Friday, June 30, 2006

SAG or Non-SAG that is the question!

So as you noticed from the ad in Backstage that I put Non-SAG actors. Why you ask? Well it was drilled into me, and I mean drilled into me that on your first movie avoid SAG. There are rules to working with SAG and the pay scale is too much for a first time producer to afford, so one should avoid working with SAG. In short order too many headaches. So what do I go and do, but use SAG actors. First of all three of my actors are SAG actors, so I had to go the SAG route. Personally I had no problem with dealing with them, and if I had to do it again I do the same. The quality of the actors I got were just amazing, and now since making my film SAG has made it more possible for independent producers to use SAG actors. What I had to do first is give SAG some money to insure that I would actually do the film. I got the money back after the production, and working with the SAG office here in Philadelphia was no problem. I even used a payroll company which they recommended which was great. All I did was give them a check, and they did the rest like taking out taxes, and pension & health. To do this myself would have been a nightmare, and the fee they charged was moderate. Before filming ever started I had to deal with articles of incorporation, and SAG rule & regulations. It isn't as much as you might think, and it was a necessary evil. I had gotten my info from books and other producers who films I worked on.

If you decide to work with SAG you suddenly have access to a lot of GREAT talent. A lot of productions I noticed lacked good acting, and that's because those films used friends, and though I realize why they did so because of no money, and or scheduling difficulties their productions still suffered. I didn't want that to happen to me, so I went the SAG route.

But I have to say that I did use non-SAG actors too. Karen Stanion who plays Lisa was not SAG, and she was GREAT. Better then great, so there are actors out there that are not SAG, and that are good, so when casting you decide what to use. I've ranted and raved about paying your talent enough here for everyone to know where I stand on the issue, so I won't get into it here. Maybe I wasn't so ruthless as some producers have told me (yes they all thought of me as a nice fellow). I find the attitude repugnant, and it confirms my suspicion that most producers are scum. Get as much out of someone for as little as you can seems the order of the day, and this was not lost on me as I slaved away on several productions while in college, and after graduation. I was a small production, and I wasn't going that route. Could I have saved money being more ruthless? Sure, but the production would have collapsed, and I'd have NO picture to finish. Salaries weren't extravagant, but they helped pay the bills for the cast & crew. I kept the shooting schedule short and fast in order to get people back to a production that would pay them a better. I scheduled a 12 day shoot, and wrapped on the 11th day, so I think I did pretty good.

The question is will I use SAG again? Most definitely yes. I know their contracts, and I'm familiar with their procedures. Will I use non-SAG actors too. If I find an actor that has the qualities I'm looking for I believe so, but working with professional actors from SAG has spoiled me, and I want to do it again.

1 comment:

Stu said...


Sorry to do this in comments, but your email address doesn't seem to be listed.

Chuck (from MagMan comments) had the idea of putting together donations to the ASPCA in honor of Blaze's safe return. He's asked me to be the point person for collecting donations (so they all get put together and given as one big gift)... If you're into it, send me mail: