Amid a dual strike summer shutdown, the SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement offers independent productions a way to keep their shoots up and running. However, applying for the Agreement and working under it creates a brand-new set of challenges for producers and their crew.
In this post, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about the SAG Interim Agreement. We’ll talk about what the Agreement is, what its terms are, and how you can apply to work under it on your next production.
First, let’s make sure you have the right tools.
Wrapbook is a one-stop payroll and production management platform. We pride ourselves in putting as much power as possible directly in the hands of filmmakers.
With that in mind, we’ve updated the Wrapbook platform to meet the demands of the SAG Interim Agreement.
As we’ll explore in greater depth below, the SAG Interim Agreement requires signatory productions to comply with a fresh set of terms. These include guidelines that significantly alter payroll compliance. Taking the considerable time to learn those new guidelines is a whole job unto itself.
Fortunately, Wrapbook tracks all the contract details so that you don’t have to. We put our software through constant optimization, ensuring that users can minimize costs and maximize freedom to focus on what they want.
Here are a few key updates from the SAG Interim Agreement that Wrapbook can calculate automatically:
Accounting for these terms might seem complicated, but Wrapbook makes them simple. Our platform is designed from the ground up to provide ease of mind. While the entertainment industry is facing an undoubtedly tumultuous moment, Wrapbook is here to help your production stay on track and in compliance.
With that in mind, let’s dig into the SAG Interim Agreement.
The SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement is a stop-gap contract to keep eligible film and television projects in production during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Approved producers can operate under the terms of the Interim Agreement instead of a fully negotiated contract between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP.
Note that the SAG Interim Agreement is NOT a waiver and approved productions are not free from SAG contract obligations. The Interim Agreement is intended to empower “true independent productions” by providing temporary contract terms through the duration of the strike.
To SAG-AFTRA leadership, the Interim Agreement is a strategic tool for both subsistence and negotiation.
First, it gives SAG-AFTRA members more opportunities to work and earn income during the strike.
Second, it argues that SAG’s proposed contract terms are reasonable by demonstrating that indie productions can comply with them.
Third, it increases competitive pressure on the AMPTP by giving independent projects a temporary edge.
If you’re thinking of applying for the SAG Interim Agreement, remember that you’ll need it both before and after principal photography. You’ll need approval under the Interim Agreement to hire cast for auditioning services, fittings, ADR, looping, and other pre-production and post-production activities.
That includes promotional services for projects completed before the strike.
The terms of the SAG Interim Agreement are wide and varied. They reflect the terms that SAG-AFTRA proposed in their last offer made to the AMPTP before going on strike. As such, the Interim Agreement’s terms include expected increases to contracted day rates and fringes as well as guidelines regarding artificial intelligence and SVOD residuals.
We won’t dive into a full breakdown of terms in this post, but here are a few items worth noting:
For a more complete list of current Interim Agreement terms, check out this sample of the SAG Interim Agreement.
The SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement is open to any independent production whose operation would normally cease because of the SAG strike. The key term here is “independent.” In general, a production will only be eligible for the Interim Agreement if it has no affiliation with the AMPTP.
SAG-AFTRA has made limited exceptions for productions produced by specific cable networks. For example, the union approved Interim Agreements for three AMC shows. AMC is not an AMPTP member but it is an AMPTP “authorized company.”
The network will ultimately operate under any final agreement made between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA. For now, however, they abide by the terms of SAG’s last offer to the AMPTP with the Interim Agreement.
Also keep in mind that SAG-AFTRA maintains a wide range of contracts that correspond to the high variation of media production types. For example, commercials are run under a completely different contract than feature films. This is critical because the current strike does not apply to all SAG-AFTRA contracts.
You can only apply for the SAG Interim Agreement if your production would ordinarily operate under one of the following SAG-AFTRA agreements:
If your project is subject to any WGA contract and is to be produced in the United States, it will not receive Interim Agreement approval from SAG, regardless of the contract under which it would normally operate.
The SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement is uniquely designed to meet the circumstances of the current strike. Therefore, if your project is set to operate under a contract that is not covered by the strike, you can proceed with production as usual.
For reference, here’s a list of non-struck SAG-AFTRA agreements:
Now that we understand basic eligibility requirements for the Interim Agreement, let’s talk about the application process.
SAG-AFTRA has outlined a vigorous application and vetting process for operation under the Interim Agreement. The exact process varies from project to project, but we can break it down into three basic steps.
If you want to apply for the SAG Interim Agreement, the first thing you should do is reach out to your SAG-AFTRA business representative. Communicate your desire to become signatory to the Interim Agreement, and they’ll get the ball rolling for you.
A SAG-AFTRA business representative is your official point of contact with the organization. Instead of calling a hotline or messaging a bulk e-mail address, you can reach out directly to your SAG rep for personalized information and guidance.
SAG representatives are automatically assigned when your production company becomes signatory to a SAG contract. If you do not have an assigned SAG-AFTRA business representative, you’ll have to start by completing the SAG Signatory Application.
SAG-AFTRA wants to ensure that only “true independent” productions are granted approval under the SAG Interim Agreement. Therefore, all applicants are required to undergo rigorous, individual examinations by SAG personnel. Applicants must be willing to provide information that proves they are not affiliated with AMPTP in any way.
Every production is different, and SAG-AFTRA reserves the right to request information as necessary. It’s safe to assume that all applicants will have to provide basic financial documentation, but requests could also range further afield.
If you want the best odds for approval under the SAG Interim Agreement, prioritize transparency throughout the application process.
The Interim Agreement is new waters for SAG-AFTRA. Due to a rush of applicants and the individualized vetting process, there is no common timetable for Interim Agreement approval.
Here’s how SAG’s guidance on Interim Agreements describes the situation:
“SAG-AFTRA has already received more than 750 applications for Interim Agreements and more are submitted daily. Every project is different and requires rigorous review. As a result, we are not able to guarantee a particular turnaround time.”
In other words, if you want to work under the SAG Interim Agreement, you’ll have to play the waiting game first. However, with due diligence and a little patience, your production will be up and running again as quickly as possible.
If you have further questions about the Interim Agreement, you can email SAG directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that the SAG Interim Agreement is temporary. Its terms will be replaced when the strike is over and a new agreement is successfully negotiated between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP.
Whatever those terms turn out to be, rest assured that Wrapbook will be up-to-date with the latest information as soon as it’s available. Wrapbook will help your production maintain union compliance with any final agreement.
To learn more, check out our demo.
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.