January 4, 2024
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The Essential Guide to SAG-AFTRA Rates 2024

The Wrapbook Team
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Whether you’re making a feature or a commercial, one of the first decisions of a producer is whether or not you’re going to cast SAG actors. While the union hosts some of the best talent in the world, working with the Screen Actors Guild comes with its own set of rules. 

And the most important rule? You have to pay SAG rates. 

At its core, SAG rates are the minimum amounts of money talent must make for a given production. However, determining which rate applies to you can be a difficult and confusing process.

With multiple rate sheets and complex terms, calculating your production’s SAG rates can be harder than casting your actors.

Luckily, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide. Below, we’ll break down the 2024 SAG rates, so that you can budget your payroll confidently and more accurately.

What are SAG AFTRA rates?

SAG-AFTRA rates are the minimum amounts of money the Screen Actors Guild will allow its members to work for on a given project. Offered on both a daily and weekly scale, SAG rates are often determined by the project type, budget constraints, and distribution plan.

Using this information, you can determine which SAG agreement your production falls under. From there, you find the relevant fees.

Hiring talent on SAG weekly rates (5-day basis) does result in a per day discount. However, that does mean EACH PERFORMER ON A WEEKLY CONTRACT REMAINS ON THEIR WEEKLY CONTRACT for the rest of production. THERE IS NO CONVERSION FROM A WEEKLY CONTRACT.

It’s important to note that you’ll likely have to pay up to an additional 21% on your SAG payroll for health and benefits called “fringes.” However, depending on the agreement, this percentage will fluctuate. See the specific agreements below. 

Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that you have a production insurance policy that’s SAG-friendly. Luckily insurance providers like Wrapbook can spin up a policy that’s SAG compliant at lowest possible cost to you.

Have your budget handy

Before diving in, it’s critical to create a detailed budget for your production, as this will determine your specific SAG rates. Plus, before you can even roll the camera, you’ll have to submit both a budget and a copy of your screenplay to SAG.

The SAG AFTRA Theatrical Rates of 2024

If you're producing a feature then you're in the right spot - SAG Rates 2020

If you're producing a feature then you're in the right spot - SAG Rates 2024.

Making a feature film with SAG talent? Then your production probably falls under a SAG AFTRA Theatrical Agreement.

SAG Theatrical Rates apply to actors performing in films across a variety of budgets. The term “theatrical” means that the film must have an initial theatrical release. If you’re producing a film directly for streaming, you might fall under a New Media Agreement. Although in the age of streaming, the term can carry a different meaning.

Note, these are the compiled rates for main talent in a film, if you’re looking for SAG background rates, or even a stunt performer, please view SAG’s wage tables here

SAG Basic Theatrical Agreement

SAG’s Basic Theatrical Agreement applies to films with budgets greater than $2,000,000. While premium talent is usually paid far above the SAG minimum, this is the rate actors can expect to make on a low budget studio project or a moderate indie film. The SAG day rate is $1,158 and $4,019 for the week.

Valid from 11/9/23 through 6/30/24:

  • Budget Range: Greater than $2MM
  • SAG Day Rate: $1,158/day
  • SAG Weekly Scale: $4,019/week

SAG Low Budget Agreement

The SAG Low Budget Agreement applies to films with budgets between $700,000 and $2,000,000, making this the SAG pay scale of most independent films. Under this contract, actors must make a SAG day rate of $781 or $2,710 per week.

If you’re working with some actors who aren’t in the guild, don’t worry. Under this agreement, those actors are allowed to work UNDER THE SAME SAG-AFTRA TERMS AND CONDITIONS with a Taft-Hartley agreement, as with most SAG agreements. Some producers assume that under Taft-Hartley, performers don’t require all benefits of SAG deal.

Valid from 7/01/23:

  • Budget Range: $700K - $2MM
  • SAG Day Rate: $781/day
  • SAG Weekly Scale: $2,710/week

The P&H rate for performers is 21%. The P&H rate for background actors is 20.5%.

