Acting is a vast industry, and if you have the right skill set, talent, and passion, you will certainly fit into a few roles. However, even after having everything, you do need a little external support to grow to heights and become the next big thing. SAG-AFTRA is your way to climb the stairs and become a great actor. Any actor looking for a bright acting career and working on a major commercial or a Hollywood feature will eventually join the acting guild. SAG-AFTRA defines itself on its official website as the labor union representing the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. 

Here is how you can join SAF-AFTRA if you are considering a career in acting-

What is SAG-AFTRA?

SAG-AFTRA stands for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It alone represents more than 160,000 members and is the most comprehensive union for performance artists in the entertainment industry. The mission of SAG-AFTRA is to collectively bargain and advocate for its member’s rights. 

How was SAG-AFTRA Formed?

SAG and AFTRA were both founded in the 1930s to protect and empower media artists following pay cuts and contract issues during the Great Depression. The National Labor Review Board decided in the ‘50s that SAG, with a more exclusive membership approach, would have jurisdiction over filmed television. While AFTRA, which allowed any media worker to buy their way into the group, will have jurisdiction over live television. The SAG-AFTRA merger was first proposed in 1999 but was only passed in 2012 after a vote. 

SAG-AFTRA today is divided into two factions:

Unite for Strength- Focusing on payment concerns

Membership First- Focusing on contract issues

How to Join SAG-AFTRA?

  • Eligibility criteria: As a performer, you will be eligible to become a member of SAG-AFTRA if you fulfill any two of the following conditions-
    • Provide proof of SAG-AFTRA, SAG, or AFTRA employment
    • Provide proof of employment under an affiliated performer’s union
  • Providing proof of SAG-AFTRA employment: If you have worked in a position covered by a SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreement, you will get a SAG-AFTRA membership. You must fulfill any of the following-
    • You must have completed at least three days of work as a background actor under the SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreement.
    • You must have completed at least one day in a principal or speaking role (actor/ performer) or as a recording artist in a SAG-AFTRA-covered production.
  • Employment under an Affiliated Performers’ Union: You can also get a SAG-AFTRA membership if you are a paid member of an affiliated performer’s union like ACTRA, AEA, AGMA, or AGVA. You should have been a member for one year and worked and been paid at least once as a principal performer in the union’s jurisdiction.

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