SAG-AFTRA will soon sign “temporary agreements” with truly independent producers that will allow many of them to start or continue production while on strike—as long as they are not affiliated with and agree to the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance. Retroactively obligated by any contract terms that are ultimately fulfilled with AMPTP upon settlement of the strike.

to update: One of the first such deals was revealed.

“What does the SAG-AFTRA strike mean for your production?” Guild requests on their FAQ page for independent producers. See some of the questions and answers below.

Question: “What if I’m an independent producer and not part of AMPTP?”

Answer: “For independently produced content that falls within the scope of the strike order, the producer may qualify for a ‘temporary agreement’ allowing such products to continue operating during the strike.”

All works and services under television/theatrical agreements and related contracts are excluding works. These include Syndicate’s Very Low Budget Project Agreement, Moderate Low Budget Project Agreement, Low Budget Theatrical Agreement, and Special New Media Agreements.

However, truly independent non-AMPTP productions that want to shoot under those agreements may be eligible for a temporary agreement that allows them to continue shooting.

The union also notes that no provisional agreement is necessary to film the production under many of the union’s low-budget agreements because it was not struck. They include the Short Project Agreement, the Small Budget Agreement, the Student Film Agreement, and the Independent New Media Agreement.

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The union says that “the terms of the ‘Temporary Agreement’ will be published once approved in accordance with SAG-AFTRA’s governance procedures.”

Frequently asked questions continue:

Question: My production would like to use the temporary agreement. What’s next?

Answer: “If you wish to apply for a provisional agreement, please contact your assigned business representative. If you have questions about the provisional agreement, please email [email protected]

Question: “As a Producer, what if I sign the terms of the Temporary Agreement and the deal with AMPTP is different from the Temporary Agreement?”

Answer: “SAG-AFTRA intends for the Interim Agreement to be substantially AMPTP-compliant on an ongoing basis once membership ratifies subsequent agreements with AMPTP.”

On the first day of the actors’ strike, there are plenty of SAG-AFTRA members still working, and the union encourages them to keep at it. This is because they are working, or looking for work, under one or more of the union’s many contracts that are not subject to closing.

For example, soap opera actors can still work because they’re covered by what’s called the network TV code, which is separate and apart from the one being hit – the TV/play/broadcast contract. Working on variety shows, talk shows, and game shows is also allowed for the same reason.

To help members navigate the maze of concluded and non-concluded contracts, the union has issued electronic publications showing members which contracts they can and cannot work under.

What can you work on (see PDF here)

The union prospectus says that “many of our members can and should continue to work under various other contracts. Here is a quick look at some of the contracts members can work under during the TV/play/broadcast strike:

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• Commercials: TV, Radio and Digital Media (including Influencer Agreement and Cameo for Business Agreement)

• TV programs covered by the Network TV Code (series, variety shows, talk shows, and game shows)

• Audio recordings

• Music videos

• Interactive / video game convention

• Corporate/educational and non-broadcast (“formerly” industrial) programs

• Station contracts and news broadcasts

• Television and New Media Animation

• Dubbing

• Audio books

• Short Project Agreement (SPA)

• Small Budget Project Agreement (Micro)

• Student Film Agreement

• Stand-alone New Media Agreement (postponable)

• Standalone Podcast Agreement and Micro Income Podcast Agreement (including written performance and hosting)

• SAG-AFTRA Approved Temporary Agreements (these are for independent productions that would normally be covered by TV/theatrical contracts, which would qualify for such agreement with SAG-AFTRA)

Some basic cable agreements are negotiated separately

What can you work on: network icon (see PDF here)

The publication notes that the Network Television Act, formally called the National Network Television Broadcast Fair Practices Act, is a contract of its own “and remains unbroken.” “This means that members can work on network television code productions.”

This includes the following non-dramatic programmes:

  • Various offers
  • Talk shows, game shows
  • Reality Shows/Competition Special Events
  • Awards shows
  • Documentaries (other than those produced for theatrical exhibitions)
  • Daytime soap operas, more commonly known as soap operas.

“Performers who have engaged under the Network Television Code must continue to honor their contracts,” the union says in the post.

What can’t you work on (see PDF here)

“Our strength to strike comes from the unity of our members – and all of our members stand strong together and take the work out of striking employers,” the post reads. “As a member, you need to know what work is prohibited so we can get a fair deal. Any work covered by TV/theatrical contracts is prohibited.

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This includes the following agreements:

  • Standardized Basic Product Agreement – SAG-AFTRA
  • SAG-AFTRA TV Agreement (includes new media)
  • Private new media agreements
  • Low-budget theatrical agreement (LBA)
  • Low Budget Medium Project Agreement (MPA)
  • Ultra Low Project Agreement (UPA)
  • SAG-AFTRA New Media Agreement for high-budget original or derivative programming

work on the camera

  • the acting
  • singing
  • dance
  • stunts
  • dummies

Work off camera

  • voice acting
  • the novel
  • singing
  • ADR
  • Repetition

Also includes

  • acting background
  • preparations
  • Tests (including self-tape)
  • Rehearsals
  • Publicity (conferences, interviews, tours or promotion via social media for any battered business or battered companies)

All of this, the union says, is “off limits until we get a fair deal”.

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