SAG Moderate Low Budget Agreement

The SAG Moderate Low Budget Agreement applies to films with budgets between $300,000 to $700,000. The SAG day rate is $420, while the SAG weekly rate is $1,459. These rates are determined as 35% of the minimum rates guaranteed in the Theatrical Basic agreement. 

While this agreement may seem like it perfectly applies to your film, it’s important to note that you need to release your film initially in theaters to qualify. If your film is released directly to a streaming service, like Hulu, your SAG scale rates might fall under New Media.

Valid from 7/01/23:

  • Budget Range: $300K - $700K
  • SAG Day Rate: $420/day
  • SAG Weekly Scale: $1,459/week

The P&H rate for performers is 21%. The P&H rate for background actors is 20.5%.

SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement

Despite having three low budget options, the SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement only applies to films (and short films) that are budgeted at $300,000 or less. While there is no weekly SAG scale for “ultra low budget” projects, the SAG day rate is $240. This is based on the 20% of the basic agreement’s day rate. 

If you’re looking for a SAG short film agreement, this is likely the right place to start.

Valid from 7/01/23:

  • Budget Range: $300K or less
  • SAG Day Rate: $240/day
  • SAG Weekly Scale: None

The P&H rate for performers is 21%.

SAG Short Project Agreement

SAG Short Project Agreements cover films that have total budgets less than $50,000 and a maximum running time of 40 minutes. (Note: This does not apply to episodic nor animated projects.) Unlike other SAG day rates, actor salaries are completely negotiable.

And unlike other SAG AFTRA Theatrical agreements, you don’t need to ensure a theatrical screening under this agreement.

Films made under this pact can be released at film festivals or on free-streaming sites like Vimeo or YouTube.

Valid from 7/01/23:

  • Budget Range: $50K or less (maximum 40 minutes)
  • SAG Day Rate: Negotiable (preferred minimum: $240)
  • SAG Weekly Scale: None (preferred minimum: $804)

The P&H rate for performers is 21%. The P&H rate for background actors is 20.5%.

SAG Student Film Agreement

SAG Student Film Agreements cover films with budgets less than $35,000, a maximum running time of 35 minutes, and producers that are currently students at an accredited U.S. university. Like the SAG Short Project Agreement, there isn’t a set SAG weekly scale or even a set day rate – it’s all negotiable.

While a theatrical release isn’t required to qualify, there is a fair amount of paperwork needed to fall under this contract.

  • Budget Range: $35K or less (maximum 35 minutes)
  • SAG Day Rate: Negotiable
  • SAG Weekly Scale: None

The P&H rate for performers is 21%. The P&H rate for background actors is 20.5%.

The SAG AFTRA Television Rates of 2024

If you're making an episode of something, these are your rates. - SAG Rates 2020
If you're making an episode of something, these are your rates - SAG Rates 2024.

With streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime entering the scene, there’s more television work for SAG actors than ever. However, calculating your SAG rates for TV is by far the most confusing.

Unlike SAG agreements for film (where everything is determined by budget), in the world of television, rates are determined by the number of episodes you’re going to create, and more often than not, the episode’s length. And if it's network TV, it may be more complicated.

*A Note on Network Television

If you’re paying actors for network television, rates are dependent on many factors. For one, the type of program needs to be considered. And wrapping your head around something called “The Netcode” can get complicated fast.

Traditionally, the Netcode was divided into either “front of the book” or “back of the book” rates— where front of the book deals with either non-network or network non-primetime programs, (like soaps, game shows, award shows, or specials), while back of the book rates were often used for dramatic programs.  

And then there are background actors. 

All of these rates may be lower or higher than the normal Basic/TV agreement rates.  

Every negotiation will be different. Expect the unexpected.

A bit less complicated... If you’re making a television series that’ll go directly online (à la Netflix) and your budget is under a million, then you’ll want to check out New Media.

But if you’ve got a penny more, you’re in the right place. Here are the 2024 SAG rates for performers in television. We should note that these rates are for performers of cable and streaming shows. For network shows, producers should plan to budget an additional 15 percent.

