact I'm helping another person do it right now. Sadly most of the wannabes I've tried to help in the past won't listen or follow clear instructions.

by Anonymousreply 1405/09/2013

I joined SAG when I was 12 from a 2 line part in a movie. Many years later, I bought my way into Equity as you can just for it being a sister union. I no longer act but keep paying these fucking dues which have more than doubled with the awful AFTRA merger.

by Anonymousreply 1505/09/2013

Thanks, R1, but you really didn't answer my question. Waivers are harder to come by these days. And I wonder what the OP got in his email that claims there's an easy walkthrough.

by Anonymousreply 1605/09/2013

R12, I have a friend in LA who does the same thing. She makes a killing, considering she does nothing all day. I think SAG extras make something like $200 a day. Maybe it's even more. Free food. Tons of overtime, night pay, etc., when applicable. And because she's now friends with all the extra casting directors, she works all the time.

by Anonymousreply 1705/09/2013

R16, Waivers are NOT "harder to come by," depending on your type, age, look, car, and most important your special abilities and in which market you're pursuing acting. Also please consider who your close friends and relatives are and what you're willing to offer. I could tell you lots of true stories . . .

by Anonymousreply 1805/09/2013

r17, in New York scale is $125 a day.

by Anonymousreply 1905/09/2013

Dick Wolfe says the only New York actors who haven't been on L&O just arrived in town or can't act.

by Anonymousreply 2005/09/2013

[quote]You Taft/Hartley your first job and join on your second. What's the difficulty? is really hard to Taft Hartley nowadays. You have to have some really special skill. I worked on the Fraiser staff and the only person we ever Taft Hartleyed was a guy who could sing like a Cantor. When you Taft Hartley you have to justify that no one else in the union could do the special skill required.

by Anonymousreply 2105/09/2013 is the website for the people who emailed me

by Anonymousreply 2205/09/2013

Wrong, R117. Scale for union background actors in projects in NY under SAG terms is $145 for 8 hrs work, under AFTRA terms it's $150 for 8 hrs.

by Anonymousreply 2305/09/2013

R23 That is for 8 hours. Most shoots go over that and then it's time and one half. After 12 hours it's double time.

by Anonymousreply 2405/09/2013

R21, That's only one show. How about all of the actors that get union commercials because they're the right type? If you have a special skill or look, it's much easier to get in the union. There's an agency in LA for former military hotties who can play special forces realistically in films. All have a weapons background. Guaranteed that 100% of DL would drool; they're all in superior shape.

R22, Much of what is told in those courses isn't always true. I will agree that 99.9% of actors are not using the correct pics for what the business really needs. Also most actors need to study marketing and networking. You are actually creating your own business, with YOU as the product, at least until you get successful enough for the right agent with connections to see you a true money-maker.

by Anonymousreply 2505/09/2013

r15, if you're not acting, why are you bitching about paying acting union dues? Why not just save your money, and withdraw?

by Anonymousreply 2605/10/2013

oh that's right r25...I think it is much easier to Taft Hartley in commercials ....i was just talking about TV shows.

by Anonymousreply 2705/10/2013

r26, many pay dues to feel they're still in the business. You receive publications, get union discounts, and can attend membership meetings rather than go on "Honorary Suspension." Currently minimum dues are $198 a year, most people pay $99 every six months.

by Anonymousreply 2805/11/2013

R22, What's hardest about pursuing a paid career as a union actor is separating the truth from the fiction, especially how to really get work on your own until an agent with connections finds you sufficiently profitable. Books and seminars, by those with actual industry power and others on the fringe, have plenty of ideas. Not all of them are valid for everyone.

Define yourself through your picture as a needed type. Yes, some types are more needed in certain markets. Make sure the pic emphasizes your eyes and personality; that's how you're initially cast. Develop superior marketing skills and a charming, extremely likable persona. Don't forget to take continual acting classes by a variety of teachers. Some of them have connections to get you auditions.

by Anonymousreply 2905/12/2013

At the SAG-AFTRA meeting in New York last month members complained about casting people who take kickbacks for jobs. Local rep said since they're not "franchised agents," the union has no control.

by Anonymousreply 3005/12/2013

R30, Kickbacks in the form of expensive trips, eyeglasses, clothing, etc has been the norm in Hollywood forever. This is not a business, just an expensive hobby, until you've made more than you've spent. Those with $$$ to burn and "smell of wealth" will always do better too.

by Anonymousreply 3105/12/2013

r31, kickbacks as in commission for giving an actor a job and it included background people. Members were willing to provide names at the end of the meeting.

by Anonymousreply 3205/12/2013

R30, R32, Good for NY union members that they were willing to speak up. Hollywood actors willingly pay monthly fees in advance for "registration" and special pictures and for other creatively named "expenses" in hopes of getting work. Expensive kickbacks are separate.

by Anonymousreply 3305/12/2013
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