June 7, 2011

Union Contracts, simplified for Background *updated 6/20/11*

We often get asked about contracts. I found PDF's from both AFTRA and SAG that outline their contracts with a background actor in mind. Of course, always refer to your union for up to date information, but as of 6/8/11, I believe these are the most up to date. Give them a read, there were a few things that were news to me! -m

AFTRA: Background Actor Guide to the AFTRA Television Contract

SAG: Digest: West Coast Background Actors 2009

Summary of the Agreement for the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Basic and Television Agreements and the 2011 AFTRA Exhibit A to the Network Television Code


COMMERCIAL Contract Rates Page - http://tiny.cc/3tapx

COMMERCIALS CONTRACT - Background / Extra Performers FAQ
From http://www.sag.org/commercial-contract-faq

When is the session payment due for a commercial?
Session payment for a commercial is due 12 business days after the session.

How is overtime paid on a commercial?

After 8 hours of work, the 9th and 10th hour are paid at time-and-one-half and all hours after that are paid at double time in hourly units. All hours worked on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays are paid at double time. All overtime for an extra performer is based on the maximum pay the extra performer is receiving on that particular day, i.e., additional compensation for wet, snow, smoke or dust work is added to the daily rate and overtime is based on that new rate.

What is the extra performer’s session payment for an Internet-only or New Media-only commercial?
There are currently no minimum fees set under the contract for a commercial made directly for the Internet and/or New Media. The extra performer and the producer are free to bargain a fee. The Pension & Health contribution rate is 15.5% and is non-negotiable. As of April 1, 2011, the minimum fees for a commercial made directly for the Internet and/or New Media will be the same as a broadcast commercial.

What is an “omni”?

An “omni” is defined as atmospheric words or sounds, such as cheering at a sports event, spoken by a group. This falls within the work of an extra performer.

Is there a section on the employment contract to indicate working in smoke?
Yes. The employment contract contains a check-off box indicating work in smoke. Additionally, the producer must provide each performer with a Material Specification Data Sheet (MSDS) no later than the first day of employment when work in smoke is required. An extra performer is entitled to additional compensation in the amount of $41.75 per day for work in smoke, wet, snow or dust (or any combination of these conditions).

When are meals due? What are the liquidated damages if not fed on time?
The first meal period must be called not later than 6 hours from the call time. All subsequent meal periods are due not later than 6 hours after the termination of the preceding meal period. Damages for violations are $25.00 for each of the 1st and 2nd half hours and $50.00 for each ½ hour thereafter.

How does a background performer qualify for an upgrade to principal performer?
There are several ways to qualify for an upgrade to principal performer. Here are the most common:
  1. A performer is directed to speak a line (other than omnies); or
  2. A performer is performing an identifiable stunt; or
  3. A performer is in the (1) foreground, (2) identifiable, and (3) demonstrating or illustrating a product or service or illustrating or reacting to the on/off camera narration or commercial message. (The performer must meet all 3 criteria simultaneously in the spot to qualify for a principal upgrade.)


Gary Anderson said...

SAG link isn't correct, for some reason.

Mollye said...

Thanks gary, I updated the link. Let me know if it still doesn't work. Blogger.com apparently didn't like the link. I made a tiny url to go around it :) - m

Gary Anderson said...

Clever girl.