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    SAG Experimental and Ultra Low Budget Agreements?
    #1
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    Can someone please give me a really basic rundown of costs, etc? I keep reading different info and hearing different info. I'd like to know what the Experimental and Low Budgets are about.

    Thanks.


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    #2
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    I don't think many people are doing the experimental agreement anymore. SAG finally got it together enough to come up with the short-film agreements, since the experimental was previously the only option for short films even though it wasn't that well suited for it, IMO.

    Unfortunately, SAG is still behind the times (again, IMO) and after trying really hard to use their short film agreement last year, I finally gave up. TOOOO many faxes of the same paperwork over and over. TOOOO many phone calls answering the same questions to different people and that was all just so I could actually get the paperwork that they wanted me to agree to. They seriously seem to be using a fax and office oriented business model that went away in the early 1990s. Having a fill-in pdf form that you could email them would really go a long way. Why can't they have a single person to deal with instead of me having to deal with one person, than have all my stuff bumped to somebody's assistant, and then eventually moved to somebody else in Florida seems ridiculous.. Particularly since they didn't seem to even have the ability to share information from one SAG person to the next.

    Okay, now I'm just ranting and not answering your question

    At some point, I moved forward with my production without SAG because they made it far too difficult. I applaud them from moving away from the experimental agreement and towards their more suitable short film agreement, but they still have a long way to go. The times that I've successfully done this with SAG have been times that I have somebody else (a full time producer) dealing with them.

    With last year's project, they eventually sent me most of the paperwork for the agreement. Even though it seems like they want to hide some of the details until you talk to them, I'll see if I can dig it up and share some info. There is info on sagindie.org, but I don't think you get all the actual agreement info until after you talk to them.


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    Hmm. Maybe things have improved over the last year. Here's a link to the short film agreement from sagindie: http://www.sagindie.org/docs/sag-sho...eement2008.pdf

    I swear that when I did this last year, I filled out info from sagindie.org but then was eventually sent 3 or 4 ADDITIONAL things to fill out, agree to and sign. THere were definitely mutliple email attachements and multiple faxes going on after I had originally downloaded whatever sagindie had provided. But that pdf linked above seems to sum up most of the details about payment, meals, turnaround and all that stuff.


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    #4
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    Blegh. Ultra Low Budget Contract is good, but still too much to deal with. I might just count myself out of SAG, the hassle could be too crippling.


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    #5
    Still Alive Mod Jack Daniel Stanley's Avatar
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    We did the shorts agreement for Cold Calls I don't think it was that much to deal with. The basics are $100 dollars a day differed if you sell it or get distro. Plus you make a payment to their pension fund based on the regular scale rate I think. So if the regular scale rate is $700 / day you have to pay an additional $70. I think.

    There's a SAG bowling party at tribeca, and I'm going to ask questions there because Cold Calls is about to sell. I've heard from some people that you have to renegotiate the pay if you sell or get distro, but that doesn't make sense to me - why have a differed rate at all pending sale or distro if you are just going to have to renegotiate? why not just have a contract that says renegotiation upon sale or distro? I think the person that told me the renegitiation thing was mistaken and thinking of old SAG horror stories.
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    #6
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    I heard the same thing, Jack. That you have to go to the next contract up if you sell or get a distribution deal. And you may have to pay fees just to upgrade the contract.

    Ick


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    #7
    Still Alive Mod Jack Daniel Stanley's Avatar
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    Yeah but it seems so cut and dry that that's not the case. And again, why go through this contract at all, why not have one that says sales or distro = renegotiation.

    Seems like:
    Festivals, free screenings for industry = Free
    Sell it = $100/day

    Entire contract:
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...qFuaS_fbv8icQw

    These seem to be the only two areas to address this in the contract:
    Quote Originally Posted by sag shorts agreement
    5. Exhibition Rights
    The Short Film may be exhibited without compensation to the professional performers:
    A) At film festivals;

    B) Before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for possible Award consideration. (Note: In this regard, the Producer will be permitted, notwithstanding the exclusion in section 4(B) above, to exhibit the Short Film for one (1) week in a paying movie house to qualify for such consideration.);

    C)
    To non-paying, non-public, established entertainment industry members to showcase the talent of the producer, director, writer, performers or other members of the production or post- production team;

    D)
    On one (1) public access channel for not more than one (1) year from the first run date, provided neither the producer nor any of the principals in the production receive any compensation for such exhibition and provided further that the Guild is advised of the first air date and the station on which the Short Film will run.
    6. Further Distribution
    A) Producer agrees that prior to exhibition of the Short Film beyond the scope of Section 5, above, it shall:
    i. Pay all professional performers employed on the Short Film not less than $100.00 for each day worked. [Note that if a professional performer's performance does not appear in the distributed version, such professional performer shall receive the deferred payment.]

    ii.
    Consecutive employment provisions of the collective bargaining agreement do not apply when calculating the deferred payment, unless the performer was on an overnight location during the filming of the production.

    iii.
    Make contribution to the SAG-Producers Pension and Health Plans based on the gross compensation due the professional performers at the percentage applicable at the time of principal photography on the Short Film.

    vi.
    All compensation paid to Performer under the terms of this Agreement shall constitute wages and is subject to deductions for Social Security, Taxes and Disability Insurance. You shall make the required payments, reports and Withholding Deductions with respect to such taxes and premium. You shall also provide Unemployment Insurance for Performers employed by you.

    vii.
    Professional performers must receive payment no later than the first date of exhibition or availability outside the allowed markets
    EDIT: notice their numbering under 6 goes 1,2,3,6,7. Maybe 4&5 are where the gotcha clauses are
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    #8
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    SAG doesn't do experimental feature length contracts anymore...only shorts. It and the limited exhibition agreement were supplanted by the Ultra Low Budget Agreement. So there are no more SAG contracts that permit total deferment of union wages on feature length projects. There still is one that does at AFTRA that I recently found out about. It is called the AFTRA Experimental 1. But all cast must be covered by it when in use. This is different from the old feature length Exp. which permitted leaving non members uncovered. Also the AFTRA Experimental One requires every covered member to be upgraded to standard scale if the film is distributed beyond the festival circuit. So in my opinion the SAG ULB is the much safer bet for those with a micro budget. Remember though that scale rates are minimums. I've seen ULBs in which the lead was paid over 50k. But that's what the director was willing to pay for the name actress.
    And it should be noted that AFTRA does not like to approve the AFTRA experimental one for features whereas SAG is happy to approve
    the ULB when everything is in place.
    Last edited by uglysexy; 05-18-2009 at 06:29 PM.
    David Fine (II) imdb Calif SAG Actor with credits opp Ed Harris & Will Smith
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0006718/
    in
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    amongst others
    if you wish to view my reels contact me
    at sagmascot@yahoo.com


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    #9
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    There is a good description of how the SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement really works here: http://www.easy-budget.com/articles/...ticle=ultralow


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    #10
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    Please tell me there's a way around SAG other than the ULBA?


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