How to Join SAG-AFTRA
Don't know how to join SAG-AFTRA?
Check out this quick overview of SAG-AFTRA eligibility rules to join through screen work, other actors union or vouchers from extra work.
1) How do I Get SAG-AFTRA eligibility?
There's 3 ways to get SAG-AFTRA eligible:
If you haven't had any union acting work yet and are still wandering how to join SAG-AFTRA, there's one more option: SAG-AFTRA vouchers for extra work. How do you get SAG-AFTRA vouchers? Well, there's several possibilities.
You could start by accepting work as a non-union actor on SAG-AFTRA projects and hope to be upgraded to SAG-AFTRA scale that way. For example, if a SAG-AFTRA background actor doesn't show up one day, you could be picked to replace them, or you could be singled out for a scene pick up where your presence is needed for the footage to match.
Another way to get SAG-AFTRA vouchers is to have something unique that makes you in demand for special projects. For example, you're unusually tall and a movie calls for extras over 6'2", or you have an original 60s Cadillac that is needed for a period film (extras are often hired for their vehicles or unique wardrobe like police outfits), or you resemble the lead in a movie and are called upon to be their stand-in (to walk through their scene as the crew adjusts lighting and sound on the set).
With so many SAG-AFTRA eligibility options, you may not be wondering how to join SAG-AFTRA anymore, but that doesn't mean you should. After all, getting to join SAG-AFTRA because you have a cool car doesn't really make one an actor, but it will limit the roles they can get to build an acting resume, so read the pros and cons of joining actors unions before you go through all this trouble.
2) How to Join SAG-AFTRA once you are Eligible
Once you have gained SAG-AFTRA eligibility, you can remain a SAG-AFTRA eligible actor or join SAG-AFTRA by going through the following steps:
The name on your SAG-AFTRA card doesn't have to be your legal name. It should be your stage name or the name you use on your acting headshot, so decide before you join.
And that's it! You got your SAG-AFTRA card. Congratulations! You just took a big step in your acting career. Have a party! And don't forget to put your union membership on your resume right away, as well as update your status with your acting agent and online casting profiles.
Now that you know how to join SAG-AFTRA, take a moment to consider the pros and cons of SAG-AFTRA membership and when is the best time for you to join.
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