Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I had an audition today. I arrived sweaty, just because its a tradition at this point. It was for what sounds like a cool project. They’re looking to have an ensemble cast for a sketch show. Of course, it was in a small room with two guys looking at me. They asked for a monologue, so I did my nervous stand up speech. One guy was trying not to laugh, good sign.
When I was done, the guy said, “Great, I have a role for you. I like your look and your acting.” I was caught off guard, so I think that’s what he said. The rest of his demeanor seemed to be saying the opposite. We’ll see, he said I’ll find out in a couple of days via e-mail. When I’m doing comedy is when I feel like I know what I’m doing and not at all like I’m pretending to know what I’m doing, which I feel for a lot of auditions.
Then, I had dinner with the girls. I was starving, so I was disappointed in my “quaint” sized meal.
I feel like it’s time for an update on nuts and bolts of the business. I may have covered this before, I’m not going to look it up.
Let’s talk about SAG. SAG is the Screen Actors Guild, basically the main union for actors. You want to get into SAG. Most everything you see on TV or the big screen is either SAG or AFTRA (Not to be confused with NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Association). SAG is difficult to get into. I think this is probably on purpose, because there are plenty of crazy people out here who the industry doesn’t want to have to mess with if they don’t have to. The unions create a barrier, so people have to actually really want it and/or be talented to get in.
You can’t get a SAG role, or audition unless you are SAG. You can’t get SAG until you are in a SAG project? What? Yes.
Most people get in through a couple of routes.
1. Do background work. If you can happen to do the right background work, you can get a SAG voucher. 3 SAG vouchers = SAG Eligible. If you are SAG eligible, then you can pay the money and join SAG. Also, if you are SAG Eligible, you can audition for SAG projects. I’ve found this to be difficult.
2. You can be Taft Hartleyed into SAG. Taft Hartley is federal legislation dealing with all unions. I don’t know how it applies elsewhere. In Hollywood, it means that the folks making a SAG project can say that even though you are not SAG, they need you for this role. They have to fill out a bunch of paperwork, and say that you are the only person that can fill the role. Boom, you’re SAG Eligible.
The tough part is that to join SAG is $2,277.00 plus the first semi annual fee. I didn’t have that lying around before I moved, and I certainly don’t have it now. The plan would be to become SAG Eligible, get a high paying role and use that money to pay for joining SAG.
I have some friends who are working on a SAG web series project. At some point they are going to write a role for me and are planning on Taft Hartleying me in. We’ll see how it all works out.
In the meantime, I will keep doing sweaty non union auditions.