Theatrical projects (television programs, motion pictures) often work long hours. Obviously, the longer an actor can legally work the more favorable the casting process can be. Emancipation is a legal process by which a minor (anyone under 18 years of age) can be legally declared by a court of law to be considered to be an adult for certain purposes. The emancipation process and its effects vary from state to state. However, in California, emancipation does NOT excuse a minor from the compulsory education requirements nor from the child labor laws. Therefore, in California, an emancipated minor will not gain any advantage in the casting process.
We’ve compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions here. Please check to see if the information you are looking for is included. If not, go ahead and ask! But if you need immediate attention, please call the union directly at (855) 724-2387.
What is emancipation and how will it affect my being cast in theatrical projects?
What is the California High School Proficiency Examination?
The CHSPE is a state-sponsored examination, which is offered periodically throughout the year. Its original purpose was to qualify high school students to take college courses for high school credit. However, since the CHSPE is the legal equivalent of high school graduation, the Labor Commission recognizes the CHSPE certificate as a high school diploma, and the student may work as an adult, with no requirement for observing child labor laws or attending school on the set. (Most CHSPE certificate holders still attend their regular school.) Not all states have tests similar to the CHSPE, and the State of California does not necessarily honor similar exam results from other states.
Does an actor get paid for third calls on theatrical projects?
In a word, no. Although the SAG Commercials Agreement does provide for payment for third calls, the Basic Agreement for Motion Pictures & Television (the theatrical agreement) does not have that provision. You may go on numerous calls for the same project without additional payment, as long as you are not kept over an hour. Overtime on theatrical interviews should be compensated.
I had a great part in a movie, and when it was released, my part had been cut. Can they do that?
Sure. The producer is paying for your services but is not required to use them. However, you may still be entitled to residuals for television, video and foreign usage, depending on what was done with the scenes you were in. If you feel you are not being compensated fully, contact the Theatrical Residuals Department. (And by the way, save yourself embarrassment - don't tell all your friends about your part in the project until you actually see it in theatres for yourself.)
What is a commercial conflict?
The SAG Commercial Agreement guarantees the advertiser who pays a SAG actor for performing in a commercial that the actor will not perform in a commercial for a competing product during the time the original commercial is active. It is the actor's responsibility to ensure this guarantee, and legal action can result if the guarantee is not respected. Some conflicts are obvious. (For example, if you have a commercial running for one brand of orange juice, you shouldn't accept a commercial job for another brand of orange juice.) Other conflicts are not as obvious. (Does one toy conflict with another toy? Not necessarily.) Only SAG can determine what is commercial conflict. If you have any question, call the Commercials Department at SAG.
Isn't the casting director supposed to provide parking? They almost never do.
On commercials, no. On theatrical, sometimes. The Basic Agreement requires studios to provide parking or reimburse the actor for any expense. (Remember, "providing parking" can include reasonably available street parking.) These days, however, many casting directors do not work directly for the studios, or the project is not being produced by a company that is based on a studio lot. In those cases, parking provisions may not be required. If parking is not provided and you feel it should have been, contact the Theatrical Contracts Department at SAG.
I live over an hour away from most interview locations and my school doesn't dismiss until 3:30 PM. My agent knows this but still keeps giving me interviews before 4:30 PM. I have to leave school early in order to be at the interview on time. What can I do?
Nowadays, requests for interviews are mostly submitted on line, and appointments are sent out the same way. There is very little for the agent to interact with the casting office. Always ask for a later time, and remind your agent that you are not supposed to leave school early. Or at least ask your agent for the "window" on the interview time. (The window is the span of time the casting director is interviewing for your role. For example, your interview may be at 3:15 PM, but the window is from 3:00-4:45 PM.) Casting offices can sometimes be flexible, and they will often let the agent know this.
My agent has been sending me on interviews for music videos, video games and Internet projects. Most of them have been non-union jobs. I'm a SAG member, but my agent says that it doesn't matter. Is that true?
Many of the projects you refer to are "New Media", over, which as of 2009, SAG has secured its jurisdiction. So while previously SAG members may have been able to work on these projects even though they were not SAG jobs, that will now no longer be acceptable. SAG does share this jurisdiction with AFTRA whose rules in this area may vary. Before accepting employment on a New Media project, which is not a SAG signatory, contact the New Media Department at SAG for advice. (SAG also claims jurisdiction over music videos and shares that jurisdiction with AFTRA. Contact the Commercial Contracts Department for advice on music videos.)
How do I know if my commercial is still active?
As long as you are being paid a holding fee, your commercial is still active, whether it is actually on the air or not. Commercial holding fees are paid in 13-week periods, beginning with the first day the actor worked on the commercial. Before the end of each holding period, the actor (or the actor’s agent) must receive the holding fee for the next holding period or the commercial is automatically released, even if the holding fee is received late. Commercials, which have been released, may be reinstated after negotiation with the actor or the actor’s agent. Reinstatement is not automatic.
How do I know when my commercial will air? Can I get a copy of my commercial?
The advertising agency, which produced the commercial, also schedules the commercial to air. Although there are several ways in which a commercial may be broadcast, the agency’s traffic department (the department name may vary from one agency to another) will always have the schedule, and often that department may be able to give you the scheduling information for your area, although there is no requirement to do so. The agency can also authorize that a copy be sent to you. There may be a charge for this. Again, there is no requirement that you receive a copy.