Performers in one episode

Need an actor for just one episode of your series to say a few lines? Whether you’re producing a half-hour or hour-long episode, if you’re hiring a SAG actor for just one episode, you’re looking at $1,158 a day, $2,933 for three days, or $4,019 for the entire week.

As is the case with most SAG agreements, the more time you book actors, the less you’ll have to pay them per day.

Valid through 6/30/24:

  • SAG Day Rate: $1,158/day
  • SAG Three-Day Rate: $2,933/three-day period
  • SAG Weekly Scale: $4,019/week

Major role performers in one episode

If you’re booking a big name guest star in one episode, then in the eyes of SAG this is usually classified as a major role performer. Under this SAG contract, producers pay $6,369 per week for major role performers on a half-hour program and $10,190 per week for hour-long programs.

However, if your major role performer is appearing in an episode within the first season of your show, it’s possible you may only have to pay the regular rate for a performer (above).

Valid through 6/30/24:

  • Half-Hour Program: $6,369/week
  • One-Hour Program: $10,190/week

Performers in multiple programs

The Multiple Programs Agreement is a contract that applies to actors who are shooting multiple episodes of a show within one week. If you’re producing a daily talk show or variety show for streaming or cable, this is your pay bracket.

SAG rates for multiple programs are put on a weekly scale, with $2,979 per week for both half-hour and one-hour programs, $3,501 per week for 90-minute programs, and $4,126 per week for two-hour programs.

Valid through 6/30/24:

  • Half-Hour Program: $2,979/week
  • One-Hour Program: $2,979/week
  • 90-Minute Program: $3,501/week
  • Two-Hour Program: $4,126/week

Series regulars in half-hour programs

A Series Regular Contract for half-hour programs applies to actors who appear in more than six of a season’s given episodes (based on a 13-episode season). SAG actors are paid weekly for their time with $4,019 per week for performers appearing in every episode, $4,601 per week for performers appearing in not all but more than six episodes, and $5,364 per week for performers appearing in only six episodes.

If an actor appears in less than half of a season’s episode order, talent would then be classified as a major role (guest star). Note that SAG day rates increase as an actor’s scheduled work days decrease. This is because actors contracted for shorter employment periods will receive less overall pay on a given production. 

Valid through 6/30/24:

  • 13 out of 13 Episodes: $4,019/week
  • Seven to 12 Episodes: $4,601/week
  • Six Episodes: $5,364/week

Series regulars in one-hour programs

The SAG pay scale for Series Regulars on one-hour shows functions exactly like half-hours. However, the pay per week is higher.

SAG actors are paid weekly for their time: $4,836 per week for performers appearing in every episode, $5,395 per week for performers appearing in not all but more than six episodes, and $6,310 per week for performers appearing in only six episodes.

Valid through 6/30/24:

  • 13 out of 13 Episodes: $4,836/week
  • Seven to 12 Episodes: $5,395/week
  • Six Episodes: $6,310/week

The SAG AFTRA Commercial Rates of 2024

You'll need to know many cities your commercial will air in - SAG Rates 2020.

You'll need to know which cities your commercial will air in - SAG Rates 2024.

Whereas Theatrical SAG rates depend on budget, SAG commercial rates depend on where and how many times you’ll be airing the commercial.

Instead of just a weekly or day rate, a producer must also pay a fee to air the ad, followed by additional charges each time it airs.

In short: the more times a commercial is aired, the more a SAG actor makes.

However, SAG offers different agreements that allow producers to essentially “buy in bulk,” depending on where the commercial will be airing.

The SAG commercial agreement ratified in 2022 significantly streamlines and overhauls the pay structure of previous contracts. Watch the video below for a quick introduction.

The SAG commercial rates discussed below became effective in June 2022 and are valid for three years. They are set to expire March 31, 2025. We will update this section accordingly.  

In addition to these rates, commercial contracts will require a 19.25-20.5% pension and health contribution.

SAG Commercial Agreement - Class A

The vast majority of SAG commercials are Class A, meaning that your commercial will air in over 20 cities. This is your bracket if you are shooting a national commercial that will air on four major networks (FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS).

The more times you air a Class A spot, the more you’ll have to pay. The 1st use SAG commercial rates are:

  • Class A SAG Commercial Rate On Camera $783.10
  • Class A SAG Commercial Rate Off Camera: $588.90

SAG Commercial Agreement - Wild Spots

Unlike national or cable ads, wild spots are commercials that air in over 20 specific cities. They’re used for products and services that only exist in certain areas. For example, you wouldn’t air an In-N-Out commercial on the east coast. Instead of airing on a set network, wild spots only air on specific stations and markets.

Instead of paying per usage, SAG minimums for wild spots can be paid for by a flat rate that corresponds to one of three time options. You can pay to air a commercial for a four-week period, a 13-week period, or a 52-week (one year) period. 

Here are SAG’s minimum wild spot rates for all broadcast markets:

  • Four-Week Wild Spot Rate (On-Camera): $800.00
  • Four-Week Wild Spot Rate (Off-Camera): $600.00
  • 13-Week Wild Spot Rate (On-Camera): $2,000.00
  • 13-Week Wild Spot Rate (Off-Camera): $1,500.00
  • 52-Week Wild Spot Rate (On-Camera): $7,200.00
  • 52-Week Wild Spot Rate (Off-Camera): $5,400.00

And here SAG’s minimum wild spot rates for all markets excluding New York and Los Angeles:

  • Four-Week Wild Spot Rate (On-Camera): $800.00
  • Four-Week Wild Spot Rate (Off-Camera): $600.00
  • 13-Week Wild Spot Rate (On-Camera): $1,100.00
  • 13-Week Wild Spot Rate (Off-Camera): $825.00
  • 52-Week Wild Spot Rate (On-Camera): $4,000.00
  • 52-Week Wild Spot Rate (Off-Camera): $3,000.00

SAG Commercial Agreement - Cable

This is your bracket if you’re shooting a commercial that will run on a cable channel. As with wild spots, SAG minimums for commercials running on cable networks are based on flat rates the length of time the spot will air. 

SAG also differentiates cable rates by size. “National cable” channels are large-scale entities with more than one million subscribers. By contrast, “local cable” channels has no more than one million subscribers. 

Here are the SAG minimums for National Cable:

  • Four-Week National Cable Rate (On-Camera): $1,500.00
  • Four-Week Nation Cable Rate (Off-Camera): $1,125.00
  • 13-Week National Cable Rate (On-Camera): $4,100.00
  • 13-Week National Cable Rate (Off-Camera): $3,075.00
  • 52-Week National Cable Rate (On-Camera): $13,500.00
  • 52-Week National Cable Rate (Off-Camera): $10,125.00

And here are the SAG minimums for Local Cable Only:

  • Four-Week Local Cable Only Rate (On-Camera): $300.00
  • Four-Week Local Cable Only Rate (Off-Camera): $225.00
  • 13-Week Local Cable Only Rate (On-Camera): $800.00
  • 13-Week Local Cable Only Rate (Off-Camera): $600.00
  • 52-Week Local Cable Only Rate (On-Camera): $3,000.00
  • 52-Week Local Cable Only Rate (Off-Camera): $2,250.00

SAG Commercial Agreement - All Other North American Linear Use

To simplify its rate structure, the current SAG commercial contract implements a new classification: “All Other North American Linear Use.” This is a catch-all label that accommodates spots that will air in more limited markets than covered elsewhere. It brings the former “Class B,” “Class C,” and “Unwired Networks” classifications under one umbrella. 

As with wild and cable spots, SAG minimums here are also based on flat rates the length of time the spot will air. Here are the SAG rates for “All Other North American Linear Use”:

  • Four-Week AONALU Rate (On-Camera): $325.00
  • Four-Week AONALU Rate (Off-Camera): $243.75
  • 13-Week AONALU Rate (On-Camera): $1,000.00
  • 13-Week AONALU Rate (Off-Camera): $750.00
  • 52-Week AONALU Rate (On-Camera): $3,500.00
  • 52-Week AONALU (Off-Camera): $2,625.00 

The SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract covers a wide variety of complex and unique circumstances. What we’re reviewing here just scratches the surface. For a complete overview, be sure to check out the current SAG-AFTRA Commercials rate sheet.

The SAG AFTRA New Media Rates of 2024

If your project is going straight to the web, start here - SAG Rates 2020.

If your project is going straight to the web, start here - SAG Rates 2024.

TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are just some of the destinations the Screen Actors Guild classifies as “new media.” Whether you’re making a film or series, they both fall under this agreement as long as your budget is between $50,000 and $1,000,000.

If your budget falls under $50,000, you should refer to the SAG Short Project Agreement. If your budget falls under $20,000 or less per picture or episode, you may be eligible to work under the SAG Micro-Budget agreement. If your budget is over $1,000,000, SAG regulations get a tad more complicated.

If you’re producing a film, your project is now classified under SAG Theatrical Rates. With television series, you would now be classified with the appropriate SAG Television Rates.

New Media SAG Agreement - Category A

For New Media projects less than $250,000 (but greater than $50K), expect to pay performers rates set at 20% of basic agreement scale. Therefore, rates will increase annually with scale. Like many other low budget agreements, there’s only a SAG day player rate.

  • Budget Range: $50K-$250K
  • SAG Day Rate (20% of scale): $231.60/day
  • SAG Weekly Rate: None

New Media SAG Agreement - Category B

New Media productions with budgets between $250,000 and $700,000 should expect to pay principal performers 35% of either the daily or weekly scale in the basic agreement. 

  • Budget Range: $250K-$700K
  • SAG Day Rate: $405.30/day
  • SAG Weekly Scale: $1,406.65/week

New Media SAG Agreement - Category C

If your project falls between $700,000 and $1,000,000, the minimum you’ll have to pay principal talent is 65% of the daily or weekly scale in the basic agreement. 

  • Budget Range: $700K-$1 million
  • SAG Day Rate: $752.70/day
  • SAG Weekly Scale: $2,612.35/week

New Media SAG Agreement - Category D

If your budget exceeds $1 million, your project may still be categorized as New Media, but it will no longer benefit from decreased rates. 

Productions falling under Category D of the New Media agreement must pay the minimum scale outlined in the current SAG Theatrical Rates. Category D rates will increase annually in accordance with this scale.

Pro tip: Double check your SAG rates with software

At the end of the day, you’ll have to register your production with SAG AFTRA, where you’ll confirm your rates. While this guide is a great place to start, using the right software can help you budget SAG AFTRA payroll including fringes, production insurance, and taxes.

In Wrapbook, for example, estimating SAG payroll is simple. When hiring actors, the app will ask them to input their guild information, tax information, and loan-out company (if applicable.)

The Essential Guide to SAG-AFTRA Rates 2024 - Wrapbook - Tax Documents
When talent and crew are onboarded, Wrapbook gathers their tax information upfront.

When actors submit timecards through the app, Wrapbook will automatically calculate SAG benefits following the latest rules. Compliance has never been easier.

Wrapping up

Understanding SAG rates can be a tricky endeavor for even the most veteran of producers. As with anything related to SAG, when in doubt, reach out to your project’s assigned representative.

At Wrapbook, we know how to prioritize union compliance.

Check out our demo to find out how our software solutions can help you handle SAG AFTRA payroll faster and more efficiently.

For more information on navigating the world of SAG, don’t miss our breakdown on the Taft-Hartley form.

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Last Updated 
January 4, 2024

Disclaimer

At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
The Wrapbook Team

The Wrapbook Team consists of individuals who are thrilled about building modern software tools for creators. We’re a team of compassionate and curious people dedicated to solving complex problems with sophisticated solutions. You can find us across the U.S. and Canada.

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